June 18


What is a Sales Funnel and How Does It Work?

By Riccardo

June 18, 2019

marketing funnel, online business, online marketing

Surely, if you have a business online, you want visitors to take certain actions on your website, that’s why it’s important to understand what is a sales funnel and how does it work.

Whether you want them to make a purchase, sign up or fill out a form, it’s crucial to create a system that allows them to become your customers as fast as possible.

Each step of the funnel needs to have a specific impact on visitor behaviour, before they can reach the conversion.

what is a sales funnel and how it works
What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is the path a website visitor follows on the way to buy your products or services.

Some people will stop at the top of the funnel, meanwhile someone else will reach the bottom of the funnel and convert in a new customer.

The sales funnel illustrates the set of steps a visitor needs to go through before they take action and buy from you.

The classic example of sales funnel is the e-commerce store, such as Amazon or Ebay.

Here’s how it looks:

  • Visit the website
  • View a product
  • Add a product to the cart
  • Make a purchase

When needed, it’s possible to have additional steps.

For example the website can offer you an up-sell, based on what you are buying or maybe giving you a free report in exchange for your email, before you decide to buy a course.

It’s called funnel because it describes the process from the beginning, when there are a lot of people who take the first step, till the end, when some of them dropped out and just a few become customers.

How does a Sales Funnel Work?

Let’s now dive into the different stages of a sales funnel in order to understand how it works.

When you build a landing page, a visitor arrives on your website, probably through a Google search, an ad or maybe a link on social media. He or she is now a prospect  and might check out a few of your blog posts or browse your product listings.

During the visit, you offer him or her a chance to sign up for your email list. In the moment the visitor sign up for your email list, he or she become a lead.

The sales funnel narrows as visitors move through it and only interested people arrive to the bottom of it (e.g. make a purchase).

the four stages of a sales funnel

The 4 Sales Funnel Stages

We have 4 main funnel stages where usually a visitor goes through after landing to your website. Each of them makes a huge impact in converting your prospect into a customer.

1. Awareness

Through a variety of means those prospects enter into your sales funnel trough an enticing offer, that’s why it’s important to catch them attention in this stage.

If you did your work correctly, the visitor might convert immediately and buy what you have to offer to him or her.

You’re trying to convince the prospect into returning to your site and engaging more with your business. However getting a prospect aware of you is no that simple.

Depending upon how they’ve discovered your offer (organically or through a paid ad), those customers might view your funnel differently, therefore your opt-in rates will vary significantly.

2. Interest

In this stage, a prospect is probably more aware of what he or she needs and consequently inclined to evaluate your offer, after having done some research and compared the various options.

You might relate stories to your prospect, through an email sequence, trying to gain them attention and interest to your offer.

The goal here is to establish your expertise. It’s crucial to bring them value and give them a reason to buy from you and not from someone else.

3. Decision

Prospect are ready to buy and convert into customers. Needless to say, this is the time to make your best offer.

Beyond the art of story telling, copywriting and interaction through social media, it’s important to have lots of customer reviews and testimonials on your sales page. This is one of the most powerful ways that you can get people to take action.

Your leads are warm enough to make an informed decision and buy from you.

4. Action

The customer acts, making a purchase or subscribing to your offer.

Just because a consumer reaches the bottom of the funnel, however, doesn’t mean your work is done.

A good marketer is always seeking for improvement, therefore is very important to track your visitor’s behaviour and try to implement different solutions to increase the conversion rate.

Sometimes a different colour or a new call to action could improve your performances drastically.

How to create your own Sales Funnel?

There are infinite ways to create a sales funnel, depending on your needs.

Here I would like to focus on a few steps to follow in order to build a simple sales funnel.

If you are about to launch your offer on the market, whether is a physical product, a service or just an online course, follow these simple steps and you will create your own Sales Funnel in just a few hours.

  1. Analyze your audience: make a research on what your potential audience looks like, what they like or what they are looking for. If you have already a website, install a software such as Hotjar or Crazy Egg, to track your visitors behaviour.
  2. Capture your audience’s attention: post contents on social media or run targeted ads to drive traffic to your website with an enticing offer.
  3. Build a landing page: this is the foundation of your business, you need a page where to show your offer or where to capture your audience’s email. Below I’ll show you some tool you can use to do it.
  4. Create an email campaign and talk with your audience: once you have an email list, send out emails to your prospects, explaining what they can expect from your offer and direct them to your sales page. Keep in touch with them even after they converted into new customers.

Let’s check which softwares you might use to build your sales funnel or website and start driving traffic to your offer.


OptimizePress it has been always proven to be an effective and fast solution to create very nice and converting landing pages. That’s why it is used from marketers all around the world.

It’s pretty easy to install, as you only need to install a plugin on your WordPress website and that’s it. What you need upfront of course is a hosting service and a domain.

This might be the cheapest solution, if you already have one or more websites and you want to create enticing landing pages for your offers, without having to purchase a new domain or use separate tools.

How much does it cost? Starting at $79/year.

Check Out OptimizePress



ClickFunnels is a tool specifically designed to help people implement sales funnels in their business, without owning a website.

Usually, as we seen, a funnel could have one or more opt-in pages, an email auto responder, plus one or more sales pages, order forms or additional content to convince your audience to buy.

ClickFunnels will let you create all your opt-in pages, sales pages, email sequences, membership areas and online training courses, all in one, easy to use tool, linking them together to build your funnel.

How much you need to use it? You can start to use ClickFunnels for free (14 day trial) and then decide if pay the monthly fee ($97/month).

If you already have an email autoresponder you can easily integrate it with ClickFunnels.

If you need to sing up for an email marketing software, I recommend you to try Aweber.

ClickFunnels Free 14 Day Trial


GetReponse Autofunnel

If you are looking for a tool to build your sales funnel, including in the price an email automation software, you might choose GetResponse Autofunnel.

Autofunnel is a tool that lets you manage and develop online sales. It's the newest feature included in GetResponse, one of the best autoresponder services on the market.

It will help you promote your products online, gain new customers and increase your sales. It’s an easy to use tool that will save you time and improve your conversion rates.

Without ever leaving the GetResponse environment you can:

  • Create a product catalogue
  • Launch Facebook ad campaigns
  • Build landing pages
  • Add subscribers to a list
  • Drive users to a sales page
  • Take payment for your products
  • Send abandoned cart emails, if necessary.

It's true, you are not dreaming! Price? Starting at $49/month but you can try it for free for 30 days.

Autofunnel Free 30 Day Trial


Why do you need a Sales Funnel?

Nowadays it's crucial to understand what is a sales funnel and how does it work.

These are common steps needed when you want to start an online business.

People have tons of possibilities online. To turn more visitors into customers, you must create a lean funnel with a clear call to action.

Creating and optimizing a sales funnel takes time, but it’s the only way to survive in a competitive marketplace.

Sales funnels work by guiding customers through a clear process.

It starts with a low commitment (e.g. downloading a free report in exchange for an email), until the purchase moment.

Building trust with your brand is the key to a long term success. You can then gradually expose your customers to higher-priced offers as they become more familiar with your brand.

Now you know what a sales funnel is and which tools you can use to create one.

Share this with like-minded aspiring digital entrepreneurs.

Leave a comment below if you have questions or you want to share your experience.




About the author

I'm an ambitious guy, passionate about digital marketing and travelling. My mission is to help people discover how to start an online business and finally be free to travel around the world. Learn, Apply, Succeed!

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