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 or knowledge, which typically requires nothing of your potential clients or readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, a trial run of a product or service and other information your clients 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. Online, this would typically be an email address. I am sure you’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some of these options such as the free e-book or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

If you were a restaurant owner it could be unlimited free Wi-Fi for the purchase of a cup of coffee. I make use of this offer frequently at my corner cafe’. Every kind of business as an almost free offer at the top of their funnel which ‘gets you in the door’.

Once you have a client on the mailing list or in the coffee shop, that is then when you’ll present your clients with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced e-book or a trial membership, an affordable online course, coffee with a muffin for the price of a coffee; 2 drinks for the price of 1 at happy hour and so forth.

All businesses do it, and it works. Potential clients need a reason to walk through the door. But in my experience, they work even better when you offer really good value, no matter how low-cost it is. For example, if there are more than a few coffee shops in the neighbourhood and most of them offer time-limited Wi-Fi and one of the cafes offers unlimited Wi-Fi, it is a no-brainer as to where most potential clients will end up going … and where they will spend their money.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product then 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 clients.  Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address or a cup of coffee) 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 most loyal 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 of free offers all the way to the bottom where they can purchase your products and services. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more revenue you can generate.

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.

My tip is to really make it worth your potential client’s time to consider your ‘free’or low-cost offer by offering them massive value in return, no matter the cost. At the end of the day, it is not about being cheap, but rather about creating a loyal tribe of followers and buyers, who will keep coming back for more and will speak highly of you and your services. You cannot put a price tag on a truly, loyal client or customer.

To Your Continued Success!

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