Sales Funnels and Why You Need One

Sales Funnel

Selling products and services online gives you access to a worldwide audience.

But this doesn’t automatically result in massive sales and a successful business.

It takes hard work and effort to secure customers and make sales.

That is why it is especially frustrating when you dedicate time, energy, and resources into promoting your offers only to see minimal results.

It’s not enough to inundate your audience with messaging and links to your offer in the hopes that they’ll click and buy.

Successful internet businesses use the power of Sales Funnels to move their products and services.

And they know the best sales funnels make valuable, targeted, and well-timed offers.

Sales funnels automate the sales process and put you in control of what your prospects see and when.

Create a sales funnel containing multiple offers and you’ll quickly start to see greater revenue and results.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a visualisation or map of the journey your target customer takes from initial awareness to the eventual purchase.

It is the process prospects go through to become a customer.

It’s called a funnel because it’s wide at the top (the sales funnel entry point) and narrows as the customer moves toward buying your core offer.

The idea is to cast a wide net at first, attracting casual and serious prospects alike.

You then present them with offers that will either move people down the funnel towards purchase or, remove them.

The types of offers you present, and where you place them, is key to your funnel’s success.

Some offer types include a lead magnet, low-ticket offer, one-time offer, order bump, upsell, and down-sell.

This list isn’t comprehensive, and don’t worry if you don’t understand all those terms yet.

But this list forms the basis of all successful sales funnels.

The point of these offers is to qualify leads for your core offer.

Through your prospects’ reaction to these offers, you can learn who will buy from you and who will not.

You can then weed out those who are not interested in buying anything, and focus only on those who will become customers.

What Types of Offers Should You Put in Your Funnel?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

Everybody’s audience is different.

You’ll have to do some planning and trial and error to discover what works and what doesn’t.

Here are some of the offers most commonly found in a sales funnel.

The Core Offer

Your core offer is near the bottom of the funnel.

It is usually your primary product/service and the reason why your offer funnel exists.

It is often the purchase that’s just under the highest price point, but it doesn’t always have to be.

Lead Magnet

Technically not inside the funnel, a lead magnet attracts prospects to the entry point of your funnel.

It is a freebie that you offer in exchange for a person’s name and email address.

Once you have their contact details, you can continue marketing to them via email.

Low-Ticket Offer

A low-ticket offer is usually found at the front end of your sales funnel.

It is low-risk and won’t scare prospects away with its price tag.

It primes your audience to buy your core offer later on.

Most importantly, a low-ticket offer separates the serious prospects with money, from casual visitors who just wanted the freebie.

One-Time Offer

A one-time offer (OTO) is a powerful way to qualify prospects early in your sales funnel.

It can be a low-ticket item or even another freebie.

What makes it so powerful is its exclusivity and time-sensitive nature.

Typically you describe these offers as, ‘This is your only chance to buy at this price’, or ‘Buy now before it’s gone forever’.

It is another way to guide people to your core offer.

Order Bump

The customer sees an order bump at the end of the sales funnel.

Typically it is on the checkout page for your core offer.

Think of an Order Bump like those small items which are on display at your local supermarket check-out.

They are last-minute, low price, impulse buys.

With a single click, customers can add these lower-ticket items to their cart before they press ‘Buy now’.

Order bumps have a high conversion rate and increase the value of your core offer and point of sale revenue.


An upsell is a higher-priced offer presented immediately after the customer has bought your core offer.

The right customers will appreciate an upsell that enhances the value of their initial purchase.


A downsell is a lower-priced offer that you make to your prospect after they have turned down your core offer or upsell.

The hope is that, while the customer doesn’t want to pay for the initial offer, they may buy a less expensive alternative.

It keeps people in your funnel and that downsell item may be just what those people are looking for.

Why You Need a Variety of Offers

Presenting prospects with a variety of offers as they progress through your sales funnel allows you to segment and better target your audience.

If your audience is a mix of high-ticket purchasers, cautious and budget-conscious consumers, and ‘window shoppers’ looking for freebies, a good sales funnel will offer something to all of them.

The different types of offers and their placement in the funnel will direct audience members to the right offer at the right time.

And it will show them the door if none of the offers are right for them.

Using different offer types will also allow you to maximise sales.

Instead of an all or nothing approach of selling customers your core offer, you can present them with a series of choices to find what is right for them.

This process helps foster a relationship with your audience.

As you present your audience with different offers, you will be communicating with them regularly.

You will build trust and establish yourself as an expert, increasing the odds that people will buy your core offer, and future offers.

The most important thing to remember is that the customer’s movement through the sales funnel isn’t necessarily in a straight line.

A funnel isn’t a direct, ultrafast chute that drops prospects into your core offer.

Instead, it can be a flexible journey, or ‘choose your own adventure’, that’s directed by the choices your prospects make.

They may take you up on your downsell, but not your upsell.

Or they may go directly to your core offer.

Or they may purchase your low-ticket offer, but will need more information and content from your before they purchase a higher-ticket item.

A fluid, flexible funnel of offers will speak to all these people and lead them to the purchase that’s right for them.

A well crafter funnel will result in more conversions and higher-value sales.

Why You Need a Sales Funnel of Offers

At first glance, building a sales funnel and mapping it out seems like a complicated process.

You need to understand your audience, clearly define your core offer’s unique value proposition, and create a whole series of supporting offers and related communications before you even get to your core offer.

It’s worth it

A sales funnel of offers makes the process more efficient.

No more…

  • Constantly adjusting your core offer to appeal to different members of your audience
  • Wasting time engaging with people who just want your free content
  • Scrambling to create content and communications to promote your core offer
  • Annoying your audience with communications they’re not interested in and driving them to unsubscribe

Some of your audience members just want free stuff.

I call them tyre-kickers.

Like the people who like to visit car showrooms even though they have no intention to buy.

They’ll enjoy your free content and offers, but they won’t buy – not even a low-ticket offer.

By weeding out those tyre-kickers, and automating the process, you won’t waste time engaging with them during the sales process.

This is the primary benefit, but there are many others.

Through your offers funnel, you learn more about your audience.

With this knowledge you can build better, more relevant products for your audience.

The communications related to your offers will genuinely help prospects with their problems and they’ll come to see you as a trusted expert who provides value.

This will increase the chances that they will one-day buy your core and future offers.

Finally, a sales funnel with multiple offers helps you learn even more about your target audience.

By choosing or rejecting offers, your prospects are giving you valuable information about their preferences and tastes.

Their decisions also provide valuable input on the offer itself.

If nobody takes you up on the offer, it may need to be adjusted.

On the other hand, if you have great success with an offer, you can figure out why and replicate it.

The Keys to Success with Your Sales Funnel of Offers

Know Your Audience

The key to a successful sales funnel of offers is to know your audience.

Conduct research and create an ideal customer profile.

This will allow you to identify the unique challenges and problems your audience faces and solve them through you offers.

If you create tangible results and quick wins for your audience, the more likely they are to buy your core offer and future offers.

Focus on Your Free Lead Magnet

Your lead magnet is what drives people to the entry point of your sales funnel.

It is your most important offer, so make it good.

It should provide value and solve a specific problem your audience has identified.

Pay special attention to creating content that will support this lead magnet and driving traffic to it.

Nobody will opt-in to your lead magnet if they can’t find it.

Know the Stages of Your Offer Funnel

Prospects move through different stages of awareness and openness to buy as they progress through your funnel.

It is critical to present them with the right offer at the right time.

For example, the chances of convincing them to buy a high-ticket item the second they enter your funnel are very low.

You first need to cultivate a relationship.

The first stages of the journey are awareness (before they enter the funnel) and then interest (after they’ve opted in).

Prospects are just starting learn about you and your offerings.

The offer at the interest stage should be low-risk, either a freebie or one-time offer that will gain their trust and move them further down the funnel.

In the middle of the funnel, prospects are at the evaluation and engagement stages.

They’re consuming your content and starting to seriously consider what you have to offer.

You can present them with a low-ticket offer or even a subscription.

Later in the funnel, in the commitment stage, you have convinced prospects of your value so they are ready to buy.

Present them with your core offer, and later an upsell or downsell offer.

Learn these stages so you’re making the right offer, at the right time.

And remember, the stages aren’t necessarily linear.

Some prospects may get all the way down to the engagement stage and then decide they need more information, returning to the evaluation stage.

Longer Doesn’t Mean Better

Your offer funnel doesn’t need to be long and complex.

You just need enough offers to qualify your prospects and lead them to your core offer.

Assess your customers’ needs and the types of offers you’re capable of making.

Don’t Despair When People Leave

Don’t feel disappointed when people leave your offer funnel.

That’s supposed to happen!

They’re sending you valuable feedback that your offers aren’t for them.

The Core Offer Isn’t the End

If you really want to make the most of your offer funnel, keep engaging with people long after they buy your core offer.

Lead them to other offers and funnels.

You’ve done a great deal of work to capture and nurture this lead, so don’t let them go.

How to Get Started

You’ll learn the most about building a sales funnel of offers by actually doing it, so get started today.

The first step is to identify your core offer, think about your customers and what you can offer them along the way, and start mapping it out.

Then get to work building your funnel using tools like Kartra, Clickfunnels or Kyvio.

The sooner your offer funnel is up and running, the sooner you’ll start seeing results.

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Written by 

Co-Founder & CEO of Link Management Group. An Investor & Coach to Small Business Owners, for the past 30 years I have helped startup and early-stage businesses to enter new markets and achieve sustainable growth of both revenue and profits. I have experience across a diverse range of sectors including central government, information services, software, health insurance, pet products, couture fashion, entertainment and aviation.  How can I help your organisation accelerate growth and achieve its full potential? 

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