5 Types of Marketing Funnels for Product Businesses
Preparation is key.
During the research phase for the recent launch last month of my new training program launch, I looked at a lot of different product-based marketing funnels to get ideas and inspiration.
I realized that when people typically think about product funnels, they think it involves just two actions: “add-to-cart” and “checkout.”
But product-based funnels are more involved than that. An effective product actually allows you to build a relationship with your customers so they can become repeat customers down the line.
In this article, I’m sharing five types of product-based marketing funnels for e-commerce businesses and info products.
I’m also going to explain how each of these funnels work, and what types of products are best for each.
(I’ve also included a bonus product funnel type at the end – so be sure to read the whole way through.)
So, here’s the first type of product funnel.
Marketing Funnel Type #1: The Free Sample Funnel
What It Is/How It Works: The first marketing funnel for product businesses is also one of the simplest: the free sample.
A free sample involves giving away a small portion of your product for free in the hopes that your prospect will enjoy your product enough to buy the full version.
Now if your business isn’t the type that has free samples to give away, you could also use something as simple as a lead magnet as your “free sample.”
Because like a free sample, in order for prospects to get it, they’d have to opt-in, and you’d have their contact information to engage them afterward with an email sequence.
Now in terms of follow-up, I recommend sending out emails for as long as it would take for the prospect to use the product.
For example, if you were offering a free sample of makeup that lasted a week, you could send emails throughout that week with tips on how to use the free sample. You could also send emails with discount offers for the full product once the sample was finished.
The goal of the follow-up is to get the prospect back on your site to convert them into a customer.
What Types of Products Are Best: Nutraceuticals and low-ticket consumables are the best types of products for a free sample.
Take, for instance, Annmarie Gianni Skin Care’s sample kit. This is worth $25 and includes small samples of Gianni’s organic skincare products.
When you sign up to get the free sample, Gianni explains more about the free kit in a short, informational video.
In that video, she offers a $10 discount to anyone who buys her full products after trying her free skincare kit. She’s already planting the seed for her customers to buy the full product, even as they’re signing up for her free sample.
She knows how long it would take for the average consumer to use the products in the kit, so she uses this information for her email follow-up sequence to send emails at the right time (i.e., when they’ve received their product and when they’re almost finished with it).
Marketing Funnel Type #2: The Limited Time Info Product Launch Funnel
What It Is/How It Works: A limited time info product launch funnel is all about building anticipation to the product launch, and creating urgency before the product is no longer available.
During this launch, you’re also working on building what I like to call social capital. This is the relationship you develop with your email list ahead of the launch where you position (and prove) yourself as authority while also fostering goodwill.
During this phase, you’re anticipating common reactions from your email list. This includes objections you could work on ahead of the launch, and even include in your email launch sequence.
Next, you want to push for urgency by mentioning the limited availability of the offer.
You might state how the “doors” will close soon as a reason for customers to sign up now rather than wait and miss out.
The email funnel should work to drive prospects to the core sales page. You also need a checkout page (which may feature a few upsells…more on those soon).
Then finally, after checkout, redirect customers to a thank-you page. This can be used for cross-selling, upselling, and even for gathering additional information.
What Types of Products Are Best: Limited edition or limited time info products that build urgency are best for this type of funnel. These products should require time or resources from your business that you cannot sustainably give forever, which provides a sense of legitmate scarcity.
You can also promote urgency by mentioning how there’s only a limited supply/amount of room.
For example, I mentioned earlier that we recently launched our 6-Figure Sales Funnel training. This was only available for a limited time.
Before the training launched, people could join the waiting list to get a link to register once it went live in August.
After the course closed again, visitors to the course page would see this:
These ‘closed’ course pages are also opportunities to direct people to other products or services you might be offering in addition to getting them on the waitlist.
Marketing Funnel Type #3: The Free Consultation Funnel
What It Is/How It Works: A free consultation funnel starts with the free consultation offer itself. Eventually, the goal is to sell the customer your products at full price.
This funnel begins with a prospect opting into the free consultation. If you’re a coach, this could be some sort of free, breakthrough strategy session.
After the free consultation is over, they’ll receive follow-up emails encouraging them to buy supplemental materials that will help them get more out of their free discussion with you.
What Types of Products Are Best: Info-products or companies that sell a product or service where a conversation happens before purchase. Companies selling products with multiple components (like a package) would also do well with a free consultation funnel, as would high-ticket products.
The Healthy Mom Handbook, a fitness resource for pregnant women and new mothers, is a great example of a free consultation funnel. They have lots of different products, but the kickoff is a free coaching session when you opt-in to see pricing for their handbook.
Prospects later receive offers to buy Healthy Mom Handbook products after the free consultation.
Marketing Funnel Type #4: The Cross-Sell Funnel
What It Is/How It Works: If a prospect has already bought an introductory product offer from you, you can cross-sell them a different product in a cross-sell funnel.
This different product must relate to the initial product offer, but it doesn’t have to be the same. Instead, the new product you’re offering should be supplemental, so the customer feels compelled to spend more before they check out.
What Types of Products Are Best: Many types of products are ideal for a cross-sell funnel.
Art store Michael’s, for instance, is always trying to sell you related products when you buy arts and crafts items.
Trek Bikes, a bike retailer, does the same thing. If you click on any bike and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, you’ll see the “you might also like” section.
Here, Trek recommends related products you might like, such as a riding wallet, mountain bike helmet, or floor pump.
Marketing Funnel Type #5: The Service Upsell Funnel
What It Is/How It Works: The goal of a service upsell funnel is to get the prospect to buy an introductory product offer, then upsell them on a service that complements the service.
What Types of Products Are Best: Usually info products, so you can upsell with a coaching package or related service.
Leadpages, for example, will sell you a product and then upsell with coaching.
Bonus Marketing Funnel Type: SaaS Referral Funnel
What It Is/How It Works: In the SaaS referral funnel, once a prospect becomes a customer you’d try to indoctrinate them into becoming an affiliate.
You’d offer them a unique referral link sometime after the customer receives the product.
What Types of Products Are Best: Subscription-based services, such as Dropbox or Netflix, work best with this type of funnel.
Rideshare service Uber is a great example of a SaaS referral funnel. If you sign up, you get a referral code that you can share with friends.
If one of your friends sign up using your referral code, both you and your friend will get discounted rides.
As you’ve seen by now, product-based marketing funnels are about more than just going from cart to check-out. Experiment by adding new, related products into your funnel, or offering value up front in exchange for an opportunity to follow up.
- Free sample funnels offer the prospect a freebie in the hopes they’ll buy more of the product at full value after trying it.
- It’s crucial to promote the scarcity of a limited-time info product launch funnel. This creates a sense of urgency that may encourage a prospect to opt in.
- A free consultation funnel is like a free sample funnel in that you’re offering something at no initial cost to the prospect. With this funnel though, you speak to them one-on-one, which builds rapport and positively influences their purchase decision down the line.
- A cross-sell funnel is when you offer customers complementary products before they buy.
- The service upsell funnel offers the customer something of a certain value, then tries to upsell them on an add-on service.
- The SaaS referral funnel gives the customer perks or discounts for referring a friend, thereby increasing your user base.
Which of these six product-based marketing sales funnels do you think could help your business most? Why? Let me know in the comments below.
Keep Hustlin’, Stay Focused