5 Steps to Building Your First Online Sales Funnel

Remember: Potential customers go on top and established customers on the bottom.

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By Brian Ainsley Horn

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As an entrepreneur, you understand marketing's importance: Without marketing, your business would eventually fail due to the absence of new customers. Therefore, if you haven't already put time and effort into this mission, now is the time to start; and one easy way to start is the utilization of a sales funnel.

Related: The Sales Secrets to Using Content Effectively at Each Stage of the Funnel

What is a sales funnel?

This strategy is so named due to the fact that in diagram form, this particular marketing strategy looks just like its name.

The top category is the biggest one and represents the largest number of people -- potential customers. The bottom category represents the smallest number -- committed customers -- which is why it's smaller.

Now, here are the five steps to follow to construct your own simple online sales funnel.

1. Create a great landing page.

Your website's landing page is the first impression potential customers will instantly have of your business. Therefore, take time to make sure that it looks great. A good landing page will also encourage visitors to sign up for some sort of list, or subscribe to the website. This gives you that all-important contact information, which becomes your first line of communication.

2. Present a front-end offer.

The next step is to present potential customers with the opportunity to buy a product or procure your service. "When constructing your main front-end products and associated upsell offers, you should be engineering them with the additional mindset of . . . how will this help create more desire for the next [backend] offer [you're] going to present them with," explains Todd Brown of MarketingFunnelAutomation.com.

In other words, at this step you should be "pre-selling" on the next step in the funnel.

3. Give an upsell offer on the back end.

Offer your customers who just bought or are about to buy a product or service the opportunity to upsize, or upgrade, that service. For example, create an offer that will deliver even more benefit to the customer if he or she upgrades. This strategy is called an upsell.

Consider this the steak dinner to the regular offer's appetizer. You are offering your customers more substance if they choose to upgrade. Of course, that also means you make more money because an upsell typically involves a larger or more expensive item or service.

Related: 5 Ways to Boost Your Conversion Rates and Supercharge Web Sales

4. Offer a downsize option.

In the same way that you encouraged customers to upgrade services in the upsell step, this element of the funnel calls for you to offer a downgrade option to certain customers.

No, a downsize option doesn't represent a failure and should not be looked upon as the loss of a sale. Instead, consider this a way to keep a customer unable to buy from you due to budget constraints. Keep in mind that those constraints may change. Be considerate and offer cheaper options for these individuals to keep them as potential customers.

5. Keep it going.

The last step in the sales funnel is to keep your momentum going. Follow up with all the new customers you have acquired and ensure they are happy with their product or service. A great way to accomplish this is to offer a membership-based rewards program. This will allow you to remain in contact with customers, giving you the perfect means for telling them about new deals and services.

The steps listed here are geared to a business with an online presence. Of course, this might not describe your particular business. However, every business can benefit from the sales funnel model.

Just remember: Your potential customers category, which represents the greatest amount of people, goes on top of the funnel; and the smallest category, established customers, goes on the bottom. The categories in between may be altered to meet your specific business's needs and sales goals.

Related: 5 Ways to Boost Your Conversion Rates and Supercharge Web Sales

Brian Ainsley Horn

Author and Co-founder of Authority Alchemy

Brian Horn is an author and co-founder of branding firm, Authority Alchemy. He transforms business owners using the process of “authority marketing.”

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