How to build a sales funnel

How to build a sales funnel

I will 100% admit that I’ve been intimidated by sales funnels. To me they’ve felt both overwhelming and impolite; I shouldn’t try to push more things on people, that’s not what “nice” women (or entrepreneurs if you want, but really…the societal expectation of women to be “nice” is the worst.) do.

And you know, fuck that. Selling, and sales funnels for that matter, isn’t about being “nice” it’s about giving your customer the support they need. 

How to build a sales funnel

Russell Brunson has this great analogy in his One Funnel Away challenge (which I’m paraphrasing here): Funnels are like if you were running a grocery store and someone came in to get things for a cookout. First, they buy hot dogs, but then you ask if they need hot dog buns too. And duh, they definitely need the buns! But wait, do they need ketchup, mustard, and relish? Yeah, probably and oh cool, you’ve got all three of those in this bundle set. What about napkins? No, they’re set on napkins, but this plastic tablecloth would be really helpful so they add that to their cart, too.

That’s a sales funnel. It’s about setting your customer up to have the complete set of tools they need for a positive experience. If you only sold them the hot dogs and never told them about the buns, then you’ve stopped them from having the perfect hot dog experience. 

Does that make sense? It took me that analogy to realize that my mindset towards funnels was WAY off (and I guess, selling, too). Sales funnels aren’t about me, they’re about the customer.

So now let’s get down to how you create a sales funnel:

1. Start with a small item

Sales strategy with funnels involves getting your customer in with an easy sale so that they’re comfortable buying from you. If you’ve ever got a “free book, just pay shipping!” deal then you’ve seen the first part of a sales funnel. What is a small item you can offer at a low price that will get the customer to begin subconsciously trusting you and associating your business with making a purchase?

2. Map out the path

Your first funnel doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be complicated. Think of it as Product A to Product B to checkout. The strategy behind Upselling/down selling/and bumps can be fine-tuned later. Don’t let complicated funnel structures overwhelm you, just start with A – B – Checkout.

3. Build the path

This is harder to do on 3rd party sites like Etsy or eBay so yet another reason I’d recommend opening your own shop on a place like Shopify, but even WordPress/WooCommerce have funnel plugins that can help you out. Alternatively, you can use a turnkey solution like Clickfunnels or ThriveCart but I’d only recommend those for things that are higher ticket items due to their overhead costs (but don’t let the costs scare you, there’s a reason they can charge what they do…those sites deliver bu-koo sales).

4. Market the path

Add the link to your Instagram bio and create content that directs people to click on it. If it seems to attract interest, start running a few ads here and there and watch the data. If it seems like that is working, then ramp up your ad budget.

5. Tweak as you go

The reason I suggest using plugins or dedicated funnel builders is that you’re going to need to analyze what works and what doesn’t throughout the funnel. Don’t let it run without oversight, remember that this is about the customer experience! If you’re not giving them the things they want, they won’t convert and then you’re going to have to play catch up to get them back into the funnel. Swap out Product B with a special bundle at a slightly higher price point and see if that converts instead.

6. Begin to advance the funnel

Once you’ve let it run for a while (I can’t say the actual length so let’s say…once you’ve earned a healthy profit), start to create additional journeys in the funnel with downsells (a product that is cheaper than Product B if your customer has said “no” to it), upsells (like Product B), or bumps (turning Product A into a bundle of products). 

Congrats, you’ve created a sales funnel! If there’s something you think I missed, let me know in the comments.

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