Sales Funnel Definition
Here is the wikipedia definition of a sales funnel:
"A sales funnel is constructed by stacking several layers together. Typical layers include:
This definition of a sales funnel probably is mostly drawn from "real world" or what is called "brick-and-mortar" businesses, and can be useful to understand as such. However, as an internet entrepreneur I think this definition is a bit outdated and leaves out one of the most important factors in a true sales funnel.
If you miss this crucial element in the definition of a sales funnel you will be leaving thousands of dollars on the table every time you get a lead, or make a sale, and here's why.
Let's look at the Wikipedia definition of a sales funnel as our jumping off point, and translate it into some real life marketing elements. I'm going o use my own internet based sales funnel as an example.
In an internet sales funnel, this would be something like a Joint Venture (JV) where you are able to mail your offer to someone else's list. This is where you get access to new leads to put into your sales funnel.
This would be the first email that you send to that list, getting the prospect's attention and asking them to click a link.
In an internet marketing sales funnel you can do your fact finding by presenting the prospect with what is called an "Ask Campaign" page. This is a squeeze page where they enter their name and email (and thus officially enter your sales funnel) and also answer a question about what kind of solution they are looking for.
After you have a few hundred replies to your ask campaign, you would then compile and use them to create a product targeted to solve the problem for that particular group of prospects. (OR you may already have or be able to find such a product).
In an internet marketing sales funnel, steps 5 through 8 might all take place in your sales letter copy. So, "Propose Solution" becomes your headline and main copy of your sales letter.
"Solution Evaluation" becomes the part of your sales copy that provides proof or testimonials.
"Negotiation" becomes the part of your sales letter where you introduce the price, and do a "price countdown" or other device to demonstrate the value of the the offer.
"Sales Order" happens on your order form which is a part of your sales letter.
This is where the interesting (and profitable) part comes in in an internet marketing sales funnel. That is because "Account Maintenance" includes not only delivery of product and customer support, but further sales and opportunity to lead the new customer further down your sales funnel as you continue to communicate with them via email.
Because you have established an email relationship with your clients or prospects via your squeeze page, and internet marketing sales funnel does not end with the sale or even the creation of a permanent account, but the first sale is just seen as the first entry into a sales funnel that has no foreseeable end.
In fact, the first "sale" in an internet marketing sales funnel is often completely free, as it is intended not to be profitable itself, but to create an unending stream of future profit once the relationship is established.
That is how I have built my own internet sales funnels, which now bring in over 3 million yearly. To see an example of exactly how my internet sales funnels work and learn how to create one yourself, see below.