Leads are the lifeblood of every business and lead generation is the first stage in a sales funnel that brings your website visitors closer to making a purchase.
In order to turn someone from a visitor into a customer, you must first be able to capture their information and market to them, give them further value, and turn them into a customer.
The best way to turn visitors into customers is through one of many lead generation funnels.
In this article we will discuss the lead generation process, the different types of lead gen funnels, and how these funnels can turn your visitors into leads. A good lead funnel will help you break even on your ad spend, or maybe even make a small profit.
How is that possible?
Let’s dive in.
The Lead Generation Process
The purpose of a lead generation process is to make an automated system that will feed your business fresh leads.
It starts with creating content that can be found organically, or paying for ads that will draw people in. This is the attraction stage where you are trying to provide answers people are looking for, and solutions to their surface-level problems.
Organic content can take many forms, such as blog posts, YouTube videos, social media posts, Pinterest pins, etc. The idea is that you are putting helpful content out there that people will find through searching for solutions.
The other way to attract people to your company is through paid ads. These can be Google Search Ads, Bing Search ads, or even a boosted post on Facebook or a pin turned into an ad on Pinterest. You are paying to get your content in front of people faster than would otherwise happen organically.
These two methods, organic and paid, are both ways you use to people eyes on your content to begin with. There is no way to convert someone to a lead if they don’t see what you are putting out there. Eyeballs on your stuff is key to lead gen.
The next phase of the Lead Gen Process is conversion.
Now that people see your stuff, how are you going to capture their information?
You may be looking for payment info, but likely at this early stage you will just be looking for an email address and maybe a name.
You have to provide something of value in order for people to want to give you their personal information.
These items of value may include a contest giveaway, a free ebook, a physical book, whitepapers, courses, guides, checklists, etc.
By giving away something for “free”, it’s not really free. People are paying with their contact information and allowing you to market to them further in the future.
These are the basics of the lead gen process. Attract people with valuable content, and then convert them into a lead by providing even more value in exchange for their information.
Getting Qualified Leads
Getting emails for the sake of getting emails isn’t the objective, and can actually be harmful to your business.
If you get an email list full of people from a free giveaway for a cat tower you were giving away, but your business is selling SEO services, the two things don’t relate. You will get a list full of cat lovers, but your emails will be flagged as spam when you start sending out emails for SEO services.
When your emails are marked as spam too often, email providers will pick up on that and your domain email will be flagged as spam wherever it goes, hurting your chances to make it into anyone’s mailbox.
The purpose of a lead generation system is to get qualified leads, which means you have to offer value that is relevant to your audience and your product.
Make sure you are providing insane value in the right area, and your lead gen will be a powerful asset to your business.
Lead Funnels Help Turn Visitors to Leads
Now we have a baseline for what leads are and why they are important to your business, it’s time to discuss lead funnels.
When you think of a sales funnel, you likely think of the big picture funnel about where people are on their buyer’s journey.
It usually looks something like this:
When we talk about sales funnels in terms of lead generation funnels, we are talking about the automated system that helps to attract people to us and convert them into leads.
It looks something like this:
This is still considered a funnel because you will have more people hit your landing page than will actually give you their email address.
You will have even less people who give you their email address actually take you up on any follow-up offers.
Less and less people will convert as the funnel goes on, thus we are weeding out unqualified leads, and providing more value to the few that proceed.
Less people at each stage makes it a funnel.
The people who do make it through can then be placed into other funnels in the next stage of the overall sales funnel, which after leads would be providing further value.
Think of this as funnels within the overall funnel.
You need an automated system to bring people in and convert them.
Lead funnels are how you do that.
Types of Lead Funnels
Now that we know the importance of lead funnels in our business, it’s time to figure out the different types of lead funnels that are out there.
Every one of these funnels serves a different purpose, and may or may not be a fit for your business.
I would suggest picking 1 funnel that seems like it would be a good way for your business to collect leads and build that one.
Once you build it you will need to keep tweaking it to make sure to boost your conversion rates, so doing more than one funnel at once will just add to your list of to-dos and not give you time to master any 1 funnel as a solid lead source.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but these are the more popular lead funnels being utilized by online marketers today.
Squeeze Page/ Lead Magnet Funnel
The idea is to “squeeze” the email out of the visitor before they enter the rest of your funnel.
You usually offer something that was easy and quick to create but also offers value. Checklists, cheatsheets, guides, etc.
After the squeeze page there is usually an upsell offer that tries to get immediate conversion from the visitor. The upsell should offer more value to them that will add to the free offer they just took in exchange for their email address.
Free Book Funnel
This lead funnel takes some time to set up, as you have to write a book beforehand in order to make your offer.
If you already have a book, then this funnel is definitely for you.
The idea is that you give your book away for free, and the visitor just covers shipping and handling.
You are giving away something valuable, your book, while at the same time getting the visitor to pull out their wallet and pay you. This is a major sign of trust and a good sign of a quality lead.
The upsell behind the free book is usually extended training courses or coaching at a higher price.
They are already interested in your book’s subject matter. Upsell them on additional assets that will help them further solve their problem.
Not sure what your clients are looking for when they hit your landing page?
By placing a survey on your funnel landing page you are able to segment your audience and provide them with the right solution to their problem based on the answers they’ve given.
By custom-tailoring your message to each person, you show them more personal attention and avoid the risk of losing conversions because your message isn’t hitting the right chords with them.
Summits are a great way to provide your visitors with a TON of value up front.
You offer free videos that dive deep on a topic. All the person has to do is sign up.
Another beautiful part about this type of lead funnel is that summits usually contain multiple experts that chime in on their respective expertise on the subject.
As the person who gathered all of these experts together, you are now seen as the guru among gurus for having pulled so many knowledgeable people together.
Some good examples of summit funnels come from the funnel-master himself, Russell Brunson. You can check out the Brick & Mortar Summit, the 30 Days Summit, or the Affiliate Bootcamp Summit to see how these funnels work.
Fish Bowl Funnel
When you hear Fish Bowl Funnel, you may think of the shape that the funnel is in, but in this case you need to think of it just as a regular fishbowl.
Fish bowls are often used to hold raffle tickets for drawings. Apply this concept to a funnel.
Give away something valuable in a raffle in exchange for people’s email addresses.
Once they are signed up for the drawing you can then try to upsell them with a discount on the service or product they just entered to win. This works especially well with membership subscriptions.
Bridge Page Funnel
Bridge page funnels are the bread and butter of affiliate marketing.
When you are an affiliate marketer to a product, you don’t want to just send people blindly to the sales website.
This can be a jolting experience and may not provide the right frame of mind for the visitor to want to make a purchase.
It is also often against policy to create advertisements that go directly to the company’s website.
The solution to this problem is the Bridge Page Funnel.
Make a simple landing page for your prospects that takes where they are coming from into consideration. Frame the offer you are trying to sell them in a way that relates more to them. Add your affiliate disclaimer to the page, and send people through to the company website that way.
They will be in a better frame of mind to buy the product, and it provides a much more honest and clean experience from your end.
Reverse Squeeze Page
Want super high-quality leads?
Give the information you want to give away up front before people even enter their email address. When the user has consumed all of the information, then ask for their email in exchange for more in-depth information.
What does this do compared to a Squeeze Page where you get the email first?
First you will get less conversions. If people already have the information they came for, they may not want to continue on.
Second, and the best part, the people that DO convert and give you their email are extremely interested in the topic, so you know that they are a very high-quality lead to pursue with more high-ticket offers.
When someone takes out their wallet and gives you money, it is the highest form of trust in the world of online marketing.
They are giving you their hard-earned money in exchange for what you have to offer.
Even if the amount is small, the visitor will be more primed to make additional purchases from you in the future.
A Tripwire is a low-cost item that you offer to visitors to see who is willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Collecting emails is great, but getting money really shows people are committed.
These are often seen in the form of $7 in-depth reports on a subject.
Once people buy the report, they are usually immediately offered a pricier upsell, such as a $297 course that covers all aspects of the subject the report is based on.
Many funnel softwares even make it so people don’t even have to enter their payment information in again, and can just check a box to buy the upsell. This reduces friction and makes it even easier for people who already have their wallet out to buy more.
Value Added Funnel
Provide people value. Give them solutions to their problems.
The more you do this up-front, without payment, the more they are likely to trust you and want to consume more content from you.
These funnels are often set up in the form of a free video training or free module from a bigger course.
Teach people what they want to know.
There are many forms in which you can do this. Find the one that works best for you.
Give value and collect emails to grow your list.
Want to take value-added to the next level?
Implement the Invisible Funnel.
As the name sounds, this is a funnel that doesn’t appear in the form of a funnel.
Give away your product for free, and then ask for payment afterwards.
This was successfully done with the ClickFunnels Two Comma Club Live event.
They offered the video presentations to a virtual conference that they would normally charge hundreds of dollars for up front without charging anyone.
You had to give payment information to view the conference, but you weren’t charged until it was over, and could cancel your payment at any time.
The idea is that people will feel like their payment is worth it because they already experienced the value of the event. They may also feel guilty cancelling the payment because they already got something out of the deal.
It’s all about you.
Well, at least the Hero Funnel is anyways.
Tell people about yourself. Show them why they should listen to you, your experience, and what solutions you will be able to offer them.
Once they learn about you they can sign up for your mailing list. They will do this because you have proven yourself to have worthwhile information and they want to hear more from you.
This lead funnel is great to have in place of your “about” page on your website.
Auto/Live Webinar Funnel
People love webinars.
They provide a ton of information packed into a neat little box of an hour or two presentation.
They are learning from you directly about a concept they are interested in, and if the webinar is live they have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in chat.
Give away a free webinar, show yourself as the guru, and make an offer to extended training or higher-end products at the end.
Webinars are a great place to offer exclusive discounts to your high-ticket products.
There are also systems that allow you to record your live webinar and offer it as a replay. People will be able to sign up for a time that is convenient to them, view your pre-recorded webinar, and you will be able to sell people with your perfected webinar without actually being there.
Home Page Funnel
Traditional websites are now being seen as more of a digital brochure than a sales machine.
There is no good flow for people to follow. They can click wherever they want to on your website and may not consume information in the best order to lend itself to making a sale.
Instead, turn your website home page into a lead gen funnel by offering your opt-in front and center. Give people your awesome value-added product for free in exchange for their email. It should be the first thing they see on your website.
Make your hero section of your homepage revolve around this offer, or at least make it the first thing under the hero section to make sure it gets plenty of attention and makes people want to enter their email and become a lead.
If you work in a local service business or provide coaching you may want to qualify leads before you are bothered with contacting them.
An application funnel allows people to answer questions that will tell you if they are a good fit for your services.
This benefits both parties as if you cannot help them, they wouldn’t do well giving you money to try. They save money and you save time.
It is common to put a service discount on the page following the application if they do qualify to work with you. This will get them becoming a customer sooner.
You can also provide a booking calendar on the following page if you want to book appointments or phone calls with qualified leads right away.
Product Launch/Preview Funnel
Launching a big product or service?
Offer sneak peaks of your product. Offer bits of your new course for free. Give people the opportunity for early access and beta testing.
Some people love to be in the “in” crowd and would love to give you their email to stay in the know on your progress and development.
Allow them this opportunity by pulling back the curtains and letting them in.
Think of this as what happens on Kickstarter. By being an early backer on a project you get added perks and benefits. Do the same for your fans.
Building Your Lead Funnel
It’s great to know that there are so many options for lead generation for your business. As I’ve stated, leads are the lifeblood of any business. Since there are so many different types of lead gen funnels, you really have no excuse not to build one that suits your business.
What you may be asking now, however, is how do you actually build one of these funnels?
If you know how to build a website in WordPress, there are plenty of methods that you can make funnels within your website. These range from having forms that redirect to different pages once filled out, to more robust plugins that allow greater functionality and conversion hacks.
For those of you who aren’t web-savvy, you can always hire someone to build your funnel for you. Whether in-house or freelance, this can get rather pricey since you are paying someone for their time and services in an ongoing fashion to not only build your funnel, but to maintain and update it to help increase your conversion rates.
For most people I would recommend you use a funnel-builder software. There are a ton of them out there on the market, but I would really only recommend 1.
The most recommended funnel builder is ClickFunnels. Not only are you using a seasoned program, but you’re also getting access to a culture of funnel experts as well as amazing knowledge included in your subscription through FunnelFlix.
On top of all that they also have a ton of funnel templates set up and ready to go. What this means is one-click will get you a pre-built funnel where you just have to swap out the copy and content. It makes getting your lead funnels built really easy.
If you want to give ClickFunnels a try, they do have a 14 day free trial.
Learn More About Lead Funnels
Ready to see some lead funnels in action and learn more about how to implement them in your business?
The next step I recommend for you is to check out The Lead Funnels Swipe file.
It contains case studies for 106 of the world’s most successful lead funnels, so you get the inside scoop on lead funnels actually being put to work in the real world.
This isn’t just hypothesis or guessing. Lead funnels actually do work to bring automated leads to your business. You just need the right one along with the right sales message.
Check out the swipe files and see for yourself.