At the top of the funnel, no one knows who you are — sure, maybe your mom and a few potential customers know you, but the point of this stage is to get your name out there. You want to create buzz around your product or simply credibility around your brand. This is where you want to spend some time thinking about your personal brand. I’ve helped countless entrepreneurs go from bland to brand on the Internet, and let me tell you, it’s a game of followers, social media influence, and massive online publishing (be it articles like this one and otherwise). Some have even brought on our publicist as a way to get TV placements.

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A sales funnel is a marketing system. It’s the “ideal” process you intend your customers to experience as they go from Prospect to Lead to Customer to Repeat Buyer. Sales funnels have been around much longer than web marketing, but the online world is the best thing to ever happen to sales funnels because websites and email marketing make sales funnels easier to build.
As a software engineer myself, I can tell you that building funnels from an application standpoint takes massive amounts of work. There's a great deal of coding and integration that's required here. From email systems to landing page implementations to credit card processing APIs, and everything in between, so many platforms need to "talk," that it takes the bar too high for the average marketer. 
Reconnaissance is all about scoping out the territory and checking out your competition to see who's leading the charge. Talk to anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset and you'll quickly see they have a vision. Those on the verge of a new project launch continually search for the necessary components to help them realize that vision. Part of that search is envisioning every detail of the end product. It should begin by researching similar product sites. Evaluating both successful and not so successful businesses allows you to take note of what the best of the best are doing. This shortens your learning curve. There's no need to start from scratch when you can learn from those who have already mastered the process.
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Easily build stunning opt-in campaigns that capture leads, convert customers, and integrate across all your favorite digital marketing tools: from Facebook ads to ecommerce. When you connect Drip and Leadpages together, you'll be able to send all your leads directly to your Drip account and trigger email campaigns and workflows. Not only do you have a great new way to capture hot leads, you'll stay engaged with your leads through email to keep them informed and ready to jump at your latest offer.

Have clickable share buttons. Many people are more than happy to post about a recent purchase or share a resource they have found helpful. Adding share buttons increases your chances of getting your content shared across the social space, and great landing pages make generous use of these buttons. It’s also smart to add social buttons to the thank you page, since users will be more likely to share your great offer with others after they’ve signed up themselves. As an added bonus, showing your “likes” and follows can also serve as a word-of-mouth endorsement.
Have been through many rounds of A/B testing. Testing and correction is how we learn and better ourselves. A/B testing your landing page (tweaking individual elements and seeing how they perform against the previous setup) is probably the most powerful tool in creating excellent landing pages. Not sure where to start? Signal vs. Noise provides a nice example of good A/B testing that’s an easy read. There are always things you can do to improve, so don’t ever stop testing!
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The first helps direct attention to the goal of the page -- for you to fill out the form -- in a way that's unobtrusive and feels less like a chore. The second gives this page an SEO boost (search engines will have more content to crawl) and assuages any worry from folks who need to know more about a piece of content before handing over their information, all while not distracting people from the chat window.
Great article Matt! I have a product-based business (skincare to be precise) and I’ve been doing a lot of research on sales funnels over the past few days but only ever come across examples for service-based businesses and struggle to apply those to my business. I do offer a free skincare guide at opt in but can’t think of anything else for the follow up emails to create trust as well as a limited time offer. Would you have any suggestions?
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Once you have the building blocks in mind, you need to make it your own. You'll want to mimic, not duplicate, the successful components you observed in the recon stage. Using your own content, your own product and your own images, task your graphics team with designing a landing page look and layout that's proven to be successful. Then, follow through with the design of pop-ups, follow-up emails and multiple purchase point options for both first-time and returning customers. Once the funnel has been tested, it's time to go live.
The sales process is not a straight line. This is why converting a lead to customer often takes its own course, and varies with business. Whether B2B or B2C sales, it’s important for sales reps to understand and visualize a lead’s journey; otherwise, they’re shooting in the dark. This is done by a series of steps which develops into what’s called the sales funnel—a concept that finds its way back to the 1890s.
Basically, the man and legend Russell Brunson asked 100 Clickfunnels millionaires (what he calls his 2 Comma Club winners because they made a million dollars off a single funnel) what they would do if…they lost EVERYTHING and had to start over from scratch in just 30 days. So yeah, that means they had NO product, NO email list, NO money, and no reputation. What Clickfunnel would they build and why?
Businesses built around one or two customers that aren’t looking expand should focus on building out the loyalty phase of the sales funnel. However, a CRM is best for managing the customer’s journey for businesses that want to create the best possible experience during each stage of the process in order to increase your number of sales, as they provide tools to help you automate and scale your sales funnel activities.
Once the prospect is in the proverbial funnel, you've peaked their awareness. That's the first stage of the funnel. However, getting a prospect aware of you is no simple feat. Depending upon how they've arrived to your website (organically or through a paid ad), those customers might view your funnel differently and your opt-in rates will vary significantly. 
“Bonus comment – there is a clear narrative that ‘we’ can help ‘you’ start your own business. I like that there is a lot of focus on the ‘you’ throughout the page. We could improve this further with the usage of ‘we’ to mean both the user and ConvertKit by about halfway through the page. It is a subtle reassurance that we are here for you and the user will feel the reassurance whether they are aware of it or not.”
However, the best part about this, and the most powerful route that entrepreneurs take to scale their businesses, is that if you know that sending 100 people to your site costs you $200, for example, but you get two people to convert at $300 each, then you have a $600 return on $200 invested (300 percent). When you know that, that's when the entire game changes and you can infinitely scale your offers.
Workflow automation tools can help you manage prospects through a sales funnel by helping you complete repetitive tasks in your sales process that are triggered by certain actions. For instance, in the Awareness stage, you may want your prospect to feel important after you’ve first met, so you send a “Nice to Meet You” email. You can automate this task in your CRM. For email template ideas, see our article on Sales Email Templates.
Then of course, when you're done you hit save and you exit. And opt-in funnels always have thank you pages, so that when people do opt-in the next page sets expectations, gives instruction, allows them to download the resource that you promised them. So, you can provide buttons, images. Inside the buttons you've always got a opportunity to provide a downloadable URL, which also you can host inside of ClickFunnels via your digital assets menu. And the digital assets menu is, of course, inside your account menu here. So much flexibility, so much power inside of ClickFunnels. It's really outrageous.

Now your marketing automation funnel is giving you a boost at every stage: It responded within five minutes of their first contact, and that helped get you the chance to make your pitch. Now, after the pitch, you're ready to stay in contact and respond to objections in a friendly, targeted way. (And if they love the pitch, automation can help you stay in close touch until closing.)
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