Funnel Basics: What Are the Key Parts of a Marketing Funnel?

Welcome back!

Today, you’re going to walk away knowing the key parts of an acquisition funnel – the exact pieces that make this funnel so effective at transforming passing interest into a sale … and then turning that initial sale into major revenue for the company.

And, the great news? It’s very simple to create an acquisition funnel for your clients.

Acquisition funnels have four basic parts:

  1. The lead generation piece (which we touched on yesterday)
  2. The main offer
  3. The add-on offers (also known as “upsells”)
  4. The follow-up sequence

Each part of a funnel is designed to build on the previous piece in a way that makes moving forward feel like the easiest, smartest, or best possible choice.

The lead magnet, or bait piece, is designed to grab your prospect’s interest and get them to pay attention to your client’s company.

Once you have the prospect’s attention, you can show them the main offer.

When they take the main offer, you’ll offer a few bonus goodies to enhance their purchase.

Finally, you’ll follow-up with them, offering additional relevant items or an ongoing membership, so they’re always in touch.

Let’s look at an example of this in action, as if you were the prospect …

Say you were interested in learning Spanish, and looked online for programs that could teach you. Scanning through the results, you see one company offering you the chance to download the first lesson of their program for free.

Oh, why not? All you have to do is enter your email and it’s yours. Done and done … wait, what’s this on the “Thank You” page? Hmmm … looks like you can buy the whole program for 60% off, as a reward for downloading the sample chapter … and there’s a money-back guarantee, so what’s the harm?

Enter your credit card information and click! Now the program is yours. And right now, you can add weekly phone tutoring with one of their expert teachers for just $25 a call. But you’re not sure about that, so you pass on the offer …

The next day, you have an email from the company. They hope you’re happy with your new lessons, but they noticed you didn’t choose to try a live teacher. Would you like a second chance at that offer? Or, would you like to sign up for a guided group-study program to help you build your skills?

Spot the key parts of the funnel?

  1. Lead magnet = The free chapter to download
  2. Main offer = The language program itself
  3. Upsell = The extra tutoring
  4. Follow-up = The email with your second chance and another offer

Each piece builds on the next … taking you from being interested to becoming a buyer … and then building up the size of your order through the upsell and follow-up.

It’s exactly what a well-built funnel is supposed to do – turn a little trickle of interested people and new names into a flood of revenues.

Even if you’re just starting out, you can build a funnel like this for your clients. You just need to think of how to layer one piece into the next. So, let’s practice …

Think of a product you enjoy very much, or use a business idea you’ve been thinking about for a while.

Identify your main offer. Then step back. What one small piece – a feature, benefit, or experience – could you pull out to use as a lead magnet?

Now, step forward past the main offer. What can you offer to enhance the purchase, or add on to make using the product simpler, faster, or more fun?

Finally, how will you follow-up? What kinds of reminder emails, second chances, or new offers could you send?

Share your planned funnel in the comments … and, if you have any questions, share those, too. I’m happy to answer, especially because I know with just a little practice, you CAN do this!

Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to connect the pieces of a funnel to writing work – the kind clients will happily pay you to do for them.

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Published: June 16, 2015

9 Responses to “Funnel Basics: What Are the Key Parts of a Marketing Funnel?”

  1. 1.Lead Magnet: Get a 4oz sample of Bhrami/Amla Hair Oil delivered within 24 hours;shipping is free.
    2. Main Offer: Stop hair breakage!Purchase one 8oz bottle of Bhrami/Amla Hair Oil for $19.95; second bottle free.
    3. Upsell: Make hair combing easy with our Wide Tooth Comb.Click the Red Button.
    4. Follow-up:We noticed you did not click the red button; here's your chance to try again. Or maybe you would like to order our new organic quart size coconut oil conditioner at 29.95

    Guest (KHADIJAH hOLLINGSWORTH)June 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm

  2. 1. Lead magnet: small collection of popular natural bath product recipes (skin toner, cleanser, bath soak, lotion)
    2. Main offer: 'cookbook' of natural skin care, hair care, and home care products made from simple ingredients
    3. Upsell: try the products with a pre-made collection in nice bottles and jars
    4. Follow-up: new recipes to try / tips and tricks of working with natural ingredients; pre-screened organic, high-quality ingredients to use; individual or collections of bottles and jars

    Wendy StrainJune 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm

  3. 1. Lead Magnet: Learn how to Eliminate your entire outdoor yard with no electricity. Download free tips here...
    2. Main Offer: Save on your Entire Electric Bill and pay yourself to enjoy your outdoor living space.
    3. Upsell & Add-ons: Get the latest ECO Friendly outdoor lighting at a fraction of the cost.
    4. The Follow-up: Act now and get Free Shipping with your first order!

    Gemma MooreJune 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  4. Christian Music Store

    1. lead: free lollipops for children
    2. main offer: sheet music for church choirs, music teachers, bell choirs, Christian schools, acapella choirs, instrumentalists.
    3. upsell: Our used music library with over 60,000 titles where sheet music is offered at up to 60% off.
    4. follow-up: customer satisfaction survey.

    Guest (Nancy Goodman)June 19, 2015 at 5:32 pm

  5. Gluten Free Life Lead Magnet-4 free recipes Main Offer-recipe book Upsell-newsletter that shares stories and tips Follow-up-Web Club chat site with special cooking demo blogs

    Guest (Jayne Sykes)June 22, 2015 at 9:58 pm

  6. Hey Jen,

    Great article! You've excellently explained how funnels help prospects ascend into customers.

    Here's our funnel:

    Lead Magnet: 3 Ways To Increase Revenue By 270% (No, We Aren't Kidding) FREE Video

    Tripwire: Ultimate Buyer Research & Online Competition Analysis Report, JUST $20

    Core Offer: Online Lead Generation Done For You (Monthly Subscription at $499)

    Profit Maximizer: 5 Stage Lead Generation Funnel w 1 Yr Optimization $10,000

    Follow Up - 7 Step Email Follow Up Series

    Guest (Kevin Tjia )July 16, 2015 at 5:56 pm

  7. Suppose I am a musician and I do live performances.
    How would I generate revenue using funnel?
    What would be the funnel steps for generating any revenue for me?

    Guest (Aagman)March 4, 2020 at 3:16 pm


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