Lead Generation Sales Funnels – How To Build One Successfully

Lead Generation Sales Funnels – How To Build One Successfully

Want to generate more leads, make more sales, and increase your revenue?

We believe that the best way to do that is the Value Ladder sales funnel.

Here’s what we are going to discuss today:

  • What is the value ladder sales funnel?
  • How to build a Value Ladder sales funnel from scratch?
  • How to maximize your value ladder sales funnel revenue?

Ready to build your own lead generation sales funnel?

Continue reading…

Introduction to Sales Funnels

Okay, so before we get into the nitty-gritty of building an effective lead generation sales funnel, let’s make sure that we are all on the same page regarding the terms that we are going to be using throughout this article.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is the process that a person goes through from first hearing about your business to becoming a paying customer to becoming a repeat customer.

Here’s the bird’s-eye-view of any sales funnel:

  • Top of the Funnel: Target Audience. You grab the attention of a person who belongs to your target audience.
  • Middle of the Funnel: Potential Customers. You get them interested in your product.
  • Bottom of the Funnel: Existing Customers. You persuade them to buy your product.

What Is the Value Ladder Sales Funnel?

We believe that the most effective way to sell anything online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.

It was developed by our co-founder Russell Brunson who then used it to take ClickFunnels from zero to $100M+ in annual revenue in less than seven years.

The Value Ladder sales funnel has four stages:

  • Bait. You offer the potential customer your lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  • Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
  • Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
  • Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.

Ideally, you also have a continuity program of some sort, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.

What Is the Value Ladder Sales Funnel? The Value Ladder graphic.

The reason why the Value Ladder sales funnel works so well is that it allows you to:

  1. Start the relationship with that person by offering free value.
  2. Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value via email.
  3. Build trust by providing progressively more paid value at each stage.

Here’s how Russell explains it;

How Does Your Lead Generation Funnel Fit Into the Value Ladder Sales Funnel?

Your lead generation funnel isn’t some isolated thing that exists separately from your overall sales funnel. It is the first stage of your Value Ladder (the Bait stage).

Your goal at that stage is to convert the potential customer into a lead by persuading them to give you their email address in exchange for your lead magnet.

Once they do that, they become a lead, enter your sales funnel, and progress to the Frontend stage of your Value Ladder.

Stay Focused On the Big Picture!

It’s important to understand that the purpose of lead generation isn’t to simply collect as many email addresses as possible.

Your goal should be to obtain the contact information of your dream customers so that you could sell them your products, generate revenue, and make a profit.

That’s why the number of leads generated during a specific period of time is a vanity metric (e.g. leads per day).

Yes, it can help you track your progress, but it doesn’t mean anything in isolation. Who cares how many leads you bring in if they don’t convert into paying customers?

Ultimately, the only business metric that matters is profit, which is why you should use it to measure the success of your lead generation campaigns.

Is your lead generation sales funnel profitable?

Stay Focused On the Big Picture! Is your lead generation sales funnel profitable motivational cell phone reminder.

How To Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel

Here’s how you can build a basic Value Ladder sales funnel in five steps:

Step #1: Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to the potential customer in exchange for their email address.

It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:

  • A report
  • An ebook.
  • A webinar.
  • A video course.
  • An email course.


What’s important is that your lead magnet provides an effective solution to a painful problem that the potential customer is struggling with.

The more painful the problem and the more effective the solution, the more appealing your lead magnet is going to be.

Also, keep in mind that people won’t give you their email addresses unless you offer something super valuable in return.

That’s why the key to designing an effective lead magnet is creating something that your dream customers desperately want…

And then giving it to them for free!

How To Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel. The Key to designing an effective lead magnet quote.

Step #2: Create a Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet

A lead generation landing page is a landing page that is designed with a single conversion goal in mind:

Persuading the visitor to provide their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.

We recommend creating a landing page like that for your lead magnet because driving traffic to lead generation landing pages is the most effective way to convert potential customers into leads.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be fancy, a simple squeeze page will do.

Here are the three key elements that it should have:

  • A headline that conveys what your free offer is all about.
  • An opt-in form where the potential customer can type in their email address. It can either be displayed immediately or after they click a call-to-action button.
  • A call-to-action button that encourages the potential customer to get the lead magnet.

You can also experiment with various additional elements such as subheadlines, copy, social proof, etc.

These typically increase the conversion rate but you should A/B test everything just to be sure.

Here’s a super simple yet high-converting squeeze page that we use for our “The Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook” lead magnet;

Create a Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet, high-converting squeeze page example.

Step #3: Create an Irresistible Frontend Offer

A frontend offer is a product that you pitch to the potential customer once they subscribe to your email list.

Ideally, it should address the same problem as your lead magnet but provide much more value.

That way, the lead magnet will do the selling for you because someone who derived value from it will likely be open to purchasing your frontend product.

For example:

Matthew Hussey, a world-renowned dating coach, has a lead magnet called “9 Texts”.

It’s a guide with nine text message scripts that women can copy-paste when texting guys they like.

Create an Irresistible Frontend Offer example.

Meanwhile, his frontend product is a guide called “The Momentum Texts” that features 67 more text message scripts.

So if a woman benefited from the free scripts, she will likely be interested in the paid ones.

See how Matthew’s lead magnet sells his frontend product?

Create an Irresistible Frontend Offer, Momentum Texts example.

Note that the purpose of the frontend offer isn’t to make you a ton of money, it’s to convert leads into paying customers.

That’s why you should make it a no-brainer by pricing it at $7.

We recommend this particular price point because it is not so low as to make the potential customer doubt the product’s value but also not high enough to make them stop and think twice before purchasing it.

Also, when the price is within the impulse buy range, people don’t have high expectations – which means that exceeding their expectations is relatively easy.

You want to make sure that you overdeliver with your frontend product because that will help you build the trust required to sell your middle and backend products.

Step #4: Create a Sales Page For Your Frontend Offer

A sales page is a type of landing page that is designed with a single conversion goal in mind:

Persuading the potential customer to buy your product.

You should create one for your frontend offer if you want to maximize your sales.

We recommend going with a medium-length sales page since at this price point a long-form sales page is probably an overkill.

For example:

Let’s take a look at “The Momentum Texts” sales page.

Above the fold, there’s a video in which Matthew establishes an emotional connection with the potential customer, explains why he is a legitimate expert when it comes to dating, and introduces the offer.

Create a Sales Page For Your Frontend Offer, video example.

Below the video, there’s what seems like an opt-in form.

However, it’s not an actual opt-in form, since entering the email address is optional.

When you click the “Get My Download” button, you will be taken to the checkout page even if you leave the email address field blank.

We assume that the reasoning behind presenting a call-to-action button as an opt-in form is that people are used to signing up for email newsletters.

Consequently, they are likely to feel more comfortable clicking a faux-opt-in “Get My Download” button as opposed to a traditional sales page “Buy Now” button.

Presumably, the former feels non-committal, while the latter might make them hesitant to proceed.

Get My Download button graphic.

Below the call-to-action button, there’s sales copy that is meant to establish an emotional connection with the potential customer.

After that, Matthew introduces himself as a leading dating authority for women and says that he has helped millions to get the relationships they deserve with his practical advice.

He then promises to do the same for the potential customer.

Create a Sales Page For Your Frontend Offer example.

Then he introduces “The Momentum Texts”, explains what it’s all about, and lists what’s included in the offer.

Create a Sales Page For Your Frontend Offer, explanation example.

Finally, there’s another call-to-action button, again presented as an opt-in form. This time, it’s accompanied by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Also, note the media badges below the guarantee that serve as social proof.

Create a Sales Page For Your Frontend Offer, call to action example.

Step #5: Create an Indoctrination Email Sequence

An “indoctrination” email sequence is a series of emails that are automatically sent to every new subscriber when they sign up to your email list.

Its purpose is to introduce yourself, establish an emotional connection, and build the trust required to sell your frontend product.

You should also use it to learn more about the new subscriber. More on that later.

Here’s a 6-email structure that we recommend:

Email #1: Who Are You?

Introduce yourself and tell the new subscriber a story from your life that they can relate to.

The aim here isn’t to posture as some infallible expert but tell them “Hey, I’ve been where you are right now, I know how it feels”.

Email #2: Where Did You Come From?

Share your origin story. How did you come to do what you do now?

Highlight the key turning points in your journey:

  • How did you first get interested in it?
  • What obstacles did you overcome?
  • What mentors did you meet?


Email #3: What Do You Do?

Now explain what exactly it is that you do:

  • What problems are you addressing?
  • What solutions are you offering?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?

Email #4: How Did You Gain This Expertise?

Why should the new subscriber listen to you?

Explain how you acquired the expertise that makes you qualified to do what you do now. Mention relevant education, credentials, accomplishments, etc.

Email #5: Who Do You Do This For?

Tell the new subscriber who your dream customers are.

Then provide a case study on how you helped such a person achieve the results that they wanted.

Email #6: How Can You Do It For Me?

This is where you pitch your frontend product.

Alternatively, if you have already built out your entire Value Ladder, you can give the new subscriber an overview of it.

Simply list your products, provide a short description of each, and add calls to action to all of them.

Use This Call to Action To Engage the New Subscriber

We recommend using this call to action for emails #1 to #5:

  1. Ask the new subscriber a question.
  2. Encourage them to reply to your email.

Ideally, you should then respond to all the messages that you get, or at least to as many of them as possible.

This will help you create engagement, get to know your subscribers, and add a human touch to an otherwise automated email marketing campaign.

How To Maximize Your Value Ladder Sales Funnel Revenue

Okay, now that you have your Value Ladder sales funnel, what can you do to maximize its revenue?

Here are five tips that can help you with that:

Tip #1: Ditch Your Website

Let’s start with one of our most controversial takes:

You should probably get rid of your website altogether and replace it with a sales funnel.


Because traditional websites are confusing mazes of links that are losing you sales.

Think about it:

What happens when a potential customer lands on your website?

They see the navigation bar and start clicking around. They check this page. They check that page. Maybe they read a few articles on your blog.

And then they leave. Possibly to never come back again.

How does any of this help your business??

How To Maximize Your Value Ladder Sales Funnel Revenue graphic.

Meanwhile, by definition, a sales funnel is designed to guide the potential customer towards a sale, one step at a time.

Instead of throwing a bunch of links at them, you are nudging them toward a specific conversion goal appropriate for that stage of the sales funnel.

For example:

When the potential customer arrives on your lead generation landing page, they are presented with two options:

  1. Get the lead magnet.
  2. Leave.

It’s a simple “Yes or No” decision. There’s nothing confusing about it. And the same applies to the next stage of your sales funnel, the next one, and the next one.

How To Maximize Your Value Ladder Sales Funnel Revenue, Your ClickFunnel graphic.

Is it any wonder that, according to our data, sales funnels generate on average 6x more sales than traditional websites?

And yes, we understand that ditching your website altogether might seem a bit drastic, but at least consider A/B testing your lead magnet landing page against your homepage.

By the way, we practice what we preach – we built a $100M+ software company without a website. Just saying.

Tip #2: Have Several Lead Magnets

Everyone starts out with just one lead magnet.

However, different offers appeal to different people, which is why it’s smart to add more lead magnets to your Value Ladder as time goes on.

For example:

Here’s a list of some of the lead magnets that we use to grow our business:

Have Several Lead Magnets, Dotcom Secrets example.

Tip #3: Add Cross-Sells, Upsells and Downsells to Each Offer

Once you build out your entire Value Ladder, we suggest adding cross-sells, upsells, and downsells to each offer.

What’s the difference between a cross-sell and an upsell?

  • A cross-sell is a separate offer that is complementary to the offer that the customer has already accepted (e.g. “Would you like fries with that?”).
  • An upsell is an upgrade to the offer that the customer has already accepted (e.g. “Would you like to supersize that?”).
Add Cross-Sells, Upsells and Downsells to Each Offer graphic.

Meanwhile, a downsell is an offer that you make after the potential customer has rejected your initial offer.

It can be:

  • A downgrade to the initial offer.
  • A separate product that is less expensive and provides less value than the initial offer.
Add Cross-Sells, Upsells and Downsells to Each Offer, Upsell and Downsell graphic.

Tip #4: Use the Hook, Story, Offer Framework

The Hook, Story, Offer framework is a super effective approach to copywriting that you can use for anything from ads to emails to sales pages.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Hook. You grab the potential customer’s attention.
  2. Story. You tell them a captivating story.
  3. Offer. You transition from the story to your sales pitch .

Applying this framework can make a huge difference to your conversion rates all throughout your sales funnel.

Tip #5: Pay Attention to Traffic Quality

You can have the best sales funnel in the world…

But it won’t generate any revenue if you keep sending the wrong people to it!

It’s important to understand that all traffic can be divided into two broad categories:

  • High-quality traffic aka your dream customers.
  • Low-quality traffic aka everyone else.

Your traffic will always be a mix between the two but you want to maximize the former and minimize the latter.

The most straightforward way to increase traffic quality is this:

  1. Analyze your sales data.
  2. Figure out what your existing customers have in common.
  3. Use those common traits to create more targeted marketing campaigns.

Conversely, you should also look at what leads that don’t convert into paying customers have in common and stop targeting people like that altogether.

Bonus Tip: Keep Optimizing Your Sales Funnel!

Your Value Ladder sales funnel is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing – you should always view it as a work-in-progress.

We recommend using Facebook ads to optimize your sales funnel.

Set up a daily ad budget, start driving paid traffic to your lead generation landing page, then sit back and watch what happens.

Which page in your sales funnel has the lowest conversion rate?

Take a closer look at it, figure out what the problem is, and fix that issue.

Then move on to the next weakest link, and the next one, and the next one. Never stop optimizing!

Over time, this approach can help you 2x, 5x, or even 10x your sales funnel profits.

Want Russell To Show You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?

Let’s keep it real:

Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why we created our 5 Day Lead Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
  • Create your first lead magnet.
  • Build your first sales funnel.
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate.

Join our 5 Day Lead Challenge today. It’s completely free!

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