The Best Practices To Improve Your Sales Funnel

The Best Practices To Improve Your Sales Funnel



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Every business in existence has some sort of a sales funnel in place.

However, it’s probably safe to say that most of these sales funnels weren’t designed intentionally, they “just happened”. What does that mean?

It means that when entrepreneurs stumble onto something that works, they often continue doing it without ever questioning whether that’s the most effective approach.

And sure, you can make some money that way, but you probably won’t reach your full business potential.

You need to be intentional about your sales funnel if you want to maximize your sales, revenue, and profits.

Today we are going to discuss seven sales funnel best practices that you can implement in your own business to take it to the next level. Sounds interesting?

Continue reading…

# 1 Set Up a Value Ladder Sales Funnel

Here’s how the core structure of any sales funnel looks like:

  1. Top of the funnel (target audience). You grab the attention of the potential customer.
  2. Middle of the funnel (leads). You get that potential customer interested in your product.
  3. Bottom of the funnel (customers). You persuade the potential customer to buy your product.

When we said that every business in existence has some sort of a sales funnel in place, we meant that they all follow this process to convert potential customers into paying customers.

That is as true for market stalls in Marrakesh as it is for billion-dollar startups in Silicon Valley.

Set Up a Value Ladder Sales Funnel, traffic sales funnel graphic.

However, when people talk about sales funnels, they are typically talking about the ones that were designed intentionally.

Set Up a Value Ladder Sales Funnel, intentionally designed traffic sales funnel graphic.

The traditional sales funnel model is known as AIDA and was developed in the late 19th century by the advertising and sales pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis:

  1. Attention. You grab the potential customer’s attention.
  2. Interest. You get them interested in your product.
  3. Desire. You show them how your product will make their lives better.
  4. Action. You close the sale with a call to action to buy your product.

The AIDA model has been around for over a century for a reason: it works.

However, our co-founder, Russell Brunson, has developed a more effective approach which is called the Value Ladder sales funnel.

Set Up a Value Ladder Sales Funnel, The Value Ladder graphic.

It has four stages:

  1. Bait. You offer the potential customer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  2. Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
  3. Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
  4. Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.

Here’s the key difference between the AIDA model and the Value Ladder model:

  • With AIDA, you give, give, give, until the potential customer converts.
  • With the Value Ladder, you give in the Bait stage and then engage in a give-and-take at each of the subsequent stages. 

The latter is based on how human relationships work. It allows you to gradually build trust with that person by:

  1. Continuing to provide free value.
  2. Offering increasingly more paid value at each stage.

Here’s how Russell explains it:

Example: “DotCom Secrets” Value Ladder

Russell has written several bestselling books, including “The DotCom Secrets” (get it here for FREE).

He used an advanced Value Ladder sales funnel for its launch:

  1. Free quiz
  2. Free book (you get the paperback for free, but you need to cover the shipping).
  3. Invisible Funnel webinar
  4. Home study/Event
  5. Inner circle

At each step after the free quiz, he offered more value in exchange for more money, which allowed him to build the trust required for that person to take the next step in the sales funnel.

Note that starting at step two there’s also the ClickFunnels subscription which provides recurring revenue.

“DotCom Secrets” Value Ladder chart.

You Can Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel With Just One Product!

When people look at these Value Ladder schemes, they often feel overwhelmed because they don’t yet have an entire product line developed.

But you can create a Value Ladder sales funnel with just one product.

You simply build the first two stages:

  1. Bait. You offer the potential customer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  2. Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.

…then complete the rest of your funnel as you go along. What matters is that you put a sales funnel in place, even if it’s not perfect.

Russell can help you with that. Want him to walk you through building your first sales funnel?

Join our 5 Day Challenge. It’s completely free!

# 2 Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet

You know how you sometimes see those stalls with free food samples in the grocery stores?

Well, your lead magnet is like that free food sample, it’s supposed to give the potential customer a taste of the value that you provide in your paid products.

It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:

  • A report.
  • An ebook.
  • A cheat sheet.
  • A webinar.
  • An email source.
  • A video source.
  • An app.

…etc.

What’s important is that:

  1. Your lead magnet offers a solution to a problem that your potential customers are struggling with.
  2. That problem is either the same or similar to the one that you address with your paid products.

That way, if the potential customer derives value from your lead magnet, then they will likely be open to the idea of buying your frontend product.

Just keep in mind that for this approach to work, the lead magnet has to be super valuable.

Imagine that you tried a free sample at one of those stalls in a grocery store and it tasted gross. Would you then buy that food item? Of course not!

 Likewise, if your lead magnet turns out to be garbage, the potential customer’s interest in your paid products will likely drop to zero.

Because of that, your lead magnet is the foundation of your entire sales funnel:

Impress your potential customers with it and they will be open to your paid offer. Disappoint them and you won’t get a second chance. 

The standard that you want to apply to your lead magnet is this:

“Would my dream customers be happy to pay for it should I ever chose to sell it?”.

You want to create something so valuable that people would happily pay for it… Then give it away for free.

Example: Matthew Hussey’s “9 Texts” Lead Magnet + “How to Talk to Men” Product

Matthew Hussey is a world-renowned dating coach that helps women find and keep their dream man.

One of his lead magnets is a free guide called “9 texts” that offers nine text message scripts that you can copy-paste when texting a guy:

Matthew Hussey’s “9 Texts” Lead Magnet + “How to Talk to Men” Product example.

Found the “9 Texts” guide useful?

Then you might be interested in Matthew’s paid product called “How To Talk To Men” which consists of 59 more word-for-word scripts that cover the most common dating scenarios:

Matthew Hussey’s “9 Texts” Lead Magnet + “How to Talk to Men” Product example.

See how there’s a seamless transition from the lead magnet to the paid product? That’s what you want in your sales funnel.

#3 Create a Landing Page For Your Lead Magnet

A lead magnet landing page is a web page that is designed with the single conversion goal in mind:

To persuade the potential customer to give you their email address in exchange for your lead magnet.

Here are the essential elements of a high-converting lead magnet landing page:

  • A benefit-driven headline. How will your lead magnet make the potential customer’s life better? Emphasize its #1 benefit in the headline.
  • A benefit-driven subheadline. While the purpose of the headline is to convey the main benefit of the lead magnet, the purpose of the sub-headline is to provide additional information about it. It still has to be benefit-driven, though!
  • Social proof in the form of testimonials. Get testimonials from potential and existing customers who have derived value from your lead magnet, then add those quotes to your landing page.
  • Social proof in the form of your bio. The purpose of the bio section of your landing page isn’t to tell your life’s story, it’s to provide social proof by highlighting relevant accomplishments. These can include academic degrees, professional certifications, impressive results you have gotten for your clients, the number of products sold, etc.
  • Several prominent call-to-action buttons.  You need to tell the potential customer what to do next. Want them to download your lead magnet? Ask them to do so. That’s what call-to-action buttons are for! It’s best to have several of them. Also, make sure that they are large, prominent, and impossible to miss.

Also:

Keep it simple!

When people ask Russell for feedback on their landing pages, it often turns out that those landing pages are way too complicated.

He then has to go and delete 90% of the stuff on the page. Bells and whistles might seem cool, but they can be incredibly distracting. And you don’t want to distract the potential customer from downloading your lead magnet!

Here’s how Russell explains it:

Example: Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” Landing Page

Nick Stephenson is a best-selling author and a business coach who teaches writers how to promote their books.

His lead magnet is a free video course called “$0 to $1k Per Month”. Let’s take a look at its landing page.

Above the fold, you see:

  • A headline that conveys the #1 benefit of the lead magnet.
  • A sub-headline that provides more information on what this offer is all about.
  • A call to action button.
Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” Landing Page example.

Below that you see a promotional video in which Nick introduces his lead magnet:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” promotional video example.

Then there’s the first testimonial, one from an NYT bestselling author Joanna Penn:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” first testimonial example.

Then there’s more information about the lead magnet:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” Lead magnet additional information.

Below that there’s Nick’s bio in which he mentions his status as a USA Today bestselling author as well as the number of authors he has helped:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” author bio example.

Then there’s the second testimonial, one from an NYT bestselling author Russell Blake:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” second testimonial example.

Below that you can see a detailed breakdown of the lead magnet:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” lead magnet, detailed breakdown.

Then there’s information about the bonus course (talk about going the extra mile!):

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” bonus course information.

Then there’s the third testimonial, one from a Kindle marketing expert Dave Chesson:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” third testimonial example.

Below that there’s more information about the lead magnet:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” additional information about the lead magnet.

And then there’s one final call to action:

Nick Stephenson’s “$0 to $1k Per Month” final call to action.

So, to recap, Nick:

  • Offers a super valuable lead magnet that addresses the same problem as his paid products.
  • Makes the #1 benefit of that lead magnet clear with a benefit-driven headline.
  • Gives more information about the lead magnet in a benefit-driven sub-headline.
  • Uses social proof to establish himself as a book marketing expert.
  • Displays several calls to action throughout the page.

#4 Offer a Free Webinar on Your Thank You Page

A webinar funnel is one of the best ways to sell your products online:

  1. You use a webinar as your lead magnet.
  2. You create a webinar landing page.
  3. You drive traffic to that landing page.
  4. You host the webinar in which you provide a ton of free value.
  5. You present your offer at the end of the webinar

Here’s how this sales funnel looks like:

Offer a Free Webinar on Your Thank You Page, sales funnel diagram.

One great way to pitch your frontend product to a potential customer who has just subscribed to your email list is to offer a free webinar on your “Thank You” page.

Here’s how that looks like:

  1. You create a lead magnet (e.g. a free guide.)
  2. You create a landing page for that lead magnet.
  3. You drive traffic to that landing page.
  4. The potential customer gives you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.
  5. You immediately show them a “Thank You” page in which you offer them a free webinar.
  6. You present them with your frontend offer at the end of the webinar. 

This approach can be incredibly effective because going from a free guide to a free webinar to an inexpensive frontend product (say, a $7 ebook) is a smooth transition without any jarring jumps in commitment (price).

Note that you don’t have to host these webinars live, you can simply use pre-recorded ones. Just make sure that you aren’t misleading the potential customer into thinking that it is a live event.

Example: Mat Boggs’ “15 Phrases That Ignite Desire In Men” Guide + “3 Simple Secrets To Attracting The Relationship You Want” Webinar

Dating coach Mat Boggs offers a free guide with 15 phrases you can use with men as his lead magnet.

Mat Boggs’ “15 Phrases That Ignite Desire In Men” Guide + “3 Simple Secrets To Attracting The Relationship You Want” Webinar, 15 phrase free guide lead magnet example.

Once you subscribe to his email list to get the free guide, you are presented with another free offer, a webinar on attracting the relationship you want:

Mat Boggs’ “15 Phrases That Ignite Desire In Men” Guide + “3 Simple Secrets To Attracting The Relationship You Want” Webinar, 15 phrase free guide lead magnet, additional free offer, example.

In the webinar, Mat shares the three secrets that he has promised, then transitions into a pitch for his online course, “Cracking the Man Code”.

#5 Add Downsells, Upsells, and Cross-Sells to Your Sales Funnel

Want to maximize the customer lifetime value (CLV)?

Then you need to have not only the main product line set up, but also various downsells, upsells, and cross-sells.

Downsells

Add Downsells, Upsells, and Cross-Sells to Your Sales Funnel, downsell graphic.

A downsell is an offer that you present to the potential customer after they have rejected your initial offer. As the name suggests, the former is a downgrade from the latter.

Here is the formula that you should implement.

High value + Low price= Effective Downsell

And here are the three best practices that you should follow:

  • Do not discount the original offer.
  • Create a separate downsell offer.
  • Keep the price within the range.

So, for example, if the customer has rejected your $97 online course, you might want to offer them a $7 ebook that addresses the same topic, just in less detail.

Add Downsells, Upsells, and Cross-Sells to Your Sales Funnel, 3 best practices to downsell effectively graphic.

Upsells

Add Downsells, Upsells, and Cross-Sells to Your Sales Funnel, upsell graphic.

An upsell is an upgrade that you offer to the potential customer once they have accepted your initial offer.

You might be familiar with the famous upsell:

“Would you like to supersize that?” McDonald’s cashiers would ask when you ordered a meal (they don’t do that anymore, though).

You want to come up with a way to upgrade your product that is such a great deal that the potential customer won’t be able to resist it.

Cross-sells

Add Downsells, Upsells, and Cross-Sells to Your Sales Funnel, cross-sell graphic.

A cross-sell is a complementary product that you offer to the potential customer once they have accepted your initial offer.

So, for example, if you are selling backpacks, you might want to cross-sell packing cubes, cash belts, and so on.

Take a look at your core product line. What complementary items could you cross-sell with each product?

#6 Use Paid Traffic to Test and Optimize Your Sales Funnel

Once your sales funnel is all set up, you need to test it.

Here’s how:

  1. Drive traffic to your lead magnet landing page.
  2. Sit back and see what happens.

The fastest way to get traffic is paid advertising such as Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google ads, and so on. 

That will help you to identify the weak spots in your funnel and then increase your conversion rates by fixing those issues.

This process of conversion rate optimization might enable you to 2x, 5x, or even 10x your profits.

#7 Ditch Your Website

Websites are dead. Sales funnels are the future. Why?

Websites fail because they don’t guide the potential customer to the sale. 

When someone arrives on your website, they are presented with a bunch of links in the navigation bar, so they start randomly clicking around. They check out this page, they check out that page… And that just makes them confused. So they leave.

Remember:

A confused mind always says “No”.

Ditch Your Website, traditional website options graphic.

Meanwhile, sales funnels guide the potential customer towards the sale, step-by-step. At each stage, they are presented with just one option. They can choose to take the next step or they can choose to leave. But there’s no confusion.

Ditch Your Website, Your Clickfunnel graphic.

When we tested websites against sales funnels, we found that, on average, sales funnels lead to 6 times more sales.

Ditch Your Website, Website vs. Clickfunnels, 6 times for sales with Clickfunnels graphic.

That’s why you should:

  1. Ditch your website.
  2. Replace it with a sales funnel.

In practice, what this means is replacing your homepage with your lead magnet landing page, which serves as the entryway into your sales funnel.

We understand that this may sound drastic, so we recommend you to do an experiment of your own.

Drive the same amount of traffic to your website’s homepage and your lead magnet landing page. Then observe what happens. Which approach generated more leads?

We already know what the answer is going to be. But do the experiment and see it for yourself.

Example: ClickFunnels

We practice what we preach. We don’t have a website. We have a sales funnel.

And our homepage is a landing page that is designed to get the potential customer to sign up for our free 14-day trial.

ClickFunnels homepage, 14-day free trial example.

Want Russell To Teach You How To Build a Sales Funnel?

Let’s keep it real:

Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why we have created our 5 Day Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
  • Create your first lead magnet.
  • Build your first sales funnel.
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate..

Join our 5 Day Challenge. It’s completely free!



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