I like to think of a sales funnel as the journey your potential customer takes from the moment they find you and your business all the way to the point of sale or purchase… and eventually on to the next sale and the next.
And while some entrepreneurs find funnels complicated, frustrating or just plain boring there are no 2 ways about it…
Funnels are a critical part of building a successful business and you need to understand how to use them to motivate your audience to opt into your email list, or join your community on social media or sign up for your webinar…
So they’ll eventually hit that “buy button” on your sales page.
But building a sales funnel can be a little intimidating, especially if it’s your first one.
That’s why having references to guide you makes the job so much easier.
In this post, I’ll show you tried-and-true methods for bringing new people into your funnel. Choose one example or mix and match (depending on your needs).
Let’s dive in and look at these seven powerful funnels to help guide your own…
1. Smart Blogger
Smart Blogger prides itself on being the internet’s best resource for aspiring writers, bloggers, marketers, and entrepreneurs.
Smart Blogger has thousands of blog posts that offer up-to-date, actionable advice on blogging and content marketing, and they’re the go-to website for those who want to build an online business through blogging or freelance writing.
Overview of Smart Blogger’s Sales Funnel
You can generally find the Smart Blogger website in one of two ways.
You visit the site after seeing targeted ads that are run on Facebook or Google.
Or you land on the Smart Blogger website after googling a search term that directs you to one of their many blog posts that show up in organic search results.
Once you’re on the site, you start by reading one of Smart Blogger’s high-quality blog posts. These posts are packed with quality information about blogging and content marketing. You often read blog post after blog post, just soaking up all the free advice.
Non-intrusive pop-ups offer you even more valuable free content when you sign up for Smart Blogger’s email list.
After you submit your email address, you’re redirected to a thank you page with a short, 2-minute video from Jon Morrow, CEO of Smart Blogger.
Jon invites you to check out his low-cost program for beginning writers in this video. If you decline to accept his offer, you can head straight to your inbox where the free lead magnet is waiting for you.
Smart Blogger will continue to nurture the relationship via email marketing.
Why Smart Blogger’s Sales Funnel Works
Smart Blogger’s sales funnel works because their free content is valuable and plentiful, instantly establishing trust with readers.
And when visitors sign up for the email list, they get a short video message from Jon instead of a generic thank you page.
Seeing his face and hearing his voice creates a connection between the reader and Jon that wouldn’t be made via a typical thank you page.
2. Entrepreneurs on Fire
Entrepreneurs on Fire (EOF) is an award-winning podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas.
EOF releases daily episodes featuring entrepreneurs from around the world doing amazing things. These episodes inspire listeners as entrepreneurs share their stories, their successes, and their failures.
Overview of Entrepreneurs on Fire’s Sales Funnel
People find John Lee Dumas via his popular podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire.
At the end of each podcast episode, John directs podcast listeners to his website, where you can find more information about the show guest in the show notes.
As you scroll to the bottom of the show notes page, John has an optin offer for a free podcasting course.
Once you sign up for the course, you’re redirected to a successful sign-up page. There, John offers an opportunity for you to purchase his Podcasting Journal.
If you skip that purchase and head to your email inbox, you find a link to the free podcasting course.
Once you’ve worked through the free course, John suggests attending his free masterclass on podcasting. That class goes into more detail about podcasting and how you can get started.
At the end of the free masterclass, John makes a pitch for you to join his monthly membership community for podcasters.
This is the paid offer he’s been leading you towards and it’s where aspiring podcasters can find support and continuing education about podcasting.
Why Entrepreneurs on Fire’s Sales Funnel Works
EOF’s sales funnel works well because of the volume of content John has put out over the years. By releasing a new episode every day since 2012, he has created literally thousands of opportunities for people to discover him.
He also has multiple touch points that build a relationship with the reader – the free course, the free masterclass and all the emails in between.
Speaking of free masterclasses, we’ve got one called Start With You where in just 60-minutes you’ll discover the business you’re truly meant to build and how to share it with the world.
Ahrefs is a suite of search engine optimization and digital marketing tools.
The Ahrefs software helps you optimize your website for search engine traffic, analyze your competition and determine the best keywords to target in your ad campaigns.
Overview of Ahref’s Sales Funnel
One way Ahrefs brings users into their funnel is through their YouTube channel.
Sam Oh, Director of Product Education at Ahrefs, creates YouTube videos that tackle every subject, from how to write a blog post to how to outsource SEO.
When you watch these videos and see all that is possible with Ahrefs, you can’t help but be curious.
However, the monthly cost to use Ahrefs might be a stumbling block for some small businesses.
To combat that, Ahrefs allows website owners access to some of the key features of Ahrefs for free.
To try out Ahrefs for free, you’ll verify ownership of your website.
Once you’ve proven ownership of your website and created your Ahrefs account, you can begin exploring some of the features in Ahrefs.
With the free version of Ahrefs, you can check for things like broken links, your top keywords, the backlinks you’ve gained, all the things that help your search engine optimization.
Once you start using the free tools Ahrefs offers and see everything it’s capable of doing, you want to use all the tools in the Ahrefs suite. Suddenly, the monthly price tag sounds very reasonable after all.
Why Ahrefs’s Sales Funnel Works
Ahref’s sales funnel works because they offer just enough free features to get a taste of what is possible with the paid version.
And the interface is set up so you see the information you’re missing by using only the free plan. The FOMO is strong with this funnel.
Mailerlite is an email service provider that helps small businesses build their email lists via opt-in forms and landing pages.
After your audience members become email subscribers, you can nurture and grow the relationship using email marketing (get email marketing campaign inspiration here). Mailerlite offers a wide range of tools to help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.
Overview of MailerLite’s Sales Funnel
MailerLite uses a freemium business model to entice customers into their sales funnel.
When you sign up for a free 14-day trial period, you get access to all the features of a MailerLite premium account. During that time, you can experiment with the features and decide if they are worth paying for.
If at the end of the trial period, you decide you’re not ready to pay for a premium account, you can continue emailing your list by using Mailerlite’s free plan.
With the free plan, you can have up to 1000 email subscribers and send as many as 12,000 emails a month—it’s a perfect plan for a brand new business.
How does the free plan serve MailerLite?
Well, first, it gets you into the funnel and onto their email list so they can nurture and develop a relationship with you.
Second, the customer retention rate is high. Moving your emails, funnels, automations and subscriber list is a hassle. It’s not likely you’ll leave MailerLite once you start with them unless you have an imperative reason for doing so.
Last, the MailerLite logo is in the footer of every email sent from a free MailerLite account. It’s free advertising for MailerLite. You can only remove the logo when you upgrade to a paid plan.
Why MailerLite’s Sales Funnel Works
MailerLite’s sales funnel works because of its budget-friendly pricing structure and people’s natural reluctance to change email service providers.
Since establishing its business in 2010, MailerLite has gained a solid reputation and loyal customer following. They’re known for being the go-to email service provider for small brands and businesses who want the bells and whistles of a premium email marketing system.
Slack is a communication platform for businesses. It’s designed to help coworkers and teammates communicate quickly and easily outside of email. With Slack, you can keep all your communication and files in one central location, integrate multiple apps and workflows, and even collaborate with project members outside your company.
Overview of Slack’s Sales Funnel
Slack uses demo features and a sales team to draw in new users.
The demo shows you how to set up your Slack channel, invite coworkers to join, find past discussions, integrate other tools, and more.
By the end of the demo, you’ll understand how Slack can improve your team’s communication. But if you still have questions, you can book a call with the Slack sales team.
Getting personalized attention and feedback from a sales team member gives Slack a chance to connect with you and build a personal relationship.
And the salesperson can show you all the ways Slack will benefit you and your business — an opportunity they wouldn’t have if they didn’t offer you a chance to connect with a live person.
Even if you decide not to sign up for a paid Slack account, they’ll continue to foster the relationship via email. That keeps Slack forefront in your mind.
Why Slack’s Sales Funnel Works
Slack’s sales funnel works because they make it easy to get personal attention from someone in the sales department.
When you talk with someone who knows the system inside and out, who can walk you through the benefits of the platform and show you how to get maximum value from it, you’re more confident about investing time and money in a new tool.
Circle is a community platform where coaches, course creators and other creatives can gather their audience and build a community. The easy-to-navigate interface and wide variety of communication methods make it a popular place for community-minded businesses to grow their businesses.
Overview of Circle’s Sales Funnel
Circle uses a trial plan period to draw in new users.
During the length of your trial period, you have access to all of Circle’s premium features like discussion spaces, live streams, chat rooms, and more.
You get to test out the features to see how they benefit your business. And they make building and connecting with your community hassle-free. Circle is gambling that once you get used to these features, you won’t want to give them up.
Starting the trial period is painless. No credit card is required so you aren’t charged unless you decide to upgrade at the end of your trial period.
Endorsements from a wide variety of leaders is another point where Circle has excelled.
Brendon Burchard is the face representing brands and startups who use Circle.
Pat Flynn offers a testimonial on the front page of the Circle website.
Showcasing the well-known names of happy Circle customers is a clever use of social proof.
Why Circle’s Sales Funnel Works
Circle’s sales funnel works because starting a trial with Circle is risk-free and straightforward. And once users are set up, the convenience of the community-building features sells them on upgrading to a paid plan.
AppSumo is a marketplace for digital software and tech tools. They offer daily deals for entrepreneurs and small businesses. What makes these deals different from other tech marketplaces is the emphasis on lifetime deal options.
Overview of AppSumo’s Sales Funnel
When you land on the AppSumo website, you first see their spotlight deals.
As you continue to scroll the page, you find sections labeled:
- What’s hot
- Customer favorites
- Ending soon
- New arrivals
These categories show you what’s popular among other entrepreneurs and startups. You also see which deals are ending soon, so you can take advantage before they’re gone.
Speaking of deals being gone, that’s one reason the AppSumo funnel is successful. These deals are limited-time offers. So, if you don’t want to miss out, you need to take advantage while you can.
But what if you’re not sure a software tool is going to work for you?
AppSumo has got you covered.
First, each product has an extensive sales page that covers in detail how the product works.
Then there’s the review section. The in-depth reviews share how well the product worked for users just like you. AppSumo reviewers don’t hold back. They share the good, the bad and the ugly.
And if you’re still hesitant about an offer that caught your eye, have no fear. AppSumo offers a generous 60-day return policy on every AppSumo deal you purchase.
Why AppSumo’s Sales Funnel Works
AppSumo’s Sales Funnel works really, really well for them.
The combination of lifetime access, limited-time offers and a generous return policy make AppSumo deals low-risk. They’re an excellent option for entrepreneurs who want to score business software and tech options at a budget-friendly price.
What’s a Great Sales Funnel Example I Missed?
Building your own sales funnel doesn’t have to be hard when you have proven examples you can follow (like the seven high-performing ones here). And building your funnel can also be FUN.
Did one of them resonate with you?
What about funnel examples I missed? Is there a sales funnel you think I should have included?
Let me know about it in the comments. You might inspire a fellow reader to try it in their business 🙂
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