Creating automated sales funnels will benefit your business by building a sales pipeline and taking advantage of marketing automation. This blog post will explain how to build an automated funnel using basic software and more advanced all-in-one solutions.
I’ll also explain a few different types of sales funnels you can build and the stages of a marketing funnel to know which kind of content to provide at each stage.
What is marketing funnel automation?
- Build a sales pipeline
- Automate your marketing strategy
- Create passive income
Automation, in this case, refers to using software and processes to create an automated, self-running sales pipeline that handles the hard work of selling for you while you get on with more important tasks.
The main advantage of marketing funnel automation is building a ‘sales pipeline.’ A sales pipeline is the stages your leads progress through as they make their way towards becoming customers.
As the name suggests, it’s like a water pipe – but instead of transporting water, it transports prospects towards becoming paying customers over time.
Creating an automated sales funnel will allow you to manage your business better by having less human effort required on your part to generate leads, convert leads into customers, or collect payments.
You can create an automated marketing funnel using several techniques, software, and tools – like inbound marketing automation, email autoresponders, and even pay-per-click management – to manage a customer’s journey through your sales funnel first contact to becoming an active paying customer.
What is the best sales funnel tool?
The best sales funnel tool depends on your specific needs and the business model you’re using. There are many different tools available – each with its benefits and drawbacks. They range from free options to paid-for, comprehensive packages.
I have created a list of the best sales funnel tools that you can use to create your automated sales funnel.
At the most basic level, you only need a simple webpage and an email autoresponder. At the other end of the scale, you have complete all-in-one solutions with enterprise price tags.
Aweber – Aweber is one of the most popular email autoresponder/marketing automation tools on the market. It is one of the most reliable and easy-to-use tools available.
It allows you to easily create lead capture forms, landing pages, auto-responder emails, and SMS campaigns.
Aweber has a variety of plans (prices vary depending on your needs), but it’s simple enough that you don’t need to shell out thousands for a marketing automation package if all you want are basic features.
ActiveCampaign – Sticking with the basic options, ActiveCampaign is a better, more feature-rich alternative to Aweber.
ActiveCampaign is both an email marketing and automation tool (which can be used for sales funnels) as well as a CRM. It’s slightly more complicated to use than Aweber, but the trade-off is worth it if you want complete control of your prospect workflow from beginning to end.
One of the excellent features of Activecampaign is that it comes with ready-made templates designed specifically for building an email list.
InfusionSoft – Infusionsoft is one of the most popular all-in-one business management software options on the market today. It covers just about every aspect of running your own company pretty much.
It comes with lots of integrations, is fairly easy to use, and has a lot of functionality.
One of its main features is that it can tie together your sales funnels, sales/product automation, email marketing, social media marketing, and payment auto-responders. This can automate the entire customer life cycle from prospecting to repeat purchases.
ClickFunnels – ClickFunnels is a very popular sales funnel tool for small businesses. It’s the chosen software for thousands of online marketers around the globe.
ClickFunnels is probably the easiest to use of all the options on this list (although there are others that may be easier to configure depending on your individual business needs). It also contains some extra layers of functionality, like payment processing and affiliate programs.
Unlike many other tools, you have complete control over every aspect because ClickFunnels uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. You can customize it however you want – including page layouts, email sequences, and even landing pages.
Kartra – Kartra is an all-in-one platform that combines automation and CRM. It’s a great option if you’re looking for something beyond the basics that can handle a large customer database. It’s also got some good functionality for handling affiliate programs.
I’ve been using Kartra for a few years, and it’s my go-to tool for funnel creation because it has an easy drag and drop builder, email sequences, landing pages, and a lot of useful functionality. It also has good sales/funnel reporting features that are not available with any other marketing automation platform I know of.
The Goals of The Sales Funnel
- Generate leads
- Lead conversion
- Marketing automation
The two main goals of the sales funnel: Lead generation and lead conversion.
Lead Generation: Generating Leads And Attracting Them Into Your Funnel The most important stage in building your automated sales funnel is generating leads that will become prospects who progress into your sales process (the rest of the stages, That is, the stages after this one).
Lead generation is how you get your leads and attract them into your sales funnel. This isn’t limited to just creating simple landing pages and ads that bring in visitors – it’s a much more involved process than that.
The goal of lead generation is not simply to generate leads but to attract qualified prospects who will turn into paying customers. To do that, you need high-quality prospects: Prospects that are looking for what they’re offered (which is why lead gen is also known as inbound marketing).
Lead conversion: All sales funnels require you to make a transaction with the prospect at some point – either by having them buy something directly or provide their email address and become a subscriber in exchange for something.
This is called lead conversion since prospects turn from ‘leads’ (people who are not yet customers) into ‘customers’ once converted.
Prospects that meet certain qualifications; e.g., being a good fit for your offer; having the right budget or company size, could be qualified leads. But not every lead is a qualified one.
The challenge here is attracting leads and getting them into your sales funnel, up-selling them and delivering outstanding value, so they’ll be the willing buyers in the future.
The best way for you to do this is by developing trust and moving prospects down the stages of the funnel via content marketing.
Content marketing involves creating and distributing high-quality content on relevant topics for this purpose.
How to automate a sales funnel
- Move visitors from one stage to the next
- Nurture leads with email marketing
- Follow up
Automating a sales funnel is done by setting up a sales process that moves a website visitor through multiple stages to make a purchase and progress down the funnel.
One of the most common methods is email marketing. By providing free information in exchange for certain contact details (like an email address), you have something to market to those prospects later on.
These days, there’s no need to wait until they visit your site again – you can send them emails or even SMS messages immediately.
This will depend on your goals and budget, but it’s possible to automatically follow up with prospects via emails or text messages at certain intervals as per the stages in your automated sales funnel – starting from getting their contacts, then moving them towards becoming customers.
You’ll be differentiating yourself and proving to your prospects that you’re the best offer for them so they’ll eventually buy from you.
From simply providing information, it’s possible to move forward into offering something of value – like a guide or online course, which creates an even higher perceived value in exchange for contact details.
This is one way to build a long-lasting relationship with customers. So once they become customers, make sure to continue sending emails or giving them reasons to come back and give more of their personal information by signing up for lead nurturing tools that can help increase long-term profits.
What is the sales funnel?
A sales funnel a process that converts cold traffic (people who don’t know you) into loyal customers.
It is a process because you should constantly be testing and improving your funnel.
The best way to think about it is that it’s like a funnel:
The widest segment of any market is at the top, but most of these people are not ready to become buyers yet. As they go through the sales funnel process, people with high buyer intent remain, as the funnel weeds out everyone else.
It’s like a funnel because people start at the top, become more qualified as they go down the funnel, and fewer people remain by the time they reach the bottom.
This process is like a funnel because it allows you to focus on selling to your most interested prospects instead of everyone.
That is why automated sales funnels are so important: They will help you sell and gradually guide people closer to becoming loyal customers.
Stages of the Sales Funnel
The sales funnel has three stages:
- Top of funnel
- Middle of funnel
- Bottom of funnel
Converting cold traffic into loyal customers is important for any business, but some businesses are especially crucial.
For example, if you are in e-commerce selling physical products, your sales will be mostly composed of people who were brought to your website by search engine optimization (SEO).
They didn’t know about you before they visited your site. This means that it’s very important for you to convert these visitors into customers; otherwise, they are just one-time visitors.
If you sell a service instead of a product, your sales will mostly be composed of people who found out about you through referrals from your clients, colleagues, and other businesspeople.
These people already know something about you before they talk to you, so they’re less likely to back out after talking to you. But it’s still important for you to close the deal because they are one-time conversations, and if you don’t convert them into clients, then you lose out on potential future customers.
Top of funnel
The top of the funnel is the widest segment of your sales funnel.
It’s the segment that has the most people in it; most of these people are not aware of you or your company. They might not even be aware they have a problem that needs to be solved.
So you have to convince them that they are facing a problem, and you’re the best person to solve it.
You can do this by providing informative and educational content.
Middle of funnel
Lower down the funnel; people know about you or your company already.
They are somewhat aware that you exist or that they have a problem that needs to be solved, but they are not ready to buy just yet.
At this stage of the funnel, they need educational content that helps them explore their options.
Bottom of funnel
At the very bottom are people who know you or your company, but they aren’t quite ready to buy from you yet.
They might be waiting for a good deal before buying, or maybe they want to see proof of how your product works before they purchase it.
Provide them with case studies, before and after stories, discounts, and coupons.
Types of sales funnel
There are several types of sales funnel. Most of these are variations on the three stages of a sales funnel mentioned above.
Here is an overview of each:
Multichannel Sales Funnel – This type of sales funnel is commonly used for e-commerce businesses and service providers because you have several different ways to reach your target audience.
This type of sales funnel emphasizes using multiple channels or mediums to reach more people and then converting those people into customers.
You can use any combination of social media, email marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), blogging, banner ads, PPC (pay per click) advertising, and so forth.
It’s important that you create a strong brand and a website with valuable content before investing in paid ads. Social media ads can be a great way to promote your company, especially if you’re a small business or startup because it’s a low investment way to get your message in front of new people.
Free Plus Shipping Funnel – This type of sales funnel commonly used for e-commerce businesses. You offer a low-priced product or service that you can sell at cost or even in the loss to acquire new customers, then make money on returns and upsells.
It’s common to see e-commerce stores offering an eBook for free plus shipping funnel (or even no shipping fee) to promote their business, with hopes of converting visitors into email subscribers.
These people would usually be qualified leads because they have given you permission to contact them via email when you sign up for an e-book.
Those who don’t subscribe are likely not interested, so it’s okay that your conversion rate is lower than usual since those who do subscribe are more likely to buy.
Self-Liquidating Sales Funnel – This type of sales funnel is commonly used for physical products such as diet pills, workout equipment, and e-books. You offer a product at a discount in hopes of converting visitors into customers; then, you make money on the upsells or recurring sales from these new customers.
This type of funnel is effective because it allows you to attract more leads with less investment than other types of funnels.
In most cases, you will have to provide a lot of educational content before people are ready to buy.
So this is where you create automated sales funnels: They will guide people through the funnel, from top to bottom.
Because automated sales funnels will help you to increase your conversion rates, they will allow you to spend marketing dollars more effectively.
Sales funnels are typically created by someone who is marketing a product.
They could also be used for personal services, business-to-business sales, or other types of goods and services.