For most business people, when you say the word funnel, they think of that orange plastic thing people use to put oil into their car. For others (like digital marketers), the word funnel is a misunderstood and underused term for sales and marketing strategizing.

However, it’s not just for digital marketers. Many businesses (both offline and online) use funnels but they might call it something else. Take for example the local pizza place in your city. While they don’t call the process of advertising pizza, selling pizza and upselling pizza catering services a “funnel”, their management might call it something else like a “sales cycle”.

In a sense, any business that does the following:

  • Acquire new prospects and leads.
  • Convert the acquired prospects and leads into buyers.
  • Have current buyers buy into more of goods/services.

Then it’s very likely your business is engaging in a funnel, specifically a conversion funnel. However, it might not be well optimized. This article can show you the aspects of a conversion funnel and how to make it work for your business.

What is a Conversion Funnel?

So what is a conversion funnel?

Conversion Funnel – A multi-step, multi-modality campaign that seamlessly and subtly leads a prospect toward a desired action.

Multi-step, multi-modality – You don’t turn cold prospects into leads, customers and multi-buyers all at once. A solid conversion funnel anticipates each step necessary to lead the prospect to the conversion.

Campaign – Depending on your business and what you sell, a conversion funnel can require all types of different elements… sales appointments, consultations, landing pages, email follow-up, phone follow up, visits to your store and more to accomplish the ultimate goal. The important thing to remember is that it’s a process, not a single event.

Seamlessly and Subtly – A well-oiled conversion funnel removes the friction between the prospect and the conversion.

~Digital Marketer Article on “Building the Perfect Conversion Funnel

Digital Marketer went on to mention that making a successful conversion funnel is not an end-all-be-all solution to your business’s success nor is it easy. However, like all things done with hard work, the results will be fruitful and fulfilling.

Three Types of Conversion Funnels for Businesses

Three types of Conversion Funnels - Credit to Digital Marketer

According to Digital Marketer, there are three types of conversion funnels that a business will employ. No matter what general business strategy they come up with, they will end up with at least one of the three funnel types.

  1. Acquisition
    This is a funnel that is designed to help businesses acquire new prospects and customers.
  2. Activation
    This is a funnel that is designed to help convert prospects and/or inactive buyers into recent buyers.
  3. Monetization
    This is a funnel that is designed to help businesses generate more revenue from its active buyers and retained subscribers.

Which Funnel is for Best for Us?

which conversion funnel fits your business?

Likely businesses want to know which of the three is best for their businesses. However, they should shift their focus and find out which of the three funnels is best for their business at this time, as funnels have their place in a certain point of their business. It all comes down to when and what kind of audience they are trying to appeal to.

Going back to the local pizza place example, let us say that the management sat down and strategized on what the next step they need to take. An assistant manager notes that while regular customers are coming in for slices of pizza, there hasn’t been much demand for catering services despite he hears customers talk about the difficulties in planning for parties. In this case, the management would employ a monetization funnel (not an acquisition or activation funnel) in order to upsell current customers on their catering services.

As you can see, one funnel type can’t do the work of a different funnel.

To start off easy, you should work on funnel type for your business and then continue to add on as you go, each one being fitting to the current situation at hand.

Building an Acquisition Funnel

Acquisition Funnel - Credit to Digital Marketer

The main goal for this funnel type is to acquire new prospects and customers into your business. There are multiple types of acquisition funnels that businesses can use in order to bring in new customers. Some are like:

  • Splinter Offer Funnel
  • Free Book Funnel
  • Trial Upgrade Funnel
  • Value in Advance Funnel
  • Football Phone Funnel

These funnels are great ways to acquire prospects, but we should look in the one to get a more detailed look. In this example, we will go through the football phone funnel. If you remember back in the 80s and 90s, Sports Illustrated generated a lot of customers/subscribers by having them get the football phone for free, as long as they sign up a 12 year subscription to Sports Illustrated. The same concept is used to generate prospects who will later become customers.

STEPS 1 & 2 – Two Step Sales/Lead Capture & Order Form

Let’s say you run an online cooking school where paid membership members will be able to have access to your advanced cooking lessons. Enrollment is currently at a low and you need to find a solution. If you utilize the football phone method, you can attract potential new people through a physical product. In this example, we will use high grade knives you can order in bulk from the factory.

You’d first start up with the 2 Step Sales Process page which you would grab attention online through various channels like social media and paid search. When people land on that sales page, they’ll be enticed by your very low tripwire offer to take it up. As soon as they click on the page that leads to their order form, they’ll first have to enter their contact information (contact email and name). So to put in this current example, the online cooking school offers the high grade knives at $25 dollars a set. A very low price that people can’t afford to pass up. They click on the link that triggers a popup that they need their email to continue. [Two Steps Sales/Lead Capture]. After that, the interested soon-to-be-prospects would then fill out an order form for the knives [Order form].

STEP 3 – Upsell

Now that we have the prospects hooked on our “football phone”-like offer, we can start upselling them on our initial offer. What we have done here is that we have enticed them with one offer in order to sell them our main goods/services.

In this example, as soon as they completed the main order form, the online school can then subtly offer their online cooking school enrollment at an initial offer (optionally they can offer it at a discount price). Since the people who were drawn into the knives are likely people who are into cooking, they’d be enticed by the idea of learning advanced cooking techniques and recipes. As you can see here, we have done everything to subtly bring the visitors and offer them an opportunity to convert into a customer.

What happens if you can’t upsell the customer the initial offer? You can then down sell them with a different upsell offer that would be more appealing to them. If that was the case in this example, you’d offer them maybe a different kind of enrollment or a set of advanced classes that they are only interested in (like maybe offering access to Advanced Italian cooking and nothing else).

STEP 4 – (Optional) Profit Maximizer Upsell

From the last step, we then move the converted customer into another offer that would generate the most profit from them. Remember, if a customer is excited in your initial offer, they are most likely to be interested in other services and goods you offer.

In this case of the online cooking school, after they enroll in the school, they might be interested in other aspects of your business like one on one live streaming paid tutoring. Likely, they could partake in this opportunity or pass on (which they’d go through another downsell or the thank you page).

STEP 5 – Thank You Page

After all of this, the last step is the thank you page. The customer has gotten their “football phone”-like offer and you have managed to acquire a customer in a very simple and easy to implement acquisition funnel.

Utilizing an Activation Funnel

Activation Funnel - Credit to Digital Marketer

These types of funnels are to convert large chunks of leads into buyers. Unlike the Acquisition and Monetization Funnels, this funnel focuses on the number of converted acquisitions, not the amount of money they generate for you. That part comes in monetization.

Activation funnels come in different forms like:

  • Simple Survey Funnel
  • Velvet Rope Funnel
  • Blog Launch Funnel
  • Flash Sales Funnel

The Flash Sales Funnel

Let’s take the Flash Sales Funnel into example. In this funnel, we have to activate leads into buyers by answering a question that will be on their mind, “Why should I get this now?!”. They might conclude on various reasons like prices going up, limited quantity, a potential sale, etc.

The Flash Sales Funnel uses the concept of deep discounts and limited time offer to entice leads and have them convert into buyers.

Activation Funnel - using Flash Sales

Let’s say in this example, you have an online site that sells a fitness equipment. You have generated leads over time from various channels like social media and content. You now want to convert these leads into paying customers.
By utilizing the flash sales funnel, you lower the price on one part of your inventory, in this case a set of dumbbells is now on sale for 50% off until the end of the month. You have this flash sale advertised to your leads, which will have them convert from leads into buyers.

Remember, the goal of this funnel (and other Activation Funnels) is to convert leads into paying customers. You will monetize them in the next funnel, thus generating more profit for your business.

Making the Most with a Monetization Funnel

Monetization Funnel - Credit to Digital Marketer

Monetization Funnel’s main focus and goal is to generate as much revenue as much as possible. In simpler terms, you are trying to have existing buyers and indoctrinated leads buy into more services and goods that they would likely interested into buying.

Monetization Funnels can be…

  • Perpetual Webinar Formula
  • The “Mini-Class” Launch
  • Paid Webinar Funnel
  • Live Event Funnel
  • The Magic Question Funnel

Let’s focus on the funnel that can obtain more money from existing customers, the Magic Question Funnel.

The Magic Question Funnel


monetization funnel - magic question funnel

“Do you want some help?”

That is the magic question that works in any situation or niche a business is involved in.

  • Do you want help building your furniture?
  • Want some help setting together your account?
  • Want someone to assemble your bike for you?
  • Want to some help so you can get the most out of the product you bought recently?

All you need to do is set up a page after a customer has already bought into your service/product and have them be aware that you can do the hard work for them for a set price.

Let’s go back the online fitness equipment business. After the customer has bought into the flash sale, you can notify them via email or post-purchase pages that you are offering them an entire set of books on how to use those dumbbells more effectively. Likely the people who bought the dumbbells are interested in getting the most from using them, so they’ll need help in doing so. Hence the upsell of the dumbbell books.

As your business continues to strategize, you’ll want to have all three funnel types (Acquisition, Activation and Monetization) in order bring in the most profit and opportunities. Just remember to start with the funnel that will have the most impact and then add on the others in order to enhance the business on the whole.

If you want to learn a detailed look into the three funnels, Digital Marketer has training about funnel blueprints.

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