Sales funnels and which type is right for your business

By Vlad Gozman, a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of involve me† Follow @vladgozman on Twitter.

A sales funnel is the process companies use to convert prospects into customers. It’s a way to narrow your target market and convert leads into paying customers. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, you need a sales funnel to make money.

Every business has a different sales process, but there are generally four stages in a sales funnel. The first phase is awareness, where you make potential customers aware of your product or service. The second stage is interest, where you arouse the customer’s interest and teach them more about what you offer. The third stage is the decision, where the customer decides whether or not to buy from you. And finally there is the action phase, where the customer actually makes a purchase.

Most importantly, have a sales process that moves prospects through your funnel and converts them into paying customers. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time (and money).

So why do companies need sales funnels? Because they are an incredibly effective way of turning leads into customers. In fact, companies that create a simple buying process are: 62% more chance to win a high quality sale. In addition, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more Sales-ready leads at 33% lower costs.

What Successful Sales Funnels Look Like

There are plenty of examples of successful sales funnels. One of the most famous is HubSpot’s Flywheel, which starts with attracting strangers and ends with making customers like them so much that they promote your business for you. Another great example is Moz’s SEO Funnel, which allows people interested in SEO to learn more about it and eventually become a customer.

Netflix also has a fantastic sales funnel. They use great content to attract new subscribers, keep them engaged with their service, and then resell them on more expensive plans. Groupon uses a similar strategy, attracting customers with discounts and then selling them additional products and services.

Also think about Coca-Cola. Some of the most effective marketing campaigns in history were created by this company. They start by creating brand awareness and then move on to creating an emotional connection with their customers. Finally, they turn that emotional bond into brand loyalty. It’s an incredibly effective sales funnel that has helped Coca-Cola become one of the most valuable brands in the world.

While Coca-Cola has several billion dollars a year to spend on marketing, your company probably doesn’t. So how do you create an effective sales funnel if you don’t have a big budget?

The answer is by using interactive content.

Interactive content improves sales funnels

People are naturally drawn to interactive content. It’s engaging and fun, and it can be used at any stage of the sales funnel. Here are some great options for interactive content:

• Quizzes and assessments. Not only can they generate leads, but they can also segment those leads so you know who’s interested in what you’re selling. For example, an investment app could use an interactive quiz to assess a person’s risk profile.

• Surveys and opinion polls. You can use surveys to qualify leads and find out which ones are most likely to become customers. For example, a fashion retailer could use a survey to find out which styles and colors are most popular with their target audience. And when you use polls, you can create engagement by getting people to vote on topics that matter to them.

• Calculators. They are useful for both lead generation and helping prospects make decisions. You can use calculators to show people how much they can save by using your product or service, or you can use them to help people calculate the return on their investment. For example, a solar panel company could use a calculator to show people how much they could save on their energy bills by switching to solar energy.

• Interactive infographics. They are visually appealing and can be used to tell a story that informs people about your product or service. And if you’re using video, you can take it one step further by creating interactive videos that let viewers choose their own adventure. Any business could use an interactive infographic to tell its story and engage its audience.

• Contests and sweepstakes. Not only do these generate leads, but they can also be used to build an email list. You can use contests to encourage people to sign up for your email list and then use the email list to promote your product or service.

• Spell. You can use it at any stage of the sales funnel. They are especially effective at lead generation, but they can also be used to engage potential customers and help them make decisions. For example, a fitness app could use a game to motivate people to exercise more. Games are also a great way to build an email list.

To build a successful sales funnel, consider using interactive content. It is one of the most effective ways to engage potential customers and convert them into paying customers.