If traffic is gasoline and revenue is momentum, then sales funnels are the engine.
Drive high-quality traffic to a high-converting sales funnel and the result is a simple math problem:
Traffic + Sales Funnel = Revenue
How much revenue, though, is yet to be determined — that depends on the quality of the traffic and the quality of the sales funnel.
Fortunately, we’ve been building premium sales funnels for over a decade… and in this article, we’re going to share 12 strategies that work.
We know because we’ve used every single one of them!
Here they are!
1. Lead Magnets
When it comes to generating leads — particularly, in a scalable fashion — few strategies are as useful as a lead magnet.
What’s a lead magnet?
Think of it as a gift you’re giving to someone in return for their email address and/or other contact information (phone number, address, etc.) — but to start, it’s usually just about getting the name and/or email address.
Of course, people aren’t going to give up their email address willy nilly, so the gift you’re offering has to be something that they really want — something that is really appealing to your target market.
Let’s look at some examples of lead magnets.
Here’s a lead magnet we use at ClickFunnels called “The Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook” — it’s for people (like you?) who want to learn how to build awesome sales funnels…
(You can download it for free here)
When people click the button, they’re prompted to enter their email address…
Then they receive their free download and get added to our welcome email sequence — which introduces our brand and promotes our sales-funnel building software.
Notice how the lead magnet, though, only appeals to our target market?
That’s what you’re going for — to generate high-quality leads, you want to exclusively attract people with the specific needs and desires of your dream customers.
Here’s one more example from Smart Blogger — a website that teaches people how to become successful freelance writers.
These types of lead magnets work really well.
For your own business, you could create a…
- Free ebook
- Free masterclass
- Free downloadable resource
- Free checklist
Or something else…
A question you can ask yourself to help determine the content and title of your resource is…
What is the one thing that your dream customers need immediate help with?
Put a resource together to help them solve that problem and generating leads will become a whole lot easier.
2. The Soap Opera Sequence
Imagine you generate a lead using a lead magnet (as discussed in the previous tip).
Do you immediately send an email to that person telling them all about your products or services and asking them to “please buy right now”?
Buying — and learning to trust a new company, for that matter — is an experience.
It’s not something that happens overnight, but something that requires time and consideration.
So once you’ve got a new person on your email list, we recommend sending what we call a Soap Opera Sequence.
Well, you know how Soap Operas are a little ridiculous, but remarkably good at keeping people coming back for more?
It’s because they follow a really simple pattern every episode…
- Resolve last episode’s suspense.
- Create suspense.
- End before suspense is resolved.
That’s the idea with a Soap Opera Sequence.
You create a bit of excitement and suspense with the first email, which makes them want to read the second email… and then you do the same thing with the second email, which makes them want to read the third email, so on and so forth, up until you’ve built the trust and authority to offer them one of your products or services.
Check out the video before to learn the details of what you should include in each email, how many you should send, and when you should send them…
And pick up Russell Brunson’s free book, Expert Secrets, for an even more in-depth description of this and other important concepts for entrepreneurs.
3. Tripwire Funnel
Now let’s look at a few different types of sales funnels that we’ve found to be particularly effective for our growth here at ClickFunnels.
Here we’ll talk about the Tripwire Funnel and in the next tip we’ll talk about the AutoWebinar Funnel.
First, let’s take a look at an outline of the Tripwire Funnel…
Here are some more details with examples of each page…
Two-Step Sales Page — First, visitors arrive at the sales page. This page offers such a no-brainer deal that your target market can’t possibly resist. It’s sort of like a lead magnet except you’re offering it for a small amount of money, usually anywhere from $1 to $50 (depending on your industry and target market). This page requires people to enter their shipping and payment information to continue through the funnel.
OTO Page — Next, visitors go to the One-Time Offer Page. This page offers the thing that you’re actually trying to sell. It’s a bit more expensive than the thing you offered on the first page, but heavily discounted and with some strong FOMO since it’s a one-time offer. The typical friction of inputting shipping and payment information is already taken care of (that’s where most people abandon their shopping cart) and so the OTO Page usually converts at a surprisingly high rate.
Offer Wall Page — This is your receipt and/or thank you page.
Tripwire Funnels do really well for converting cold traffic into customers or for getting warm leads who’ve never purchased before to finally take the leap.
If this sounds like the ticket, you can download your first Tripwire Template over here for free — then you can customize it however you like using ClickFunnels’ software.
4. AutoWebinar Funnel
Next up is the AutoWebinar Funnel.
At ClickFunnels, we’ve actually created two different types of webinar funnels…
- The Webinar Funnels
- The AutoWebinar Funnel
The only difference between the two is that The Webinar Funnel happens live and the AutoWebinar Funnel happens as a replay of a past webinar recording.
So here, we’re talking about the AutoWebinar Funnel because it’s more automated… and thus more awesome 😉
Let’s look at the outline…
Here’s the details with examples…
Webinar Registration Page — This is where people sign up for your webinar and provide you with their name and email address. Notice that on the AutoWebinar Funnel, the time that the webinar will say it’s going to play is usually just about 10-15 minutes from the viewer’s current local time (even though the webinar has been pre-recorded). That’s to create a sense of urgency and scarcity.
Webinar Confirmed/Countdown Page — Next the new webinar registrant goes to a page where they wait for the webinar to start playing. Usually there’s a countdown timer to indicate how long they have to wait.
Webinar Broadcast — Then there’s the webinar broadcast!
Webinar Replay — And finally, the webinar replay, where you’ll direct people after the webinar in case they missed it or had to leave early.
Indoctrination Pages — For an AutoWebinar Funnel, the Indoctrination Pages are used after the broadcast to drive people A) toward the replay and/or B) toward buying whatever it is you offered during the webinar. They specifically designed to try and convert people to your ideology and your way of thinking (see the “hook, story, offer” format in tip #8).
Follow-Up Funnel Automation — In this case, the follow-up funnel refers to a series of emails that get triggered during and/or after the webinar has played. These emails promote the indoctrination pages, the replay, and whatever product or service you offered during the webinar.
To be clear, you have to run a normal webinar (i.e. live) before you can automate it — then you can turn it into an AutoWebinar Funnel.
Now you might be thinking, Great… I know HOW to build a webinar sales funnel… but what am I actually supposed to SAY during the webinar?
Well, we’ve got a gift 😉
We call it the “Perfect Webinar Framework” and it’ll give you everything you need to get started — including easy-to-use templates and scripts for hosting high-converting webinars.
Now let’s talk about some of our favorite strategies for increasing the average order value of a sales funnel.
Three tactics come to mind…
- Order Bumps
Here we’ll talk about upselling, then we’ll talk about downselling and order bumps in the subsequent sections.
First, a definition.
Upselling is where you offer an additional product or service in the middle of your sales funnel — usually this is an exclusive, limited-time offer.
(The One-Time-Offer in the Tripwire Funnel is an example)
After purchasing an eBook from HackSpirit, for instance, this one-time offer pops up…
The upsell is typically about three to five times the price of your initial offer — if your first offer was $7, then the upsell should be in the ballpark of $21 to $35.
As shown in the Tripwire Funnel, the effectiveness of an upsell lies in the fact that A) people are currently in the buying mindset and B) they’ve already done away with the friction of entering their shipping and payment information… and so they’re likely to accept your offer so long as it’s appealing and not jaw-droppingly expensive.
You can plug an upsell into pretty much any sales funnel as a way to increase average order value.
Just make sure that your upsell is something that compliments your original offer!
Downselling takes upselling one step further.
When someone rejects your upsell, a downsell pops up offering something less expensive — it could be the same offer as the upsell but with an additional discount, or some less expensive variation of the upsell. Here’s an example…
Naturally, not everyone is going to accept your upsell — so downsells capture a portion of those people who reject it on the first go-around by making it just a little bit more appealing.
7. Order Bumps
Finally, order bumps are products or services that people can add to their order at the last minute with a single click.
They usually are on the “Confirm Your Order” page.
Here’s what they look like.
The checkout process might include one order bump or multiple order bumps.
Ideally, try to use order bumps that are relevant to the customer’s current purchase — if they’re buying shoes, offer them matching socks, for instance.
Order bumps are a great way to make the most of your existing customers.
8. Hook, Story, Offer
From a high level, sales funnels make a lot of sense — they’re actually pretty easy to understand.
You see the sales funnel formats and understand the path people are supposed to take… the whole thing is enough to make online entrepreneurs like us have an epiphany!
But then you start designing your first page, sit down to write some copy and… crickets.
Umm… What are you supposed to say?
Fortunately — as with all other marketing strategies — there’s a simple process for writing copy that converts.
It consists of hooking the visitor, telling them a story, and making them an offer.
Here are the details.
1. Hook — A sales page isn’t much good if it doesn’t catch people’s attention. People are busy. And to get them to take time out of their day to read about (or watch a video about) your offer, you need to promise something pretty awesome. Check out the example below.
2. Story — Next, tell the visitor a story. Tell them about when you (or a client) were in their exact position, the process of discovery that you (or a client) went through, and how you (or a client) came out the other end better than before. This is your “epiphany bridge story” and it will show people why and how your products or services are the solution they’re looking for.
3. Offer — Finally, pull out all the stops (the urgency, the scarcity, the discounts, the FOMO, the bonuses, and the free gifts) and make them an offer that they can’t refuse.
That’s an overview, but for a more detailed explanation, check out Russell’s video below…
9. Problem Aware Vs. Solution Aware
The hook-story-offer sales page format is the easiest and most effective technique we’ve found for writing sales pages.
Before you put pen to paper, it’s important to understand the difference between people in your target market who are problem aware and people who are solution aware.
In fact… you’ll often want to have entirely different sales funnels for each of those categories.
Here’s the critical difference with examples of sales pages that serve each segment…
Problem Aware — These people are aware of the problem they have but they don’t know what the solution is; they might not even think there is a solution. In this case, the sales page should hook them by showing empathy for their problem and then revealing a “new” solution that they’ve never heard of before. Notice how our Death of a Website page does that below.
Solution Aware — These people are aware that there are solutions to their problem, but they haven’t yet taken the leap to fix it. Maybe because they’re scared. Maybe because they don’t trust themselves. Maybe because the pain isn’t yet bad enough to get them to take action. In this case, the sales page should emphasize why many solutions don’t work and why yours is different. Notice how our homepage does that below.
There you go!
It’s important to understand who you’re trying to attract to your sales funnel — people who are solution aware or people who are problem aware?
The answer will change the words on the page.
10. Funnel Hacking
With all of the sales funnel templates we’ve provided in this article so far, you might be thinking to yourself…
But with those sales funnels work in MY industry?
Sales funnels as a whole work in every market and every industry — because they’re based on human psychology.
Different sales might work better or worse with your specific business model and your specific target market.
So how do you determine what type of sales funnel is going to get you the best results?
The answer is what we call “funnel hacking”.
It’s pretty simple.
Funnel hacking consists of finding your competitors, buying tons of their stuff, and analyzing every step of their sales funnels — if it’s working for them, it’ll probably work for you, too!
Here’s a more nuanced walk-through of funnel hacking from Neil Patel…
11. Quiz Funnels
Speaking of sales funnels that only work for certain types of businesses, two interesting ones come to mind…
- Quiz Funnels
- Challenge Funnels
First, quiz funnels.
The genius behind this strategy is using interactive quizzes to guide people toward A) opting into your email list and/or B) buying your products.
Since The Tonic only needs people on their email list to run sponsorships and make money, it’s really just a one-step funnel (fill out the quiz, then enter email to get results).
A more product-based quiz example comes from Warby Parker — the glasses eCommerce company.
If we take that quiz, we’ll be asked some questions about our glasses preferences and then Warby Parker will recommend products based on our answers (and add us to their email sequence).
So take note.
Quiz funnels can be a fun and interactive way to generate leads and drive people toward purchasing your products.
12. Challenge Funnels
One type of funnel that’s a lot of fun and allows for your business to build a relationship with your incoming customers is a challenge funnel.
In a challenge funnel, people get drawn in because of some sort of interactive challenge.
At ClickFunnels, for instance, we pull many people in with our One Funnel Away Challenge…
For $100, we spend 30 days teaching people how to build their first sales funnel — it’s interactive, group-based, and tons of fun.
More importantly for our business, it leads people directly toward signing up for our sales funnel software subscription and it gives us an outlet for teaching people how to use it.
They learn how to build awesome sales funnels and we get more members.
Here’s another example from Carrot — a software company that serves real estate investors and agents…
Another benefit to challenges — if you have a SaaS company — is that you get to teach people how to get success with your software… which results in better retention and more successful members.
So what kind of challenge could you create that would catch your target market’s attention?
Sales funnels are powerful.
But not every sales funnel is powerful.
To make a sales funnel as effective as possible, you can use the 12 strategies above — lead magnets, tripwire funnels, upsells, downsells, soap opera sequences…
Those tactics will set you on the path to high conversion rates and big buckets of revenue.
And if you need help building your sales funnel, then download our free “cookbook” below — that’s the next step!