What the Heck is a Funnel, Anyway?
For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you
have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of
what a funnel is or how it works.
As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer
sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.
A Simple Sales Funnel
At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your
readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and
other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.
Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an
email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably
even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or
other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.
Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers.
Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.
Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are
presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and
closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.
How Your Funnel Works
If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free
content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme
low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the
true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.
Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the loyalest of fans and customers will purchase
your highest priced offers.
Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the
top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the
more money you will make.
Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel,
but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts
with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.
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