Build your Sales Funnel

Email Marketing 101 – Part 5 – Building Your First Sales Funnel: Everything You Need to Know

Sales funnels are popular right now. You can hardly scroll your Facebook news feed without seeing one or more advertisements for “profitable sales funnel training.”

It’s understandable – a sales funnel is designed to take your visitors on a journey from being an interested party on your site to a buyer of your product or service.

But, what is a sales funnel anyway?

At its core, a sales funnel is your customer’s journey through your content, and it’s designed to sell your products on autopilot. Someone comes in at the top of your funnel after exploring your free content and then works their way down to your paid product.

There are three key parts to a sales funnel: the top, the middle, and the bottom. The top is where you visitors arrive, the middle is where they convert to subscribers, and the bottom is where your subscribers convert into customers.

If you’ve been feeling intimidated by sales funnels, here’re the basics so you can start building a simple sales funnel this week.

Start with the End In Mind – Your Product

It seems obvious, but you need to know what you’re building your sales funnel around. What’s the end goal? What product or service do you want to sell with this funnel?

If you have more than one offer, you’ll need to choose which one you’re going to promote. What your offer is will determine the type of content you’ll include in your funnel.

For example, entrepreneur Melyssa Griffin sells an e-course called Pinfinite Growth, a course about Pinterest. Her sales funnel involves a free workshop and valuable information about Pinterest.

Melyssa Griffin Example

1. Top of Funnel (ToFu)

The top of your funnel is the entry point to your business. It’s a relatively wide net cast to attract relevant traffic to your blog to build your brand awareness and convert your visitors into leads. This is your free content and it should educate your visitors about key topics related to your product.

What is Top of Funnel Content?

Top of funnel content includes all your free content. It can include:

The Purpose of Top of Funnel Content

The purpose of your free content is to attract relevant prospects to your site and into your funnel. According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct research online prior to making a purchase. Your potential buyers are looking for information. Providing quality information in your free content helps you get on the radar of your readers and educate them about the subject of your product or service.

Within your free content, you’ll provide calls-to-action and links to your content upgrades, lead magnets, and other gated content. Once your reader converts to a subscriber, they progress to the middle of your funnel.

What Are the Key Ingredients of Top of Funnel Content?

Successful top of funnel content must grab the attention of your prospects and direct them to your opt-in offers. Top of funnel content should be:

  • Engaging and attention-grabbing
  • Related to your end product or service
  • Bite-sized content that’s easy for your readers to consume

For example, Buffer shares valuable and engaging blog posts with a focus on social media marketing. This attracts relevant readers (entrepreneurs, bloggers, and business owners interested in social media marketing) to their site and creates awareness of their brand and product.

Buffer Example

2. Middle of Funnel (MoFu)

The middle of your funnel contains your gated content. This is content is exclusively available to your subscribers and requires your visitors to subscribe to access it.

Middle of funnel content might include a free sample of your paid product. It might be a webinar, or it could be a content upgrade or lead magnet.

Your middle of funnel may include more than one phase. For example, the first phase might be a blog post with a content upgrade. The second phase might be a webinar that gives them a free sample of your paid product before sending them to the sales page.

Your middle of funnel may also include a low cost tripwire product.

What are Tripwire products?

Tripwire products are low-priced offers (usually under $20) that you send to your new subscribers shortly after they subscribe. You may even redirect your subscribers to a sales page immediately after they submit their email address through the opt-in form.

A tripwire product is offered under the premise that people who have bought from you before are more likely to buy from you again. Repeat customers are extremely valuable, up to 40% or revenue is generated by 8% of buyers.

A common technique for tripwires is to offer a product at a deep discount along with a countdown timer. The countdown timer creates scarcity (limited time offer) which increases the likelihood of your new subscriber making a purchase.

The tripwire product also helps to qualify your leads and determine whether they’re interested in the product you’ve got to sell.

What Are the Elements of a Successful Tripwire Product?

Your tripwire product needs to:

  • Solve one specific problem for your audience.
  • Be related to the core offering that your funnel is leading to.
  • Be top quality to impress your buyer and make it more likely that they’ll buy from you in future.

What Is Middle of Funnel Content?

Middle of funnel content may include:

  • A case study or white paper
  • A webinar or free sample of your paid product
  • A tripwire product
  • A nurturing email sequence that educates your prospects about your topic and makes mention of your product

The Purpose of Middle of Funnel Content

The purpose of this content is to convert your visitors into subscribers and nurture their relationship with your brand. Middle of funnel content should educate your reader and guide them towards your product or service.

What are the Key Ingredients of Middle of Funnel Content?

Successful middle of funnel content should:

  • Provide value to your subscribers and establish your position as an expert.
  • Answer your subscribers’ questions and point them to your paid product as the solution to their problems.
  • Solve one specific problem for your subscribers.

Here’s an example of a tripwire product from Meera Kothand. Meera offers her Opt-In Blueprint eBook at a discount for a limited time for her new subscribers.

Meera Kothand Example

3. Bottom of Funnel (BoFu)

At the very bottom of your funnel is content that’s designed to convert your subscriber into a buyer. Your subscriber is already warmed up to your offer because of the content in the top and middle of your funnel.

What is Bottom of Funnel Content?

Bottom of funnel content includes:

  • A demo offer or free trial of your product or service
  • A webinar, live workshop, or free class
  • Customer success stories

What is the Purpose of Bottom of Funnel Content?

The key purpose of bottom of funnel content is to get your subscriber to buy your product.

Offering a demo or free trial of your product is an easy way to get a commitment from your subscriber without requiring a purchase immediately.  Your subscriber gets to try your product or service and gets placed into a nurturing sequence that shows them the value they would get from your full price package.

Key Ingredients of Bottom of Funnel Content

Bottom of funnel content must show your subscribers the value of your product or service through stories from happy customers or by showing them the product through a workshop or with a free trial. It must:

  • Demonstrate the value of your product or service.
  • Show social proof with testimonials and customer stories.

Here’s an example of bottom of funnel content in action:

Xero Example

Xero is an accounting software that uses bottom of funnel content effectively in its marketing. It offers a free trial, customer stories in video form, and social proof by letting visitors know that 1 million customers have already signed up for, and enjoy using, their software. Using the number of customers as social proof can have a powerful effect on your conversions.

Wrapping It Up

A sales funnel is designed to turn your visitors into buyers. You attract traffic to your free, top of funnel content, and convert them into subscribers. You may offer a tripwire product in the middle of your funnel and follow up with a valuable free trial or customer stories to convince your subscribers to buy your product.

Over to you – are you planning to create your own sales funnel? Let us know in the comments below.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means Nimbus Themes may receive compensation if you make a purchase using these links.

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About the Author

Cath Oneissy is a freelance writer for hire, specializing in digital marketing and social media. She works closely with B2B companies looking to increase their visibility through engaging and actionable content.

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