Want to learn how to build a sales funnel from scratch? And why is it important for your business?
You’ve come to the right spot.
A customer lands on your website and immediately makes a purchase. That’s the dream, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, that rarely happens.
Regardless of what you sell, getting prospective customers to make a purchase does not happen in an instant. Prospects go through various stages before they become paying customers.
You must have noticed that although your website gets many visitors, only a few of them turn into leads. Even fewer visitors end up buying something.
That’s why you need a high-converting sales funnel.
But what is a sales funnel and how can you build one from scratch?
In this blog post, we will teach you how to build a sales funnel from scratch.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a visual representation of the steps that a prospect takes before making a purchase. Depending on the products or services that you sell, it may consist of one or multiple steps.
The main objective of a sales funnel is to attract leads and convert them into buyers. As prospects pass through the various stages of a sales funnel, it gets them closer to the ultimate goal–making a purchase.
The sales funnel for different businesses may look different depending on a company's sales model. However, most sales funnels contain the following stages, as shown in the image below.
Image Source: Mention
Let’s understand each of these stages from scratch.
Stage 1: Awareness
It’s the first stage of a sales funnel where consumers become aware of your product, service, or solution.
This is the stage where you catch a consumer’s attention. It could be through Google search ads, a Facebook post, word of mouth, or any other marketing tactic.
Here is an example of a Facebook ad from Shopify.
Image Source: Wordstream
Discovering your brand may also make consumers aware of their problems and the possible ways to fix them. Sometimes, an exciting offer may encourage them to buy your product right then and there.
In most cases, the awareness stage is used to attract your audience from scratch and build your reputation to turn them into leads.
Stage 2: Interest
When a prospect reaches the interest stage, they are mostly researching your brand and products after becoming your leads. Besides finding out more about your business, they are also comparing your products with other brands’ products available in the market.
Some may even be thinking over their options.
This is the perfect time to provide prospective customers with valuable content that helps them learn more about your brand and products.
A word of caution.
Don’t try to be too “salesy” or pushy because you may just drive your prospective customers away.
Offer content that makes them see you as an expert in your field. Your content should help them make an informed decision, hopefully in your favor.
Consider creating content that shows the features or advantages of your product. You may also use statistics to support your claims.
Here are a couple of examples.
Image Source: HubSpot
In the example above, Marriott provides detailed information about their membership program to get people to join.
Image Source: Instagram
In this example, the brand explains all the product features and benefits to drive more purchases.
You should follow the same strategy and provide prospects with as much information as they need to make a purchase decision.
Stage 3: Decision
When a prospect reaches this stage, they are typically ready to buy. However, they may be considering two or three options, including your brand.
Prospects at this stage take their time to dig deeper into your pricing and packaging options. They may even reach out to your company with questions.
This is the time to make your best offer. Give them something that makes the offer irresistible.Whether it is free shipping or discounts, make an offer that your leads can’t refuse.
Here is an example of a welcome offer.
Image Source: Drip
Stage 4: Action
The action stage is the one where the prospect turns into a paying customer. They buy your product or service and become associated with your business.
But does that mean your work is done?
Not at all.
After all, you want repeat business, don’t you?
After this stage, you need to shift your focus to customer retention. You may create nurture campaigns to ensure that you stay on top of their minds.
Express your gratitude, gather feedback, and ensure that you offer the best customer service.
Here is an example of how you can gather customer feedback.
Image Source: Kayako
Example of a Sales Funnel
Let’s explain the sales funnel stages with an example. Say you’ve created an ecommerce website that sells vintage dresses.
Your target audience is females between 25 and 55 years of age, and they frequent Facebook a lot.
One of the most effective and low-cost social media marketing tactics is to run a Facebook ad, driving traffic to your landing page. On your landing page, you can ask visitors to sign up for your email list or weekly newsletters.
Now, instead of prospects, you have leads who are moving along the sales funnel.
In the next few days, share content to educate your subscribers about vintage dresses. You may share some of the styles and designs you already have in stock.
Some of your subscribers will love your designs, and that will help to move them along the sales funnel.
In your emails, you may also offer a discount on every “first” order. And just like that, you have created an irresistible offer.
Here’s how you moved the prospects along the sales funnel you built:
- Awareness: You created a Facebook ad to drive more people to your website and sign-up for your newsletter.
- Interest: You offered information about your products and built interest in them through weekly newsletters.
- Decision: You sent out informative content that made the purchase decision easier for your prospects.
- Action: You offer an incredible discount that your leads couldn’t resist and made a purchase.
You can use the same email list to repeat the process, but with different content. This will not only ease your marketing efforts but also have your customers coming back for more.
Why is a Sales Funnel So Important?
When you build a sales funnel, it helps you visualize the various steps in the customer journey.
And when you can visualize each step, you can also optimize them to increase your sales conversion rate.
Analyzing your sales funnel can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t for your business.
You will be able to identify the gaps in the various stages of your sales funnel. These are the points where your leads drop out and do not convert to customers.
Analyzing your sales funnel can also help you identify what your prospects are thinking and doing at each stage. Having that information helps you streamline your sales and marketing efforts for better results.
It also becomes easier to develop a strong content marketing strategy that delivers relevant messaging at each stage of your sales funnel.
When you understand your customers' buying journeys, you can identify gaps in the process, helping you refine and optimize your marketing strategies.
How to Build a Sales Funnel From Scratch in 7 Easy Steps
Building a sales funnel from scratch is a lot easier than you think. You may use tools like ClickFunnels to help you create sales funnels. There are many ClickFunnels alternatives also available in the market that you can check out for your business.
But here are the 7 easy steps that will help you build a sales funnel from scratch.
1. Identify Your Ideal Customers
Why do you build a sales funnel in the first place?
Because it helps you build an effective buyer’s journey.
The better you understand the buyer’s journey, the more refined your marketing strategy will be. Effective marketing strategies can work wonders to increase your conversion rate.
However, every customer is different. Therefore, their customer journey is also different. That’s why you need to create detailed buyer personas.
Buyer personas are basically a fictitious profile of your target customers. They describe the qualities, likes, dislikes, challenges, and how they make buying decisions.
Here is an example of a buyer persona.
Image Source: Hootsuite
Now, how can you create a buyer persona?
Here’s what you can do to build customer personas:
- Talk to your sales team. In fact, talk to your marketing and customer service teams as well. Your internal teams can give valuable insights into customer goals, pain points, and common behaviors.
- Interview your customers. This includes both your existing customers and potential customers. Gathering feedback can help you understand their challenges and behavior. It can also give you insights into the different personas you can create.
- Analyze your social media channels and website. You will be able to uncover valuable information that can help you build your buyer personas.
Once you have created your buyer personas, you will be able to visualize your typical buyer’s journey. This will help you answer two important questions:
- What action do you want your prospects to take?
- How can you improve the buyer’s journey to convert more leads into customers?
The answers to these questions can lay down the foundation of your sales funnel when you are building one from scratch.
2. Set a Goal for Each Stage of the Sales Funnel
When you build a sales funnel from scratch, it’s very important to set a goal for each stage.
Perhaps you want to drive social media traffic to your website at the first stage. You may want to boost your engagement rates at the interest and decision stage. Increasing the conversion rate could be the goal of the last stage.
But why should you set goals?
Because it will give you a clear idea of what you want from each stage of the sales funnel. This means you’ll be able to put the efforts required to reach there. Plus, you will be able to track your progress to ensure that you are meeting your objectives.
When you build a sales funnel from scratch, knowing your objectives for each stage is crucial. Unless you are clear on this, how will you even know if you are meeting your targets?
Pro Tip: Based on the goals you choose, you’ll also have to select the right set of tools. For instance, if you want to drive traffic from social media platforms, consider using social media marketing tools.
3. Create a Content Plan for Each Stage
You want to keep moving your prospects from one stage to the next of the sales funnel, don’t you?
To do so, you must build a marketing plan for each stage from scratch.
Different stages of the sales funnel have different goals, from creating brand awareness to building customer loyalty. The content you offer at each stage should be tailored to support these goals.
So, what kind of content can you offer for each stage?
This is the first stage of the sales funnel and your goal is to build more awareness. Your buyers are looking for informative content that helps them find a solution to their issue at hand.
Here are some content ideas you may use:
- Create social media posts around trending social media content ideas to create more buzz around your brand
- Make a video introducing your brand and highlighting your brand story
- Create a lead magnet, such as an e-book or a cheat sheet for your website visitors in exchange for their email information
- Host webinars and podcasts to offer more information about your brand and the solutions you have to offer
- Start a blog to establish your expertise and help buyers see you as an authority in your space
In the interest stage, you already have the attention of the prospects. You should aim to provide valuable information at this stage that can help them make a decision in your favor.
You can use the following content ideas for it:
- Create video tutorials around the products, services, and solutions you have to offer
- Publish whitepapers and case studies that help you establish your brand as an authority in your space
- Create kits and tools to help readers move along their path to purchase
- Create a promo video to help people learn more about what your brand stands for
For instance, Starbucks created an incredible promo video, “A Year of Good” celebrating kindness from employees and customers alike.
Image Source: YouTube
In the decision stage, you need to give your leads a reason to buy your products. The objective of this stage is not just to generate interest but more sales.
Here’s what you should include in your content plan:
- Actionable emails and middle of the funnel blog posts with clear CTAs
- Product comparison guides can be a great way to help them make a favorable decision
- Business case studies to convince the buyers that your solution works
- Free samples to allow buyers to test your products
This is the last stage where customers have decided to make a purchase. So, make your offers attractive.
You can offer the buyers:
- Free trials or live demos to see your solutions in action
- Free coupons to nudge your buyers into making a sale
- Tutorials and hacks to help buyers use your products better
- Create YouTube videos to show people how to use your products
If your customers have already made a purchase, you now need to build a stronger relationship with them. This will ensure that you keep getting repeat business.
Initiating a referral program at this stage may help you use your existing customers to get new ones, to keep your sales pipeline flowing.
4. Create Optimized Landing Pages
So, you have created a content plan for each stage. In fact, you have gone a step further and even invested in ads.
Now, all these content and ads need to take your prospects somewhere. That’s why you need to create landing pages.
If you want to build a sales funnel from scratch, you cannot underestimate the importance of landing pages.
A landing page is a powerful lead generation tool. It is devoid of any distraction and can help you boost your lead generation efforts.
Ensure that your landing page communicates who you are as a company and highlights your unique benefits. Don’t push for sales here but focus on capturing leads instead.
Your landing page must also have a clear CTA that tells them exactly what to do.
Here are some landing page optimization tips you can use to increase conversions:
- Create a clear copy with the benefits and value proposition of the offer
- Add visuals in the form of icons, videos, and images
- Ensure the CTA button is clear and prominent
- Use the best headline writing tips to write powerful and compelling headlines
- Include social proof, such as reviews and testimonials to build trust
- Optimize for SEO
Here is an example of a great landing page from Lyft.
Image Source: Lyft
5. Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page
You have created an awesome landing page, but all your efforts would be in vain if there is no traffic. You want more people to see your page and leave their contact information. That’s how you are going to generate leads.
Here are some excellent ways to attract traffic:
- Leverage SEO to help your landing page rank in the SERPs
- When doing promotions on social media, ensure you include a link to your landing page
- Leverage guest posting sites that cater to a similar audience as yours to get referral traffic to your website
- Run ads across display, search, and social media networks
Here is an example of a banner you can use to bring people to a specific landing page.
6. Run an Email Marketing Campaign
Acquiring leads is just half the battle won. You need to nurture these leads to move them along the sales funnel.
Consider starting a drip email campaign. You can send a series of timely and relevant emails to leads, depending on their actions and behavior.
Say someone has signed up for your newsletter. You can send them a welcome email with a few links to your most popular blogs or videos.
Similarly, if someone viewed the products on your website but did not make a purchase, you can send them a reminder email. In the email, you could give them an offer or discount, encouraging them to complete the purchase.
Drip email campaigns aim to send the right content to the right lead at the right time. This helps to nurture the leads and move them along the sales funnel.
Here are some ideas for emails you can include in your campaign:
For new subscribers, sending a welcome email is a great idea.
Image Source: Gmail
Customer Onboarding Emails
After sending a welcome email, you can follow up with a customer onboarding email as shown below.
Image Source: Gmail
Recommendations and Offers
When prospects begin engaging with your brand, send personalized recommendations or offers to encourage prospects to make a purchase.
Here is an example.
Image Source: Nosto
7. Keep in Touch
When you build a sales funnel from scratch, your goals should not just be to get people to make a purchase. Instead, you should aim to retain your customers and try to get repeat business.
Your existing customers have already used your products and services, and are happy with them. Getting them to make another purchase would be a lot easier than acquiring new leads and pushing them down the entire sales funnel as they already know your brand.
Here are some strategies to keep in touch, while creating opportunities for generating recurring revenue.
Send Product Updates
Product updates are a fantastic way to improve user experience. Sending product updates can show that you value your customers and want them to have a great experience.
Here is a product update email from Canva.
Image Source: Vero
Start a Loyalty Program
There could be no better way to show your customers that you value them than a loyalty program. It also helps you retain them better.
Another advantage of having a loyalty program is that you can use it to monitor customer behavior and preferences. Such information can help you build an effective sales funnel that works.
Here is an example in which Kohl’s is asking its customers to join its loyalty program.
Image Source: Pinterest
Upsell and Cross-Sell
Upselling and cross-selling are great marketing strategies that can not only help you maintain communication with customers but also get them to buy new products.
Here is an example of an upselling email.
Image Source: Avada
Below is an example of a cross-selling email.
Image Source: Vero
Q1. What are the different stages of sales funnels?
A. The stages of a sales funnel are as below:
Q2. What are the 7 layers of the sales funnel?
A. The 7 layers of the sales funnel are:
Q3. How do you build a sales marketing funnel from scratch?
A. If you want to learn how to build a sales funnel from scratch, you can follow the below tips:
- Build a buyer persona
- Set a goal for each stage of the funnel
- Create a content plan for each stage of the funnel
- Optimize your landing pages
- Drive traffic to your landing pages
- Run a drip email campaign
- Maintain communication and nurture your customers
Q4. How can you improve your sales funnel?
A. Building the perfect sales funnel takes time and effort. However, you can follow the below tips:
- Know your audience
- Build a detailed customer journey
- Create informative, problem-solving content
- Avoid pushing a sale too quickly
- Include CTAs prominently
- Improve your SEO strategy
Q5. How do you grow a sales funnel from scratch?
A. The following tips can help you build and grow your sales funnel from scratch:
- Provide high-quality content to your prospects
- Nurture prospects
- Work on closing sales
- Maximize retention
- Upsell and cross-sell
Knowing how to build a sales funnel from scratch can help you significantly increase conversions. However, it is an evolving process. As customer needs and wants change over time, you will also need to adapt your funnel strategies and goals accordingly.
Do you have any questions about how to build a sales funnel from scratch? Ask them in the comments.