Foolproof Sales Funnels: The 3 Necessary Software Components for Success / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Are you asking yourself "how do I build a sales funnel"? Here is a rundown of what you will need for your sales funnel to be successful.

Sales funnels are an essential component of an effective marketing strategy and overall business plan. You’ve likely heard of landing pages, automated email service providers and the efforts to integrate content into nurturing campaigns that move your website visitors from prospects to leads. It’s not enough any more to simply sell a product. Most people want real value and need to develop a relationship with your brand and business in order to want to purchase from you. When you integrate compelling, useful content into your marketing funnel, you privde them with that value and establish your credibility and expertise to deliver the products and services they will want to purchase from you later.

Understanding the basic makeup of a sales funnel, how do you actually build one? What software will you need to be successful and how much is that going to cost your business?

Related Article: Fill It to the Top: Tips to Ensure a Strong Sales Funnel

Here is a helpful overview of three necessary software components required to successfully create your own sales funnel.

1. Landings Pages 

To begin your sales funnel, you will need a marketing software service that allows you to create landing pages, such as LeadPages or Clickfunnel. Services like these will help a small business owner build marketing landing pages for events, products, services and more. You are able to customize these landing pages to best represent your company by using different colors, fonts, content and images. Most will offer a basic template for you to follow, making the process quick and easy. The various templates will help you create different marketing funnels based on the product or service you’re trying to sell. For example, there are webinar funnels, event funnels, membership funnels and more, each one designed with the specialized conversion of that particular outlet in mind. These marketing and sales funnels are generally compatible with many of the popular shopping carts services, CRM systems and email service providers. Both LeadPages and Clickfunnel are intuitive to use and easy to operate, so you don’t need to be an expert to get started.

What do they cost? Both offer different pricing packages. Leadpages offers packages ranging from $25 up to $75, based on annual purchase, that offer a variety of system features. Clickfunnel offers packages that range from $37 up to $297, but based on month-to-month pricing and a robust features set. Clickfunnel also offers a two-week free trial to test out their software before you commit to purchasing. 

2. Email Service 

An important and critical aspect of a great marketing funnel are the emails associated with the funnel. To effectively send, automate and monitor your emails, you will need a need marketing email service such as AWeber or MailChimp. These services offer list opt-in, list management, list analytics and reporting, so you can see what people are clicking on within your newsletters and what emails they’re opening. The reporting and analytics are important so you can monitor which marketing campaigns have been the most effective. Reporting metrics specific to email marketing are the open rate, click rate and the industry average open rate. A quality email marketing services provider will link your emails to Google Analytics providing even more comprehensive and cohesive marketing research data. The most important part of these email services within a sales funnel though will be to integrate them into your LeadPages or ClickFunnel accounts to set-up automated replies, like thank you emails, offer emails, to deliver free reports and any other evergreen automated task you’ll need in your funnel.

What do they cost? Mailchimp is definitely for the business on a budget, with plans that range from free up to $525 a month for over a million contacts, but the features are limited. AWeber offers up every feature under the sun, but their pricing is more advanced as well. Packages start at $19 a month up to $194 a year if you purchase an annual account, but you pay for your contacts, starting at $10 a month for 2,500 and below, up to $130 a month extra for 10,000 to 25,000 contacts. When you surpass 25,000 contacts, you have to reach out to support to get a quote for ongoing cost. The pricing isn’t as transparent but the features are robust. 

Related Article: Shortening the Sales Cycle Through Content Marketing

3. Online Payment Processor 

In order for customers to actually be able to make a purchase within your marketing and sales automation funnels, your small business is going to need an online shopping cart that offers a payment processing option. Services such as Stripe and Braintree offer small businesses the ability to process online orders with credit cards. Online payments also provide small business owners with simple record keeping, with easily downloadable transaction information. Online payment processing services are very flexible, giving you the ability to transfer between the online merchant service and your bank account. Most of these processors also offer a linked mobile app so that you can track your balance and invoices anywhere, anytime. You’ll be able to quickly and easily add an online checkout and process payment through your funnel, for maximum simplicity and a streamlined process.

What does it cost? Stripe and Braintree both charge 2.9% + $0.30 per successful charge they process on your behalf. However, Braintree offers no transaction fee for your first $50,000 of charges, which saves you a lot of $0.30 fees when you’re first getting started.

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