It’s important to learn how to create websites that not only look good but are designed to maximize sales. As a business, that’s the whole point of having a website! Many businesses tend to forget this, and the end result is your typical ‘corporate website’ that has visitors scrambling for the back button.
Being able to design websites that convert visitors into customers will allow you to take control of your online marketing. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you send to your website if you can’t design websites that sell.
Creating a website that is designed to sell actually helps your visitors by offering a clear, more streamlined user experience. They’re gently lead down a single path of action. You’re doing your visitors a disservice by not learning this stuff. They WANT to be sold to, it’s your job not to let them down.
After you learn how to design websites that sell, you’ll feel like an internet business wizard that can siphon money from any market you want. The opposite is true if you continue creating websites that you think are ‘cute’.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to squeeze the most amount of money from your customers online by using a sales funnel on your website.
A sales funnel is a systematic approach to selling. Whatever product or service you are trying to sell, most prospective customers that come to your website will not buy on their first visit. Once they leave, you’ll be lucky to ever see them again. You need a way to reach them multiple times with your message. In advertising, this is called ‘effective frequency”.
A book called Scientific Advertising explains this best with this famous quote:
“The first time people look at any given ad, they don't even see it.
The second time, they don't notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they've seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, "Here's that confounded ad again."
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they're missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they've tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can't afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.”
That’s right, it can take up to 20 touch points before somebody will buy from you. This is why it’s crucial to have a sales funnel that starts with offering something of value for free. You'll get more people taking an action on a free offer than you will a paid offer. It’s basic human psychology. It’s much more difficult to get a stranger to take action on an offer that costs money, even if it only costs $1.
For this reason, it’s always best to make the first offer in your sales funnel a free offer. This way you can collect their email address and start to develop a proper business relationship by sending emails that deliver ongoing value and build trust.
Only then will they be ready to actually start buying from you.
Of course, once you have somebody on your list you don’t want to start out pitching your most expensive product if they’ve never bought from you. You want an ‘entry level’ product. Something that’s relatively cheap to start off with, even if it’s only $1.
There’s something magical once money exchanges between customer and business owner and value is delivered. They’re 7 times more likely to buy from you again than someone that has never bought from you. Once a prospect or lead has become a customer, you can then start pitching them on higher value offers.
This is what a sales funnel is. It’s the process of gradually moving a prospect from someone who has never paid you a dime, to somebody buying the most expensive product or service you have to offer.
You’re leading them down a single path of action so they’re less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed and more likely to take action on your offer. This gradual process is how you maximize your average customer lifetime value.
A website or web page that converts has 3-4 basic elements:
It’s important to keep your website design focused on your copy. You don’t want to distract them reading further into your sales copy.
This is easy to do and happens a lot because business owners love flashy websites, and so do developers. At the end of the day all that is important is if it converts though.
To create a website that converts, you want to lead your visitors down a single path of action. You only want to ask your prospect to do one thing per page, otherwise they’re likely to be overwhelmed and leave your site.
For this reason, it’s best to have your navigation links in your footer. If you must have some navigation at the top keep it to a minimum.
1-click upsells are ideal since they don’t require the customer to re-enter their payment info, they simply click the buy button and it’ll be added to their order.
These go hand in hand with ‘one-time offers’. This is a special offer that is presented immediately after a customer buys one product and it’s like the name says, it’s only available that one time.
The second you click ‘No thanks’ it’s gone and you’re not able to claim it again.
This is a powerful sales strategy that can drastically increase your average customer lifetime value. This is the power of scarcity and loss aversion at work yet again. Or what some call ‘Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)’.
I used to recommend setting up an exit intent pop-up which offers a downsized version of your offer for less money or maybe offering a payment plan but these days I don’t use exit intent pop-ups for a couple reasons:
(1) I want to use as little code as possible for my pages to ensure they load as fast as possible.
(2) There are rumors that Google will start penalizing sites using pop-ups of any kind and I rather play it safe in this area.
If you’re not concerned with being penalized by Google and are able to achieve fast load times then by all means test this out as it’s known to increase conversion rates.
Create your first offer and create the website with payment functionality. If you’re not a web designer or developer, I honestly recommend just hiring one to create pages that load fast. I’d be happy to help in this department.
If you’re looking to go it alone and you’re on a budget, learn HTML, CSS Flexbox and CSS Grid to produce beautiful, mobile responsive websites that load fast! You can host your static sites and landing pages for free using Netlify.com.
You can easily integrate Gumroad with your static site to take payments without any upfront costs. The only downside to this is Gumroad takes a 15% cut and their payment widget is kind of slow loading in my experience.
One-time offers also aren't available using Gumroad.
If you have some starting capital and want a ‘no-code’ solution, I highly recommend Podia. It has everything you need to get started. It allows you to easily set up your entire sales funnel without knowing any code. It even has one-time offer functionality.
The downside is that you can't do whatever you want design-wise. Sites made with Podia look great, don't get me wrong, but if you're looking for a truly custom design then I recommend using Webflow in conjunction with Podia. Webflow to handle the main design and Podia to handle your checkout process, product delivery and members area.
Webflow can have a slight learning curve but it allows for virtually unlimited design possibilities.
Whatever option you choose, don't forget to optimize any images you use to ensure fast load times. I like to use this online tool called Squoosh App.
So how important is page speed?
Here are some stats on why page speed is important for creating a website that converts:
Create your one-time only upsell offer. This could be a higher priced version of the product that adds more value, includes more bonuses, etc. It can also be a complimentary product. Skies are the limits!
Start driving traffic to your sales funnel and keep testing different offers w/ different one-time only offers. Google Ads is a great source of traffic that you can tap into starting today!
Most visitors won’t buy on their first visit, which is why you should offer something for free in an exchange for their email address.
Use marketing automation software like Drip.com or ConvertKit.com to create email sequences that more effectively sell to your email list. This will allows you to follow-up with them which is crucial for increasing conversion rates.
I especially like setting up ‘evergreen’ limited time offers delivered via a 7 email sequence. So the way this works is, they’d opt-in for a free gift of some sort on your site, then they’re sent 7 emails over the span of several days.
The last 2 emails of the sequence are promoting your special limited-time offer.
This strategy allows you time to build value, develop trust with your subscriber and build anticipation for your special offer. For this to work, just remember to have an end date, don’t just run the offer forever.
They must take action by X date otherwise they miss out. I’ve seem people who just run discounts forever, perpetually. That’s not how this works.
Use software like RightMessage to show the right offer at the right time based on where your subscriber or customer is in your sales funnel.
For example, if somebody has already opted in for your free gift or product on your homepage, when they return to the homepage you wouldn’t want to show them the same offer. No, you’d want to show them a product for say $27. Whatever your next offer is in the sales funnel, that’s what they should see.
The bottom line is, this software helps you segment your list and personalize your copy depending on who your visitor is and what they need. To learn more about list segmentation and personalization see this beginners guide.
If you follow the advice in this guide, you can easily increase your return on investment with very little hassle for almost any campaign your business is running.
You’ll also be able to outspend your competition who doesn’t have a fine-tuned sales funnel simply because you make more on average per visitor and per customer.
If you sell services instead of products you can also apply this sales funnel strategy to drastically increase your sales and profits.
Need help setting up your online sales funnel? Click Here to learn more about my online sales funnel services.
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