To better understand the concept of a sales funnel and just how you can implement it in your own business, let's look at the following image from Shutterstock. On the left side of the image, you see a magnet. That magnet is attracting customers, which happens a number of ways. From blogging to social media to paid ads and everything in between, how the visitors arrive to your website has some impact on the success of your funnel. 
If you don’t add what’s called an order bump. And that’s a little thing at the bottom where if you check off, it adds something extra to their order. So at the bottom of your little box, the word order bump, and then put a price of $37 because maybe you have something else you can sell them. That’s a simple order bump. Then the third box, the next box over to the right is going to be your OTO. This is your one-time offer. This is an upsell. So they’ve said yes to your $27 workshop. Maybe they clicked the box to get the order bump, maybe they didn’t. And now they’re being shown a page that says, wait, your credit card is being processed. But before you go, I have a one-time offer. Click YES or NO to buy. So let’s pretend that you have an OTO that’s a course that’s $77.

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If you utilize various services and apps for checkout, you are often allowed to add an opt-in checkbox at final checkout. Often times, you have already requested the customer’s email address in order to send them a receipt, but it is important that you also ask them to opt-in rather than just assume that you have the green light to send them email.

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There are email warming sequences that include things like personalized value-driven stories, tutorials and even soft pushes to webinars, and of course product suggestions that happen over days or even weeks. The truth is that most prospects won't buy from your website at first glance, especially if they're only just becoming aware of you today. It takes time. Thus, the funnel is a multi-modality process, as there are a variety of relationship-building experiences and "touches" that occur through several stages. 

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You might be doing all the right things to generate leads -- landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn't driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as "split test") different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you're posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.

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Your blog provides a great way to build a personal relationship with customers and prospects — and to gather their email addresses. Consistently end blogs with a call to action that encourages readers to sign up for your email messages. Require blog visitors to provide an email list in order to leave comments, and set it up so that they have to actively opt out if they don’t want their email address included on your mailing list.

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Now that you’re all set up to starting collecting emails, the fun part begins (when I say ‘fun’, I actually mean ‘hard’). If your site receives a good amount of traffic and you have a truly compelling offer, this shouldn’t be too difficult. However, if you’re like most business owners, you’ll need to look outside your own audience to start building your list.
Now, here’s where we do the math. You want to figure out if your funnel is going to be profitable, you need to understand what is “normal.” And I put normal in quotes because for every industry it’s a little bit different. And eventually ,you’re going to have benchmarks for yourself. You’re going to know what your normal is and then you can compare yourself against yourself. But when you’re just getting started, you might not have any stats. So I’m going to give them to you. So in the first box, I’m going to tell you that it’s pretty normal to have somewhere between a 20% to 30% optin rate.

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The effort you put into building your email list is one of the best investments you can make online. Having access to the inboxes of targeted prospects means you can continue to build and nurture relationships over time, and become a trusted source of valuable industry knowledge. Then, when it’s time for your prospects to buy, you’ll be the first one who comes to mind.

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