If you’ve been looking at the current trends in online marketing, there is a lot of attention being given to sales funnels and, more specifically, funnel pages. A handful of online marketing “gurus” are jumping on the opportunity to promote the concept of the funnel page. We’re not going to get into the critique of what they say and do, or how effective it works for their customers and clients. Instead, it’s way more important to discuss how it is important for you to consider using funnel pages – and how you can get the most out of them.
First, it’s important to understand what a funnel page is supposed to be. A funnel page, in its simple website programming format, usually includes 1-5 actual website pages.
The first page is the offer page. It is usually a long, detailed page, full of persuasive content which causes the reader to be convinced that the offer is compelling enough so that a decision is made. The most conventional format is to write a lot of content that will guide the reader so that, by the end of the page, there is a decision to get more information, purchase something, or have someone contact the reader. Some companies use a video or a set of videos to present the persuasive speech, in which the format of the content is very similar.
Once the reader clicks on the link as a decision to go further, the second page usually appears. The second page is the information collection page. It is usually a form page which asks for the reader’s name, address, phone number, etc. If a purchase is being made, the payment information is requested as well.
The third page is normally a confirmation page, informing the reader that their information has been processed and that the company will provide what was promised.
Some sales funnels will include “upsells”, which are focused on getting someone to buy more products or services, or a more expensive package offering. They usually have a “Wait! There’s more! Buy now and you can get . . . ” type of message, allowing you to add or upgrade your purchase. There can be 1-3 more of these types of pages involved.
Now that we’ve covered the basis framework of what a funnel page is all about, along with the different types of funnel pages, let’s talk about the usefulness of a funnel page.
As today’s websites have taken on two distinct forms – either a “virtual storefront” or a “online brochure”, which we discuss in other articles – the opportunity of the sales presentation was gradually being eliminated out of the online marketing presence for most companies. In the past, viewers were visiting websites and were browsing on the home page in a similar way that shoppers would browse in stores in a shopping mall. Now, viewers are looking for information and a compelling sales presentation within seven seconds or less – and websites weren’t doing that.
Enter the funnel page.
The funnel page replaced the sales letter we used to get in the mail, or the person-to-person sales pitch we used to get in the store, in our homes, or, in some cases, in the television infomercials we’ve watched late at night. If you look at the funnel page carefully, you’ll see much of the same framework. The content addresses your need, gives a credibility story or presentation, talks about how the products and/or services they offer will solve your needs, and then the emotional cue comes in for you to make a decision – now.
What’s interesting is that the typical customer doesn’t see the funnel page as a website page – but it is a website page with the same technology resources and options available. Instead, they see it as an online sales letter or sales video. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because many websites right now are ignored. If the customer sees the funnel page as something essential to be read and considered, that’s exactly what needs to be accomplished.
Keep in mind that a funnel page needs to be carefully and strategically crafted. It has to be written well. The “calls to action” need to be clear, concise and powerful. The technology needs to be easily used and definitely “usable” throughout the whole process for the reader. And, most importantly, it needs to communicate great value to the customer, leading into a long-term relationship between the customer and the vendor.
There are some excellent strategies to build a sales funnel and the appropriate funnel pages. Always keep in mind, however, that gimmicky presentations to sell anything are usually a low-value opportunity – either for you or your customers. Be sure to take the right steps to build funnel pages that provide tangible ways for your customers to gain value and benefits from what you are selling to them, based on a long-term relationship.