Launch Your Online Business in Just 7 Days

How badly are you looking to generate a sustainable income online?


Have you tried different methods with barely any results?


Then, maybe what you’re lacking is a comprehensive sales funnel that delivers the results you’ve been looking for.


By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to:

  • Recognize the 3 sales funnel stages and why they’re important
  • Build effective, sustainable, and optimized sales funnels in any niche
  • Automate your entire sales funnel and easily scale (if you want to)
  • Figure out what to look for in your competitors’ sales funnels and how to draw inspiration from them (we’ll show you 3 examples)

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

What is a sales funnel?

In a nutshell: A sales funnel refers to the steps that customers go through before making a purchase decision.


Regarding your online business, this translates to the web pages your website visitors go through before deciding if they want to buy your offers or not. (I.e. The customer journey, but with web pages)


So the whole purpose of a sales funnel is to drive your website’s online traffic, generate qualified leads, and convert prospects into paying customers.


— Pfff, but that’s the goal of every online business.


And that’s precisely the point! Each business (online or not) has a sales funnel of some sort, the question is whether it’s effective or not.


And by effective, we mean, is it a personalized sales funnel that speaks directly to the hearts and minds of your target audience?


To learn how to come up with such funnels, you first need to learn the different sales funnel stages and how to structure them.

Breaking down a basic sales funnel

Sales funnel

Each sales funnel you build should have 3 stages:

  • Top of the funnel — this is where you drive traffic and get as many people as possible into your sales funnels
  • Middle of the funnel — here, you go through the process of filtering qualified leads (potential customers) by teaching them how you could solve their problems with your offerings
  • Bottom of the funnel — last but certainly not least, this is where you close the sales process with those qualified leads

Let’s take a deeper dive and learn how to build each funnel stage.

The top — Awareness & opportunity

Requirements for this stage: getting defined traffic from paid ads, social media, and blog posts, to landing pages that would resemble the entrance point of your funnel.


The first stage of any successful sales funnel involves customers becoming aware of your offerings and why they need them.


At this stage, your business goals include advertising to a target audience, creating awareness about the problems your offerings fix, and building appeal to prospects.


In digital marketing, it’s imperative that you identify a specific niche market to delve into, instead of trying to cater to everyone.


This is followed by vital lead nurturing which works like this:

  • The person identifies a problem that they have
  • They understand the different variables that form that particular problem
  • They see your offering as a possible solution that’ll get them to a point where they no longer have this problem
  • They start researching your online business more to see if you make a good fit for them or not

Most modern consumers are savvy, and they look through a variety of available content across several websites before funneling into the next phase.


So you want to give them educational content that’s suited to helping them solve their problem(s) and guide them towards buying your offers.


The goal of this lead nurturing process is to hook prospects at the top of the funnel right down to the bottom.


And in order to do that properly, make sure to develop positive relationships with buyers through various activities, such as:

  • Getting them to join your email newsletter — you can do that with lead magnet landing pages
  • Sharing your story to make yourself more relatable as a human and let them know you were in their shoes
  • Offering free trials and free tiers of your products/services

With that said, if everything goes to plan, you should currently have a group of prospects ready to be introduced to your personalized offers.

The middle — Find solutions

Source: Giphy.com

Requirements for this stage: engaging prospects you have gathered from the previous step with promotional content like emails, notifications, sales pages, etc.


Think of it this way, you’ve now got their attention, and it’s time to start the actual selling process.


That means showcasing your product/service paired with social proof, actual results and data, pricing, and whenever possible, guarantees.


This also means eliminating any leads who are not yet ready to buy your offers.


This will guarantee that when you close the sales in the following stage, you achieve the highest conversion rate possible.


Speaking of which, this is the perfect time to start calculating your conversion rates to ensure that your online traffic is doing what it should do — if you have a lot of clicks, but no conversions of any kind then something is wrong.


For content, you should start introducing product comparisons, webinars, case studies, and engaging videos.


This will leave you with a handful of engaged leads who are highly qualified.

The bottom — Time to make some sales!

Source: Giphy.com

Requirements for this stage: customized checkout pages, very compelling and clear offers, and competitive pricing.


As a business that runs thousands of funnels every year, we can describe this part of the sales funnel in four words: easier said than done.


Yes, in theory, all you have to do is push your qualified leads onto your checkout pages, and you’ll generate sales.


But in practice, it’s much harder. Allow us to explain that with a few questions:

1. Is your offer better than what everyone else is bringing to your customers’ table? Or better yet, what distinguishes you from the rest?

2. If needs be, how’s your customer support team looking?

3. Have you clearly addressed all customer doubts and concerns about your offer?

4. Have you shown enough social proof and 3rd-party ratings for your offer?

Many fail when answering these questions, that’s why almost 70% of customers leave their carts without completing purchases.


Here, your marketing brilliance should come to life with a set of tactics that would position your offer as a prime candidate for your prospects.


This includes offering:

  • Bundle deals
  • Discounts
  • Money-back guarantees

This extends to promising customer support, providing a FAQs section or a help center, video demos, and boasting top benefits.


You also need to optimize your checkout process to include:

  • A simple form that’s easy to navigate and insert info
  • Trust symbols to show that your website and transactions are secure
  • The original price followed by the discounted price
  • A clear list of the items in the cart (don’t include packages they didn’t ask for!)

Then, if you want to take your marketing efforts even further, you can offer upselling, cross-selling, and downselling to prospective customers.

UpSelling, Cross-Selling and DownSelling

By using all these techniques in conjunction, you can offer exclusivity to your customers, without paying for additional marketing channels.


Furthermore, they increase profits, customer loyalty, and the lifetime value of your customers.


And finally, this purchasing experience allows for a balanced growth between old and new customers, especially since it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one.


Note: You’ll notice that these stages blend in nicely with the AIDA marketing formula, which is:

  • Awareness — Happens at the top of your sales funnel
  • Interest — Happens at both the top and middle of your sales funnel
  • Decision — Happens at both the middle and bottom of your sales funnel
  • Action — Happens at the bottom of your sales funnel
Visual representation of the AIDA formula

Visual representation of the AIDA formula

How to create a successful sales funnel

Somewhere out there, there’s a whole graveyard of “bad” offers that didn’t get a single sale — simply because there was nobody wanting/needing to buy them.


On the other hand, you’ll rarely find demand for a product/service without finding competition.


This complicates this whole idea of creating your own sales funnel that’s both effective and competitive — and doing it consistently for multiple funnels.


But no worries, we’ve got you covered in this section with a proven blueprint that you can use to create any type of funnel. It includes:

  • Doing proper research
  • Determining traffic sources
  • Building the web pages of your sales funnel
  • Optimizing your new sales pipeline to perform the best it can

Let’s dive into it.

Research is vital

digital marketing research

It’s simple really, if you mess this step up, you’ll generate little to no sales.


Imagine spending days and nights building something you’re planning to sell only to get hit with a wall on launch day with other competitors offering better versions of your offer at a 10th of the price…


Or worse, not finding a market for your offer at all.


Unfortunately, a lot of people make this mistake by having an attitude of “build now, find customers later” when they really should be going for the “find potential customers now, build along the way according to theirneeds and budgets” type of attitude.


But we’re not going to let that happen to you, here’s how to do your research before building any marketing funnel:

1. Analyze your audience:

If you’re at the stage of building sales funnel pages, then you should already have a buyer persona figured out along with characteristics, arguments, and wording that speak directly to them.


You also want to get that hook that’ll allow you to swiftly capture their attention.


This means addressing their main issues, presenting solutions that’ll lift them up, and showing them where they can be after listening to you.

2. Know your offer:

This seems trivial, but when was the last time you took the time to truly think about everything you’re selling?


So if you haven’t already, start building a list of features, benefits, reviews, and all the constructive feedback that you can get.


This will later help with building effective web pages that actually convert.

3. Conduct competitive research:

By this, we don’t just mean going to your competitors' websites and checking out their offers, design, and pricing.


You want to get a level deeper than that, check out their reviews on 3rd-party platforms like Trustpilot, G2, customer reviews on YouTube (not affiliate ones!), and other independent reviewers in your industry/niche.


Then, you want to identify places where you excel over your main competitors, which will help you write better copy when trying to sell yourself to prospects in all funnel stages.


All of these steps would give you:

  • A clear idea of how your audience thinks, how you can help them, and how to communicate with them in the best way possible
  • A list that would guarantee that you know your business better than anyone and everyone at any given time
  • Ability to generate highly targeted sales and marketing efforts that would focus on your strengths and compensate for any weaknesses your competitors can capitalize on

Determine your traffic sources

Types of traffic sources

Traffic is the true currency of the web, and if you consistently have it, you’ll always have a chance of succeeding.


Targeted online traffic is even better, and by now you should have a type of traffic you want to attract, which you can do so with these methods:

1. Paid advertising:

If you want results fast, go with paid ads from Google, Facebook, etc. If you don’t want your marketing budget to disappear, make sure you know what you’re doing.


And if you don’t want to risk it, you can always hire a freelancer from places like Upwork and PeoplePerHour, just make sure they have good ratings and reviews.

2. Social media:

Never underestimate the role of social media platforms in your marketing and sales efforts. Make sure to constantly share updates, new announcements, educational content, and lead magnets.


Places like LinkedIn are great when it comes to sharing your journey as you develop and sell your offerings — utilize positive feedback, and share the difficulties you overcome along the way.


Plus, you can always run re-targeting campaign ads to visitors of your social media, which will make sure you get the most conversions possible.

3. SEO:

Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to reach potential customers that are ready to buy your offerings IF you’re a good fit for them.


Since they all conduct searches based on the problems they’ve noticed, your blog content will get them one step closer to making a purchase decision.


Problem is, coming up with a content plan and following it for months could be a little too much for people looking to get some cash flowing as soon as possible — play your cards wisely and according to your unique situation.

4. Running an affiliate program:

If you want an “easy” way to grow, you can try your luck with affiliate marketing.


In a nutshell, you can create an affiliate program that handles recruiting affiliate marketers — each time an affiliate makes a sale with your offerings, they get an agreed-upon commission.


(You can set up your affiliate program with systeme.io in 30 minutes for free).


This is neat because it trims a lot of your marketing costs, the affiliates would do the heavy lifting with running ads and nurturing leads.

5. Running a referral program:

Not to be confused with the previous traffic source, a referral program is concerned with engaging existing customers and offering them incentives (like discounts) to bring new customers from their circles.

Build personalized sales funnel pages

3 funnels for 3 different audiences

Here comes the fun part! Get ready to create your various sales funnel stages.


The first thing you’ll need is a tool to build your funnel web pages, more precisely, a sales funnel software that delivers a no-code experience and in-house hosting.


This will save you time, effort, and money.

How to build a sales funnel with systeme.io

For example, consider this totally hypothetical situation:

1. You go sign up at systeme.io and get your forever-free account

2. On this clean dashboard, you click on “Funnels” in the menu

SIO — Main menu

3. Next, in the following screen, you simply click on “Create” and choose the name, type, and currency of your funnel

Creating a funnel in SIO

4. Afterward, when greeted by the funnel dashboard, you add a new step/web page that resembles the first page your visitors will land on

Creating a page in systeme.io

5. Next, the library of templates shows up

Templates in SIO

6. After picking one, you press the “magic wand” to edit the template with our blazing fast drag-and-drop editor

Edit button for pages in SIO

7. Here, you just click on the elements that are in the template to edit them to your liking — of course, you can add, delete, and organize elements as you please

Editor in SIO

8. Finally, click “save changes” on the top right to be back to your sales funnel dashboard

That’s it, your first web page of your new sales funnel is ready and live on the web. That took what, 5 minutes?


We know, we know — you’re probably thinking to yourself “but creating an effective sales funnel that generates a lot of money is way harder than that!”


And you’re right.


But remember, you already did most of the heavy lifting in the research step, this is where you unload everything in a neat, personalized, and influential way for your customers to experience.


In fact, if you really got the previous parts right, don’t be surprised if your first sales funnel ends up with stats like these:

Highlited in red — buyer journey

Notice how on the left, your funnel pages will actually resemble your buyers’ journey.

How to optimize sales funnel stages (best practices)

By now, you’ve got a solid plan of:

  • Defining your target audience and doing proper research
  • Having your website/sales funnel pages up and running

The next step is to iterate and excel when communicating with your customers.


And for that, you can use 4 methods:

1. A/B testing

2. Email marketing

3. Marketing automation

4. Monitoring performance

(Which conveniently, are all available with systeme.io!)

Use A/B testing

A-B test analytics

Sometimes called split testing, A/B testing is a method where you split online traffic coming to a specific URL between 2 variants of a web page.


This can be used to increase conversion rates on different sales funnel stages by testing how different elements of your pages (i.e. headlines) perform.


We’ve recently used A/B testing to increase the conversion rate of our homepage by 32%!


Note: Periodically run A/B tests, simply because there’s always something that you can improve.

Incorporate email marketing

You should use email marketing to fuel your different marketing efforts.


Why?


Because it has an ROI of $42 for each $1 you spend — pretty convincing if you ask us.


So here’s how to use this brilliant method:

  • Collect emails from people who sign up at your landing pages, then segment them accordingly to really focus your efforts (you can easily do that with Tags in systeme.io)
  • Set up different email campaigns that each serve a certain aspect of your sales funnel (i.e. welcoming new users with a welcome campaign)
  • Make sure the emails of your campaigns are personalized, exciting to read, and truly valuable to your prospects

Next is finding the right balance of sending emails to your customers, you don’t want them to quickly get tired of you — which they eventually will, so regularly clean up your email list.


Also, don’t forget to thank your existing customers by offering them discounts, coupon codes, and special deals via your emails.


This will get you the most conversions at the end of your sales funnel.

Automate your sales funnels

Workflows

So far, we’ve been talking about creating the perfect sales funnel, but a successful online business would have multiple sales funnels for promoting different offers.


As you can imagine, this creates complexities when trying to manage multiple funnels and different types of customers.


But fear not, automation is here to save the day and let you easily scale your business.


Top-rated platforms will allow you to set up automation rules that basically boil down to this concept:


“If X happens, the platform will perform Y”


For example, say you have set up a welcome email campaign in your systeme.io account, you can easily enroll new prospects into it as soon as they sign up to one of your top-of-the-funnel pages.


This can be extended to:

  • Sales
  • All email marketing efforts
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Upselling, cross-selling, and downselling
  • Other marketing efforts

Remember to always be creative with this, don’t just copy what works and roll with it — that’s fine at the beginning when starting things, but you want to have your own touch on things as well.


Finally, as a general compass, make sure you’re on top of your revenue metrics and sources for different funnels, study your incoming traffic behaviors, and analyze different KPIs that describe how well your business is doing.

The top 3 high-converting sales funnels to draw inspiration from

Now you’ve got the knowledge of everything you need to build and publish successful sales funnels, let’s draw some inspiration from businesses that are already using said knowledge to generate a sustainable income online.

The Epik Summit

Epik Summit

Source: Created by systeme.io

This virtual summit was created by systeme.io — it featured 40+ world-class marketers and entrepreneurs like Aurelian Amacker (our founder and CEO), Rich Schefren, Dan Lok, Matt McWilliams, and more.


The premise is simple, we planned an epic event that would give people a ton of value in the form of cutting-edge techniques and strategies for their different niches — plus, it was free so anyone could join.


Okay, but how did we possibly make money doing this?


Well, here comes the marketing part. Once people reserved their seats they’d get a confirmation email with all the details needed and the specific date the virtual summit would be held at.


But they’d also get the chance to get immediate access to the summit for a fee — this was convenient for those who didn’t want to wait to watch the summit on a later date.


As for the funnel stages:

  • The top of the funnel — we sent out an invitation to our email list subscribers (the English market) and posted about it on our social media as well. No paid advertising was done
  • The middle of the funnel — Traffic was sent to a long-from landing page (featured at the start of this section), and all they had to do was insert their emails to join the virtual summit
  • The bottom of the funnel — Email marketing did most of the heavy lifting as we sent out detailed emails about what the viewers should do and how they can join (plus, giving them that upsell to get immediate access)

Dot Com Truths Membership

Dot Com Truths

DotComTruths.com, which is run by Eran Bucai, offers a membership that includes multiple services that revolve around building sales funnels and increasing online sales for businesses.


Here’s what their sales funnel stages look like:

  • The top of the funnel — Traffic is gathered from their social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube
  • The middle of the funnel — Traffic is sent to a sales page that explains what they do and displays solid social proof (plus pricing)
  • The bottom of the funnel — Those who are “sold” on the sales page continue to a checkout page where they can pay for the membership, they also get upsold with a 1-1 hour session

And that’s pretty much it for the funnel structure.

Funnel Vibe

FunnelVibe

Funnel Vibe is a dedicated service for building automated sales funnels with systeme.io, it was created by Bolivar Muniz.


(We actually interviewed him a while ago!)


They sell custom and responsive templates of sales funnels for different niches (ecommerce, courses, etc) and they’re always looking to innovate.


If you consider their whole business as a 1-big funnel, then their funnel stages look like this:

  • The top of the funnel — They attract traffic using their blog, and social media platforms
  • The middle of the funnel — They run different sales funnel for personalized offers, they also have a marketplace where they display their templates for anyone browsing their website
  • The bottom of the funnel — Each template has its own little sales page, followed by a clear and detailed checkout page

Of course, behind the scenes, they could be doing a lot of different marketing tactics that include email marketing or other methods.

Why choose systeme.io to build your sales funnels

Systeme.io logo

Systeme.io logo

You already know that you can easily build top-quality sales funnels with systeme.io.


But did you know that our platform is an all-in-one platform that was built to create, maintain, and grow every aspect of your online business?


That means you get all the tools you need to be successful online, under one roof.

Systeme.io’s features

Just take a look at these awesome perks you get:

  • Drag-and-drop builder: No code, no hassle. Simply edit your web pages to your liking and publish in no time!
  • Modern templates library: Use proven formulas to accelerate the growth of your sales funnel
  • Email marketing at its best: Play like the pros by utilizing email marketing to engage customers and prospects as you’ve never done before
  • Sell online courses: Easily upload and host your online courses library, the sell courses to your students with an impressive set of features like drip courses, membership sites, communities, and more
  • Run your affiliate program: Build an army of affiliates that sell your offers day and night (you can also promote your affiliate program and your sales funnels on our affiliate marketplace!)
  • Automate your entire business: Set up automation rules and workflows to completely run your online business on autopilot

Of course, a host of other features like A/B testing, evergreen webinars, coupon codes, assistant accounts, blogs, and more are all waiting for you!


Maybe that’s why we have more than 1,200 reviews on Trustpilot with an amazing rating of 4.9/5 — or is it our pricing?

Systeme.io’s pricing

Systeme.io’s pricing

Systeme.io’s pricing

We have 4 plans:

  • Free plan: $0/month
  • Startup plan: $27/month or $228/yearly (save 30%)
  • Webinar plan: $47/month or $396/yearly (save 30%)
  • Unlimited Plan: $97/month or $828/yearly (save 30%)

The Free plan is free forever — you can build 3 sales funnels with unlimited hosting and storage space, and connect your own custom domain.


Plus, the ability to send unlimited marketing emails, access to tags, automation rules, blogs, A/B testing, online courses, and your own affiliate program.


Oh, and sell unlimited products/services with 0% transaction fees!


(You can get a free migration for your online business if you go with the Unlimited plan or any annual billing plan).


But hey, don’t just take our word for it, go try it out yourself and get your free account nowwe won’t ask for your card info!

Conclusion

So, what did we learn today?

  • A sales funnel helps you focus your marketing efforts and deliver personalized experiences to your customers and prospects
  • In the beginning, you don’t need a huge budget or entire sales teams to get your online business off the ground — especially if you use a tool like systeme.io
  • Knowing the different sales funnel stages will help you get better results in the long run as you can optimize each 1 for their respective goals
  • Building a sales funnel is not a 1-time thing, it’s a process that you iterate on and get better at doing with time
  • Always look to optimize the best performing funnels with methods like A/B testing and automation rules
  • You should look for inspiration from successful sales funnels in your niche

And that’s it! You’re now ready to build thriving sales funnels, what are you waiting for?


Get your forever-free account at systeme.io and start building now!

Other posts about sales funnels:

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