Sales Funnel Development – How To Efficiently Create Your Funnel

Sales Funnel Development – How To Efficiently Create Your Funnel

In today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, speed is essential – you must be able to move fast, adapt to changing circumstances, and jump at new opportunities.

This means that you can’t afford to spend ages on developing your sales funnel – you need to get it up and running ASAP.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Sales funnel development can be incredibly time-consuming when you don’t know what you’re doing and are trying to figure it all out on the fly. Believe us, we know what it’s like. We’ve been there.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to create sales funnels efficiently. Once you have that process down, building funnels becomes much easier – and faster.

What Is the Value Ladder Sales Funnel?

We believe that the most effective way to sell anything online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.

It was created by our co-founder Russel Brunson who then used it to take ClickFunnels from zero to $10M+ in annual revenue in just one year (it’s at $100M+ now!).

This sales funnel has four stages:

  • Bait. You offer the potential customer your lead magnet in exchange for their email address. 
  • Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product or service. 
  • Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product or service. 
  • Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product or service.

Ideally, you also offer a continuity program of some sort, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.

We also recommend adding downsells, upsells, and cross-sells to these five core offers in order to maximize your revenue.

The reason why this sales funnel works so well is that it allows you to:

  1. Start the relationship with that person by offering free value.
  2. Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value via email. 
  3. Build trust by providing progressively more paid value at each stage.

Here’s how Russel explains it:

We recommend using the Value Ladder sales funnel structure whenever you are building a new funnel.

Don’t waste time trying to reinvent the wheel – simply do what’s been proven to work.

How To Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel

We understand that the Value Ladder sales funnel graph above might seem overwhelming. What if you don’t have a lead magnet + three offers  + a subscription program??

Well, guess what, you don’t need all that to get started – a lead magnet + a frontend offer is enough to build a basic Value Ladder sales funnel.

Here’s how…

Step #1: Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to potential customers in exchange for their email address.

It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:

  • A report.
  • An ebook.
  • A webclass.
  • A video course.
  • An email course.

…etc.

What’s important is that:

  1. Your lead magnet offers a solution to a problem that the potential customer is struggling with.
  2. That problem is either the same or related to the one that your frontend offer addresses.

Ideally, you want to have a lead magnet that serves as a free sample of the value that the potential customer can expect from your frontend product.

For example:

If your frontend product is an online course that teaches basic calisthenics skills, you could give one lesson away for free as a standalone video – say, a pull-up tutorial.

That way, your lead magnet will attract people who are likely to be interested in your frontend product as well as help you build trust.

Plus, this “free sample lead magnet” setup ensures that the transition from the Bait stage to the Frontend stage is as seamless as possible because there’s a logical progression from the lead magnet to the frontend offer.

Also, it’s extremely important to understand that your lead magnet is the foundation of your entire sales funnel, so you need to go all out with it.

As we always emphasize, potential customers won’t give you their email addresses unless you offer them something super valuable in return.

Ideally, you want your lead magnet to be something that people would happily pay money for, but that you choose to give away for free. It has to be that good!

Step #2: Create a Landing Page for That Lead Magnet

A landing page is a web page designed with a single conversion goal in mind – in this case, that goal is to get the potential customer to give you their email address.

We recommend creating a lead magnet landing page because that is a much more effective way of converting visitors into leads than promoting your lead magnet on your website.

You can start with a basic squeeze page that has these three key elements:

  • A headline that conveys what your offer is all about.
  • An opt-in form where the potential customer can type in their email address. It can either be shown immediately or displayed after they click the call-to-action button.
  • A call-to-action button that encourages the potential customer to get the lead magnet.

You might also want to experiment with various other page elements such as relevant images, additional copy, social proof, etc.

These elements can help you increase the conversion rate but you shouldn’t add anything to your landing page blindly – A/B test everything to see what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s a simple, yet highly effective squeeze page that we are using for one of our lead magnets:

Step #3: Create an Irresistible Frontend Offer

It’s important to understand that the purpose of the frontend offer isn’t to make you loads of money, it’s to convert leads into paying customers.

That’s why we recommend creating a frontend offer that is designed specifically for that as opposed to using one of the products or services that you are already selling.

Here’s a simple formula that you can use to create an irresistible frontend offer:

High Value + Low Price = Irresistible Offer

It’s best to price it at $7. Why?

Because it’s a price point that isn’t low enough to make the potential customer skeptical of the value of your frontend product but also isn’t high enough to make them stop and think twice before purchasing it.

Again, the aim here is to convert leads into paying customers, so you want to make sure that your frontend offer is a no-brainer. Keeping the price within the impulse buy range can help with that.

Step #4: Create a Sales Page For That Frontend Offer

Your frontend offer needs a dedicated sales page. Since the price point is $7, it doesn’t need to be fancy. It can be super short.

After all, this purchase decision doesn’t require a ton of information – people are unlikely to agonize about spending seven bucks, especially if you offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The most important copywriting principle that you need to understand if you want your sales page to convert well is the distinction between features and benefits:

  • A feature is a quality or a function of a product (e.g. “These shoes are waterproof”).
  • A benefit is the value that the customer will derive from that product (e.g. “These shoes will keep your feet dry!”).

People buy based on benefits, which is why you should focus on them in your headline, subheadline, and sales copy. How will your product make the customer’s life better? Emphasize that.

Here’s an example of a benefit-driven headline and subheadline:

We also advise adding as much social proof to your sales page as possible:

  • Mention relevant accomplishments, credentials, numbers, etc.
  • Display “As Seen On” media badges.
  • Display customer testimonials.

…etc.

There’s no such thing as too much social proof provided that it doesn’t distract the potential customer from buying the product.

Also, you should offer a 30-day, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee – make sure to display it near the call-to-action button so that it would put people’s minds at ease as they are about to buy the product.

Step #5: Create a 6-Email “Indoctrination Sequence”

We don’t recommend hitting the potential customer with a sales pitch the moment they give you their email address.

Send them this 6-email “indoctrination sequence” instead:

  • Email #1: Who Are You? Introduce yourself to your new subscriber. 
  • Email #2: Where Did You Come From? Tell them your origin story. How did you come to do what you do now?
  • Email #3: What Do You Do? Explain what it is that you do in more detail – what problems are you addressing, what solutions are you offering, what makes you different from everyone else, etc.
  • Email #4: How Did You Gain This Expertise? Tell them how you became an expert at what you do. Mention relevant education, credentials, accomplishments, etc. Why should they listen to you?
  • Email #5: Who Do You Do This For? Clearly define your ideal customer + share a case study on how you helped someone like that. 
  • Email #6: How Can You Do It For Me? Pitch your frontend product.

Here’s a copywriting framework that can help you make your emails more persuasive:

Note that only the last email is a sales email where you ask the new subscriber to buy something from you.

All the previous emails serve the purpose of creating a connection, building a relationship, and establishing trust.

These emails should end with a call to action where you ask the new subscriber a question and then encourage them to hit the reply button and respond to it.

Ideally, you should reply to as many of those messages as possible.

Bonus Step #1: Add a Downsell to Your Frontend Offer

This step isn’t necessary but it’s highly advisable.

A downsell is an offer that is a downgrade to the initial offer that the potential customer has already rejected.

Meaning, that if the potential customer rejects your frontend offer, instead of letting them go you can present them with a downsell.

However, the downsell should be a separate product – you should never discount your original offer in an attempt to get the sale.

You can downgrade from the initial offer by narrowing down the scope.

Say, if your frontend offer is a productivity course, your downsell could be a video from that course on building a morning routine.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use this “excerpt” approach, you can offer exclusive content for a symbolic price, such as an interview with someone that people in your target audience are familiar with.

A price point for a frontend offer downsell should be $2.99. Just make sure that you account for payment processing fees when you are running numbers on this.

Also, if you are wondering why even bother selling something for such a ridiculously low price, remember that the purpose of the frontend offer is to convert leads into paying customers.

So if you got someone to buy your $2.99 downsell, you have succeeded – they are now a paying customer!

Bonus Step #2: Add an Upsell to Your Frontend Offer

This is another step that isn’t necessary but is highly advisable.

An upsell is an offer that is an upgrade on the initial offer that the potential customer has already accepted.

Meaning, if the potential customer agrees to buy your frontend product, you want to present them with an upsell.

Here’s a formula for an irresistible upsell:

A Drastic Increase in Value + a Small Increase in Price = Irresistible Upsell

So figure out a way to add a ton of extra value to your frontend product, then only charge a few extra bucks for it (say, $9.99).

Those few extra bucks might not seem like a big deal but they can add up to a lot of money throughout the lifetime of your business.

Want Russel To Show You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?

Let’s keep it real:

Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why we created our 5-Day Challenge where Russel walks you through it step-by-step.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
  • Create your first lead magnet.
  • Build your first sales funnel.
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate.

Join our 5 Day Challenge today. It’s completely free!

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