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How to Create A Successful Automated Sales Funnel?

Last updated on August 18, 2020

Some businesses keep on minting money regularly without having to do anything. It’s no luck. It’s a powerful automated sales funnel.

There’s no doubt why non-existent businesses are now a million-dollar ones. And the sales funnel is the reason to survive the competition. You have to take it seriously.

Setting an automated sales funnel does require some efforts and cost. But once in place, you just sit back, relax, and watch the sales roll in.

This article is all about setting up a successful automated sales funnel. Be it a WordPress website, WooCommerce, or Shopify store, the tips and hacks applies to all. However, some tools mentioned here are for WooCommerce.

So, roll up your sleeves and let’s get started.

How does the sales funnel actually work?

Now, there are tons of articles describing the sales funnel but with a lot of unwanted stuff.

Here, I’ll keep it simple and to the point.

What is a sales funnel?

In simple terms, sales funnel is a process where potential leads ultimately become your customers.

Example – You read a blog, you click the product page link, you like the product, and you may or may not be shown an offer, but you end up buying it. Perhaps, you also get some emails. That’s the sales funnel.

  • 82% of customers viewed five or more pieces of content from the winning vendor before making a purchase – Forrester.
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads – The Annuitas Group.

This proves how effective a sales funnel is.

So here’s how the sales funnel stacks up in stages like an ordinary funnel – wide at top, narrow at bottom.

Four sales funnel stages (AIDA)

automated sales funnel stages

Stage 1: Awareness

Potential customers become aware of your brand before buying.

Stage 2: Interest & Evaluation

Based on your content – blog, landing pages, product pages, users become interested in your product.

Stage 3: Desire

After evaluating what all you have served to the users, they decide to buy.

Stage 4: Action

Prospects decide to close the deal and become your customers ultimately.

As Ryan Deiss, co-founder of Digital Marketer, often describes the sales funnel as a multi-step process, because a lot occurs between the time that a prospect is aware enough to enter your funnel, to the time when they take action and successfully complete a purchase.

Your sales funnel will be made up of a series of steps that consist of various marketing assets; for example, social media campaigns, landing pages and email.

The #salesfunnel success depends on your understanding of your prospects and customers. Based on that, you can target them at each stage in the sales funnel. Click To Tweet

Advantages of an automated sales funnel over a manual sales funnel

Why prefer the hard way when the same can be done with ease! You can use your salespeople for other productive work and grow your business. Automated sales funnel offers quite a few advantages over manual sales funnel:

Time-savings

Writing emails and sending them is a daunting task every time. It can be easily automated and will free your marketers to do more productive tasks.

Lower costs

Set up offers like upsell, cross-sells and more that nudges customers to buy more continuously. This will lower the cost of hiring a salesperson. Not just any offer, but based on intelligence.

Customers will be shown the offer based on their interest, previous orders and other rules, thus boosting conversions.

Accurate customer data

Automation allows you to capture more customer data. Their interests, behaviour, preferences and a lot more. Very helpful to prepare personalized marketing campaigns.

Better leads and conversions

With quality data and plugins, you can write better copy, design better offers, pages and email. These will attract more quality prospects at the top of the funnel and the number won’t reduce at the bottom.

With that said, let’s see how to set-up your automated sales funnel.

How to create an automated sales funnel?

Now, you need a bunch of things on your plate (website, marketing, offers, etc). for automating your sales funnel.

You may require different tools / plugins for various stages involved in the sales funnel process.

Awareness stage

The fundamental step or the top stage of the funnel. If you don’t do it right, there’s no point going ahead.

Your visitors don’t know who you are. You need to go all out to showcase yourself. Tell your visitors that you are here to solve their pain.

Here are three major tasks you need to do to build brand awareness:

1. SEO-driven content

Good content will give you some traffic, then will peak and eventually fade out. But that same content powered with SEO will keep your traffic more-or-less steady consistently. It won’t fade out.

Remember, Google wants to show the best content in town to the user for the search query. You need to make it a point to rank regularly in the top five results. Then only, people will notice you.

Content includes your blog post, landing pages, product pages. Keep them updating regularly.

To summarize, your SEO content should be:

  • In-depth
  • Use keywords and latent semantic keywords
  • On-page and Off-page SEO optimized

So, if your SEO is like a boat stuck in a storm, and you need to sail the tides to reach the shore, refer this ultimate SEO guide from Brian Dean. And get answers to all your questions on SEO with examples.

2. Social media promotion

This is not just about Twitter or Facebook, but beyond that.

You can make a plan of regularly publishing posts on these platforms.

Like promoting your products on Mon and Tue, promoting blog posts on Wed and Thu, promoting some quotes, funny gigs on Friday and weekend.

All this to show the other side of your brand and not sound pushy.

Also answer questions on Quora, Reddit to the relevant questions. People searching for that query are more prone to land on your website.

Use YouTube for promoting your products.

And not to forget, Google and Facebook Ads. If your budget permits it, try your hands on this. You won’t believe it, but it can double your traffic within a week.

Here’s some resources to help you with Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

3. Affiliate sites, emails, deal-sites

You can take the third-party approach. You can set-up your own WooCommerce affiliate program and let affiliates promote your site and bring in leads.

Similarly, during the holiday season, you can partner with deal sites. That will also give you a major chunk of traffic even if your brand is less famous. Courtesy – sale period and discounts.

And you can even try influencer marketing. This will give you a major chunk of quality traffic. Yes, it takes time, results are not guaranteed but nothing short of trying it.

Here’s an example of conversion rate optimization tips roundup from influencers.

Now awareness is not just about for new prospects. Your existing customers are a great revenue source. So why not email them about your new products, your existing product features, etc.

All you need is to always keep the revenue gates open, whatever be the medium.

So, congratulations. If you have all these above in place, there’s no denying of an excellent conversion rate down the funnel.

Interest / Evaluation stage

You have gained visitors attention. Now it’s time to tell them more about your brand, about your products.

This is the middle of the funnel and things are now going to heat up. This is also a crucial phase because you’ll have less users at this stage than the top and you can’t afford to lose more.

Here’s what to keep visitors in the loop:

1. Lead magnet

No prizes for guessing this.

What you offer is here is very important. Can be some actionable tips to grow sales, some video tutorials related to your products as to how it solves a problem, case-studies, Bonus…anything but value-driven.

Other good lead magnets you can offer –

  • Webinar or Podcast
  • Company report
  • Resources
  • Some good tools

All this in exchange for an email address. That’s the point of further contact between you and your users.

Once they sign-up, you can have an automated email series highlighting your brand and products that will convince customers to buy.

Another thing, you can also offer a lead magnet via exit-intent.

Want to set-up a converting lead magnet on your website? Icegram plugin is your best bet here.

The plugin helps you show right messages to right people at the right time in the right place. And stop them from bouncing away.

You can offer lead magnet via a popup, via header / footer bar, messenger and other opt-in types.

Check out some live demos of opt-ins you can use for your lead magnet.

2. Email series and follow-ups

Make sure to follow-up to emails and responses. The visitors should know there’s a human in touch with them and not a robot.

Here’s what you can add up in the email series:

  • Welcome email
  • Your brand highlights and best-selling products
  • Feedback / Survey what users want
  • Product benefits, social proof
  • Urgency and scarcity

If all these fall in place, conversions are bound to happen.

Desire stage

Bravo! You have established your brand and kick-started customer relationship.

For some who don’t enroll for your lead magnet, but get interested in your product, don’t let the opportunity go.

You need to encourage customers to proceed to payment. You are at the bottom of the funnel and close to seal the deal.

You can do multiple things here:

1. Product pages / landing pages

All cannot write a killer sales page. But we can surely write attention grabbing headlines. Highlight product benefits more compared to the features.

Pro-tip – Try to deliver your product USP at the start, with a good looking image. That will encourage visitors to scroll below.

Spice up your copy with reviews, features, icons, trust banners, demo if any, video and a support link.

All these elements will work to bring the prospect closer to the ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’ link.

You can also refer to these copywriting tips from Joanna Wiebe, a famous and expert copywriter.

You can also show related products below the main product. Or a higher version of the same product. Smart way of up-selling and cross-selling. (FBT)

Here’s how you can set-up targeted upsells and cross-sell offers.

2. Cart page

Once you nudge customers to add products to cart, you can offer them a discount coupon or upsell, cross-sell offers.

Don’t bombard them with too many options. Just a single offer or a two max.

3. Checkout page

Even if you are successful in bringing customers to checkout, they may still abandon. Courtesy – Long forms and unwanted details.

Taking care of this stage is very important.

Here is a list of popular WooCommerce checkout plugins that help reduce abandonment.

4. Cart recovery emails

Even if customers fail to make payment, you can run cart abandonment emails and seal the deal later.

Here’s a case-study on how sales increased by 180% using cart recovery emails.

If you want an awesome solution for cart recovery email, try AutomateWoo.

Action stage

Finally, after all the hard work, you have made customers complete the order. Congratulations! But do you think that is enough?

You still have the opportunity to sell more.

Customers already trust you more. You can easily run one-click upsell offers on your WooCommerce store and customers won’t deny.

1-Click Upsell in WooCommerce (GIF Animation)

Similarly, you can also customize the thank you page and redirect customers wherever you want.

Phew! That’s quite a lot!

But hey, don’t forget…the results you will observe will make you dance with joy.

In a nutshell, here’s what we have automated in the sales funnel:

  • Email series
  • Cart recovery series
  • Lead magnet and opt-ins
  • Upsell and cross-sells
  • Checkout fields

Whether your business is service-based or product-based, setting up an automated sales funnel can keep bringing in customers and grow your business. Once the sales start rolling in, you’ll be glad you did it!

Strategies to enhance your automated sales funnel

You service your car and you see a performance boost quickly. Similarly, your automated sales funnel needs servicing. I mean you need to do some tweaks to improve its overall performance.

Here are some hacks you need to implement to make the most out of your sales funnel.

1. Use LSI keywords, questions in your content that appears in Google

It really should go without saying that for this to work you need to create quality content.

There’s no point in publishing low-quality content frequently.

Content that focuses on keywords, includes LSI keywords and questions that popup in Google, it tells Google user’s search query may be fulfilled by your article. Therefore, it will rank higher.

Also, updating your blog posts regularly will keep your content fresh.

You can produce written content, audio content or video content, or any combination of the three.

You can even outsource some of your work to save time and even get better quality content.

2. Have clear call to action (CTA)

The main idea behind this content strategy is that the quality content is going to attract visitors to your site.

But, the next question is, what happens when a visitor arrives at your site?

If you have products for sale on your website, you might have some Add to Cart or “Buy Now” buttons. If you offer a Free Trial or Demo, the buttons should be ‘Start Free Trial’ or ‘View Demo’.

If it’s an offer, it should be ‘Get this offer’ or ‘Claim your Discount’.

If you have a clear Call-to-Action, then you are going to be able to generate leads in an automated manner.

Minimum cart / checkout fields

For closing the sales, your cart page and checkout page should be optimized.

For a single product, skipping cart and direct checkout is a better option.

On the cart page, not more than one upsell or cross-sell offers.

On the checkout page, if it is a digital download, no need of shipping and billing details.

Another thing, if you could provide them with Saved Addresses, it will be even better.

Measure results

I love metrics.

But when it comes to sales funnels, measuring results is a key part of the process that is going to ensure that you are on track. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time.

Whether it’s the traffic, or conversions; whether it’s the offers or elements of the checkout process, every small thing matters.

Ready to skyrocket your sales?

Well, this is what you need to set-up and run a successful automated sales funnel.

Minimum plugins, strategies, simplicity, dedication…all you need to scale your business to new heights.

Feedback, questions, suggestions…share your thoughts.

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