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What Is A Sales Funnel And Do You Need One For Your Business?

What Is A Sales Funnel And Do You Need One For Your Business?What Is A Sales Funnel?

In short, it’s a way for you to earn more money from the people who visit your websites, whether you’re a product creator or an affiliate marketer.

A sales funnel is a way for a product creator, vendor or affiliate marketer to offer additional products to a customer or to prospective buyers and to remind those people about a front-end offer they haven’t bought yet or opted into.

The start of a sales funnel can be a sales page which eventually leads to an order page where the customer’s email address is collected.

Or it can start with an optin page (squeeze page) where a visitor must type in their email address to see what’s behind that page.

Opt-in pages are typically used to give away a free gift such as a free report, a free ebook, a webinar, etc.

Another popular option is the free plus shipping model – what you’re giving away is a free physical product (like a book) but the visitor has to pay the shipping costs (here’s an example).

A sales funnel has two parts:

  1. The back-end offers – upsells, downsells and one-time-offers – to people who buy the front end product or take up the free offer
  2. The email component:
    • If there is no opt-in form at the start of the funnel, then customers who buy are added to a buyers list and are sent regular emails pushing other products in the funnel
    • If there is an opt-in form at the start of the funnel, then non-buyers will be sent emails persuading them to buy the front-end product or take up the free offer. And when they do, they’ll be moved over to the buyers list.
    • If they never buy the front-end product, then they can be sent offers for other (un)related products.

The Traditional Affiliate Marketing Model

With traditional affiliate marketing, you put links to affiliate offers on your website.

This is the process:

The Basic Affiliate Marketing Process
As you can see, in this model, there’s no email list being built. So the email addresses of anyone who buys though your links will end up on the product creator’s list. You’ve lost access to them at this point.

If the customer does buy, yes you get the commission. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll get some additional commissions if the customer buys any of the other products in the product creator’s sales funnel.

However, as far as you – the affiliate marketer – is concerned, that customer is done and dusted. You can never market to them again. Because they’re not on your list.

If your website gets lots of repeat traffic then, maybe, the same customer will buy a different product from your site. That’s a big “if” though.

The Sales Funnel Process

This diagram shows the various sales funnel stages and how they interconnect and reinforce each other

Sales Funnel Diagram

In this case, you’ve literally captured the lead (a “lead” is someone who’s subscribed to your email list). And you can market to them repeatedly from here on out.

All the big retailers do this. How many emails have you received from Amazon, for example, since you first bought something from them?

They know your email address and build up a profile of your buying habits over time so that they can send you recommendations so that you’ll buy more products from them.

That right there is the power and advantage of using a sales funnel.

A funnel doesn’t have to be static. Products and services come and go. And you can always change up your funnel to add in new or replacement products and remove old outdated or defunct ones.

A Sales Funnel Analogy

An Analogy

If the idea of a sales funnel is still as clear as mud, let’s take a look at this analogy…

If I asked you the question: What is Starbucks’ business model?

You’d probably answer that it’s selling coffee.

Coffee is the product (what they sell) but it’s not the business model (how they sell).

The business model is actually distribution.

Each Starbucks store is a distribution channel for coffee products.

Their “sales funnel” is getting customers to buy extra coffees, pastries, ice cream and sandwiches.

They also have a loyalty program you can join that gives you access to exclusive offers.

If Starbucks want to sell more coffee, then they can do a promotion. Maybe they’ll offer a coupon or a multi-coffee deal that they send out to people in the areas around their stores.

But there’s only so many people they can reach and only so many customers they can serve.

If they really want to sell a lot more coffee then they need to open a new store to reach a whole new boatload of customers.

So they need to open a new distribution channel. There are obviously huge costs involved with this.

How This Analogy Relates To Sales Funnels

How This Analogy Relates To Sales Funnels

Now let’s equate this with list building, email marketing and sales funnels…

  • The front door and store windows of a Starbucks entices the customer in. This is equivalent to an optin page or sales page enticing an online visitor to have a closer look.
  • Starbucks’ loyalty program offers you exclusive deals if you join. This is the same as giving away a free gift to people who sign up on your opt-in page.
  • Once they have your contact details, they can send you those special offers and entice you to spend more money in their stores. This is exactly like email marketing where you repeatedly tell your subscribers about other products you sell or promote.
  • People have brand loyalty and for that reason may regularly buy coffee at Starbucks. With an email list you can also provide value to your subscribers so that they come to know, like and trust you. When that happens, they’re far more likely to act on your recommendations.
  • If you want more subscribers, like Starbucks you can create new distribution channels. In this case, however, it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. You simply create a new online sales funnel and direct people to that. No office rent fees, no inventory management headaches, no employee salaries to pay and so on. Spend a few hours putting your funnel together and you’re already in business.

The upshot is that with a sales funnel, whatever you’re promoting gets far more exposure and you’re much more likely to make sales and have repeat customers.

And what business doesn’t want that?

There’s a far more detailed explanation of sales funnels and why they’re such good marketing tools in this free web class if you want to know more.

Sales Funnels And Product/Service Creators

Sales Funnels And Product Creators

If you sell your own product or service online and you’re not using a sales funnel, I hope you see now that you are literally losing out on sales.

If you run a so-called “bricks-and-mortar” business and don’t have any online presence, using a sales funnel is a great way to attract new customers.

Most people don’t buy into anything the first time they see it. It takes an average of 7 exposures to that product before they will take action.

So if you’re simply relying on traffic that arrives at your sales page or website to convert, that’s a mistake.

You need to constantly remind people about your product and how it can make their lives better. Frame it as a solution to a problem they have.

A sales funnel gives you that control over your marketing efforts.

Sales Funnels And Affiliate Marketers

Sales Funnels And Affiliate Marketers

Affiliate marketing is also about distribution channels.

If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’re generally at the mercy of the product sales funnels you’re given access to on the various affiliate networks like Clickbank and JVZoo.

As I mentioned above, buyers end up going into the product vendor’s email list and not yours.

You may have noticed over the last several months that there’s been a lot of talk about affiliate marketers using sales funnels themselves.

You can create your own funnel purely promoting affiliate products, but you get to decide what products best fit together for your funnel.

And the best part is that you, the affiliate marketer, gets to add people to your own email list so you have the opportunity to re-expose them to your offer and turn them into repeat customers.

So, How Do You Create A Sales Funnel?

So, How Do You Build A Sales Funnel?

One way of doing that is to get a Landing Page Builder plugin for WordPress like InstaBuilder 2.0, OptimizePress or ProfitBuilder and use that to create your optin pages, thank you pages and other funnel pages and interlink them.

If you’re only interested in creating optin pages, then Landing Page Monkey might be a better solution for you. This is an online service that also hosts your pages, so you don’t have to have WordPress to use it.

You’ll also need to have an autoresponder account. That’s where your subscribers’ contact information will be stored and where you send your emails from.

And you will need to integrate your autoresponder with your optin pages.

I went this route myself in the past and it certainly works.

But the big problem I had was that I’d forget over time how the pages in a funnel interconnected and then I’d have to waste time figuring all that out again if I wanted to change or update the funnel.

A failing memory as I get older hasn’t helped either! 🙂

Thankfully, I found a solution that both takes the pain out of building the individual pages and saves me having to worry about how everything hangs together…

What Is Clickfunnels?

Clickfunnels

Clickfunnels is a service I only came across recently after it was recommended to me by a fellow marketer.

It’s a service, created by master marketer Russell Brunson which makes creating sales funnels much easier than has been traditionally possible.

It can also build membership sites, create webinars and build blogs.

Building these web properties is pretty much a matter of just clicking and dragging different types of page elements – headlines, text boxes, videos, images, buttons, etc – onto a canvas. The end result will be your desired page or site.

Ok, there are a lot of tools out there for building squeeze pages/optin pages/lead capture pages, membership sites and blogs.

So what sets Clickfunnels apart from these?

It’s the ease of use.

All the technical stuff is hidden from you and even non-techies can drag and drop and fill in text boxes.

It means you can now easily build a sales funnel and you don’t have to hire a web developer to create one for you. And you don’t have to pay them again and again each time you want to change your funnels.

There’s a ton of funnel templates to choose from and you can tweak them however you want. You can even import funnels created by other Clickfunnels members.

The user interface is slick and user-friendly and Support is top-notch.

I’ll have more to say about Clickfunnels in my next post but you can always check it out here if you don’t want to wait till then.

Or take a look at the 22 free sales funnel templates available in this free 300-page ebook:

FREE Funnel Hacker's Cookbook (PDF)

 

WANT FREE TRAINING ON LIST BUILDING AND ONLINE BUSINESS?
 

47 Comments

  1. Wow, nice content Gary, it seems that you’re actually an expert in this industry, the site is soooo rich in content and information. I might even keep visiting the site so that I can get an advise! I love the way the ads are displayed all over the site and the Messenger pop up to get assistance.  Keep the good work, and congratulations. 

    • Thanks, Maria. Yeah, I’ve been in the internet marketing scene for quite a while now. I’ve bobbed between different niches over the years but I always end up coming back to affiliate marketing and blogging. Seems that’s what I enjoy the most! 🙂 

      Hope to see you back and feel free to ask me any questions. 

  2. Hello and thank you for this informative article. It was really useful. I just created my new website and I still have not created my sales funnel. I do not think I know that much about this process to offer it on my website. However, you helped me a lot.

    You gave really great example with Starbucks. So you should offer something and it would be the best for that to be free or offer a deal of some kind in order to catch someone’s attention and make them go for you.

    I will definitely check Click Funnels. They look promising.

    Strahinja.

    • Good to hear you found the post useful, Strahinja. One of the best ways to get started building an email list is to give away something for free, It could be a free report or ebook, or a video you record (like a product review or technique you use). Another popular option is offering access to some online training. 

      You don’t have to create these things yourself. Many affiliate programs will give you affiliate links to free resources you can promote to make things easier. One of the simplest to start out with is CB Passive Income 5.0, which I reviewed here. All you do is promote the affiliate links it gives you and the rest is done for you automatically. 

      Once you’re familiar with list building, then I think is then time for affiliate marketers to look at creating sales funnels. 

      If you’re a product creator, then there’s no time like the present to start creating sales funnels to make the most of the people interested in your products. 

      I’m glad to hear the Starbucks analogy was a good example. I wasn’t sure if the idea behind it would hit home.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. Hi Gary! this is a very helpful article about funnels! It’s something not so clear when you start to know Internet Marketing but when you understand what it is, you see funnels everywhere!!!! I didn’t know about Word Press plug-in and they seem very helpful in a selling strategy along with an email responder. I’m a newbie in Internet Marketing and this kind of information result very helpful (and the whole site too!). Thanks!

    • Yeah, Miche, if you’ve ever bought any internet marketing course or product, you’ll have been exposed to a sales funnel. Some are pretty blatant; some are subtle. The thing is that product vendors make the most money from the high-priced products the sell further into their funnels than they do from the front-end products. 

      Have you ever heard of the term “loss leaders”? It’s something supermarkets use all the time. They put “bargain” products near the store entrance to get you inside. They may lose money on those products they they more than make up for the losses on other products you buy after being enticed in. That’s what a lot of the front-end products in internet marketing sales funnels are like. 

      Glad you like the site; I set it up for people who aren’t familiar with email marketing and list building so they’d have a better idea of what that involves and how it can help any online business. 

  4. Thank you for sharing with us this helpful article on sales funnel.I am new in online stuff and I Always meet new terms to me fortunately I read some contents about them and have insight on them.

    Sales funnel seems very useful to online business and I have to learn more about it so that I could take its advantages.

    • There’s definitely a lot to learn in the affiliate marketing niche, Julienne. I remember being bamboozled and overwhelmed when I first started out. And have to learn what all the terms – the affiliate marketing “lingo” – meant! Don’t worry, you’ll get there. 🙂

      Yeah, sales funnels (yet another affiliate marketing term) are very useful. I ignored them for ages – I seem to ignore all the god stuff until I get my “aha” moment. Probably most of us are like that. 🙂

  5. I found the post very informative specially the well detailed analogy of Starbucks. Personally I feel the marketing space is a game of numbers. The bigger your audience the more likelihood for you to make a sale. I’ll to know more about the click funnel because it’s simplicity of use and I can’t wait for your next post. Thanks for the information

    Louis

    • Thanks, Louis. I’m glad my Starbucks analogy got the point across. I would have agreed in the past that affiliate marketing was a game of numbers. And it was up till a few years ago. Then, as people became more internet savvy, they started to easily spot when when they were being marketed to. 

      The internet marketing niche is rife with this style of marketing and it’s become much less effective than it used to be. Now the strategy has shifted to building a relationship with your site visitors and email subscribers. And offering value to people, not just hitting them with offer after offer. 

      Yes, the bigger your audience the more sales you will make, though not as many as in the past. But the more you resonate with your audience, the more sales you will make. If you’re really in tune with your audience, then even a small audience can prove profitable. 

      Here’s a sales funnel I’m using that was built using Clickfunnels. The front page is an optin form. Sign up to check out the free training. I don’t expect you to follow through and get Clickfunnels itself, but look at how the funnel is constructed. 

      There’s about 3 hours of free training provided. It’s not fluff and it’s not the usual webinar-style where a product is pushed on you at the end of the video (or videos in this case).

      The videos are purely educational. At the end of the training, you then decide if you want to take things further or not. There’s no false scarcity used – no countdown timer saying you’ve got X amount of time to take up some offer before it expires and no “we’ve only got X copies left” BS. 

      Contrast that with other sales funnels you’ve come across where there’s a hard sell as soon as you’re in, false scarcity is often used (and sometimes real scarcity is applied); and then you’re immediately hit with several “offers” and the pressure to buy is also immediate. 

      If you do take a look at the funnel,  I’d love to get your feedback on it.

  6. I am yet to build one email list and you have given me the information on how to go about it and why it is necessary for my future sales. I would say being in affiliate marketing has taught me a lot and I keep on learning because I never knew before emails can be used as a source of  marketing and eventually a source of income.

    • Yeah, Charles, it’s funny how email (invented in 1972) – a technology pre-dating the web (created in 1990) is still, after all these years, one of the best ways of generating consistent income. The internet itself was created in 1983 and the World Wide Web was bolted on top of it in 1990. 

      But one thing people still do every day is check their email. It’ll still be there after Facebook becomes a distant memory – that’s still a while away though! 🙂

  7. Thanks for explaining the concept of a sales funnel in detail making it easy to understand and apply. It is important for affiliate marketers to employ this strategy to ensure that they can refer back to some of their leads and previous customers. There’s a lot to learn and execute in this world of online Marketing.  Constant and never ending improvement is the goal.

    • More and more affiliates are now creating their own sales funnels. You can mix ‘n’ match different, related products in a funnel that might be a better fit for your audience than the products in some pre-built funnel (the ones your affiliate links normally send visitors to).

      Yeah, you’re not wrong about constantly having to learn new things in the world of internet marketing, Zuchii. The trick is to focus on one thing and master it, rather than trying to learn several things at once and not being good at any of them.

      Multitasking is not the way to go. It leads to mediocrity. Focus and commitment to one thing wins the day, whether that’s blogging, making YouTube videos, doing Facebook ads, etc. 

      Once you master one thing, then you can look at learning something new.

  8. Thank you for sharing this great information about a sales funnel. I been hearing this a lot since I start on Affiliate marketing about 4 months now and I been so curious to find out how this works and with this information that you sharing with us now I understand what a sales funnel is why we need one. And thank you for sharing the the right tools to build one. 

    I will definitely go and check click funnel. Thank you 

    • Thanks for the positive feedback, GVporras. It’s good to hear that I did a decent job of explaining the concept. 🙂

  9. This article about Sales Funnels is the best I ever read. You explained well why is it important and how can you build an e-mail list. The technics you write about are very useful and seems powerful.

    Russel Brunson’s ClickFunnels is a very good service. I read a review about it some days ago and I checked it. I also suggest it to anyone.

    • Thanks for that glowing endorsement of my post, Gno. I’ve been an affiliate marketer for years and yet I only recently came across Clickfunnels myself. Goes to show nobody knows everything that’s happening in aiffiliate/internet marketing! 🙂 

  10. Interesting article and very informative ! I didn’t know that email lists help customers have trust in you and  come back to your website .However,I’ve heard some good things about Clickfunnels, such as  the fact that you have some kind of mentorship and you can also take part in a profitable affiliate program .

    I have a question,though related to managing email lists : can you set an autoresponder to send emails on a schedule,like twice a week?

    • There is mentorship for Clickfunnels provide by Russell Brunson and his team, Sebastian. Clickfunnels is, first and foremost, a tool for building sales funnels. The affiliate program is separate from it and gives you many things you can promote in addition to CF itself. 

      There is the free Affiliate Bootcamp training provided by Russell, but it’s a little out of date now and some of the products it tells you to promote are no longer available. So it really need to be updated. 

      That’s one of the reasons I went with Zach Crawford’s affiliate training (there’s 3 hours of solid, no-BS training here) which is bang-up-to-date. 

      If you like his style, he provides a complete, in-depth training course for $497 but you can get it for free if you sign up for Clickfunnels (min. $97/mth) through the above link. He also gives you a complete sales funnel to promote Clickfunnels yourself and a couple of funnels for other products and services.

      He’s constantly adding new training material as well. And the guy truly over-delivers on what he promises. He’s very focused on his customers’ satisfaction, something you don’t often see in the online world of so-called “gurus” (something he hates being called himself). 

      As to your question, yes you can set up an autoresponder to send out emails twice a week, or on whatever schedule you want. You can even set what time of day emails should get sent out and if that time is your local time, or the local time of your subscribers. 

      So, if you’re in New York and you want to send out an email at 9AM, it goes out across the world at that time. Someone in Australia will receive that email at 8/9PM their local time (because they’re in a different timezone). Someone in Europe will get it at 2/3PM their local time. 

      If you set the emails to be sent at the subscriber’s local time, then everyone the email goes out to will receive it at 9AM (ish) their local time.

  11. Hi Gary; I understand that Squeeze Pages and Sales Funnels are of great importance to the Internet business and that Russell Brunson played an integral roll in all of this, however, I never had one for my business, Reading your post wakes me up to the reality of the importance.

     Reading you Gary, makes me feel like I have a good dream all over again. I need an email list yet I never make a move at starting one. I will have to revisit your post to stain my memory of all these important technical tools I need for my business

    DorcasW

    • Hi DorcasW – I was slow to add list building and email marketing into my business too. Hopefully, the information on my site will show you what’s involved and how you can achieve those goals.

      I’m still learning myself. I’m a tech guy so the technical aspects aren’t difficult for me but I can see how they could be off-putting for non-techies. 

      If you’ve any questions on that, feel free to ask me and I’ll do my best to answer them.

      you might find this other post about list building of interest. 

      Before I found the Clickfunnels opportunity (that is, promoting Clickfunnels as a business opportunity rather than using the tool itself), I felt my business was kinda stuck. i wasn’t quite sure what way to take it. 

      And taking up that bizopp meant I had to get familiar with using Clickfunnels. That in turn has given me ideas for building funnels for promoting all kinds of products – not just ones in the internet marketing space. 

      Promoting Clickfunnels is a great opportunity for any affiliate marketer.

  12. When an information like this is overwhelming, I lack words to express how excited I am.  Yes am excited because you have just pointed out strategies of having massive returns in online business. Sales funnel, I have just learnt so much about sales funnel.I have learnt the meaning of sales funnel, the strategic uses in maximizing profits. Both for the affiliate marketer and also for product creator and marketer. Thanks so much.

    • I see you’ve had your “aha” moment, Kenechi! 🙂 Once you have that, you see endless possibilities here!

  13. Hi Gary – thanks for that explanation of sales funnels. I think i can now see where i am going wrong with my blog. I have read about funnels but didn’t realise their importance. I need to build my list. I am using wordpress , do you have any recommendations for a good plugin to build landing pages? Can clickfunnels integrate with wordpress?Do you have any more recommendations on what the freebie content could be? Many thanks in advance.

    • Hi Phil, I doubt you’re going wrong anywhere on your blog. List building is just an extension of your blogging business that lets you get in direct one-to-one contact with your subscribers. You can start list building simply by adding an optin form to your blog sidebar or at the bottom of your posts. You will need to subscribe to an autoresponder service though, to be able to collect email addresses and send out emails.

      You don’t have to offer a freebie to get started. They certainly help in converting visitors into subscribers but imperfect action always trumps perfect inaction. In other words, it’s better to put a simple opt-in form on your site now rather than waiting until you’ve got some great freebie to entice people to sign up.

      Remember, you can always advertise a freebie on you optin form at a later stage.

      The best freebie to use is one you create yourself because it’s 100% unique. But is does take some time and expertise to create one. 

      Many marketers shortcut this buy making use of PLR (Private Label Rights) products that they buy the licenses to use. Many PLR sites sell outdated or cheap (in every sense) products which are best avoided. Here are 2 PLR services that I recommend. Both give you 2 fully editable reports and/or ebooks each month, a squeeze page to promote each report/ebook and an email series to send out to subscribers:

      • Automated List Profits – normally $47/mth. I bought the license to this a couple of years back so I could offer it to my subscribers and visitors at a more affordable $9.95/mth. 
      • Buzzinar – normally $29.97/mth but I throw in a few bonuses including a 50% discount on ongoing monthly fees (so you pay $14.97/mth)

      The WordPress plugins I recommend for building landing pages/optin-pages:

      A cheaper alternative is Landing Page Monkey which is a separate service (outside WordPress). It’s a point-and-click solution to quickly creating these kinds of pages.

      Yes, Clickfunnels can integrate with WordPress. They provide a plugin that lets you embed the sales funnel pages you create on their service, into your WordPress blog. You can also set of of the funnel pages as the home page for your blog. 

      As to the kinds of freebies you can give away, these are the typical options:

      • a free report
      • a free ebook
      • a free video – could be some insider technique you’ve discovered
      • a free video course – access to a mini-training course
      • free audio files – for example, a spoken version of a report or ebook
      • a webinar – a training video with a sales pitch at the end (here’s a free webinar script you can use)
      • Some marketers also send out free physical gifts like keyrings and such.

      If you’ve any other questions, please let me know. 🙂

  14. I’ve heard about these funnel setups on numerous occasions but I’m afraid my marketing education is yet to take me that far, so thank you for explaining them here! 

    I suppose these sort of ‘marketing routes’ can be pretty much ‘set and forget’ once you’ve created a successful funnel – would I be right in thinking this?

    • Hi Chris, yes, these are pretty much set-and-forget business assets. There can be a bit of work involved in creating a sales funnel, especially if you’re creating one from scratch rather than modifying an existing one.

      It’s always best to test though. Many marketers do what’s called “A/B Testing” or “Split Testing” where they test the reaction to two variations. That could be testing two headlines on an optin page, testing two similar words in a headline, testing different text colors, testing whether it’s better to have a video or a photo on a page and so on. 

      The best converting pages are continuously being tested for improvements that can be made. 

      If you’re using a shared funnel (someone else has created the funnel and allowed you to use it as well), it’s probably already been heavily tested so it gets good conversion rates. 

      But it’s still a good idea to do your own testing to see if you can improve conversions (the number of people who give you their email address versus the number of people who visit the page).

      The conversion rate for a good page is around 50%. 

      Beyond that, which doesn’t take much work, once the initial setup work has been done, you can pretty much leave things alone. You do still need to drive traffic to your pages but that’s a given for anything online. 

  15. You are absolutely correct when it comes to the online sales and marketing funnel capture pages. I need to incorporate this into my model so that I can capture peoples information for use of future products. I realize that I only use two affiliate marketing products with limited upside but when something with much greater upside comes along and getting bigger sales commissions I would need to be ready. Thank you for this timely reminder

    • You’re welcome, Andrew. One of the sales funnels I use that was created in Clickfunnels, promotes Clickfunnels itself. As an affiliate marketer, this is a great affiliate business opportunity. Funnels are something any business can use so this tool probably has more potential customers than most other programs online. 

  16. Hey Gary,Thanks for a very very enlightening and detailed post. I haven’t tried to do an email list yet. Probably because I am not sure what to write in my emails.  I don’t have an email course ready for that purpose, so, what would you suggest I should write within my email list?

    Thanks again!

    Marios

    • Hi Marios, writing your own email series can be a time-consuming task. 

      You need to think about sending out one email per day to your subscribers.

      Most email series are 7-10 emails long as they’re designed to promote a single product. But if you want to build your own email list where you can promote multiple products and offers, you need to look at the long term and build a long email sequence. 

      There are two ways to do this 

      1. Either build an email campaign or a legacy email series where emails are sent out automatically on days and times you specify. Once someone is on your list, they receive each of your emails sequentially on the schedule you set. Subscribers will get all emails in this sequence, whenever they sign up.

      2. Do a daily email broadcast. With this option you send out an email every day but it’s not part of an established email series. With this option, subscribers only get the emails as you send them out. They don’t get any pre-existing emails as with option 1.

      The best way to do option 1 is to simply commit to writing one email per day and add it to your email sequence. this way you won’t become overwhelmed by havings to write 10s of emails in one go. 

      If writing emails is too much trouble, you can always buy pre-existing email series and load them up into your autoresponder. Then it’s just a matter of adding your affiliate links into them. 

      Here are some email series that you can buy just for that purpose:

      i believe it’s a good idea to provide real value to your subscribers. So provide a couple of valuable content emails or some freebies or training between promotional emails rather than having every email you send out promoting something.

  17. A sales funnel is an absolute necessity if you want to build recurring income online. When I first started CPA marketing, I ran a couple of facebook ads that sent traffic directly to the offers. Needless to say, I lost all my money and gained zero conversion.Shortly thereafter, I met an internet marketing expert. He told me about the risks of sending traffic directly to an offer without some form of funnel to narrow down buyers from freebie seekers.In order words, I was basically throwing money away as there was no way to retarget those lost visitors. Problem is, I wasn’t prepared back then to spend some extra money on a software for creating squeeze pages. But that was a huge mistake I later came to realize. Thanks for the free ebook. I have downloaded it and would definitely go through. I need to take my affiliate marketing business a step further in 2019

    • I hear ya, Phranell86. I used to send all my traffic directly to offers too. Now I’m putting funnels in front of the top performing affiliate offers for the very reasons you state. Yeah, it means putting more time and energy into my business, but once the work is done, there’s a much better chance that a visitor will be turned into a customer. The little bit of pain up front is worth the gain on the back end!

  18. Wow, Splendid Gary. In fact from your write up it shows that you are a pro in this affiliate marketing. I have heard about sales funnel several times, but honestly cannot differentiate between it and the traditional affiliate marketing. Going through your descriptive analysis, I now know what is lead and the importance of sales funnel, of course with continuous marketing to one’s email list, there will be high chances of making sales. Clickfunnels is new to me, but the features looks interesting. I am hoping to read more about it as you said in your next post.

    • I don’t know that I’d call myself an affiliate marketing pro, Gracen! 🙂 There’s so much to know in this field that it actually pays to specialize in one or two areas rather than trying to master everything. That’s what leads to people feeling overwhelmed. 

      I’m still working on the Clickfunnels review but I hope to publish it in the next few days. 

  19. Gary,

    Thank you for such a detailed explanation about sales funnels.  I am running website and never tried sales funnels before. After reading your article I can relate how I can benefit from implementing them in my business strategy. As you said Starbucks, Amazon and other giants use this, so it should be for a reason!

    • Yeah, there’s actually nothing new about sales funnels – they’ve been used in marketing for decades at least. Traditionally, they’ve been used online by product creators, especially in the Make Money Online niche. What’s new is that affiliate marketers are now using them to build up their email lists and so they can market to those people again and again, rather than once. 

      They haven’t been the easiest of assets to set up in the past. Clickfunnels is a tool created to address that issue. It’s simple-to-use interface means any business owner can now create a sales funnel rather than outsourcing the task at high expense. 

      Talking about big companies using sales funnels, as Tony Robbins says: “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.

  20. This article provides an excellent outline regarding a sales funnel for any entrepreneur, both on and offline. I currently have two “sister” blogs, as I call them, both of which offer help yet market the same products; my books for my indie author business.

    I’m glad to see I’ve done the following:

    1) The way to entice potential web traffic: Helpful articles in my niche.

    2) Optin, which for me is a free e-book prequel.

    3) Contact details from interested readers regarding new books from me plus identical books in my genre (this is where affiliate marketing is king).

    Thanks for the article which shows I’m headed down the right path.

  21. Great article, Gary! Yes, I personally think that sales funnels can surely play a very important role in getting the most value from traffic to your website. However, when you create a sales funnel you really need to know what you are doing to ensure it is a great experience for your visitor instead of an annoying experience.

    I sometimes personally do not like the idea of being offered up sells and if I know that this offer is part of a sales funnel I sometimes deliberately avoid it, but this is just me lol. Saying this I have bought upsells many a time before so it is not that I do not buy via sales funnels.

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that when setting up a sales funnel you need to think very carefully about the user experience to ensure that it is indeed going to be a good experience for your visitor and not an annoying experience with too many upsells, opt-ins etc.

    • I hear ya where sales funnels and multiple products are thrown at you after you buy the front-end product, Schalk.

      There are two kinds of sales funnel, which now that i think about it, I didn’t really distinguish between.

      The first is the one you talk about which is almost always used when you buy a product in the Internet Marketing / Make Money Online niche. You buy the advertised product and are then hit with additional products that “extend” or “complement” the original product you bought. I prefer to know how much money I’m expected to stump up at the outset, not to be nickled and dimed on the back end.

      The second type of sales funnel in built around a single product. The front end is a free product that gives genuine value, regardless of whether the subscriber ultimately buys from you or not. Once they hand over their email address to get that free product, they’re put into an email sequence. That sends out emails to other free products or training while pointing the subscriber to the product you’re trying to get them to buy. They’ll get 7-10 emails and they either buy or they don’t.

      The aim is to build trust with the subscriber. Being honest and not over-hyping the product is key here. Everyone’s already jaded with the hypey nature of sales pages in this niche. So being forthright with subscribers is the way to go.

      This, to me at least, seems a more ethical way of introducing people to a product they’re not familiar with. The passive income opportunity I promote is a good example of this approach and philosophy. This isn’t a funnel I came up with but one that my mentor, Zach crawford, allowed me to clone and use (he provides the training to those who sign up).

  22. Very informative. I hardly know what a salesfunnel is. Started with Clickbank. But their solutions are very expensive. But how to attract traffic to the site.

    • I think a lot of affiliate marketers get their start promoting Clickbank products, Hans. I did myself. Not sure what you mean by their solutions being expensive. The last time I listed a product for sale on Clickbank (my LunarPhase Pro astronomy software), it cost $29 to have it listed but that was several years ago.

      I didn’t know anything about sales funnels then, so there isn’t one. The software is the only thing offered to potential customers. Maybe Clickbank offer a way for vendors to create sales funnels now? If that’s the case, I take it that going that route is expensive, from what you’re saying.

      How to drive traffic is the problem everyone has online! 🙂 There are plenty of ways to do it, but using paid traffic is the fastest. However, you really do need to know how to run paid ads before you put any money into advertising. If you don’t, it’s a very quick way to lose your money. Making videos for YouTube is one of the best ways to drive traffic. Affiliate marketers Sarah Staar and my mentor, Zach Crawford, use YouTube almost exclusively to drive traffic. Check out this post – there’s a free YouTube course available in it.

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