What Is a Sales Funnel and How To Get Traffic To It
The sales funnel is a marketing process where you take prospects through a number of steps to get them familiar with you and your products so they feel comfortable enough to purchase from you.
The funnel is a metaphor that’s used to convey the various stages of the selling process. Sales funnels can be used with any type of business, but in this post we’ll be focusing on how to best implement them with internet marketing.
A sales funnel is a model that’s used to organize the whole process of selling, starting with lead generation to sales. The main advantage of using this model is that it forces you to focus on qualifying your prospects – identifying who is most likely to actually buy from you.
That way, you’re not just blindly advertising and trying to sell to people. Instead, you’re targeting your ideal customer, and not wasting undue resources (time, money) on trying to sell to people who aren’t really interested.
Picture a typical funnel that’s wider at the top and gradually narrows. You start off by having a (hopefully) large number of prospects enter the top part of the funnel, and as the funnel narrows, there will be fewer people, but they’ll be increasing likely to buy your product.
Sales Funnel Stages
The following are the usual stages of a sales funnel. We’ll be discussing all of these in more detail later on.
*** Traffic and Lead Generation
*** Communicating with your list
*** Making sales and Following up
You can find various definitions of a sales funnel and different recommendations on the best way to set them up. You should keep in mind, however, that while the sales funnel is a very useful model, it’s still only a metaphor.
It can help you run your business more efficiently and suggest certain strategies you can use. It’s not, however, an exact science. Nor is it a magic button that will instantly start pumping cash into your bank account or Paypal account.
How well a sales funnel works is ultimately going to depend on you – the quality of your product, how you communicate with your prospects and so forth.
No matter how ingeniously you set up your sales funnel, some people will still not buy anything from you. You can’t always know why. Likewise, others may purchase something early in the process, before they’ve progressed all the way through the funnel.
But overall, the sales funnel can help improve your conversions, and attract more long term customers, which is why they’re used by so many top marketers.
If you want to use a sales funnel to sell anything online, the first thing you need is traffic. If people aren’t clicking on your ad or visiting your landing page, there’s no chance to get them into your sales funnel.
The key to starting off your sales funnel in the right way is to make your traffic as targeted as possible. Targeted traffic just means attracting people to your page who are going to be genuinely interested in your offers.
Whether you’re using paid advertising, such as Google Adwords or relying on SEO (search engine optimization), you should pay particular attention to the keywords you use to get traffic.
Keywords are really the foundation of your whole sales funnel, as this will determine who looks at your offer in the first place. Using specific, or “long tail” keywords is often the best way to target your audience.
For example, let’s say your goal is to sell a course on how anyone can get a core “six pack abs”. This happens to be a popular niche right now, but the same rules would apply for anything.
Since this topic is related to some general ones, such as health, diet, exercise and losing weight, you could do some promoting in these areas.
However, you wouldn’t want to spend money (such as in pay – per – click campaigns) on these broad and very competitive keywords.
The term “Six pack abs” is, of course, itself a very competitive term, so you should also search for less competitive terms, using either a free keyword tool such as Google’s keyword tool or perhaps a paid service or software for finding good keywords.
Starting with your keywords, you then have a basis for getting some targeted prospects, whether you’re going to write articles, upload videos, create a blog or launch a pay-per-click campaign.
Where to Get Targeted Traffic
In order to get targeted visitors, you either have to pay for them or get them using various free methods. In this section, we’ll briefly outline some of the best ways to get people into the first stage of your sales funnel.
This can be pay-per-click, banner advertising, placing solo ads in ezines or various other methods. The advantage of paid advertising is that it can get you targeted traffic quickly.
The disadvantage is that it can be a drain on your budget and, until you gain experience, the results can sometimes be disappointing.
When you’re creating a sales funnel, you do have an advantage over people who are trying to make sales directly using paid advertising.
It’s much easier to get people into your sale funnel which essentially means getting their contact info than to convince them to buy something right away. Still, you should only use paid advertising if you have a little money to invest.
Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great resources for getting qualified prospects into your sales funnel. What’s great about these sites is that you can really target people by gender, age, geographical location, interests and even income.
That way you can build a list of prospects who are likely to respond to your offers. You can use social media sites in two ways: By getting friends, contacts or followers and networking with them or by utilizing paid ads, such as Facebook offers.
Articles, Videos, Forums, etc.
You can get people into your sales funnel by writing and submitting articles, uploading videos, commenting on blogs in your niche or by participating in forums. These can all get traffic to your squeeze page, where you can start building an e-mail list.
They can also help you rank in the search engines. While these are all effective, they can be time consuming. If you can afford it, any of these tasks can be outsourced.
When you use any of these methods of traffic generation and SEO (search engine optimization), always keep your targeted keywords in mind. Whenever possible, use anchor text that uses your keywords and points to your squeeze page.
When you write articles, use your main keywords and include a link to your squeeze page in the resource box. When you comment on blogs, leave a link. When you submit videos, be sure to put in your keywords and URL in the appropriate place.
Joining forums in your niche is another good way to get prospects for your sales funnel. You should be careful how you use forums though, you can send people the wrong message or even get banned.
The only place you should try to list your link is in the forum signature. You should also create a real presence on the forum, replying to posts and starting legitimate threads. This will make people want to click on your signature.
What’s good about forums is that it’s a targeted group of people in one place who you can talk to for free.
What Is a Sales Funnel and How To Get Traffic To It – Conclusion
I hope this post has given you a better idea of sales funnels and how to get traffic to them. Let me know your thoughts and what’s working for you.
Once you understand sales funnels you can apply them to literally any niche and grow your business quickly if you target the right audience.
If you’ve found this helpful leave a comment below and share with your friends. Make sure to check out some of my other posts to help shorten your leaning curve.