How to Create a Profit-Generating Online Sales Funnel…

…for Your Clients … or Yourself!

I recently landed a client that turned into a mega-lucrative deal.

It all started with the client’s need to get online — he didn’t even have so much as a website for his landscaping business.

Like so many small businesses, he figured he could write a website on his own. He’d never before seen the need to outsource that service.

That is, until I mentioned this magic phrase: “What you need is a website sales funnel.”

“A what?” he asked.

“A website sales funnel. That way, when people visit your website, you’re able to capture their information, build a relationship, establish trust, and eventually get them to buy your services.”

I could tell from the way he narrowed his eyes and cocked his head that I had his attention. So I dished out a little more.

“It’s all about lead generation through inbound marketing systems, really. If you can entice a prospect to opt-in to your list, or at least to click through your sales pages, then you can — ”

“Wait,” he interrupted. “You mean land the client online?”

You see, this fellow was used to getting business through referrals. Which meant he had to make a lot of phone calls and home visits before landing a client. It worked, but it took a lot of time and made it hard to grow his business.

“Let me break it down for you,” I said. So I wrote up the following guideline on creating a website sales funnel, which I’ve adapted here for this article.

Websites These Days Deliver Much More Than Information …

First off, you’ve got to understand how crucial a website is. Gone are the days when people hunt down information from the Yellow Pages. Unless they hear about you through a referral, they’re not likely to ever find or hire you.

So the first step is to set up a basic website with all the crucial elements — information about your business and services, testimonials, a little background on your company, best ways to contact you, and so forth.

That’s Step One. It’s what we call a “static website.” It gives people information, but that’s it.

If they’re already convinced they need your help with a service, like our example of landscaping, and they like what they see on the site, there’s a good chance they’ll call you.

But what about the folks who aren’t really sure they need your help? Maybe they don’t know yet what kind of landscaping work they need, or they’re do-it-yourselfers who don’t see the point in hiring a professional.

That’s going to be the bulk of your website visitors. And you have only a matter of minutes — sometimes, just seconds — to persuade them they need to know more from you.

If you succeed in persuading them, you could double … triple … quadruple your business.

And that’s exactly why website sales funnels are so powerful.

The Best Sales Funnels Start With an End-Goal

It’s important to recognize that web-based sales funnels differ depending on the business they’re written for. But the majority follow a systematic process that happens in two to four steps.

But before you do anything, you need to figure out what action you want your website visitors to take when they get to your site. Do you want them to leave their contact information? Tell you their pain point? Call or email you? Request an appointment?

Here are some questions to help you decide your ultimate goal:

  • Who is your ideal prospect?
  • What can you provide that’s most likely to attract their business?
  • What would make them want to learn more about your services?
  • How can you persuade them to leave their contact information, or get in touch with you?
  • What’s the most effective way to have them contact you?

For my landscaping client, we decided he closes the most deals after surveying a person’s yard and offering them advice.

At the same time, he only wanted to give advice to “warm prospects” — customers who were most likely to purchase his services.

So I laid out a few options for him.

Option 1:

Offer a free, bi-monthly newsletter through your website. Visitors who come to the site will opt-in, leaving their names and email addresses. You’ll supply a newsletter that showcases your expertise and gives useful advice about landscaping. You’ll always close each newsletter with a call-to-action, and you can even include a coupon to entice those who are most interested to call you.

Benefit: The newsletter helps you establish trust and build a relationship over time. The coupon is an enticement device to get people to act promptly.

Option 2:

Offer a free report when website visitors opt-in to your mailing list. The free report should hit on a pain point — maybe “The Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Landscaping Your Yard.” They get the free report via a download link in an email that comes to them after they opt-in. Then that email is followed by a 7-email autoresponder series that gives advice on home landscaping. They get the emails every three days, and then the seventh email closes with a strong call-to-action to get in touch with you for a free consult.

Benefit: The free report and autoresponder emails showcase your expertise and allow you to make a deeper connection with the prospect than you would if they only saw your website.

Option 3:

Offer a form for a prospect to fill out that identifies their top need. Entice them to fill it out by giving them a coupon for a “Free Estimate” on their landscaping needs.

Benefit: This gives you free research and lets you into the minds of your prospects. It’s also an easy, maintenance-free way to get them to reach out to you with their contact information, since it doesn’t require you to keep up with a monthly newsletter or recurring emails.

Turn Your Client’s Website (or Your Own!) into a Money-Making Machine

Look at it this way. A website without a sales funnel is like buying a shiny, new Miata and leaving it in your driveway with an empty gas tank. It has the potential to grab the attention of anyone who sees it … but the only people who’ll ever see and admire it are the few who go past your driveway, by chance.

On the other hand, if you gas up that Miata and take it out on the road, not only will you get noticed … you’ll probably get nods of admiration from people who want what you’ve got.

A website sales funnel does the same thing. It puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to connecting with those who visit your website.

In all cases, your sales funnel should accomplish four things:

  1. Get attention
  2. Build trust
  3. Convert
  4. Deliver satisfaction

Remember, the ultimate goal for a website sales funnel is to strategically move a prospect closer to a sale. You want to take your prospects by the hand and convert them into customers, and then to loyal fans.

Mindy Tyson McHorse

Mindy Tyson McHorse

Executive Editor for The Barefoot Writer, Mindy McHorse writes for clients in the biz-opp, alternative medicine, and self-help world.

3 Comments

  • Great article, Mindy. Nicely summarized as to what we and our clients need for a sales funnel.
    Question: If you set up a squeeze page to capture information and leads from first time visitors, how do you handle regular visitors that just want to visit your site, get information, buy from you, etc. ? If all your traffic lands on the squeeze page, won’t that turn off your regular customers, clients or visitors?

    • Hi John,

      There are a few different ways to handle this. One way is to use a popover that invites new visitors to sign up. Once somebody signs up (or declines to sign up), the popover disappears for a set number of days based on IP address. That way the visitor only sees the invitation once every two weeks or once every month depending on the interval you set. This kind of strategy does require the assistance of a web designer (or web design skills) to set up.

  • Great article Mindy, thanks for the wonderful advice. Thanks too Heather for the information about a popover for repeat visitors. I’ll be able to use this when I get my fine art website up!

    Leslie Ehrin

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