7 Types of Sales Funnels That Turn Visitors Into Customers

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Last Updated on 16th August 2023

You may have recently heard about the concept of sales funnels, you may now be excited to build your own high-converting income-generating machine.

There are loads of different types of sales funnels that businesses use for different reasons.

Here are 7 types of sales funnels that are amazing at turning visitors into paying customers.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

Regardless if you want to train to become a pro funnel builder, or if you just want to learn how to build funnels for yourself, you’re gonna need to start with understanding the concepts.

Basically, a sales funnel is a process for marketing a product or service. It aims to smoothly lead a person through the customer journey to the point of purchase.

Ideally, a person going through the funnel will be looking for a solution to a particular problem and then making a purchase.

Unfortunately, a sales representative may not understand their needs and try to push a product before they’ve even considered it. In this scenario, the prospect may never return to your company.

Instead, using a sales funnel will help your team provide relevant information to a person at the right time, increasing the likelihood that a prospect will buy your product.

There are also other types of funnels that do not aim to make a sale upfront but instead simply capture the lead. This is usually in the form of an email address or a phone number. These types of funnels are called ‘lead funnels’.

The Benefits of Marketing Sales Funnels

With sales funnels, you’ll be able to convert more visitors into paying customers. Not only will you increase traffic and profits, but you’ll have a better understanding of your target audience.

Another great benefit of using a sales funnel is you’ll be able to measure the performance of your business and make better decisions based on data. If your sales funnel is set up correctly, you’ll be able to increase your profitability considerably.

Types of Sales Funnels

You may have heard names like, ‘the lead magnet funnel’, ‘self-liquidating offer funnel’, or the ‘tripwire funnel’, but do not know exactly what they are.

There are quite a few different types of marketing funnels that are used for different purposes, and these are just a few.

Below is a list of the most common types of funnels:

  • Lead Magnet + Email Funnel
  • Self Liquidating funnel
  • VSL Funnel
  • The 2-Step Tripwire Funnel
  • The Auto Webinar Funnel
  • The Affiliate Bridge Page Funnel
  • Free Plus Shipping Sales Funnel

In the rest of this article, I’ll explain what each funnel does and why you might use it.

Lead Magnet + Email Funnel

A lead magnet is something free that entices people to sign up for your email list. This could be a report, guide, ebook, checklist, or online course.

So, a lead magnet funnel usually consists of 2 simple pages. The first page presents the lead magnet in exchange for contact info, most commonly an email address. Once the prospect submits their details, the lead magnet is sent automatically to their email address. At the same time, the prospect is then diverted to the second page.

Usually, the second page is a simple ‘thank you page’ with some basic info about the company to increase brand awareness. Sometimes companies use the thank you page to deliver the lead magnet instead of sending it by email. However, if you do send it via email then you condition your leads to open your emails right at the beginning, which is a good thing.

Now the prospect has joined your list, they will receive an automated email sequence over a period of time. Typically, companies will auto-email their leads a few times a week in the beginning to build trust and report. Then, emails that introduce a product or service will start being sent.

The Self Liquidating Offer Funnel

The self-liquidating funnel is another type of lead funnel. Its primary aim is to capture leads rather than to sell products.

This funnel is similar to the lead magnet funnel set up above, except it also uses an additional page that comes between the landing page and the thank you page.

So, once the visitor has entered their email address to get access to your lead magnet on page 1, they are then diverted to page 2. Here, you give them a no-brainer offer that’s also very cheap.

The aim here is not to make money at this stage, but instead, the goal is to use this offer to liquidate your ad costs and at least break even. Then, you follow up via email and make money from your list over time.

This might sound crazy not to try to make more money on the front end. However, you’ll get more uptake by offering a good deal at a low price.

Ads are a huge cost for businesses, but if you can completely negate your ad costs with this funnel then you’re going to hugely increase your profitability.

The Video Sales Letter Funnel

A video sales letter (VSL) funnel is one of the most effective sales funnels to convert visitors into customers.

Video has the advantage of being more engaging, is better at building trust, can be more memorable, and attracts more traffic and clicks. Overall, video is now far outperforming written sales copy.

On average, video sales letters get around 80% more leads compared to sales letters that are relying on written text.

A video sales letter funnel usually consists of 3 pages:

  • The sales letter page (in video format)
  • The one time offer (OTO) page
  • Order confirmation, or thank you page

The first page is where the visitor will be able to enter your funnel. This page use video to introduce to offer, build trust with the visitor, and give them reasons to buy (or opt-in).

The next page is your chance to sell the visitor an additional product by presenting them with a one-time offer. A one-time offer is a deal that’s so good it’s very hard to refuse. You also make it clear that if they don’t take you up on your one-time offer, it won’t be available again anywhere else.

The video on this page will introduce the offer, highlight the benefits, and encourage them to buy.

The last page doesn’t need a video as it’s a simple thank you page and confirms the visitor’s order.

The 2-Step Tripwire Funnel

The tripwire funnel’s primary aim is to make sales. However, it also captures visitor contact information at the same time.

This type of funnel is also quite simple in that it only needs 3 pages to be effective.

The first page will entice visitors with a low-priced special deal for a very limited time. For example, if your business sells essential oils, you might offer 3 for the price of 1 before the countdown timer finishes.

On this page will be a picture of the products, a video or written sales copy to sell the product and an order form.

Once the visitor has entered their contact and payment info, you send them to a one-time offer page. Here you pitch them a second offer that’s too good to refuse. Of course, not everyone will take you up on this offer, but there’s a high chance they will if your offer is relevant, compliments the product you offered on the landing page and is a great deal.

Using scarcity to present your OTO by letting them know they won’t be able to get this deal at any other time can also increase conversions considerably.

What makes this funnel so effective is, since they’re already entered their payment details on the first page, they’re more likely to take this second offer since you’ve already got them to commit to the first product, and the hard step of entering their credit card details is already done.

The last page is a simple order confirmation and thank you page. Some businesses like double this page with an offer wall. In this case, the top part of the page will confirm the order, and thank them for the purchase. Underneath, will be listed a few more products that might entice the customer into making more purchases.

The Automated Webinar Funnel

Webinars are an excellent way to offer value to your audience and build trust at the same time.

An auto webinar is a pre-recorded webinar that gives valuable information or training and then pitches a product at the end. This type of funnel is a great way to capture leads and sell high-end products at the same time.

The landing page captures the attention of the visitor with an enticing headline, and copy to promote your free webinar. You can use either a video or written copy to convey the benefits of attending the webinar.

Once the visitor opts in to access the webinar, you can send them directly to the webinar replay page. The webinar is your chance to demonstrate your authority on the topic of the webinar, build trust, and offer valuable information.

Towards the end, you can now introduce your product and encourage viewers to click the buy button below the webinar video. Offering a lot of value upfront and building trust through the webinar will make it a lot easier to then sell an expensive product.

If visitors don’t purchase at the end of the webinar, you can now follow up via email to get them to buy.

The Affiliate Bridge Page Funnel

An affiliate bridge page funnel is a simple 2-page funnel used by affiliate marketers. This funnel type simultaneously collects leads and pitches an affiliate product. It’s a highly effective method to build an email list and increase sales.

The most common type of affiliate sales funnel usually offers a lead magnet on the first page in exchange for an email address.

The lead magnet can be anything the prospect might view as having value to them. Typically it’s an eBook, a free guide, a short course, a checklist, or even a simple piece of software that helps solve a problem.

Once the prospect submits their details, the lead magnet is sent automatically to their email address. At the same time, the prospect is then diverted to the second page – the bridge page.

The bridge page serves 2 purposes – to thank the person for joining their list and to bridge the gap between them and an affiliate offer. To do this, typically the affiliate will have recorded a short 1-2 minute video that appears on the bridge page. This video introduces the visitor to an affiliate offer with a button to buy the product.

If the prospect takes the offer, the affiliate makes a commission here on the front end. If the offer is not taken up at this point, that’s no problem. The visitor is now on the affiliate’s email list and will start to receive an automated email sequence.

At this stage, good affiliates will email their leads a few times a week, in the beginning. They do this to build trust and report by offering free help, guidance, and insight into their niche.

Some of these emails will also recommend products that can help people along their journey. If these products are purchased, the affiliate receives a referral commission.

Free Plus Shipping Sales Funnel

The free plus shipping funnel is one of the most popular sales funnels.

This type of funnel provides a great incentive for prospective customers to sign up for your email list. It also gives you an opportunity to build trust by offering a freebie or sample.

To make this work, the “free” product you offer needs to be a physical product so you can ship it to their door. Technically, this is not a free product since the customer still has to pay for shipping. However, you’re not charging them the full value, only the shipping, and handling.

The beauty of this funnel is that it achieves several important things all at the same time:

  • You gain a new lead
  • You get more valuable info from your prospect (physical address and phone number)
  • You build trust by offering a free sample
  • You get them to sample your products
  • You get them to enter their credit card details, making it more likely they’ll purchase from you in the future

So, once the prospect has taken you up on your free offer, you can then redirect them to an upsell page. Here you can pitch them a more expensive product that is related to your freebie. If they take up your offer, great, you make money in your funnel. If not, you can then send them to a downsell page.

On the downsell page, you have one last chance to pitch a product on the front end of your funnel. This time, you’ll offer them another related product that is not as expensive as the upsell product. This way, if pricing was an issue for the customer they may instead be interested in your cheaper priced product.

Of course, you’ve already collected their email on the first page. So now you can also follow up with them over time to pitch more products.

Other Types of Funnels

There are also other types of funnels that are effective. These include:

  • The squeeze page funnel
  • Survey funnel
  • Product launch sales funnel
  • High-ticket sales funnel
  • Invisible funnel
  • Referral funnel
  • High-end client funnel 
  • The Challenge funnel

Each type of sales funnel has a unique purpose with a specific goal.

Recommended Sales Funnel Tools

There are quite a few software tools on the market you can use to build sales funnels. Some are great, some are terrible.

I wrote a comprehensive guide comparing 11 sales funnels tools here to help you find the best one for you.

If you want the short answer then the top 3 on the market are:

  • GrooveFunnels
  • Kartra
  • ClickFunnels

If you want more details on what makes these 3 the best, check out my comparison article linked above.

You can also see our full list of reviews and comparisons of sales funnel tools here.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, 7 of the most effective types of sales funnels that are used online today.

Sales funnels are super-powerful at generating leads and turning visitors into paying customers. They can also save you a ton of time pre-qualifying leads as well as totally negate your ad costs.

Before you dive into building your own funnel, spend some time assessing the types of funnels I’ve listed above. Think about who you are targeting, what you are offering, and then choose the best type of funnel for your online business.

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