In an ideal world, every prospect who comes across your business would be ready to make a purchase straight away. They’d visit your site, view the product they’re interested in, purchase it and leave a positive review or tell all their family and friends about the product and your brand.
But unfortunately, purchasing many purchasing decisions aren’t that simple. Research suggests that 96% of all visitors to a website are not ready to make a purchase straight away, so it’s important for companies to have an effective process for capturing the attention of prospects who are interested in what they have to offer.
The journey prospects go on from the time they first interact with a business to the time they make a purchase refers to moving down the business sales funnel. Most prospects start their purchasing journey in the awareness stage, where they’re aware they have a problem to solve.
They then move to the consideration stage, where they’re seeking out solutions to that problem, to the decision stage, where they’ve decided what solution they’ll purchase to solve the problem they’re facing.
To give you a better understanding of what a successful sales funnel looks like, in this article, we’ll take a look at nine different sales funnel examples that should give you plenty of ideas, so you can turn more of your prospects into paying customers.
A classic example of a sales funnel that we've all probably been a part of at some time is Netflix's, and there are plenty of reasons why it's so successful. Netflix entices new customers by letting them know that they can use the service to watch an unlimited number of films, TV programs, and more.
They ease one of the common concerns that customers can have when signing up for a subscription service (that they will have difficulty canceling) in the copy by reassuring potential customers that they can cancel anytime.
Netflix also makes it easy for potential customers to start the process of signing up; all they need to do is enter their email address, hit 'get started', and follow the instructions in the confirmation email to sign up or resume an existing membership.
Netflix tends to change their homepage fairly regularly, and it's not uncommon to see them offering 30-day free trials as an incentive to move prospects from the awareness phase to the consideration/decision stage.
The great part about offering a free trial is customers get to taste what you have to offer which works very well for subscription-based businesses like Netflix or Hulu.
If you are selling a one-time purchase product, you can do what Reliable Soft does on their managed WordPress Hosting page. They give readers a ton of content that is free on their blog and then at the end of the article you get a pop up on the bottom left corner that advertises their digital marketing course.
In their own way, they manage to give potential customers a trial of what their course will incldue via their great blog content.
Basecamp is a project management tool that's designed to help remote teams organize and execute their work.
On their website where they capture visitors; they share blog content and podcast episodes that visitors can download. These different content offerings help to answer any questions potential customers may have about remote work and managing remote teams.
This content helps to move prospects down through the sales funnel from the awareness stage into the consideration stage.
Basecamp also offers a 30-day free trial that prospects can take advantage of. This gives potential customers the opportunity to use the software and test it out to see if it's the right solution for their business.
To encourage visitors to click on the CTA button, Basecamp gives a clear description of what their customers experience before signing up for the service and what their life will look like after they sign up. This is a smart thing to do as the visitor can start imagining in their mind how the product can help them.
Zendesk is a software company specializing in providing customer support software to businesses of all sizes. When a visitor lands on their website, they can start a free trial, which gives them the option to test out the software risk-free or view a product demo.
Instead of having to book a demo and commit to a set time, simply viewing a demo allows visitors to watch a demo at their own leisure to discover how the software works.
Then, if they like what they see, they can start a risk-free free trial. Both of these options move a lead down the funnel into the consideration stage, and if the prospect enjoys the trial, they are likely to become a paying customer.
Sendinblue is a SaaS company that offers a cloud-based marketing communication platform that offers a whole suite of digital marketing tools, such as sales and email marketing services all in one place. When a visitor lands on the website they’re met with a couple of different options to sign up for a free trial.
If a visitor wants to learn more about the product they can scroll down the page and read all about the features the platform offers. Once a user has signed up, Sendinblue can nurture the prospect through targeted email marketing and move the prospect down the funnel.
By taking up the free trial, the prospect also gets to try out the product for free and under no financial pressure; if they have a positive experience, they’re much more likely to end up becoming a paying customer.
Shopify is a leading global eCommerce company that provides businesses with all the tools they need to start and manage a retail business. When a visitor lands on their website, it’s nice and clear that they can start a free trial risk-free for 14 days.
On Shopify’s website, visitors can also explore different examples of different stores that other customers have set up to get an idea of what their store might look like. Shopify also makes it easy for visitors to explore the different features that they provide on their website, further encouraging them to sign up for a free trial.
Groupon is an eCommerce marketplace that offers various discounts on local services that subscribers can enjoy. To encourage people to sign up, Groupon offers new subscribers 20% off when entering their email address and exclusive promotions when they register.
After a visitor registers they officially become a “lead”, from here they can navigate around the site and easily make purchases by clicking “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart”.
After a customer has made a purchase Groupon also follows up with emails that include products personalized to the customers interests and previous purchase. This approach works well at turning customers into repeat buyers.
#7 Attorney Brian White & Associates
Attorney Brian White & Associates homepage draws visitors in with a bold headline that promotes the brand as the best option in Houston for people seeking out a personal injury attorney. They back up this claim in the copy below by letting visitors know that their lawyers have over 45 years of experience in the field.
If a visitor is ready to seek out a professional opinion, they can click the ‘free consultation’ button, and when they do this, they are directed to an easy to fill form where they can provide their contact information and the details about their case.
This type of offering works well as it gives potential customers peace of mind and potential help for their case without committing to an upfront spend or expensive consultation, which is particularly useful if their income is tight or they’re looking to save money.
This offer works well for the business as they have the opportunity to build trust with new potential clients by providing them with useful information during the free consultation and giving them a quote to see if they want to become a customer at the end of the consultation.
The ‘free consultation’ sales funnel is used frequently by businesses that sell high ticket services such as legal services.
This ‘Free Consultation’ method goes really well when you have positive reviews to back your business up. For example, Ozark Armament does this on their site where they syndicate their positive reviews from Amazon to show up on their homepage which draws potential customers in:
LawRank is a top legal marketing agency that helps attorneys rank on the first page of Google. When a visitor lands on their website, they are able to see a short summary of some of the results that LawRank could bring to their business. If a visitor is ready to learn more about the services LawRank offers, they can press either of the Call to Action (CTA) buttons to seek out more information.
If a visitor isn't quite at the stage where they want to learn about LawRank's services or book a consultation, they can download the LawRank's 'SEO For Lawyers' guide that will give them information on the topic and will also provide LawRank with their details as they can start moving them down the sales funnel.
This type of funnel is known as the 'lead magnet funnel', and the idea behind it is to encourage visitors to subscribe to a company's email list in return for a valuable piece of content.
#9 Business Insurance USA2
The third example is the homepage of an insurance company, Business Insurance USA. This is an interesting example to look at as it’s a good example of how a business can segment their visitors who want a quote by industry, the type of insurance they are looking for and the different insurance limits the visitor is looking for.
This allows the business to provide personalized quotes to those visitors who become prospects and send them relevant personalized information that will interest them and move down their sales funnel. This approach works well to increase conversions, and if the customer is happy with the quote they receive, there’s a strong likelihood they’ll become a customer.
Wrapping it up
There are quite a few different sales funnel models to utilize, and the right model for you will depend on the business you're running. If you can set up an effective sales funnel that captures visitors' attention and successfully moves them from the awareness to consideration stage, then you'll have a steady stream of new leads that you can continue to nurture down the sales funnel towards making a purchase.
Research suggests that nurtured leads make purchases that are 47% larger than purchases made from non-nurtured leads, so setting up an effective sales funnel is a must for any business that wants to grow as much as possible.
Freya is a personal finance expert and founder of the CollectingCents website that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.