There are a lot of different ways to build a sales funnel. It depends on your market, your product, and a lot of other factors. But there are certain key features that every powerful sales funnel has, no matter the niche.

Here are the top 5 elements of a successful sales funnel:

1.   Tripwire product

A tripwire product is an affordable introductory product you promote to your prospects. The idea is to encourage them to convert into paying customers. It’s called a “tripwire” because it’s an irresistible offer that your audience just can’t pass up.

Most businesses focus on developing a single product to promote and sell, but it’s really worth it to have some kind of tripwire. Otherwise you’re essentially marketing your main product as your tripwire, and you can’t earn much money for that.

Getting your audience to make a small initial buy ($20 or less) makes it easier to encourage them to buy from you again in the future.

Say, for example, your main product is a massive online course priced at $700. You’d have to do a lot to convince your audience to throw down for that product. But say you also offer an introductory mini course for $20. Your audience can buy it and realize its value, making the $700 mega course much more appealing.

Define your tripwire product by first considering what aspect of your main product is most valuable to your audience. Take that aspect, simplify it, and turn it into your tripwire product. Clickfunnels’ pricing setup is a great example of this in action:

clickfunnels

What’s the main feature of Clickfunnels that everyone needs? The ability to quickly build custom sales funnels without any coding. They offer that as a tripwire product for less than $100/month. Once you start using the tool, you soon realize you really need access to their whole suite of products for a higher price. That’s how the tripwire setup works.

2.   Premium product/service

After hooking your prospects with a tripwire product, you’ll next try to sell them your premium product/service. You can leave this as a 2-product system (tripwire and main product) or create a tiered system to offer different levels of value to your customers.

Here’s a great example of a tiered product from Dropship Lifestyle:
Dropship Lifestyle

They offer basic ecommerce courses at tier one, more courses and helpful tools at tier two. At tier three they offer all that and a variety of done-for-you services to help you start your own dropshipping business.

There are a lot of benefits to offering tiered pricing to your audience. For one, you’ll be able to capture a wider variety of leads who are willing to buy at different price points. Bundling value like this also makes it possible to charge more for features and/or services that people wouldn’t want to pay for individually.

A common way to set up product tiers is (1) tripwire product (2) full product (3) VIP access. VIP access offers some kind of value that really enhances how your customers use the product. It can include access to exclusive resources, one-on-one help from your business, or access to an online community. You can charge quite a lot of money for VIP access. That’s because the only people interested in buying it already really love your product and want to get even more value.

3.   Lead content

Once you have your product tiers set up, you’re ready to start creating your marketing collateral. You’ll want to create content for each stage of the sales funnel, the first being the awareness stage.

At this stage, create content that will help you find and generate leads. Lead content is about getting to know your audience so they can learn more about your business and you can learn more about them. You are not yet trying to sell them your products with this content.

Here are a few key types of lead content you’ll create:

Blog posts

The most popular and effective form of lead content you can create are blog posts. Blogging can help you build a relationship with your audience, offering free value related to your product niche.

There are a lot of great tools out there that can help you brainstorm topic ideas for your blog post. Type one of your niche keywords into Answer the Public, for example, and it returns common related questions people ask. Search for keyword “dog grooming” and it returns results like “which dog grooming scissors are best.” These are great fodder for blog content.

Lead Content

Long Tail Pro, Keywordtool.io, and WordTracker are some other helpful tools you can use to brainstorm blog topic ideas. They also help you with long tail keyword research so you can optimize your content for SEO.

Lead magnets 

After blogging, the next type of lead content you’ll want to create are lead magnets. These follow the same theme as your blog content but offer extra value and resources. A lead magnet can be just about anything of extra value, such as:

  • Research reports
  • Ebooks
  • Free tools
  • Slide Decks
  • Mini courses
  • Guides or templates
  • Checklists
  • Workbooks
  • Case studies
  • Cheat sheets
  • Secret advice
  • And more

Here’s an example of a lead magnet Brian Dean has on the Backlinko home page:

backlinko

You’ll give lead magnets away for free in exchange for their contact information (email). That will help your leads convert into prospects.

As a general rule, the more targeted lead magnets you can create, the better. Some marketers have lead magnets for every blog post they create, calling them content upgrades. Just make sure whatever lead magnets have provide a special value that your leads would be willing to offer up their email address for.

CTAs

The last thing you’ll need to round out your lead content are calls-to-action (CTA). You’ll place CTAs in your blogging content and around your website as popups, side bars, banners, etc. Their role is to capture lead attention and help them convert into prospects.

CTAs

There are a variety of tools you can use to create your CTAs, such as Optin Monster. Whichever tool you use, make sure it has A/B testing features. You’ll want to create several versions of your CTAs with different text and button styles so you can test which ones get the most clicks.

4.   Prospect content

The next element you need in your sales funnel is prospect content. This is content you create for leads that have already signed up for your mailing list. Now instead of just building a relationship with your content, you’re directly trying to convert them into paying customers of your tripwire product.

Here are a few kinds of prospect content you’ll create:

Marketing emails

Through email marketing, you’ll continue to provide valuable content that engages your audience and attracts them back to your site. But at this point you can also send out special offers and sales emails encouraging them to convert.

Sending out regular, consistent marketing emails will help keep your business at the front of your audience’s mind. So even if they’re not ready to buy now, they can easily come back to your business and convert.

The key to developing an effective email marketing message is by testing everything. Test your subject lines, body email content, CTAs, etc. to see which are most effective at engaging your audience and attracting them back to your site.

Decision-stage content

Through email and on your website you’ll also want to promote content that helps nurture prospects at the decision-stage of the sales funnel. These can be blog posts, downloadable reports, or optimized product pages.

Examples of decision-stage content include:

  • A features page detailing the benefits of your product/service in-depth
  • A product comparison guide showing how your product measures up to competitors
  • Case studies, testimonials and reviews of your product

Sales pages

Both your sales emails and other decision-stage content you create will lead your audience back to your sales landing pages. These are optimized to converting prospects into paying customers of your product.

Your sales landing pages should include highlights of the most important elements of your decision-stage content, such as the product’s main features and benefits, testimonials and other forms of social proof. Here’s an example of a sales page from AdExpresso that does a good job of this:

AdEspresso University

As always, it’s important to A/B test the different elements of your sales page content to see which have the biggest impact on conversions.

Thank you page

The last thing that can round out your prospect content is a thank you page. This is something you’ll show your audience after they convert into paying customers or even after signing up for your mailing list.

Thank you pages help users confirm that they’ve gone through the process successfully and are a great opportunity to nurture them further by suggesting related content. You can also upsell and cross-sell other products to keep your sales funnel going.

5.   Traffic

It doesn’t matter how targeted and optimized your sales funnel is, it won’t be successful unless your audience finds it. That’s why traffic is the 5th and arguably most important element of a successful sales funnel.

Focus on building a diverse and targeted traffic generation strategy to keep your funnel filled and your leads converting. There are a lot of ways to generate both new and recurring traffic to various stages of your sales funnel, such as:

  • Social media

Building a brand presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is a great way to generate traffic for both the beginning and end of your sales funnel. You can use social media to promote your blog posts and attract a new audience. At the same time, many people follow brands on social media to get access to special offers. You can use social media to upsell and attract your current customers back to rebuy.

  • SEO

Search engine optimization is an essential traffic generation strategy that can pay off in the long-run. It takes time to rank well in search results for keywords you target, but it’s easier when you target long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are 4+ words that have a lower search volume but are very relevant to your audience’s needs.

Your blog content is a great opportunity to optimize for long-tail keywords. Using the keyword research tools mentioned earlier in this post, create blog content optimized for long-tail keywords you can rank for.

  • Paid ads

Paid ads are the easiest way to get traffic. Google PPC Ads, Google Display Ads and Facebook Ads are three of the most popular options. But there are plenty of other ad networks you can explore.

Paid ads can help you attract traffic at any stage of the sales funnel. It depends on how you target them. Remarketing ads, for example, make it possible to target people who visited your site before. This is a great way to attract traffic from prospects in the nurture and decision stages of your sales funnel.

Most marketers use paid ads to promote their site content or special offers encouraging their audience to convert:

Paid Ads

Wrapping up

Nobody said building a sales funnel was easy. But there are certain formulas and templates you can use to put you on the right track. Start by creating a simple funnel with these 5 essential elements. As you test, measure, and learn more about your audience, expand it into something more complex and better targeted to drive your marketing goals.

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