I think you agree with me when I say:
It is pretty hard to turn strangers into paying customers.
A sales funnel template can be the solution to this problem because it can help you streamline your user experience and skyrocket your sales.
Some people even say you are just one funnel away from a million-dollar business…
Well, I guess that depends on the funnel, right? 😉
Either way, a funnel will help you provide more value to each customer and can increase your customer lifetime value by a multiple.
Ok, so far, so good, but…
What Are Sales Funnel Templates & Why Is It Important?
“A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey from your prospect’s first contact with you until a completed purchase.”
In case you’re wondering, that’s not my definition but the first one I found online here.
Speaking of visual representation, a sales funnel looks something like this:
Of course, this is only a simplified graphic of a sales funnel, but it helps to get the main idea.
Common sense says that you need to reach a certain number of potential customers that find out about you.
- Many will ignore you, but some will take the next step, for example, clicking on your ad.
- A few less will download something or sign up for a call/trial.
- And then an even smaller number of people will take the final step and buy from you.
Even though many might think the job is over here, it’s not.
To increase the value of every customer, you also need to streamline the process of keeping your customer (retention = the king of growth) and turning him or her into an advocate for your brand.
By automating this process, businesses can scale faster and make the most of each customer touchpoint.
There are many expert opinions about the funnel stages, where it starts, and where it finishes.
We could observe a transformation of the most common funnel strategy in recent years.
The Evolution of the Sales Funnel
The reason why I decided to write this article in the first place is simple.
If you work in marketing or run your own business, you probably can’t scroll through Facebook & Co for longer than 5 minutes without seeing an offer for a new groundbreaking sales funnel strategy.
However, the whole concept of sales funnels is nothing new, but it evolved overtime on the back of marketing frameworks.
I. AIDA: the Mother of Sales Funnels
The AIDA funnel or framework is pretty well known, even between non-marketers. It describes the cognitive stages your prospect goes through during the buying process.
It was developed by the advertising and sales pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis
The stages of the AIDA model are:
- Awareness/Attention: As I mentioned above, before you start building a relationship with your users, you need their attention. Or in other words, they need to be aware that you exist.
- Interest: It is not enough to show someone an ad over and over again, they need to spark their interest.
- Desire: Unfortunately, an interest to learn more about your product and services is not enough. You need to make your website visitors desire your solution.
- Action: Once the desire is big enough, you can poke them slightly to take action. Depending on your offer and sales copy, this step should be just the logical next step and not a big deal for your prospects.
Although the AIDA model is still highly relevant, it is also a broad illustration of a more complex system.
As a result, it leaves many growth opportunities on the table as it doesn’t include the whole user journey.
So someone came up with something better.
II. The AARRR Framework: The Startup’s Favorite
In 2007, the venture capitalist and founder of 500 Startups, Dave McClure introduced a framework that is also called Pirate Metrics (because you sound like a pirate when you try to pronounce the name).
Other than the AIDA model, it doesn’t stop with the purchase and goes the whole way of customer value optimization.
It is mostly used by SaaS companies, but it is also adaptable to regular brick and mortar businesses.
The AARRR framework includes the following steps:
- Acquisition: How do you attract your customers? What channels and to what costs?
- Activation: How do you turn a website visitor or free user into a paid customer?
- Retention: How do you keep your customers as long as possible?
- Revenue: How can you increase your revenue per customer (CLTV)?
- Referral: How can you turn your customers into advocates?
However, as you can see in the graphic above, in a typical growth marketing funnel, you would add awareness on top of the funnel.
Other than the AIDA model, the AARRR framework doesn’t only include the marketing department but the whole company.
Marketing alone will not help you grow your business.
That’s why growth teams are usually a consortium of marketers, engineers, data scientists, and designers.
They can work on all aspects of the company (marketing, sales, product, operations, etc.) with a single focus on growth.
III. The Flywheel: Sales Funnels Re-Imagined
How do they do that?
Well, Jon Dick, VP of Marketing at Hubspot, argues that trust is at an all-time low, and it becomes harder and harder to attract customers just through the traditional channels (Facebook/Insta and Google) alone.
Instead, companies should focus on
- Attract (Marketing)
- Engage (Sales)
- Delight (Service)
The goal is to spin the wheel as fast as possible and provide so much value to the customer that she or he helps spread the word and attracts more customers.
As this post is about sales funnel templates, I don’t want to go deeper into the subject at this point.
No matter what framework you like most, I don’t believe in perfect systems.
So for the rest of the article, we will discuss several proven sales funnels that you can start with growing your business on autopilot.
10 Best Ways to Grow Your Business With Sales Funnel Templates
Please keep in mind that funnels can look complicated at first.
Once you understand the main components of each of these funnels, they become much easier to understand.
The blue rectangles below stand for landing pages, and the green squares are emails that you send.
Ok, let’s get started.
One of the most common sales funnel templates is the lead magnet funnel.
A lead magnet is something like a bait that you give away for free in exchange for an email address and other contact information.
Great lead magnet examples are:
- Training videos
- Email courses
And many more.
The format is not as important as the value it provides. A 3-page pdf can provide massive value that people will be happy to opt-in for.
If you want to see a lead magnet funnel live in action, here it is:
The lead magnet funnel always starts with an attractive offer. Mostly on a conversion-optimized landing page.
Something that looks like this:
It doesn’t have to be that short, but it has to have a…
- Headline that includes a clear value proposition.
- Benefits outlined giving reasons to sign up (ideally in the form of bullet points).
- Call-to-Action that is action-oriented and makes clear what happens next.
- Opt-In form that includes as few fields as possible.
After signing up for the lead magnet, two things happen:
1. You will be redirected to another page
2. You will be added to an email automation
The next page should inform your new subscriber that the lead magnet will arrive in her inbox in a few minutes.
But you should also use this page to upsell/offer your new subscriber something more.
Downloading a free pdf report in exchange for an email address is a pretty low ask and doesn’t require a lot of commitment.
Once your visitor has enough trust to give you to opt-in, you can send them, for example, to a webinar or even offer them a free trial of your product.
However, most of your visitors won’t sign up for a webinar or trial straight away; that’s why you should have an email sequence in place to strengthen the relationship, build trust and sell them the “upsell.”
Whatever that is in your case.
If you have no idea what kind of emails you should send out, you can check out DripScripts.
DripScripts is a database of proven email sequences (drip campaigns) that you can customize and copy-paste into your email marketing tool.
Email #1: Delivery — You thank your new subscriber for downloading your lead magnet.
Email #2: Follow-up — In case they didn’t see your delivery email, you follow up and send it again.
Email #3: Your story — You introduce yourself and describe your background, finishing with the CTA to your upsell content (webinar, training, etc.).
Email #4: Testimonials — Describe what other people say about your upsell content and why they should check it out.
Email #5: Urgency – Remind them that your offer will disappear soon and that they need to check it out now.
Of course, this email sequence is only an example that you should customize for your business.
Try not only to rely on email templates that you find online. The chances are high that too many marketers use them already.
Use these templates as inspiration and create something unique that excites your readers.
Well, and then don’t forget the last page in your funnel, your Thank You or Confirmation page.
This is the page your users land on when they complete your funnel and it is a critical page as it also shows your funnel tracking system that a lead was generated.
Especially, when you run ad campaigns, for example on Facebook, it is critical that you have the FB Pixel properly installed.
Ok, but what if you want to sell them something straight away and make the most money with every lead?
Then you need a proper sales funnel template with an upsell and downsell add-on.
This is how it works:
Once someone signs up for your lead magnet, they will be redirected to another page that tries to sell them a low friction entry-level product/service offer or another content bonus.
We also call it a tripwire product.
The reason why you usually don’t offer a high-ticket offer here is because of the depth of your relationship with the visitor.
You also don’t ask someone if she or he wants to marry you on the first date.
The product you can present here is a low-level/low-commitment offer like a $7-$97 training course, software, or service.
Here is an example of Brian Moran from Samcart, giving away his book The Going Pro Manifesto away for free and upselling them his Going Pro Game Plan for $47 on the same page:
It is not common to combine the lead generation and sales page into one, but you can test what works best for you.
Your primary goal here is not to generate some profit from the campaign, but to cover some of your advertising cost.
Because it changes the relationship from “I’m a subscriber” to “I’m a customer,” and even if you think that is not a big deal when you only sell them a $7 product.
Psychologically, it makes a big difference.
You heard that expression before:
Acquiring a new customer is 5-25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer - HBR
Once you have them sold on your upfront offer, you can immediately send them to another offer (your core product) that provides even more value — on the upsell page.
Usually, it is a more expensive offer than the tripwire product.
This is where you make your profit.
To sell your core product, you should have a long-form sales letter or video describing your offer with all benefits and features.
Ideally, you give them a once in lifetime discount that they have to take straight away.
However, even the most significant discount will not be a guarantee for sales.
So when they deny the offer by clicking away, you come right back with a counteroffer — the downsell offer.
The downsell offer can be a lite version of your core product or a completely new offer.
The idea here is simple.
Imagine, you are going to the clothing store to buy a new jacket and the shop assistant shows you a nice one.
The only problem is that it’s a designer jacket and is way over your budget of $200.
Let’s say the jacket is $3000.
Even though you like it, you have to say “no”.
Then she shows you another jacket that looks similar but only costs $300.
Would you buy it?
Probably yes, because even if it is also over your budget, it appears like a fantastic deal because you compare the price to the $3000 instead of $200 that you set as your budget.
Some people might think that this approach is too aggressive.
Well, that depends on your company’s brand and industry.
You might want to give it a try before assuming that it doesn’t work for you. 😉
Not every business signs up new clients through an online checkout form.
More expensive consulting services (e.g., $3000+) or products that need to be custom developed for each client, don’t have standard prices.
In these cases, it is not so easy to close a client with a few landing pages.
Well, you can start with a high-ticket sales funnel template.
Before I guide you through the stages of this kind of funnel, we need to point out that your website visitor will be very likely to have different levels of customer awareness.
Eugene Schwartz first introduced the concept of customer awareness stages in his book Breakthrough Advertising from 1966.
He broke down the awareness levels into five phases:
1. Unaware: They never heard of you and don’t know the problem you solve.
2. Problem aware: They experienced the problem but don’t know how to solve it.
3. Solution aware: They know that there is a solution for their problem.
4. Product aware: They know your product/service but don’t know if you are the right choice.
5. Aware: They know your product/service and they know that they want it.
So when you set up your marketing campaign, you have to consider your prospects’ awareness level. As well as when
- writing your copy,
- developing your ad creatives and
- designing your landing pages.
Especially when you sell high-ticket coaching, consulting, or service programs.
Likely, your website visitors are not even fully aware of the problem.
Or they know the problem, but they have no idea about your approach to solve it.
So, in this case, you need to educate your prospect first, before presenting your product.
Ideally, you do this with an educational video.
The sales funnel that Flexxable, a pay-per-lead training platform, uses, is an excellent example.
It goes without saying that you have to test what works best for your business.
Maybe it’s a live webinar or on-demand training video.
Unlike other sales funnel templates; the high-ticket funnel doesn’t end with a checkout page and the direct purchase. Instead, you sell a strategy call after your video presentation.
In some cases, you can even let them apply for a strategy call with you, so you make sure you don’t waste any time with prospects who are not committed.
On the call, you can learn more about their specific business needs and sell them your service or product as the ideal solution.
A webinar sales funnel template is also very often used for high-ticket sales, but requires a bit more set up work.
As you can see in the graphic below:
A live webinar is great if you want to build a community around your product and prefer to interact with your audience.
As the webinar is scheduled, the ‘no-show’ rate (people who register, but don’t see the webinar), can be quite high.
On the other hand, live interactions can still lead to higher conversion rates than automated on-demand webinars.
The most important aspect of this funnel, though is the reminder and follow-up email sequence.
People tend to forget that they registered for a webinar, and some won’t stay until the end.
Fortunately, tools like Demio, EverWebinar, and Livestorm, let you set up webinars quickly and connect with your email marketing tools.
However, you still need to create a high-converting webinar landing page.
Different than a product sales page, on a webinar landing page, you also try to position the presenter as an authority in your field.
If you or your guest host is a household name in your industry, it makes sense to sell the person as much as the content.
However, there is no clear rule.
Try different variations to your landing page and see what works best for your business.
A product launch funnel is usually used for high-ticket offers that are only available for a limited time.
Popularised by Jeff Walker with his Launch Funnel Formula, it became the favorite funnel for many of the top internet marketers over a couple of years.
The core of the sales funnel template for product launches is a training video series that educates the viewer about certain parts of the program and excites them about the final launch date.
Once the product is launched, it is only available for a few days until it is taken down.
You see, Jeff covers 4 topics in his “Launch Masterclass”:
1. How to launch
2. Your launch path
3. Making the sale
4. Your launch blueprint
These training sessions give you a feeling for what you can expect as a customer, but also valuable information that in itself could be a paid product.
But he doesn’t only provide content to his subscribers in this video series.
It is also a great way to build a community around your product before you even offer it for sale.
For example, Jeff Walker makes his students join a private Facebook group in which he shares additional resources.
Well, you might ask: “Why the extra effort?”
We all noticed that the Facebook’s feed is dying out with less and less engagement.
However, there are two areas of the platform that still see highly active user behavior.
FB Messenger and FB groups.
By engaging your audience on Facebook, you gain additional social proof as they can see other clients. You can also communicate with them on an additional channel throughout the launch next to email.
Once you hit that launch button, you can then easily retarget your subscribers and send them to your sales page.
Not every sales funnel template needs to start with online interaction.
If you are a public speaker or at least get invited to speak at industry events from time to time, you can use your audience’s attention to pull them into your sales funnel.
But instead of making them click on an ad, you send them to a ‘secret’ URL that you show on your presentation slides.
Behind the link, you can offer additional bonus material that is a valuable add-on to the things you talked about in your presentation.
For examples a
- ebook or
We also call them lead magnets. 😉
After they opt-in for your lead magnet, you can send them a special offer.
Just for the attendees of the XYZ event.
We live in a time where we get bombarded by offers 24/7.
Many of them are not even relevant to us as consumers, and we don’t feel that these products and services solve our problems.
On the other hand, as a business owner and marketer, we notice this by lower click-through-rates, conversion rates, and sales.
Well, a survey funnel can solve this problem for both parties.
Your customers get a personalized website experience and brand communication which also only offers them the product or service they really need.
Instead of sending people to a sales page that assumes what your website visitors need, you try to engage them with a questionnaire or quiz.
A quiz can be a fun way to provide value to your audience and learn something about them simultaneously. Based on the quiz results, you can then present them with a particular product ideal for their situation.
Tools like Involve.me help you set up a quiz and offer users the best product based on the quiz result, ready to buy.
But even if you only sell one product, a survey funnel can be a great way to customize your communication with your subscribers and give them the feeling that your product is the perfect product for their unique issues.
How you do it?
Instead of asking only for the name and email address on your lead magnet opt-in form, you can request some more insights to precisely tell you what messaging will resonate with them in your email sequences.
A good example is the WildAudience’s ebook opt-in form:
You can use Convertflow to set up multi-step calls-to-action forms and buttons easily on every landing page.
Based on the answers you get from your subscribers, you can assign them different tags in your marketing automation tool and send them personalized emails.
Happier subscribers + higher engagement rates = More sales.
If you run a SaaS business or membership site, you probably offer multiple plans.
Usually, you would try to get your prospect to sign up for a free trial or ‘free forever’ plan before trying to get them to commit to a larger premium plan.
This sales funnel template aims to help you move your ‘low level’ or free users up the value chain to one of your more expensive plans.
You do this by optimizing the onboarding experience and ensuring that your user understands the full value of your product.
Especially your premium features.
To turn your trial and free users into paying customers, you would create specific landing pages and emails that describe one particular feature and its benefits.
Ideally, you do this over some time through an email sequence.
Ending with a special offer for your premium plan.
One of the most popular sales funnel templates used by influencers and thought leaders is a ‘free book + shipping funnel.’
It is similar to the lead magnet funnel but with a very critical distinction.
Instead of just giving away an ebook in the form of a pdf, you offer a physical book for free as long as your prospect covers the shipping costs.
If you already ask yourself:
How is that profitable?
Then you need to have a look at the full picture of the funnel.
Yes, you would lose money if you would stop right after someone signs up for the free book offer.
However, this is just the start.
As you can imagine, it just makes sense to follow up with an upsell offer and increase; therefore, the average order value per customer.
One advantage of the physical book is also that even your new customer is excited about the original purchase; she needs to wait for some days for the book to arrive.
You can use this as a strong argument to give them access to your digital product right now.
The next sales funnel template is not necessarily a funnel on its own.
The retargeting funnel is a component of a funnel that you should use, no matter which of the funnel strategies described above you pick.
So it’s less about your landing pages, but more about the ads that drive the traffic to your funnel.
Showcased with the dark blue circles below:
Someone who mastered this ad strategy to scale his business to 30M in annual revenue is Sam Ovens.
He uses a form of high-ticket funnel to generate leads and sales for his business accelerator program.
But that is not relevant for the retargeting strategy. You can use this strategy for any kind of products and services.
The more interesting part is that Sam uses very specific ads and copy for different audiences, depending on how far they moved through the sales process.
This is one of his top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) ads:
The ad sends the user to a landing page that shows a free training video describing the 9 unconventional truths about business.
After watching the video, she will be sent to a quiz/application form.
And finally to a call booking page.
You see that he follows up with a suitable advertisement for each stage of the sales funnel template.
If your prospect goes through the funnel from A-Z without hesitation, she will never see the second or third ad.
But if they broke up the process, they will be pulled back in.
I’m sure, as a consumer, you have experienced this many times when you saw the products that you just looked at in an online store within a Facebook ad a few minutes later.
Well, now you can use the same strategy for your own business.
What is the right sales funnel template for you?
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong funnel or framework to grow your business.
The question is only: “Is it ROI positive?”
If you never build a funnel before, it can feel a bit overwhelming,
But don’t worry.
Once you set it up and drive traffic to it, you will likely get the same outcome than experience funnel builders.
It will not work!
Yes, you read this right. Your funnel will likely produce any or low results.
There are way too many variables to get right to expect perfection from the start.
Instead, you need to have a process to optimize it, run A/B tests, and make regular small improvements.
If that is too much work for you, you have two choices:
1. Don’t even get started
2. Use a design and tech service
You probably can guess where this is going, of course; I recommend choosing option number two. 😊
A sales funnel template is not the full story
Even though it sounds like a lottery win when you find a funnel that works for you and generates leads and sales on autopilot, there is a bit more to it.
In 2019, Gartner described the new buying journey of B2B buyers.
They point out that, in practice, the sales process can often not be visualized in such a streamlined way as we did it above. Instead, it is much more chaotic.
There are usually multiple mental and company-political obstacles that prevent B2B buyers from making quick buying decisions.
If you are in the B2B space, the omnichannel approach becomes much more important in upcoming years.
That means that every touchpoint with your brand needs to be on point and help your prospect make a qualified buying decision.
That means your…
- Company web design
- Content marketing
- Email copy
- Sales meetings
All need to be aligned with your brand message and move your prospect closer to the purchase.
In this article, we described some of the best sales funnel templates to scale your business.
But the truth is…
You don’t need a sales funnel template!
What you need to process to execute your funnel strategy fast and optimize it over time.
No strategy will ever help you if you don’t use it.
So please do yourself a favor and pick one of these proven strategies and start growing your business. If you are already stressed out with all the design and tech work flying your way, book a call with one of our outsourcing experts and see how Growmodo can help you get this done for you.