Ultimate Guide: 7 Sales Funnel Strategies Proven to Convert

Want a bulletproof sales funnel strategy to sell your professional services,  guarantee a higher conversion rate for your next launch, your SaaS product—or pretty much anything in between?…

COOL, then keep reading…

Right now at AutoGrow we are hiring and training people like crazy. This is because clients are loving the fact that we relaunched our Done-For-You-Service

The team and I are working hard, learning faster than ever, and we’ve already earned a fistful of testimonials in just the first 5 weeks!

Here’s what a few clients have said: 

There’s a BIG problem coming up though…

Right now, if you book a call and order a Funnel Strategy Blueprint with us, I will personally get on a video call with you to learn ALL about your company. Then, I’d create what we call a “Funnel Strategy Blueprint” customized to your business.

But here’s the issue…

My time is going to max out very soon because there are a growing number of businesses requesting help every month (stay tuned for our next growth report coming out soon…).

And in order to scale AutoGrow, I need to “clone” myself.

Not literally (duh). But since AutoGrow has helped 657 clients build their sales funnels over the last 12+ years so far, I have the experience needed to hire and train strategists to replace me. They’ll work with our clients, eventually getting even better results than I would.

So the challenge now is to teach others how to scale our company’s ability to create that super-important funnel plan and help more busy business owners like you. 

Afterall, the Funnel Blueprint is like the DNA that designs the “whole body” of a successful sales funnel.

In today’s article (Ultimate Guide), I’m going to lay out my thinking on how to do this—and, in turn, teach you how you can craft a funnel strategy for your business that is proven to convert.

These 7 funnel strategy framework work regardless of your target market. They are, however, more tailored to what you’re selling i.e. product funnel converts slightly different than service (lead gen) funnels. 

I’m doing this for your benefit as well as AutoGrow’s for when it’s we hire and train a funnel strategist.

Some of this I also cover in our Sales Funnel Diagram Pack product, in case you want to check that out.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s dive into it and let’s rescue your business from sinking…

 

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What Is a “Funnel Strategy”? 

Imagine for a second I’m the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of the company you work for.

In our weekly meeting, we start brainstorming about new ideas on how to increase our leads and sales. 

My suggestion is to invest our marketing budget into an old-fashioned marketing strategy. Let’s say print advertising. You know… Newspaper ads!…

What would your reaction be to my proposal? 

First, you’ll probably stop respecting me as your boss, that’s for sure.

Then you’d probably make some good points:

Why would we (a marketing team) put our budget into a dead marketing strategy that is proven to fail?

Why wouldn’t we design a sales funnel strategy that is proven to convert instead?

Of course, you’d be right. That’s because the best way to help your business succeed is by designing and implementing the right sales funnel strategy.

Consumer and buyer behaviors have made a shift over the years. Their journey through your website is different than it used to be. So, your marketing funnel must accurately reflect that path of least resistance.

It must align with their expectations, and anticipate their needs—and do it in a cool, non-salesy way.

As you may know, a sales funnel is defined as a series of steps that lead a customer from awareness to a purchase decision.

So how do you craft the best possible funnel strategy? Well…

You have a few options. 

  1. First, you can hire someone to create the ultimate funnel strategy for you. (Lack of results from so-called “gurus” is the most cited reason clients come to AutoGrow. It’s because we do this sort of work everyday so we know what works.)
  2. Option two, train yourself to become a funnel expert, but who really has time for that? You’ve got a business to run.
  3. Option three: if you don’t yet have the budget to work with AutoGrow (we’re actually very affordable), the best option is to use one or more of our proven strategy frameworks.

And that’s what this article is about.

To teach you the fundamentals so you can create the best funnel strategy to implement for your business. 

And, if you want to choose the right funnel strategy for your business, you must know…

What is the difference between a strategy and a tactic?

By the way, if you already know the difference between a strategy and a tactic, congrats. Go ahead and skip to GO, I mean, skip to the next section. (Monopoly humor anyone? 🙂 )! 

Tactics are the specific tricks or actions you’ll take to achieve a specific end. 

At AutoGrow we have something we call the “2X2 technique”. This technique is basically A/B testing for two different subject lines and two different introductions for our articles when we send a newsletter.

I’ll go into more detail on this in a future “Matt Hack” video if you’re interested.

The bottom line is that it’s a proven growth hack for increasing engagement (opens & clicks) with our audience.

Tactics like this are great, but if they are done randomly or not in the right order, you’ll either see no results, or temporary “pop”. But it will often go away fast. This is why the “Marketing Gods” invented a strategy.

A strategy, by comparison, is a plan of action focused on how we achieve a goal. It is made of steps and thoughtful conversion tactics. 

The end goal for most of our clients is to “cause a permanent increase in sales and leads by attracting the right traffic in front of the right message(s), at the right time.”

The strategy, or plan, for how you get there is what I’m covering below in each of the 7 funnel frameworks. These are the most commonly used plans on each of our client accounts. 

We often customize each framework depending on the market or what is being sold. 

But, which funnel framework is right for you and your business?

No matter if you are offering services, info products, or free consultations, I will share with you the 7 frameworks that I use for both my clients and myself. 

A quick note before we dive in to the 1st funnel strategy framework…

What is the AutoGrow Funnel Strategy Blueprint? 

If you are looking to cause a “permanent spike” in your leads and sales, our Done-For-You Funnel Service might be right for you.

It all starts with a custom developed Funnel Strategy Blueprint, which we create for you, using, in part, the 7 frameworks outlined below.

AutoGrow’s Funnel Strategy Blueprint is included as part of our Done-For-You-Service to clients. However, we are now selling them as a standalone service.

You get 3 deliverables from it:

  1. Two 1-on-1 consulting calls with a Funnel Strategist. (That’s me at the moment!) The first intake call is to learn about your business, answer your questions, and confirm if our service is a fit for your needs.
  2. A customized funnel diagram. In a single view, this diagram visually shows you the high-level “sales / lead machine” we’ll be building for your account.
  3. A detailed, step-by-step plan of action. This includes a spreadsheet describing each step in the funnel we’re building, broken into 3 phases. The plan generally covers our first ~90 days of work together. It also includes an ads analysis report, as well as all the background needed for copywriting to start immediately.

The funnel blueprint includes all steps to take, and its goal is to bring the client’s funnel as fast as possible to ROI (i.e. we work to get you results sooner rather than later without sacrificing quality).

Want AutoGrow to create a customized funnel strategy blueprint for your business? Click here and see how we can help you build your own leads and sales machine.

Now, let’s get into the 7 funnel frameworks…

Top 7 Funnel Strategy Frameworks 

The 7 frameworks I share with you below will help you: 

  • Understand your customer’s journey.
  • Analyze and think critically about the current sales flow of your business.
  • Visualize the stages of lead development.
  • Identify areas to improve your or your client’s conversion rate.

I created these frameworks based upon my 13+ years of experience as an entrepreneur, and as a marketing who’s worked with over 650 clients.  

All that experience taught me what does and what does not work.

One thing that always works: quality always wins. And that’s why each piece of each client’s funnel we create is triple-checked.

Here’s the first framework…

Strategy Framework #1 – The Free Consultation—Lead Generation Sales Funnel

This one is a classic, and one of our most used funnel frameworks.

A “free consultation” isn’t always the call-to-action on the Funnel Blueprints we create for clients who use this framework as a starting point. Regardless, it works—it sounds boring, but the strategy is tried and true and it gets results…

But only you put in the time to do it right, which we do for our clients.

That means the traffic coming in from paid ads is planned and researched beforehand. The copy and design are equally well-thought-out, especially on the core sales page (“Service Landing Page” in the diagram above).

We use this strategy framework primarily for B2B service businesses who want to increase their leads.

Sometimes we use a variation of this funnel, mix in some “ninja” tactics, but in most cases this is it. It doesn’t require a lot of fancy footwork to work. It requires good old-fashioned, high-quality planning, copy, and design.

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • B2B agencies.
  • Coaches and trainers: This funnel framework has worked for coaches, coaching programs, workshop event-type offers, and personal trainers who have offered free coaching sessions.
  • Health, nutrition, and fitness: Any business from these industries that offer free consultation sessions.

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Lead Magnet: Often a bite-sized piece of actionable content to establish authority and goodwill.
  2. Service Landing Page: The objective of this page—the most important and essential step in the sales funnel—is to drive your prospects to book an appointment for a free consultation or discovery call. 

This “ingredient” from your strategy works better if you share a 60-second video introducing yourself. It will follow immediately after people opt-in to get your lead magnet. This will make you stand out from other websites and will humanize your brand. 

  1. Follow-up Email Automation: Sending your prospects follow-up emails reminds them to come back and book a call if they haven’t already. 

Strategy Framework #2 – The Inbound—Actually Gets Results—Info Product Sales Funnel

The unique caveat about this funnel is that works well by upselling as in an advanced way.

In my case, about 32% of AutoGrow’s product revenue for 2019 has come from upselling.

The results are better when you already have regular traffic coming in from email automations and newsletters.

These people usually already know / like / trust you.

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • Selling E-books.
  • Webinars and video training series.
  • Online courses.

It also works great for startups who are starting out by launching with a few basic products.

This will help you visualize the sales process, from lead generation to a purchase action. 

In other words, it will help you analyze your customer’s journey.

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Inbound Traffic: This is the traffic from people who are researching for information and come across your website or blog via online search.

If you offer them something valuable on the page they land on, you’ll be instantly building rapport. The prospects are likely to proceed deeper into your funnel in this way.

  1. Lead Magnet: This is what gets people into your email list. This is very powerful because people on your email list are at least 2X more likely to buy than first-time visitors.
  1. Thank You / Confirmation Page: Add a 60-second video where you talk about yourself and the company. This will be important because people love to see who’s behind a brand. This will make you stand out and will increase your conversion rate as well.
  1. Tripwire Page: Here is where you make your first paid offer to your website visitors. A tripwire is an affordable product (usually between $5-$50). You can try offering a higher-end product also (something under $1,000). But include a discount or a one-time offer to create urgency. Note that the higher the price of your tripwire, the lower the conversion rate. 

This is why tripwires are priced lower. It’s not about the “$19 for the ebook”. It’s about the delivered value in exchange for money. This makes a repeat, future transaction (or upsell) much more likely.

  1. Checkout Page: This is a key point of leverage. A/B test it consistently.
  1. Upsell: An upsell is an offer on top of an offer that has already been made and accepted.

Upsells let you maximize customer lifetime value. They also increase the average size of each sale.

Check out our Sales Funnel Diagram Pack if you want to create a successful sales funnel faster. This pack of 28 diagrams​ comes with strategy videos and editable funnel diagrams that you can copy and edit on Google Drive.

Strategy Framework #3 – High Ticket—Coaching Sales Funnel

Sales funnels work with high-priced physical products and services too. It doesn’t have to be complex either.

It can work well for entrepreneurs, coaches, personal trainers, and startup businesses. Also, for high-end agencies who do consulting for other companies. 

What I like about this framework is that it’s simple. It puts the focus on a couple of core pages to do the conversion “legwork.”

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • Health: We used this framework as the base for a high-ticket sales funnel for a hyperbaric chamber. This is a type of medical treatment used by athletes and children.
  • Fitness: This strategy works for those in the fitness area. The funnel strategy we created there included a $7 tripwire niche case study. This case study explained how they had helped one specific client to succeed. They also offered a bonus one-on-one call.
  • Software agency: Another type of business this sales funnel works for is a software agency. In this case, the client was selling services that helped larger companies to streamline their operations.   
  • Startup: Entrepreneurs and/or startup businesses who sell high-value and high-priced products or services.

Coaches and personal trainers: This funnel worked for a business who was a coach and was looking to work with other trainers.

  • High-end agencies: High-end B2B agencies who do consulting for other companies. 

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Lead Magnet: Offer any how-to checklists on how to solve or do something. For example, give a 10-step checklist on how to “go paperless and automate your workflow” in the case of a software agency vendor. Or how to “adjust your diet and lose weight in the first 2 weeks” in the case of a health coach.
  1. Confirmation + Tripwire: It’s important to write a copy of 1 or 2 sentences for the confirmation page. Thank your website visitors for downloading or requesting your lead magnet. Then, upgrade them to buy the tripwire.
  1. Checkout Page: The checkout page must have a CTA to book a call with the trainer, coach or Nutritionist. 
  1. Embedded Booking Widget: If you include in your high-ticket sales funnel a booking widget to schedule a call, it will convert better. This works because it removes some of the friction of scheduling calls at a time that works for both parties.

If you want to unlock the remaining ingredients of a successful sales funnel strategy, check out our Sales Funnel Diagram Pack.

Strategy Framework #4 – The Multiple Points of Urgency—Info Products And/Or Membership Programs Sales Funnel

This framework is for businesses selling info products, training, coaching, and/or membership programs. 

It gives people a reason at every stage for why they should buy NOW.

It even works well with cold traffic. Using time-based discounts and bonuses are compelling points of urgency that drive buying decisions in this funnel.

There is a LOT of copywriting involved, so I recommend working with a good copywriter to make this one work for you. 

This one is “advanced”, so if you’re starting from scratch, you might want to start simpler.

For the most part, we’ve seen this approach produce some great results.

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • Coaching Programs: Any business who is looking to sell any coaching and/or training membership program. A well-known coach and marketer used this funnel in a recent launch, which brought in revenue just shy of $1 MM.
  • Training Products: I actually used this funnel when I launched a revamped version of an info product a year ago called 6-Figure Sales Funnel. It worked well. Using this funnel generated 5X more revenue than our biggest launch before that. 
  • Info products and/or services: Any business that is open to offering a limited time special of some kind on their info product (or services) that builds urgency.

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Priming Emails: Send email newsletters to your audience with the solution on how to overcome a problem they have. 
  1. Training Video Email: Send an email announcing that the training videos will be coming soon. This is important because people will be expecting them. Creating this anticipation makes the experience more enjoyable, and persuasive.

Include an edited transcript of each video. This is for people who prefer reading rather than watching the video. Many people may speak English as a second language and this can be quite helpful to them. Many people in our audience have thanked me when we had included transcripts in our videos.

  1. Multiple points of urgency: Each “red dot” in the diagram above shows where a special, limited time offer is being made. This is more than just an “early-bird” discount. Check out our sales funnel diagram pack if you’d like a more complete breakdown of the formula.

Strategy Framework #5 – Video Demo Funnel—For Productized Services

Productized services are awesome, and a hot topic among business owners right now.

They offer a scalable solution to building a service business. A productized service business requires very little upfront capital to get started. Yet, it can scale almost as efficiently as a software product over the long term.

I recently wrote a complete ebook and audiobook called Productize & RELAX on the topic. It also includes templates, phone scripts, checklists, and more.

In the book, I tell you everything you need to know on how to start your path to productizing your business. 

(Not to mention, I put my money where my mouth was. While writing it, I relaunched our own productized Done-For-Your Funnel Service. It is doing great so far. I’m sharing what I’m learning in our private coaching community that comes with the book too.)

Something I realized from creating it is that all service businesses set the goal of productizing. They do it if they want to thrive long-term, give a consistently positive experience to clients, and scale.

The design of your productized sales funnel is critical to attracting and converting high-quality clients leads. These leads are educated and ready to buy.

One of the key ingredients of this type of funnel is an on-demand demo video, which I talk more about below…

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • Focused, Done-For-You Marketing Services: Businesses that offer done-for-you services like AutoGrow.
  • Productized Maintenance Services: these are on-demand “whenever you need it, we help you” services. A great example of this is a recent client who provides an outsource 3D rendering, design, and drafting team to help architects and interior designers get their projects done.
  • Other types of productized services.

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Pricing Page: The main CTA here needs to promote the prices so people can check them out. Also, on the pricing page, people will opt in to watch a video demo or book a call.
  1. 10-20 Min Demo Video: A lot of people that come to your website are very protective of their time and don’t want to get on a call with you. This is because they are afraid you will try to sell them something (which you will). This key ingredient of the strategy alleviates some of that risk. And it also increases the conversion rate.

    People often prefer watching a demo video to get the information they need faster. Then they can decide if a call makes sense.

Strategy Framework #6 – Advanced—The AutoGrow.co Survey Sales Funnel

This survey funnel is a little more complex to create and implement than the previous ones. This is because it requires a lot of work to set it up. In fact, we are constantly tweaking our own survey funnel. It contains about 30 separate emails, so far. 

This one works better if you have a good range of products for your business.

When creating a survey funnel strategy, I recommend limiting the list of questions to 1-3, at most. 

The idea is for the prospect to answer a short survey after opting into your email newsletter. Not to give him / her a lengthy quiz.

I also suggest you make a 60-second video to persuade the subscriber to fill out the form. Explain how it benefits them (e.g. a personalized experience).

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • SaaS Company: We’re currently using this strategy with a SaaS company we’re working with. When an email subscriber opts in, they are required to answer a single question. This lets us know which version of the following sales page to show them. Each version is tweaked to address their needs.
  • Music and dance schools: I created a survey sales funnel strategy for a former client who owned a dance studio in NYC. They wanted to segment their audience because their customers signed up with different purposes or goals. Some were looking to do it for fun, and the other part took the hobby very seriously. We used this funnel strategy to find out what their real interests were. Based on that, we sent each leads to a customized landing page that spoke more directly to their needs.
  • Health & Fitness: Someone subscribing to your email list might want to be healthy or lose weight. But you must know first what are their specific needs and who they are (male or female). This is key to understanding your audience.
  • Info products: In our sales funnel, we give a personalized pitch for each of our digital products, trainings, or tools based on how someone answers our survey. It’s a key reason why 12% of our email subscribers are also customers.
  • Service business: Different types of services you offer to the right people, and in the right way. E.g. based on the type of problem they have or the type of business they are.

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Pop-Up or Sidebar Opt-in Widget: On our site, we’ve recently moved away from having a dedicated landing page asking people to fill out a survey form. It’s one extra step. Instead, we ask one question in the opt-in, shown as a 2-step opt-in pop-up, or sidebar widget. 
  1. Thank You Page w/ Survey Form: If you want to ask more than one question, it might be worth it to have a dedicated page with the survey form. This works at a high rate (42% conversion rate in our case) if you redirect the prospect to a page with a short video on it and a simple 2-3 question form. The purpose of the video is to sell the subscriber on why they should take a few more seconds to fill out the form. 
  1. Relevant Tripwire: Once the prospects fill out the form, this data will help you personalize the follow-up email sequence. You will show them the most relevant offer you have to give them right now. People appreciate that, and it will make you stand out.
  1. Upsells: For people who take your tripwire offer (or “service slice”).

Strategy Framework #7 – E-commerce—The Skincare Free Sample Funnel

This strategy, like the name says, is for e-commerce companies, anyone selling info products and/or low-ticket consumables who are open to offering a free sample (or a free trial).

Examples Of Our Clients and Business Types Who Succeed with This Funnel Framework:

  • E-commerce — Health & Beauty: Using this framework we created a strategy for a former e-commerce business in the health and beauty market. It performed great. His store offered a “7 Skin Care Tips Guide” for the lead magnet. Also a guide with skincare beauty tips that led into the free sample offer.
  • Info products & SaaS: We have used a similar version of this framework with SaaS, info product businesses, and even an industrial building materials company. If it wasn’t a free sample, in the case of a SaaS or online course, for instance it would be a free trial.
  • Nutraceuticals and low-ticket consumables: These are some of the best types of products for a free sample funnel.

Key Ingredients That Make This Strategy Work:

  1. Pop-Up Lead Magnet Offer: The incentive for people to opt in to your email list could be something as simple as a checklist, or as detailed as a how-to guide.
  1. Thank You Page + Free Sample Landing Page: This part of the sales journey will bring you the results you want as long as you offer something for free. It can be something as simple as a free photo, or as useful as bath product samples. 

For physical products, it’s normal to give the product samples for free and charge the customer for shipping. This may seem like a veiled excuse to get customers’ credit card info (and it can be). But it’s more about keeping out the tire-kickers. So make sure they are at least somewhat invested and value the product.

The idea is to“tease” your prospects by offering them a part of your bigger product. If they love the sample, they’ll crave the product.

  1. Checkout Page + Order Bump: If your prospects take the free sample and they like it, GREAT. You can now offer them a full kit of your products. Give them a reason to upgrade their order on the spot.
  1. Thank You Page: Never forget to always thank your customers for buying something from you. It reassures them and people appreciate the confirmation.

Conclusion

When you create your funnel strategy, go level by level in the funnel, take action, and then loop back. This will help you:

  • Understand your customer’s journey. What is the “natural flow”? If you sell a service for $5,000, people probably won’t come to your website and plop down $5G’s immediately. That’s why you then must…
  • Empathize and present your offers and information in a logical order. The order needs to anticipate the customer’s or client’s needs—tailoring the message based on where they are at.
  • People will drop out of your funnel but that’s why your goal is to maximize conversion. Do this by taking the time to get quality targeting for your ads (traffic), along with thoughtful on-page copy, design, and of course, follow-up via retargeting and email automations.

We’re selling great results for clients who are using these funnel frameworks. I look forward to sharing more of those results in a case study form soon. Here’s a new video testimonial a client recently sent us:

 

If you don’t know which sales funnel strategy is right for you, though, or need help implementing it, feel free to reach out to me and the AutoGrow team.

Now tell me something, have you ever created a sales funnel strategy before? 

Which framework you think will work best for your business and why? 

Let me know in the comments below.

And by the way, congrats! By reading this in-depth article, you just graduated as a level 1 sales funnel strategist.

Well… Almost. Because now you need to go and take action first! Or…

Just have AutoGrow do it all for you!

Keep Convertin’, Stay Focused,

 

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