5 Types of Sales Funnels Explained
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Digital marketers put systems in place that drive interest, nurture relationships, and drive online business. Enter the marketing sales funnel, a critical inbound marketing strategy component.
While every sales funnel has the same purpose—to capture leads—there are several ways to build a funnel.
Let’s break down a few of the different types of sales funnels you might create.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
Envision a funnel that is wide at the top so it can fit a large amount of whatever liquid you desire to pour into it. As you continue down the funnel, the space gets smaller, tapering off.
Now consider how you capture leads. At the beginning of the process, your sales funnel may bring in lots of potential clients. There is a wide level of interest. But as prospects go on down the sales funnel, and they gain more awareness of your company, your leads will taper off.
And while that might seem like a bad thing, you have actually done yourself a favor. The less qualified leads have decided to go another direction. They won’t make it to the bottom of the funnel. Whether by their own decision or by your strong positioning, these folks have been weeded out.
But the people you will most likely be doing business with will have hung on through the journey. You have provided them with information that is of value to them—information that will help them solve a problem. And that’s why they have stayed with on this journey until they’ve reached the tiniest part of the sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Stages
Specific strategies are leverage at each stage of the customer journey to help attract and nurture potential customers.
These stages are broken into three groups:
- Top of the Funnel (ToFu) – The Awareness Stage
- Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) – The Consideration Stage
- Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu) – The Conversion Stage
The content type and messaging strategy will vary at each stage depending on where you are in the funnel.
Types of Sales Funnels
There are sales funnel applications for many scenarios. So let’s explore a few.
Lead Magnet Sales Funnels
The lead magnet sales funnel is widely used and easy to implement. It’s essentially a free resource that attracts potential customers.
The free content is offered in exchange for their contact information. To gain access to the content, they must first fill out a form on your website.
Gaining their contact info helps you build your email list, and that’s great, but hopefully, you will be able to continue nurturing your lead through the customer journey to client status.
Lead magnets are usually digital content. Types of lead magnet content can include:
- Case Studies
How Does a Lead Magnet Funnel Work?
Once your prospective lead has provided their contact information so they can download your free content, a series of relationship-nurturing emails will begin. They are now in your lead magnet funnel.
After a few emails, your lead might decide that they want to know more about your company. Or maybe they won’t. It’s your job as a marketer to make sure you anticipate their needs and craft your content so that it speaks to your desired customer.
Lead Generation Landing Page Funnels
A landing page is a standalone web page created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. Marketers drive traffic to the landing pages to collect visitor information – like names and email addresses – so they can build lists of prospective customers.
How Does a Landing Page Funnel Work?
Landing pages are often used in conjunction with freebie lead magnet downloads. Website visitors might come to a landing page via organic search, a search engine ad, an email marketing campaign, or even social media.
Landing pages are designed to keep the visitor focused, with little distraction.
Some characteristics of a strong landing page include:
Website navigation/main menu removed
Eye-catching hero image or video
A unique selling proposition
A strong call to action
Opt-in form (this is a must)
Social proof – a client testimonial
There is only one action that you want the user to take – to complete the form.
Membership (Continuity) Sales Funnels
The Membership Sales Funnel gets visitors to sign up to gain access to content or a certain service. They are sometimes called “Continuity Sales Funnels.”
Membership funnels can generate leads on the front end as well as the back. That’s because these types of sales funnels can provide recurring revenue when done correctly.
Members might be enticed by a free or low-cost offer to sign up. Once they are a part of your subscriber or membership base, you have the opportunity to upsell.
For example, subscribers to a free service may unlock more benefits if they sign up (and pay) for a premium subscription
Types of membership funnels might include:
Online fitness courses
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Webinars can be an incredibly effective way to get leads into your funnel. Since you are spending a decent amount of time with potential leads, you have the opportunity to sell yourself.
The hope is that by the end of the webinar, you will have proven yourself a worthy company to do business with.
How Does a Webinar Funnel Work?
Once a lead finds out about your webinar (whether through social media, an email, or perhaps a paid ad) one of the first steps is registration. Once they’ve registered, you have their information, but it doesn’t stop there.
A series of emails will be sent to the registrant to let them know:
- That their registration was successful
- To remind them that the webinar is coming up
- To give them a link to the recording after the webinar is over
Be sure to record your webinar as you present so that attendees who missed the webinar can watch it on their own time. Then, continue to nurture the sales process after the webinar.
Social Media Funnels
There are lots of ways for people to find out about your brand on social media. The end goal of the social media funnel is to nurture relationships with repeat customers and to gain new ones.
How Does a Social Media Funnel Work?
Social media allows you to demonstrate the value of your business to potential leads. Some of the following methods can be used to kickstart the social media funnel process:
- Paid advertising like a Facebook ad can be leveraged to improve awareness. By targeting a certain audience, you’re specifically speaking to people who may be dealing with the problem you’re offering solutions for.
- Engage and build trust with your audience by going live on Facebook or Instagram.
- Create a Facebook group to encourage a closer relationship with your followers and prospective clients. And chances are that if someone has joined your group, they are interested in what you have to offer.
- Promote upcoming events, such as live webinars
- Highlight a product and guide visitors to a landing page
Social media can serve as the starting point and ending point for your sales funnel.
And There Are More
We’ve touched on some common types of sales funnels, but many other kinds can be used to drive business to your company. The key to being successful is understanding your target audience and anticipating their needs and answering their questions at each stage of the sales funnel.
About the author
With 15-plus years of experience as a UX web designer and frontend developer. Karla is known for quality development, professional client relationships, and personal commitment to each project. Karla works on frontend web design and development.