Why does my business need a Sales Funnel?

It takes more than a shiny new website to entice potential customers to your brand (though it definitely helps).


Attracting customers doesn’t just magically happen. You can have an all-singing, all-dancing website and an active social media presence, but if you don’t have a consistent sales strategy that pulls all of these elements together, you’ll be wasting time and money.


So, what is a sales funnel and how can you use one to your advantage? Keep reading for a straightforward rundown of everything you need to know and how you can design a simple sales funnel to build your customer base. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on your digital sales funnel.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is the journey a visitor will go on to become a customer. It’s a process, designed by you, that invites new prospects to learn more about your business, build a relationship with you, that will lead them to buying your products. Ideally, they will become loyal customers and continue to engage with your brand.


Think of your sales funnel this way:


  1. Brand discovery – consumers will find you online, via a search engine, an online ad, or on social media.
  2. Brand awareness – consumers will get to know your business from product descriptions on your website, reading your blog, and scrolling down your social media feeds.
  3. Brand interest – consumers will build an interest in your brand because you can offer them special deals, discounts, freebies etc.
  4. Conversation / Sale – the point where consumers feel confident enough to make the purchase
  5. Brand relationship – consumers will feel confident enough to make the purchase and, if you continue to maintain their interest, buy from you again and again.


A sales funnel resembles an upside down pyramid. The widest upper section comprises your marketing plan, where you begin to build brand awareness and interest, followed by the sales process, using a number of tactics, ending at its point with the sale and continuing customer relations.


#designtip – consider your current sales funnel. You might not think you have one, but you will; it just needs to be formalised. How do potential customers find your business? How do you direct them to your website? Is it clear from your social media content how visitors can learn more about your brand and make a purchase? It’s all about helping people make connections.

Your Sales Funnel Journey

We’ll split the sales funnel process into three parts:


  1. Marketing – discovery and awareness
  2. Sales – interest and conversion
  3. Customer Relations – continued relationship-building


All of the tips below can be applied to every stage of the sales funnel process.

1. Marketing - Brand Discovery and Brand Awareness

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When a potential customer needs a product or service, they’ll probably start with the search engine of their choice. This is where some first class SEO comes into play.


A simple and effective digital marketing strategy starts with optimising your content. By doing this, you’re increasing the chances of getting more visitors to your website. How? Because Google looks favourably on optimised content, it will push your website to the top of the search results page, giving it the lion’s share of views. The more traffic your site gets, the more sales you’ll make.


How to Optimise your Content


Your CONTENT should be entertaining, engaging and meaningful. Never write for the sake of it; Google will catch on quickly and your search rankings will suffer.


#designtip – make your website more visible with well-thought-out blog articles that reflect the interests and needs of potential customers.


KEYWORDS are the building blocks of your content. To better understand your target market and produce optimised content, research what people are searching for and the words and phrases they use when doing so. When you have these keywords and phrases, insert them into your content in a natural and engaging manner. Don’t be tempted to squash in as many keywords as you can; again, Google will not like it.


#designtip – there are some effective online tools that can help you source suitable keywords and phrases for your content; Moz and Semrush are two to consider.


Social Media Presence

Social media marketing is a crucial part of your sales funnel, as it’s one of the first places consumers will discover your brand. You can achieve this with a mix of organic content and paid advertisements. There are a number of ways to get on top of your social media game.
Your brand message, values and tone of voice should feature consistently throughout all of your social media marketing. This approach will help you reach your target market and build brand recognition.
Make sure you’re targeting the right audience on the right platform – do you have an ideal customer persona? With this data, you’ll avoid wasting time posting content on the wrong social media platforms. 
#designtip – to create a customer persona, jot down the following:
  • name;
  • age;
  • where they live;
  • likes and dislikes;
  • education;
  • profession;
  • family status;
  • values;
  • the problems they face.
With this information, you can put yourself in their shoes, gauge the social media platforms they frequent, where they shop, and how you can reach them successfully.


Call To Action

This could be a link to your website from a Facebook post, an invitation to sign up for your newsletter, or a request for a review. Not every social media post needs to sell a product, but it should encourage browsers to engage with the next stage of the sales funnel.
#designtip – review your current online content for calls to action.

2. Sales – Brand Interest & Conversion

Your marketing strategy is working overtime to attract the attention of potential new customers; now, all you have to do is grab their interest and continue to build a relationship. Here are two ways you can do it:


Email Newsletter

An email newsletter is a fantastic way to harness and maintain the attention of interested browsers.


The trick before embarking on an email marketing campaign is to think it through. You’ll need plenty of compelling material to hook readers from the get-go, offering a mix of special offers, news and content that’s only available to subscribers.


Your subscribers will also expect and appreciate regular communications, so make sure you stay on top of things with plenty of planning.


#designtip – you can invite people to subscribe to your newsletter in a number of ways:


  • Via an ‘opt in’ pop-up on your website;
  • Via a social media marketing campaign that leads people to your site;
  • Contacting customers by email after they’ve made a purchase.

Obviously, it should go without saying that data protection is incredibly important, so get permission before contacting customers.



Everyone loves a freebie. If you can offer something to browsers at the beginning of the buying process, you’ll be more likely to reel them in for the sale.


Depending on your business, your freebie could be:


  • a free downloadable report or cheat sheet;
  • a special one-off discount;
  • a token for a free product;
  • or an invite to join a private Facebook group where they’ll receive bonus content and support.

#designtip – what could you reasonably offer a browser that would convert interest to a sale?


Conversion / Checkout

You have captured their awareness and maintained their interest; now your potential new customer is ready to make a purchase.


This may sound obvious to some, but a simple, straightforward purchasing process is essential. If you sell online, make sure your shop works efficiently, with as few steps as possible. Communicate clear shipping information, so it’s obvious to your site visitor how easy it is to buy from you. And clearly state the returns process. You want people to feel they can trust the purchase. If you are a service provider, clearly communicate how potential clients can get in touch or register their interest.


If there is no obvious purchase path people will walk away.


#designtip – test your site’s purchasing journey. How simple is it for a visitor to shop? Is all of the pertinent information accessible and simple to read?

3. Customer Relations - Brand Relations

You’ve harnessed their attention and reeled them in: how do you sustain their interest and guarantee future sales? Go back to the beginning and start again! Okay, maybe not quite the beginning, but elements of your sales funnel can be used repeatedly to nurture your relationship with customers.


The key is to keep things fresh and interesting, because complacency is a brand’s worst enemy. Listen to what your customers are saying on social media, measure their engagement, and use this information to shape future content.


#designtip – review your sales funnel for gaps and weaknesses. There may be opportunities to reach out to new browsers that you’ve missed.

I hope this exploration of the sales funnel has dispelled some of the needless mystery that surrounds it. It’s as simple or complicated as you want it to be.


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Photo credit: Rod Long on Unsplash