How To Setup Your First Sales Funnel (With Examples)

If you’ve been looking at sales funnel examples and feeling daunted in setting up your first sales funnel you’re not alone. Setting up a sales funnel requires three different skill sets not often found within new entrepreneurs or online business owners:

  1. First it requires strategic knowledge in terms of how to structure the funnel to capture emails through a lead magnet and lead people through a series of products to purchase your core offering and maximise revenue.
  2. Second it requires the ability to design the pages in a way that will convert the highest, as well as use sales copywriting to convince people to take the action to opt in and ultimately purchase.
  3. Third it also requires technical knowledge in terms of building the funnel and integrating with your payment gateway and your site.

In this post we lead you through how to create your first product or services sales funnel from optin to tripwire through to upselling your core offering.

But first some definitions.

What Is A Sales Funnel?

People often mix together marketing funnels & sales funnels but for us a marketing funnel is about capturing emails and nurturing leads, whereas a sales funnels is about an immediate purchase:

A marketing funnel is all about capturing a lead and taking that lead to the point of sale

A sales funnel captures an email and then leads people through the sale.

Sales Funel Stages

Now that we know what we’re talking about, lets look at how to structure a sales funnel. It all starts with the lead.

Lead Magnet

A sales funnel typically starts with an optin offer or “squeeze page”. We list 3 killer optin offers in our post here.

The squeeze page offers a lead magnet is a “free” product where the transaction is someone giving their email address.

A lead magnet can be a free ebook or can be cheat sheets, a guide, a video or a list of resources or tools and swipe files such as facebook ad copy. 

You can take someone to a separate landing page or you can utilize content upgrades.

A content upgrade is a free resource that’s related to the blog post that someone came in on that gives additional information or value, such as a checklist that summarises how to implement what’s in the post. The content upgrade should be short and easy to consume such as a 1-2 page PDF to give someone a quick win for consuming it.

The blog post should “bridge” the knowledge gap that people have in order to appreciate the opt-in offer. Blog content needs to “pre-frame” a lead magnet offer such as tutorials, case studies or ultimate guides or list posts and can even be used as the landing page for paid traffic (vs an ad straight to the optin page).

The next page after someone opt ins is traditionally the “thank you page”. However if you’re using a thank you page that looks like this you’re burning money:

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 16.45.07

This page is why I struggled to make a money online for years. There is no $ symbol on this page or a buy button.

You can only make money online by having something to sell and leading people to the sale.

By leading traffic to a buy now button.

This is what a sales funnel does. It captures a lead and then immediately shows the first product to the maximum number of people (i.e. everyone).

Digital Marketer in it’s visionary “Customer Value Optimization” post states that there are only three ways to grow a business”

  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase the average transaction value per customer
  • Increase the number of transactions per customer

A sales funnel aims to do all three and the autoresponder sequences are designed to push people further and further through the funnel if they dropped off at any stage.

The Tripwire

A tripwire is a low cost product or service that links the email bait to the core offer.

The price is relative to the core offer and is typically 1-10% of the main offer. If the core offer is $497 the tripwire would typically be between $5-$50.

The goal is not to profit from just the tripwire but to lead into upselling higher priced products or your core offer and to change the relationship from a subscriber to a customer. Someone who has already bought is far more likely to buy again and even straight away. Indeed typically 10-25% of people who buy an introductory offer purchase the next (core) offer in a funnel.

By showing a low priced “tripwire” offer straight away after the optin you increases the number of customers buying your core offer you sell directly afterwards (on the very next page).

Types of tripwires

The tripwire is designed to solve one specific problem really well and like every great offer you need to get across what the before and after state will look and feel like for your prospect. 

Tripwires that do well are online courses (related to the core issue in the lead magnet), one off services such as audits or specific coaching calls, full length books, standalone software (i.e. wordpress plugin) or physical products (such as ski wax…).

The price of the tripwire needs to be so low that there cannot be any rational objection and that the value to price ratio is off the charts. This means that you’re not going to make money with the tripwire itself but it can cover a chunk of your ad spend to get someone into your funnel who is way more likely to buy your core offering.

Sales Funnel Examples

Below is the post optin page from one of the lead magnets of the guys at screwthenineto5.com that goes straight into a paid product offer:

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 22.16.41

As you can see it’s ok to sell straight away. As long as the paid offer is congruent with what the subscriber just opted in for then it’s actually helpful to show them something that will create value for them.

You could even go so far as to say that if a product solves a problem someone has then you kinda have a moral obligation to present it rather than holding it back.

People like to be sold when it’s relevant to be sold. If I walk into a Porsche dealership, trust me I want to be sold! I want the full on experience!

Here’s an example of indirect selling on the post optin page:

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 22.11.09

This is from Entrepreneur On Fire who invites you to a workshop that then pitches their core offer.

What if you don’t have a tripwire?

Alright – you may be thinking “that’s great but I don’t have a tripwire product”

Well you don’t actually have to create any new products or services to do this. Your tripwire and even upsell can actually come out of your existing product or service. We’ve done this several times for customers who came to us with just one product.

For example someone had an ebook plus 2 bonuses in the financial niche. We stripped out the main problem the ebook was selling and turned that into a PDF guide for the tripwire. We then positioned the ebook as the core offer and then the previous bonuses as an upsell.

The result was that average revenue per visitor through the funnel tripled because they weren’t being hit directly with a full priced core offer.

To get a working sales funnel doesn’t have to be a huge amount of product development. It’s more about how you structure a sequence of problem solving offers.

Can you see how this would work for your own business?

Core Offer

The core offer is a product or service that is THE solution to the majority of issues that your customers face.

The price point is 10-20x higher than the introductory offer (tripwire) and the core offer is where you will make the majority of your revenue. 

Typical core offers are monthly or annual membership sites or communities such as the 7 Day Startup Pro community we built a funnel foronline courses (where you can package your intro offers together) or productized services

The core offer is the thing you mention and link to everywhere (blog posts, podcasts, webinars).

If people reach the sales page of the core offer but do not purchase, you want your autoresponder series to follow up and also retarget them on places such as Facebook to bring them back to the page to purchase.

The Upsell

By stacking two or more products together in a funnel you increase the average transaction value per customer. Within Clickfunnels (the software we use to build all our sales funnels for ourselves and customers) you can create “one click upsells” so that after you get someone’s credit card details (from the first, low priced product) that person can purchase your next product with just one click without entering their details again.

This changes everything!

Our upsell is a monthly support & optimization package for clickfunnels customers

Then finally after all purchases, on the order confirmation page you can even include a button to go immediately into a different, relevant funnel which therefore increases the number of transactions per customer.

The Traffic Myth

You don’t need more traffic to make any of this work and traffic is certainly not hard to get (even though there are 313 million search results for “how do I get more traffic to my website”).

A sales funnel doesn’t care how much traffic you have. It just does it’s job of converting traffic into dollars.

For every 1000 people that visit your site, HOW the funnel is structured will decide whether you make $10 or $10,000, not the traffic.

The key is creating a sequence that enables you to invest $1 in ad spend on the front end and create $2 on the backend.

And once you do this you don’t have to generate “free” traffic by creating blog posts and SEO.

You can BUY TRAFFIC. You can OWN IT.

Is your audience on instagram? Hit them up with an ad. Is your product visual? Buy ads on Pinterest. Know those high traffic blogs that your audience also visits? Great, you can now run a banner ad.

What would it be like to be able to invest in advertising? What would it do for your business? How quickly could you scale? 

Here’s also a great q&a by clickfunnels on how to use their software to build out your first sales funnel:


Click the button below to sign up to get our top 9 high converting sales funnel templates for free, plus get access to a two week free trial of clickfunnels.

Claim Your FREE Sales Funnel Templates!

Here’s to a profitable funnel!

Richard Patey

Writer for Funnel Engine

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 7 comments
Daniel Boswell - March 15, 2016

Richard this is an amazing post and incredible giveaway! Its funny that I have kind of mixed up marketing and sales funnels myself but your post really clarified it and I can see the misunderstanding now. Having added your funnel to my CF account, I love the simplicity yet powerful sequence that includes the continuity upsell. Thanks again!

    Richard Patey - March 17, 2016

    Cheers Daniel, glad you’re getting a ton of value from it. It took me a long time to get my head round the difference between MFs and SFs as people use them interchangeably. Marketing is attracting and selling is closing and the fact you can do both within one seamless funnel within Clickfunnels is awesome 🙂

Jay Broyer - March 15, 2016

Hi Richard, this is a great post. Just wondering if you have any examples of strictly service based funnels? Like freebie > 30 min strategy sessions > coaching package/done for you service > Service package upsell ?

I have yet to see good examples of that type of funnel working.

    Richard Patey - March 17, 2016

    Thanks Jay! We do a service package upsell (our monthly $79 optimize package) from our done for you funnel page. In your example, would the 30 min strategy session be free or paid?

      Jay Broyer - March 24, 2016

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for the reply sorry I missed it. Inwas thinking if i have a $149 1 hr coaching call, the tripwore could be a $19 30 min????

      Or like you said the tripwire be a half price 1 hr. Strategy session and core offer done for you service?

        Richard Patey - June 24, 2016

        Hi Jay, ditto only just seen this reply. It’s best to stack the value through the funnel with complementary products – in the way you suggest above the tripwire would be competing with the core offering. I would come up with some other tripwire and then the upsell would be the 1 hour coaching call and then a downsell could be a half hour call.

Richard Patey - November 28, 2016

Where did all the comments go? 🙁


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