What Is An Online Sales Funnel?

What is a Funnel and How Do They Work?

When the word funnel is mentioned I usually visualize a car with the hood opened and an oil funnel in the picture. I’m not the only one, I know because a number of people have asked me to explain what a marketing funnel is. The subject gets many confused and a bit discouraged but it need not be so.

A marketing funnel is really very simple and some make it more complicated than it needs to be. Actually, the best and most successful funnels have only 3 steps and are very simple. The more steps that are added leave a better chance that the viewer will not finish the process designed to get them to a certain end result.

The end result, or goal, of the funnel, can be a number of things including a sale, an opt-in, a phone call, a sign-up, or lead. These are called conversions and are the end result of the funnel.

A website is a funnel even if someone doesn’t understand just what a marketing funnel is. Someone sets up their site with the intentions of drawing traffic to their site for a specific purpose, let’s say to purchase a product. They might see an advertisement ad on another site and click on it to get to the someone’s site. The visitor reads some of the website content and clicks to go to the next step or to make a purchase.

That’s typical of a sales funnel and sounds really simple, right? There are said to be over 2 billion viewers online and any website owner would love to get as much of that traffic coming to their site as possible.

Through various outreach campaigns on social media sites and forums, articles written, podcast, videos made, or a webinar, the site owner draws traffic into the funnel that travels through the website page and a percentage will click to proceed and the rest will move onto something else.

That is how simple a funnel is and as mentioned, the end result or goal can be to get an email address, get the visitor to click something, or to make a purchase, each is considered a conversion.

There are funnels that have more steps depending on what the design of the funnel is for the visitor but the fewer steps get better results.

How do they work?

Think of yourself as a tour guide leading visitors onto and through your website and leading them where you would like them to go and to do what you would like them to do. The site owner tries to direct them to click here or go there and see a great product that will enrich their lives in one way or another.

So website owners are like tour guides on their own websites and it’s best that they understand drawing viewers into a funnel, their website, and being a tour guide leading them to the goal, or point of conversion with every page.

The Components and Tools Needed for a Funnel

The very first thing needed for a funnel is an idea. An idea could be for a video, a blog post, podcast, audiobook, a presentation, a free offer, or a webinar.

Another thing that’s needed is a desired goal or end result, whether it be a sign-up, a sale or something else. Then figure out how to get the desired end results starting from the idea.

Figure out what you want your site visitors to do. What’s the purpose of the site? Determine what your funnels end result is and then you can design the pathway toward the end result.

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