How to Build a Sales Funnel

A conversion funnel is a way of representing the steps that a buyer takes on their journey from when they first find your page to when they make a purchase. Creating a conversion funnel can help you to see where potential customers are dropping off so that you can make changes to improve your chances of making a sale.

Should I Use the AIDA Model to Create My Conversion Funnel?

The AIDA model is a way of tracking the customer journey that is based on the four stages that people move through during the buying process: awareness, interest, desire, and action.

A funnel shape is used because not everyone who visits a website will convert to a paying customer.

The problem is that this is a rigid and fairly unrealistic way to view how people move through the stages of a sales cycle.

Often, peopleloop back to different stages in the sales cycle before they’re ever ready to complete the sale. In other words, people need nurturing before they’ll buy a product. As a marketer, you must understand their behaviors, their personalities, and their needs to convert them into paying customers.

How to Create a Conversion Funnel

The following is a nine-step guide to creating a successful conversion funnel, based on a blend of AIDA and less restrictive techniques.

Determine Your Ideal Buyer Journey and Map It Out as a Funnel

The purpose of a conversion funnel is to create an efficient buyer’s journey and increase your conversions. In other words, you must identify three things:

Identify your end goal and map it out as a conversion funnel to stay on track.

Set Goals for Each Stage in Your Funnel

Consider your funnel to have three distinct sections: the top, middle, and bottom.

When creating goals for each stage of your sales funnel, consider what you want to achieve at each stage. For example, you may want to increase web traffic at the top of the funnel, boost customer engagement in the middle, and increase conversions at the bottom.

Consider using tools like Google Analytics or email automation software to measure your success rates against your goals.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you need from each stage of your funnel in order to determine if you’re meeting your targets. Take some time to think about your overall goal before creating a conversion funnel.

Make a Content Plan for Each Stage in the Funnel

The funnel metaphor can be used to describe the process of moving prospects from awareness to purchase. The top of the funnel is where prospects are first introduced to your product or service. The middle of the funnel is where prospects learn more about your offering and begin to compare it to alternatives. The bottom of the funnel is where prospects make their purchase decision.


The initial stage is focused on creating brand and product awareness. The goal is to generate excitement and encourage potential customers to learn more about the company and how the products can help them.

Use content that will visually engage your audience when introducing your company. This content can be in the form of videos, short blog posts, or social media posts. Make sure to emphasize your brand story.


You have reached the potential customer, so it is time to gain their confidence and demonstrate why they need your product.

A prospective customer might stay in this stage for an extended period, so businesses should focus on creating content that is valuable, informative, and dependable, like case studies, video tutorials, and downloads.


The last step should be to show potential customers why they should buy your product, use your service, or take any other desired action. Marketing strategies at this stage might include free trials, emails with a call to action, or a call to action.

Implement Strategies and Create Content to Generate Awareness

Why should a customer care about your company? You need to answer this to help build a content strategy for this stage in the funnel. At this stage, you’re trying to build hype around your brand and product. How do your products solve the problems they have?

Also consider what you can learn from your competitor’s landing pages, social media channels, and blogs. How are they attracting potential customers?

When thinking about ways to generate awareness and create content for the first stage of a conversion funnel, consider the following examples.

Some other ways to make your brand more interesting to people are to use influencer marketing, host interviews, create guides with information, and design printable checklists.

Generate Interest and Desire

While “interest” and “desire” are two seperate outcomes according to the AIDA model, they actually mean the same thing.

You can generate interest or build desire by creating compelling content. This will show people why they need what you’re selling and they’ll decide they want your product.

How can you create content that will persuade people to continue through your process? Here are some possibilities.

Other ways to generate interest in your product or service include starting a podcast, creating product guides, running a free trial program, or offering product samples.

High-Profile SEO Content

This is the article that ranks on Google when someone searches for your business. It’s also the first thing that most of your website traffic will see.

It is better to determine what to write for your high-profile SEO content after you have some experience writing content, and after looking at what the competition is doing.

BuzzSumo is a great tool to see what your competitor are writing about and what opportunities you have to create something even better and share it with the world.

Although Wishpond does not run Facebook Ads, our lead generation software is the natural next step for anyone doing so. I put together a Complete Guide to Facebook Ads as a result.

After optimizing the website, building links, reaching out to influencers, and receiving a strong initial page rank, the guide appears near the top of the second page on Google for the search term “Facebook Ads.” The website received 7,000 visits in the past month.

The first thing our site visitor does will help us figure out what content to show them throughout the sales process, until they upgrade. We know this is something they’re interested in, so it’s the best way to group them together at the beginning of the sales funnel.

Content Upgrade or Ebook Worth Email Gating

You need to create a second piece of content that can only be accessed by email. This will turn the reader into a lead.

If you want to read a complete guide to email-gating, it is linked just above. Essentially, we are looking to incentivize our readers with a valuable resource – earning their information, rather than buying it.

If you have a reasonably successful blog, my recommendation is to invest in content upgrades rather than ebooks. A content upgrade is a bonus add-on (such as a PDF version of the article) which readers would only access after providing their email address.

Each of your high-profile SEO pieces should be focused on a different aspect of your product or service. Each aspect of your product or service should also have its own comprehensive, downloadable guide.

For example, Wishpond has a guide for landing pages, popups, online promotions, and lead nurturing and marketing automation. These guides are promoted on the “resources” page of the site and are optimized for search engines. Even without related blog articles, they are still valuable resources that incentivize visitors to become leads.

The Introduction

You want to create value even in your “hello” email to potential customers.

Even if your lead already knows the information in your ebook or content upgrade, or if it seems too simple compared to what they already know, it’s still important for them to see you as an expert and someone who is willing to help.

The primary objective of this initial content is to greet leads in a courteous manner and provide them with something beneficial related to their area of interest.

Tools We Love

An article discussing the tools your company loves not only helps to solidify your company in the mind of the reader, but is also an incredibly helpful piece of content.

Feel free to list your own company as one of the tools you use and love. There’s no need to be subtle about it.

Real-World Examples

Examples are consistently our most well-received articles for Wishpond, by leads and customers. The value of seeing something you want to try in the real world is tremendous. It can be difficult for prospective customers or leads, however, to visualize what a strategy might look like.

Real-world example articles do this fantastically.

For example, one of Wishpond’s most successful articles in terms of conversions (related to our online promotions tool) is “10 Amazing Examples of Branded Facebook Contests Done Right.” Although it was written almost three years ago (it has been updated many times since then), this article still converts 2.65% of readers into signups.

Lessons We’ve Learned

As your fourth piece of content in a six-email drip campaign, you want to deliver something which showcases your brand as a brand a little more strongly. A “lessons we’ve learned” article does this excellently:

Taking It to the Next Level

This content is designed to be delivered before you send a sales-focused email. It covers advanced strategies related to your topic while also highlighting the capabilities of your service or platform.

The next step for readers is to learn how to take a strategy from basic to powerful, and the next step for prospective customers is to learn how you can help them do that.

Use-Cases Directly Related to Your Product

After you’ve encouraged your lead to sign up or watch a free preview, you’ll need a few more steps to convert them into a paying customer.

The first one is use-cases.

I view these as less intense versions of case studies. They don’t make as much of an impact, but they still effectively get across the value of what you’re offering.

My article, “5 Ways Our Clients Use Marketing Automation to Simplify Success,” gives an example of how marketing automation can help simplify success.

I never give an example of any of our customers in the article, but the message is still clear: “If you use Wishpond, you can do these cool things, and they will help your business.”

Use-cases provide clear, step-by-step instructions on how to utilize a platform or strategy effectively. This makes them very valuable from an educational standpoint. In contrast, case studies simply describe how a platform or strategy was used in the past, without necessarily providing guidance on how to replicate that success.

Use-cases should be delivered to your not-quite-customers a couple of days before your case studies. This will encourage those leads to think more concretely about how they could use your company. The act of signing up is usually more a matter of “I think I can probably get some benefit from this company.”


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