How to Create a Sales Funnel That Actually Works

Whether you’ve been in business for awhile or are just starting out, it can be hard to decide WHAT to do and WHEN to do it in order to get paying clients and customers. And that’s why were chatting today about how to create a sales funnel that ACTUALLY works – no matter what type of online business you have. Ready to jump in? Then let’s get started!

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Before we jump into this episode, I wanted to let you know that I have just a few more openings for Mama Business Strategy Sessions this month. Here’s the deal: in order to have a successful business, you have to have paying clients and customers. That means, knowing who your ideal client is and how to reach them, understanding why your client should choose you over the competition, and designing marketing systems that work to generate leads – over and over again – without sacrificing your family. That’s exactly what a one-hour Mama Business Strategy is designed to help you do. After the session, you’ll be able to make your first sale (or 10th) without feeling salesy, sleazy, or annoying everyone you know on social media. Overcome decision paralysis when it comes to the practical and technical side of running your business. And sleep well at night knowing you don’t have to do “all the things” in order to be successful. Plus, you’ll know the next right action step to take to jumpstart the next phase of your business life. Sound like something you need? Schedule your session today at sarahbrumley.com/strategy.

How to Create a Sales Funnel That Actually Works

Well hey there and welcome back to another episode of the Mama Business Podcast. I’m Sarah and I’m so excited that you are here with me today as we chat about using an effective sales funnel strategy to create a bigger impact as far as getting more clients and making more money.

And this is perfect timing, I think, to have this conversation because we are entering the holiday season. And, even if you aren’t selling products, the thing about the holiday season is people LOVE to spend money – on others but also on themselves. So, it’s a great time to make sure you have a successful plan in place to get someone from a cold lead – you know, someone who has no idea who you are or what you offer – to the person that says “hell yes” they want your product or service and they want it now.

Sounds ideal, right?

In my experience, though, talking about sales funnels makes a lot of people nervous. Who knows, maybe you were even a little bit nervous about starting this episode. And I think the reason for this reaction is that, while we run online businesses that are meant to make money, a sales funnel makes it seem like we need to out there selling people on our product or service like a sleazy car salesman.

But that’s not the case at all. In fact, a sales funnel allows you to do just the opposite and that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you today.

So, before we get started, I want to talk a little bit about what a sales funnel is and how it works.

What is a Sales Funnel?

Put simply, a sales funnel is the steps that you take to move someone from not knowing you to becoming a raving fan – you know, someone who loves your product or service and can’t wait to tell everyone they know about it OR even help you sell it!

A sales funnel typically looks like an upside down triangle with five stage. People like to get creative with the names of those stages, but I think it’s more appropriate to stick to the industry standard. So, those stages are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Engagement & Consideration
  3. Purchase
  4. Re-engagement
  5. Raving Fan & Advocate

And not to worry, we’re going to go through all five of those and I’ll lay out exactly how you can use this sales funnel in your own online business. So you are going to want to grab a pen and paper and work through this process with me. In fact, I made a special downloadable worksheet to help you do just that. So, feel free to go grab that at sarahbrumley.com/funnel OR if you aren’t in a place to do that at this point, then go ahead and listen through the episode and come back to download that so you can complete this exercise. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Alrighty, so let’s walk through the stages and how you can implement them into your own online business.

Stage #1: Awareness

The first stage of the sales funnel is awareness. This is where a potential client or customer meets or learns about you and your business for the first time. This is the very top of the funnel because unless someone knows about us, they can’t engage our products or services, right? So, let’s say that you run a weight loss business and Jane is looking to lose some weight. She doesn’t know you, she hasn’t heard of you before, she’s not following you on social media, so how is she going to find you?

She’s going to jump onto her favorite search platform and she’s going to do some searching for someone who can help her achieve her goal of weight loss. That means that she’s going to come up with results from platforms that can easily be searched, including:

  • Blog and Website Content,
  • Podcasts,
  • YouTube Videos,

…and possibly even Pinterest in combination with one of these (because it’s also a search engine).

If you aren’t using one of these methods to help her get to know you, then you are likely going to miss out on having Jane as your client or customer.

So, when it comes to running a successful online business, the first thing you need in your sales funnel is to have one of these content marketing strategies in place. If you already have one of these, whether it’s a Blog, Podcast, or YouTube channel – then you can add that at the top of your funnel worksheet. If you don’t though, then it’s time to think about your own business and which one makes the most sense for you. Personally, I’ve used all three – but I recommend having a primary one that you use so that things remain consistent.

I’ll leave some links to some additional podcast episodes that might be helpful as you make your choice.

Okay, the first stage of the sales funnel is awareness which comes through SEARCH. You need to be using a platform that allows you to get found on search engines. So, if you haven’t done that, now is the time.

Stage #2: Engagement & Consideration

The second stage of the sales funnel is engagement and consideration.

Once Jane realizes you exist in the world of weight loss, a successful funnel will move her to the next stage of engaging with you and considering you as the professional she wants to pay to help her get results. The idea in this stage is that you move Jane from someone that just knows of you to a warm lead.

Let’s say that Jane came across a blog post of yours in stage 1 and that’s how she became aware of you. A good way to convert her from the “just getting to know you” to “engagement or warm lead” stage is to get her onto your email list. You can simply offer a weekly more monthly newsletter signup in which she’d get more tips to help her get the results she wants. Or maybe you offer a freebie – a recipe or a cheat sheet – in exchange for her email address.

The beauty of this is that now you have the ability to show up in Jane’s inbox so that she gets to know you better and hear more about what you offer that will solve her problem. Remember it can take between 8-12 points of contact with you before someone is willing to buy. So, this is a great way to do so.

Another way you can move people into engagement with you is through a FREE social media group or another community-type option. I’ve seen this done a lot of ways, but the most common is a FREE Facebook group that allows people to come and meet like-minded people. In Jane’s case, she might love to join your FREE group all about losing weight.

So…that’s something to consider as well.

I do have to say that if you don’t have an email marketing strategy in place – start with that and here’s why: You OWN your email list unlike a social media platform that could go down or lock you out at any given point. So, make sure you are capitalizing on getting people on to your list before you prioritize a free group. Just something to consider.

Okay, so now Jane is on your email list and has possibly even joined a free group. She’s a warm lead that’s excited to hear from you.

Stage #3: Purchase

And this is exactly when we want to move Jane from our free resources to that paid product or service. This is stage 3 of your sales funnel and is the point where Jane becomes a paying customer.

How do we get her here? Well, if you’ve been offering value through your searchable content, your email marketing blasts, and your free community group, if you have one, then Jane is likely already seeing results. But…she’s hearing testimonials from people that have worked with you (either ones you share in your emails or things she’s hearing in the group), and she realizes that she can get much better results if she works with you in your paid program or 1:1.

Plus, you’ve used amazing calls to action across all of your platforms – your website, your blog, your social media, etc, so Jane knows exactly how to get started.

And if you aren’t sure how to use CTAs in your business, then you’ll definitely want to check out episode 21 all about that very topic. Trust me, it makes all the difference.

So, Jane is a paying customer now! How exciting, right? And this is where a lot of mama business owners think: “I got the client, so I’m good to go.” But I want to challenge that today. Because if you take a moment to think about all the work you did to get Jane to this point, it was a lot, right?

And that’s exactly why we want to continue to keep Jane happy and engaged – because it takes a lot less work to KEEP a client or customer than it does to GET one.

Stage #4: Re-Engagement

So that brings us to stage 4 of the sales funnel and that’s the re-engagement stage. Jane’s been able to get the result she wants from your product or service, and that’s great. So, how do you keep Jane moving forward with you from this point on?

Well, there are two great ways to do this. The first is to continue to use email marketing strategies to offer more value to Jane. This could be ongoing tips, strategies, or recommendations that help her maintain her progress and the results she got from working with you. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but will definitely keep her engaged and interested in what you have to offer.

A second method to use in this stage of re-engagement could be a client community. Of course, this will definitely depend on the type of business you have, but you might consider having an exclusive client community where like-minded individuals can share their stories of success, bounce ideas off one another, and just stay connected.

Whatever you choose, make sure you offer something to keep Jane engaged at this stage. Because, if she stays engaged then that’ll push her right into the last and final stage which is a raving fan and advocate.

Stage #5: Raving Fan & Advocate

Stage 5 is something that a lot of mama business owners don’t think about, quite honestly, but there’s so much potential for a client or customer at this stage their journey with you. Not only have they been able to get an incredible result from you, but now they’re at the point where they can’t wait to share that result and your business offering with those around them. Who doesn’t want to see their friends lose weight with them, right?

So, this is the stage where you might consider offering an affiliate program for your current or past clients. This could include them getting a discount on a future purchase with you, or even just being able to offer some sort of discount to a friend or family member.

This also might be the time to consider running a higher ticket program if you don’t already offer one. Perhaps you move someone from a group or service based program into a mastermind or a one-to-one coaching program. Whatever it is, you know that Jane can’t wait to be the first one in line to sign up – after all, she knows you get results.

Create Your Sales Funnel

Whew! That was a lot, right? But we conquered all five stages of the sales funnel strategy and my guess is that you have a much better idea of how to move cold leads – those that have no idea who you are – to raving fans – those that can’t wait to tell people who you are and how you can help them.

And that brings us to the action part of this episode, and you know I’m a huge proponent of taking action, because action is where the dreams turn into the reality. Ideally, I’d love to see you work through the entire sales funnel and really gain clarity on how you turn cold leads into raving fans, but I understand that time might be limited. If that’s the case, I want you to focus on how you create awareness within your business.

How do you move people from not knowing you at all to wanting to engage with your free resources? Remember, we talked about the best methods for doing this: A blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel. Why? Because they are all highly searchable platforms designed to help people answer questions online. So, which one will you choose?

…and if you already have one of these in place, then pat yourself on the back and move to the next stage: how will you utilize that platform better in order to increase engagement

Now, I know from personal experience that I am more likely to accomplish what I set out to do if I am accountable to someone. So DM me on Instagram and let me know which content marketing platform you plan to use or are already using so that I can cheer you on throughout the process. In fact, share a link if you have one so I can go check it out. Because, mama, I am cheering you on throughout this process.

Have an amazing day and I’ll chat with you next time.

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