How to create a successful Sales Funnel that converts

How to create a successful Sales Funnel that converts

A successful sales funnel is like a Nascar track where your prospects are driving race cars. Because the track is flat, even a kid can finish one lap.

A bad funnel is like driving a race car on a forest road. It’s complicated and most people will just give up.

The smoother things are, the more people finish the race and thus the more revenue you generate. Everyone wins!

Getting people to reach your final goal is simple. All you have to do is follow a strategy that will gently point them in the right direction.

Most businesses fail because of this. They usually skip a few steps. Even worse, they make their prospects take these steps in the wrong order.

There are countless strategies for building a sales funnel. In this article I will explain to you the one that I like the most: A.I.D.A. It can be applied in any business, online or offline, from marketing to conversion optimization and even copywriting (this is a copywriting formula afterall).

But first:

What exactly is a funnel?

It’s a set of steps that users need to take before they reach a final goal. 

Example:

Step 1 – A person sees your ad on Facebook and clicks on it.

Step 2 – They get to your product page.

Step 3 – They add the product to their cart.

Step 4 – They go to the checkout page.

Step 5 – They finish the order.

Each step takes the user closer to your goal.

If someone lands on your product page but doesn’t buy, that means they abandoned the funnel.

Actually, this is the core concept of conversion rate optimization, fixing the leaks to make more users reach the end.

Why do you even need a funnel?

I can’t stress enough on this. You really need to know what your users are doing if you want better results. You need them to follow a path or else they get lost.

Think of it this way, your business is unique but you are not the only one in your field. If someone else knows your target audience better than you, they can create a better funnel and drastically decrease your results. After all, competition is the engine of the free market.

But if YOU are the one with the better funnel, you will be the one that gets the best results.

So setting up a funnel is mandatory for your business. A successful sales funnel starts from the first contact a person has with your business and ends with their purchase (or whatever your final goal is).

Follow the A.I.D.A formula in creating your marketing funnel

Attention -> Interest -> Desire -> Action, for short A.I.D.A.

This is arguably the easiest marketing formula that you can find.

First, you’ll grab their attention,

Second, you’ll spark up their interest,

Third, you’ll make them really desire your stuff,

Fourth, you’ll point them towards the right action.

That’s pretty simple if you look at it in perspective. Keep on reading and by the end you’ll know the basics of AIDA.

Now let’s break down each part:

Attention

There is just too much information available for us nowadays. We can’t possibly comprehend each and every piece of content, image or video presented to us.

As a business owner, you have to grab people’s attention. Fast! Otherwise no one will give a damn about your business. There is always someone better, waiting in the shadows, ready to steal your prospects.

Grabbing attention is difficult, so here are a few tips:

  1. Stand out from the crowd. You’ve probably heard this a million times. Chances are that you are still not doing it. Think of it this way, have you seen a comparison between a racing track and a sales funnel? I know I haven’. And if that made you read until now, then it worked. Make a comparison between something and another thing, preferably from opposite fields, and you can catch people’s attention.
  2. Think creatively. Creativity can be learned. Capture people’s attention with something creative. For example, Elon Musk actually sold flamethrowers (or Not A Flamethrower). He did this to get as much attention as he could on his “Boring Company”. He wants to build tunnels under cities to ease the traffic and cut the time spent on the roads. Of course, this marketing gimmick paid out really well as the whole internet has spoken about it. One day you might even drive your car through one, because of a flamethrower.
  3. Know your audience. This should’ve been on the first spot, but I felt the other 2 as being more important. If you manage to stand out of the crowd with a creative campaign, your audience can expand. If you do not, but still have a great product, targeting the right audience for it is mandatory. A few people can sell ice to eskimos, but a lot of people can sell food to hungry people.

Interest

Once you get the attention your business needs, it’s time to make these prospects interested in what you are selling.

There are a few simple ways to do this, and you might even use them right now, but if they do not work at their full capacity it can mean you skipped the first step.

Spark up their interest with these tips:

  1. Freebies. Everyone loves freebies. Essentially you get something without giving nothing back. You can use freebies like eBooks to get emails, or maybe give a free magnet or something with every order. Even free shipping works to some extent. Arguably the most common strategy in the world of dropshipping is the Free + Shipping method. You trick people into thinking that you are offering them something for free but they have to pay for shipping. Just remember, if you lie about something people will catch up and your business will go bankrupt sooner than expected.
  2. Promotions. People are literally going mad for discounts. In this example, you’ll see how a simple frying pan promotion convinced hundreds of people to spend their money. Of course, this is the result of the AIDA formula, but it’s INTERESTing to notice that once you got people’s attention, you are just two steps away from securing the sale.
  3. Reasons. Everything we do has a reason behind it. Except opening the fridge to look for goodies when you know you already ate them all. Give your prospects a reason to buy from you. If it’s good enough they will start to consider your business as an option. 

Keep this in mind when you want to create interest: you need people to pay attention first. This way, they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. But if what you are saying/selling is boring, they’ll just leave.

Desire

Noun: “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.”

Now here it gets really complicated. You’ll have to make people want what you are selling. 

As always, here are a few tips on how to achieve that:

  1. Your product/service is problem solving. This is by far the easiest way to make people want what you are offering. There are countless examples of this and I don’t have enough time, or will, to write all of them. Basically if they have a problem and you got the solution, make sure you point that out. You can do it either through photos, videos or plain copy. As long as they understand that you can solve their problems, they WILL buy the solution.
  2. Social proof. Nobody wants to be left out. It’s called FOMO (fear of missing out) and we all suffer from it, to an extent. Perhaps the best example here is Apple. They are selling overpriced phones, overpriced laptops and extremely overpriced monitor stands. Are they worth it? Maybe or maybe not, depending on who you ask. They rely heavily on social proof. If your friends have gotten an Apple device and they say it’s like the best on Earth, chances are you will buy one too. So think of it, when Apple will launch a new device, and all your friends will get it, would you be the one that won’t buy it and stick with your old one? 
  3. Scarcity. Again related to FOMO, but with another approach. Scarcity can inflate prices to an unimaginable extent. Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci has been sold for $453 million in 2017. Sure, it might look good, but does it look $453 million good? To me it’s just a painting (I am not an art enthusiast). To the right person, it’s worth every penny. This price has been paid because: da Vinci will not paint anything else, ever, and there is only one Salvator Mundi in the entire world. Now that’s scarce! Actually there might be a lot more reasons but, in the end, it’s just a really rare painting that some wealthy people really want to buy. The more scarce your offer is, the more people will want it.

In the end, making people want your product or service will get them to buy it.

Action

What is your final goal? 

Do you want your prospects to :

  • book a meeting?
  • share your article? 
  • buy your products?
  • sign up to your newsletter?

It doesn’t really matter that much. What is really important is to guide them towards a SINGLE goal at a time. 

Let’s do a quick recap: you got people’s attention and made them interested in your offering, you made them really want what you are selling. Now you got to close off with a Call To Action.

How you do it depends on your business, but usually this one works:

  1. Just tell them what to do. It can be that simple. If you have a landing page then close it off with a single button or form. There is a high chance that they will click the button or complete the form. They now DESIRE to buy from you and it’s your job to make it as easy as possible. Keep your checkout short and on point. Use less fields in your forms. There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your flow. We will cover them in a future article.

Being plain obvious is the way to go. Nobody has the time to guess what they are supposed to do. Keep that in mind when designing your CTA.

Closing tips

Whatever your business may be doing, whatever you might be selling, try to remember the AIDA formula.

First you get people’s attention. Be creative about it, stand out of the crowd and target the right audience.

Then, spark up their interest with freebies and promotion. Give them a reason to buy from you and not from your competition.

Make them desire your product or service. Show them how you can solve their problems, why other people are buying form you and why they should buy it now.

Lastly, tell them exactly how they can purchase from you by being crystal clear.

If you follow this strategy step by step, your race track will be so smooth that a lot of people will finish it more than once.

Dan Cucolea
I am a conversion rate optimization specialist at Ontrack Digital. I am a Spreadsheets Wizard who can translate any data into a lovely graph that even has a story behind it.
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