Online Funnels: What They Are & Why You Need Them

Powerful Digital Solutions

In my previous post about the buyer’s journey, I talked about how your prospective buyers don’t always make a buying decision within the first interaction. Sometimes they need time to “warm up” to you and go from awareness of your product/service to becoming a raving fan.

Here we’ll talk about online funnels and how these can assist with the buyer’s journey. More specifically, how online funnels can help move prospective buyers from awareness to advocacy.

The most common online funnels are … 

  • Sales funnels
  • Email marketing funnels
  • Consultation funnels
  • Webinar funnels

Let’s have a look at each one …

Sales Funnels

A sales funnel consists of a sales page, an order confirmation page, and an automated thank you email. The main goal is to get visitors to buy something.

An effective sales page will typically follow the AIDA principle (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). This can include a headline that grabs attention (and really speaks to the ideal customer); images, videos, and/or sales copy that generate interest and create desire; and lastly a call to action.

In some cases, visitors may see another offer on the order confirmation page after purchasing the sales page offer. This offer on the order confirmation page is called an upsell. The upsell is meant to complement or upgrade the original offer (such as McDonald’s offering to supersize your combo meal).

Since visitors won’t always buy on the first visit or interaction, it can often be effective to capture the visitors’ name and email address in exchange for a freebie of value. After getting their name and email address, what comes next?

This gets into the principle of our next funnel type …

Email Marketing Funnels

An email marketing funnel consists of a landing page, a free item of value (obtained only after submitting name and email address), an opt in form, a thank you page, and an automated welcome email. The main goal is to capture the name and email address in order to keep in consistent contact and build that like, know, and trust factor.

The free item could be an ebook, video, free trial, cheat sheet, checklist, or anything else that would be easily obtained and consumed. It should also benefit the new subscriber somehow.

After someone joins your email list, you want to send messages that add value to the subscriber and help build that trust and rapport. The worst thing you could do is constantly spam your subscribers (always trying to sell them something). Here’s a general rule I follow: for every sales email you send, you should be sending at least three emails of value.

Consultation Funnels

A consultation funnel consists of a landing page, an opt in form, a page for booking a call, and a thank you page. The main goal is to qualify a prospect and make sure they are a good fit for your offer.

I know in my case I use a consultation funnel for my online business. I like to make sure my prospective clients and I are a good fit with each other. Therefore, when I get on a call with someone, I will take the time to get to know their business and goals. 

Then near the end of the call, if I feel we’re a good fit and I can help them, I will tell them the next steps (such as being on the lookout for a proposal within 48 hours). However, if I can tell we are not a good fit or if I’m not the right person for their project, I will be honest and at least try to point them in the right direction.

Webinar Funnels

A webinar funnel consists of a landing page, an opt in form, a thank you page, an automated welcome email, a “pre-webinar” series of videos and/or other content to get you primed, and then the webinar itself (the link to the webinar will often be sent an hour beforehand and then right at the starting time). The main goal of the webinar funnel is to sell a high ticket product or service.

Conducting your own webinar can also help position you as an expert. Even if they don’t buy after the webinar presentation, you could always send them a replay series.


As you can see, there are different types of funnels to move your prospects along in the buyer’s journey. Email marketing can help “warm up” your prospects and give you time to build that like, know, and trust factor. If you like the idea of being able to qualify a prospect before they buy, then setting up a consultation funnel would work well. Sales pages can be good for low ticket items while webinars can work better for larger ticket items.

No matter which direction you go, remember to never rush the buyer’s journey.

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