A good sales funnel is what connects the dots between a great product and a sale. As competition increases, simply having a great product is not enough- you need to know how to convince your target audience it is exactly what they need and contrary to what we would like to believe, that is not a one-day process.
As new marketing studies have been conducted, the idea that a prospect or lead needs to be nurtured has only been further proven. One lead management study, in particular, found that a sales rep needs to make contact at least six times before giving up on that potential lead. Another study came to a similar conclusion mentioning that it takes an average of eight touches (contact with the person) to see a conversion of some kind.
This means that having a sales funnel is not just a worthwhile investment but also probably the only way your business is going to make more money and bring in more leads. To better understand what exactly a sales funnel is and figure out which one could potentially work for your business, these are a few examples of companies that have got it right-
#1 Netflix (The Free Trial)
Netflix puts their money where their mouth is by offering a 30 day free trial of their streaming services. This sales funnel works particularly well for subscription-based models since most people do not want to sign up for a monthly charge when they do not know what they are getting out of it.
This entire sales funnel works on the idea of giving people the ability to test-run the software before they sign up. Here is a breakdown of the sales funnel.
- Awareness– Netflix is a pretty well-known brand in general but advertisements on various platforms like social media, television, podcasts, and more only further improve their reach.
- Interest and Evaluation– As people get more attached to technology in general, Netflix’s streaming service brings in a ton of interest. This stage is the most crucial. People can choose to pursue their interest and learn more or give up on the product. Netflix seals the deal by giving people the free trial month as a test run. Another smart move is they start users off on the most premium model (the most expensive model) as part of the trial. Users can downgrade later but giving people the best of their service is what gets people attached.
- Desire/ Decision– Once the user finishes their 30-day trial, their card will be automatically charged for the next month. However, Netflix once again makes a great marketing decision by mentioning how they will remind you your trial is ending 3 days in advance so you can cancel if you so wish. The company’s belief in its own product is what gets them tons of clients. They do not try to push people into continuing with their service or not mention any details. Their upfront, no BS marketing is what people love.
- Action– Now, it is out of Netflix’s hands at this stage. The customer will now decide whether they want to continue with the service or not.
- Loyalty– If they do continue with the Netflix streaming service (their card will continue to be charged every month), Netflix has gained a loyal customer.
Other than the traditional free trial month, Netflix has also been experimenting with trial days that need no credit card information. Rumor has it that they plan on testing it out for the first in India with a 2-day trial that needs no card information registration.
This is a really smart idea because in Asian countries in particular people are much warier about adding their card information to websites. This gives those people a chance to take Netflix for a ride.
In short, Netflix is winning the sales funnel game.
#2 iNECTA (Schedule a Demo)
Another sales funnel that has been proven to be a good one countless times over is the ‘Schedule a Demo’ one. This sales funnel follows a four-step process that we will dive deeper into in a moment.
First, let us talk about traffic sources. In the case of iNECTA, traffic comes primarily through organic Google search, referrals, and more serious social media platforms like LinkedIn. This is because iNECTA is targeting itself specifically to business owners since it is a cloud ERP software. This is the awareness stage (people learning about the company’s existence).
Next comes the interest stage. This is where the ‘Schedule a Demo’ sales funnel works its charm. People are very unlikely to invest in such an expensive software targeted towards their business (more important than their entertainment services) without speaking to the people behind the software.
In this case, even a free trial month will not do the trick because it is going to take a lot of investment in terms of money and time for the business to move all of its information and all of its processes to a software that they may not stick with long-term.
The free demo that can be conducted as a virtual meeting allows the business to speak to the team behind the software, better understand the features, and then make up their mind on whether they would like to use the software.
If they do, they will take action and invest in the software.
This sales funnel works well for more serious business models such as business tools, expensive services, and office equipment. It is also a good sales funnel to focus on if you have customers that might be more sensitive about investing in help such as a drug rehab center like Infinite Recovery.
They follow a similar approach by allowing potential leads to schedule calls with the team.
#3 Woven (Free Option + Trial Combination Funnel)
If a free month of the service you are offering is not bringing in enough leads, consider a trial and free option combination. This sales funnel will include a one-month free trial of the premium subscription of your service while also offering a free version of the software in general.
This sales funnel works particularly well in two specific situations-
- Your business is just entering the market so you need to offer your potential customers a lot of stuff free since you do not have any brand recognition yet.
- You are in an extremely competitive industry (such as online calendars in the case of Woven) wherein there are a lot of free options available. To get people to invest in your premium version, you need to give them a taste of it first. However, since there are so many free competitors, you cannot only offer a free trial- you need to also offer a permanently free option with a reduced number of services that you monetize through ads or affiliate partnerships.
#4 Zendesk (Personalized Video Demo)
Video demos have become pretty common in the service industry. This is particularly true for software options that find it hard to explain exactly what they offer without some video aid. Trello, for example, has created a stunning video demo of their project management software.
However, some brands have decided to take it a step further by offering personalized video demos which really help reel the customer in. Zendesk is a company that offers countless tools that make remote work easier and is a great example of this in action.
If you go to their video demo page here-
-you will immediately see their form popup greet you. A few details later, you will be greeted with a personalized list of video demos depending on what service you have mentioned your company is interested in.
This works particularly well for companies that offer multiple similar services and want to provide video demos for all of them. Even though Zendesk focuses on customer service skills in a broad sense, they have tons of product offerings which makes this personalized video demo option perfect.
Here is how the funnel would work-
- Awareness- Zendesk creates awareness using social media, PPC ads, press releases, referrals, inbound marketing strategies such as blogs, creating podcast episodes, etc. This is how they get eyes on their product.
- Interest- Once the person is interested, the personalized video demo is what is used to get them to desire the product. The demo will help the user understand what Zendesk can offer their business and it is at this point that the person will show interest in investing money in the product.
- Decision- The lead will either invest in the service or move on.
- Action– If the lead decides to invest in Zendesk, that is a sale and the funnel has been successful.
#5 CoSchedule (Free Tool)
Another great way to interest customers and bring in sales is to offer a tool that is 100% of charge. This allows people to get invested in your brand which will eventually lead them to your paid products. The free tool is a great way of showing people what your team is capable of without saying a word.
CoSchedule’s headline analyzer is a pretty cool example of this. It is probably the most used free headline analyzer tool the web has to offer and it is what leads people to their main work management software. The truth is their software would not have got half as much attention without the tool.
Another example of a company that has followed this sales funnel would be Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool. The Ubersuggest tool is particularly useful for bloggers who want to create content, build links, and increase their organic traffic.
You can conduct a certain amount of keyword research and unlock certain features without any subscription at all. Users who like his tool and want to get everything it offers will then invest in one of the paid plans.
This sales funnel is similar to the other ones we have gone through in the sense that it also starts with awareness of the brand through social media, ads, and more. After the user becomes aware of the brand, they use the free tool to decide whether they want to invest in it or not.
Finally, a successful sales funnel will result in the user taking action and making a purchase.
To increase the effectiveness of this strategy, you could even create your own hashtags which will help give your funnel that extra kick of energy. This will be particularly useful when you are creating content for social media or are investing time in some user-generated content.
A good example of this in action would be what the brand ‘Heart Water’ does. Even though they do not have a free tool to offer, they use their own hashtag #PourYourHeartOut to indirectly promote their products. This works for almost every industry.
You can get some inspiration for your own strategy by taking a look at their ‘best bottled water’ page.
#6 Mixergy (Premium Content)
Mixergy’s products are essentially interviews and courses that feature advice from some of the most well-known entrepreneurs in the world. The CTA that says ‘Click Here To Get Them Now’ will prompt the user to fill in an opt-in form to get access to a few free video interviews- 9 of them to be exact. This is what allows potential leads to test run the product and get more invested in the brand.
The Mixergy team will then send follow-up emails to try to convince the user to invest in premium content. The premium version gives users access to masterclasses that include growth strategies and insights from successful entrepreneurs.
Some of the companies’ strategies they cover include Twitch, DuckDuckGo, and Teachable to name a few. The premium cost gives you access to all of their content (courses and interviews) and will also allow the user to get trained directly under well-known startup founders.
Here is how and why this sales funnel works-
The company gains awareness using platforms like Facebook, PPC ads on social media, and to a large extent their own customers’ networks. After this, they use the free offer of 9 interviews to interest their potential leads and convince them to give the company their email information.
Follow-up emails help them prompt the user into making a decision based on their desire for the product’s premium content. If they manage to get someone to make a purchase, the sales funnel has been successful.
This sales funnel works particularly well because it allows the company to reach out to the lead multiple times. As I mentioned above, it takes an average of 8 touches for a conversion to take place which is why having a lead’s email address can be really useful for the company.
It is important to remember how valuable it is to keep track of some email marketing analytics like your spam rate, bounce rate, and open rate so you can make sure you are not constantly reaching out to subscribers that are not engaging with your brand. Do not be afraid to remove subscribers that are not even opening your emails.
[Bonus] #7 Zoma (Blog Content)
This is a pretty well-known funnel which is why I am only touching upon it briefly. It is the use of blog posts or content within your sales funnel to point users in the direction of your products. Zoma Mattresses create informative blog posts that subtly mention their own products within the posts.
This funnel is especially useful for products that are very niched down. A good blog that answers the right questions can increase interest from potential leads.
Once the user or reader is interested in the product they will click the link that redirects them to the product page. At this point, they will decide whether they want to invest in the product or not and if you have done a good job on your blog post, you might make a sale out of it!
Wrapping It Up
Having a good sales funnel not only leads to organic business growth but it also helps businesses to make more money overall. It is the difference between turning over a monthly profit of $2000 versus a monthly profit of $20,000.
Finding the right funnel for your business takes some trial and error but once you get it right, you will never look back.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. You can follow him on his path from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on www.awesomex.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures. Feel free to follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.