What are the various sales funnel stages which make an internet business successful? There are various stages to an online sales funnel. It all starts with collecting a visitor’s email address. This can be either through a website or a specific landing page either on the website itself or another platform. The very first stage is collecting an email address. This is done by offering something desirable for the visitor. It can be access to information, an e-book or some other legitimate ‘bribe’.
Collecting An Email Address
Ideally you should create something so desirable for your visitor that it would be very difficult for them to ignore. Giving away some useful information is the first stage of a successful sales funnel. Once a visitor has given you their details, you can then build a relationship with them. This is the next important step of the sales funnel stages. Some online marketers go straight for the sale. However, this can turn a lot of people off and they will simply stop opening the emails. This means less sales overall.
The Double Opt-In
Should you ask your subscribers to confirm their desire to opt in? With most email subscription services there is an option as to whether or not your subscriber should double opt-in. This means they get an email asking them if they actually asked to be a subscriber to your service.
They then need to click on this email in order to confirm their subscription. Doing this means your subscribers have then confirmed twice that they want to opt in to your emails. It also means they are looking for your emails when they receive them and they are less likely to miss them should they fall into a junk mail folder for example.
Doing this should also lower your complaint level and is generally considered good practice by many online marketers. Not doing so makes it easier for people to subscribe and so may increase your subscription rate, albeit at the expense of a lower quality of sign up visitor. Whether or you decide to ask your subscribers for double opt-in is up to you, but it is an important part of the various sales funnel stages which you send your customers through.
Building A Relationship By Offering Value
Your subscriber should be given the information they have asked for next. Either they are sent to a download page or they can access the information in their first email. Some visitors may even unsubscribe at this point, once they have the information they want!
However, most will continue to accept emails from you. Whether they continue to open them is determined by whether they consider your emails useful and valuable to them, and/or your email titles. Ultimately we want to sell a number of items through our list. The way we approach this will be the determining factor as to how successful we are in doing so. Building value first by offering useful emails which help, inform and even entertain, is a good way to start the relationship. Of all the sales funnel stages which your subscribers go through, their view on you will often be a big determining factor as to whether they eventually buy from you, further down the line.
Sales Pipeline Stages – Building Value
The more value we give to our list the more the likelihood of their opening our emails. By building trust with our subscribers and offering value, we can then suggest products and services which will be of benefit to our subscribers. This tends to start with a low priced product or even a ‘freebie’ of some kind. By offering value and regularly emailing your subscribers you can build trust and value into your relationship with them.
Sales Funnel Stages – Products
Not everyone has the same budget or circumstance. By having a range of products which allows people on your list to decide what is right for them, you can effectively sell multiple products through a single list. Apple does this very effectively. They have a range of products including the various Mac computers, the I-phone, the I-pad and various sizes of MP3 players to name just a few. Not everyone can afford their top of the range products. But a large proportion of the marketplace can purchase one of their products of the lower range, for example. A good sales funnel has a range of products which can appeal to your audience. Choosing the right digital products for your email list is vital for long term success of your online business.
Product Range – Entry Level
An entry level product allows your potential customers to see what you have on offer. Whether it is a ‘freebie’ of a low value item, it is an affordable product or service which allows most people to buy should they find your service valuable to them.
Product Range – Up – Selling
Other products can be up-sold to your customers once they have made an initial purchase. Your existing customers are likely to purchase again from you, especially if they see the value in their initial purchase. Many sales funnels also take advantage of this profit maximizing fact. Once someone has made a small purchase, upgrading their purchase to a slightly better version is a great way to maximize profits. McDonald’s use this for every burger sold throughout their business. For every sale of a burger the customer is asked “do you want fires with that?”, or “would you like to go large?”. Although the difference in price is very small, overall McDonalds makes a huge markup by using this tactic.
Product Range Lifetime Customer Value
A good sales funnel also takes advantage of a customer’s lifetime value. Each visitor who enters their email into the sales funnel is a potential customer. However, not everyone on your email list will turn into into a customer. Rather than focusing solely on more subscribers, you can make a greater profit by having a range of products which maximize a customer’s lifetime value. When someone buys a product from you they are more likely to buy again than someone who has never purchased from you. So it is better to have a sales funnel which gives you commissions for the lifetime value of a customer. Some products don’t offer this, and so you shouldn’t use those kinds of products in your sales funnel.
Lifetime commissions can be earned by selling products and services which have a built in reward structure like products which offer commissions for monthly memberships for example. You can also maximize profits by choosing a range of products with high ticket commissions. High ticket affiliate programs can pay you monthly memberships and for high ticket sales. Selling high ticket items can help to offset advertising costs which means that paid advertising is much more viable than with smaller value items. Choosing a program with these options can make your sales funnel a much more profitable one. Sales funnel stages should include up-selling, monthly memberships and back end sales. This means you continue earning later down the road even after your initial sale.
Having all these sales funnel stages in place means your potential to earn from your sales funnel increases massively. However the only stage missing is advertising. You need to find customers and bring them to your sales funnel. This can be achieved in several ways. As discussed already, having high ticket items, up-sells and monthly memberships gives you more flexibility and help offset advertising costs. You can find customers by advertising in the following ways:
- Paid Advertising – Adwords, Facebook, Linkedin
- Content Marketing – Creating content: videos, blogging, creating products
- Link building – Placing your links around the internet on blogs, advertising platforms etc.
- Free Advertising – Using Freeads, Gumtree, Ebay etc.
- Social Media marketing – Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube etc.