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The 4 Stages of a High-Converting Sales Funnel

You’ve built your online course, you’ve put in countless hours organizing information, creating the curriculum, and perfecting the content for your future students. Now that the package is ready, it’s time to send it! 

Before you start promoting your online course, there are a few things you need in order to truly prepare for this stage. That is where a sales funnel comes in. You want to set yourself up for success in order to achieve a high volume of good quality leads in order to increase your conversion rates. 

Today we will go over what a sales funnel is, what the components of a sales funnel are, effective strategies to implement, with proven methods to reach your target audience. By the end of this article you will get a better understanding of this marketing strategy that can make or break the success of your online course subscriptions. 

So read on, dear creator, and we will guide you through the marketing basics you need to know to increase your student base.

What is a Sales Funnel?

high converting sales funnel

Simply put, a sales funnel is a visual representation of your customer’s journey, it outlines the sales process from awareness to action. When a potential customer comes across your website, your social media content, or any of your lead magnets – such as an eBook or free webinar – the goal is to eventually guide them to purchasing your online course. There are four stages of a basic sales funnel to consider when marketing to your target audience.

4 Stages of a Sales Funnel:

    1. Awareness and Discovery Stage

This is the initial stage of the sales funnel, when a potential customer comes into contact with your content around your online course. This is where they can see the overall picture of what you are offering, and if that matches their needs, they will continue exploring your content. In order to increase your chances of success, you need to have an established brand and tone that resonates with your target audience. That requires an understanding of who your target audience is, what is their persona? What are their needs, pain points, and problems? How would they discover you and on what platform? And how do you retain their interest? That is where stage 2 comes in.

Objective: Create content that speaks directly to your audience, addressing their needs, and post it where they will discover you – website, blogs, social media, YouTube, infographics, and paid ads to increase your exposure.

    1. Interest and Evaluation Stage

When the message resonates with the potential customer, this peaks their interest. They will continue exploring and evaluating your content, comparing it to similar pages. This is where creating your content and overall branding to be visually and educationally attractive is equally important to establish yourself as a credible leader in your niche. When you understand your audience, you can tailor your content to fit their needs, grow their engagement, and increase your leads. Here you can nurture your relationship with your audience. Once they accept you as a credible source to solve their needs, you can continue engagement with personable emails when they subscribe to your newsletter, follow your Facebook or Instagram account, and obtain their feedback with surveys! These various methods of engagement and contact with your potential customer will increase their desire to pursue your offer.

Objective: Get them to follow your social media accounts, Facebook pages, subscribe to your Youtube channel, subscribe to your newsletter, in order to establish a relationship with them and continue sharing relevant content that continues to address their needs. Create lead magnets that take your prospective customer to your website, landing page with a clear CTA and obtain their email address. Share free PDFs with helpful information to build their trust in your expertise, invite them to join a free webinar where you can actively showcase the value you can bring to their life, and why joining your online course will be the best thing they have done for themselves. This will ensure their interest in your content grows, increasing the likelihood of purchasing your online course.

    1. Decision Stage

Also known as the “desire stage”, this is where the potential customer determines whether purchasing the online course is worth it for them. You should clearly show the value of your online course, with a reasonable price point, and direct call to action (CTA). The overall package should concisely address the awareness of the problems, how you can provide effective solutions, and why they should invest in your online course. In the beginning stages of marketing your course, it is important to get valuable feedback from your audience to gain a better understanding of what they are looking for, and adjust accordingly. This is where you can use surveys to your advantage. A survey can pinpoint your audience’s needs so you can properly categorize them to send targeted emails. You can include a brief quiz to engage your audience, which can be another way to obtain leads and provide value on what they will be learning in your online course. The decision stage is where you need to give them peace of mind, and reassure them that your course is the right one for them. This is also where you need to have a clear CTA for them to take action.

Objective: The offer is an important part of the decision making process. Make it more attractive by promising results, including testimonials, a refund with no questions asked – reduce the possibility of your potential customer to perceive this offer as a scam, they want to be reassured that this will be a valuable investment for them. 

    1. Action Stage

This is the point where you turn your prospects into a paying customer. It is imperative that the course is easy to purchase when they decide to do so on the website. A big deterrent at this point is when the process becomes convoluted – the purchasing process should be short and easy. The more direct, the less your potential customer will feel uneasy about their decision to take action and join your online course. This is another opportunity to remind them that there is no risk to them with a money back guarantee, but also a point to clearly state the benefits that your course can bring to them. 

Objective: Clear CTA to join the course, user-friendly and simple checkout process, reassurance of the no risk and high reward to purchasing your online course.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations, dear creator! You have successfully completed the initial phase: understanding the marketing strategy behind building a sales funnel. We wanted to walk you through the basics first, to establish a foundation for you to build your knowledge on. You’ve learned the four stages of a sales funnel: awareness and discovery, interest, decision, and action, as well as the tips you need to implement in order to increase the likelihood of further engagement and lead conversion.

While this is a great starting point, there are many other elements necessary to build a high-converting sales funnel, such as: understanding your target audience with a customer persona, how to create an effective email strategy, optimizing and scaling your marketing success with data metrics and analyzing what resonates with your audience with A/B testing, establishing your online course branding and look across all platforms, automating your sales funnel, and more. An important thing to keep in mind is that a sales funnel requires consistent attention, adjustments, and changes in order to continually increase engagement and lead-generation, it is not a stagnant process and not a one-time deal. 

You may find this to be an intimidating task, and we’re here to help! If you are serious about your online course and the benefits it can bring to other people, you can schedule a call with us. Our team at CourseCamp will work with you to determine your needs, your audience’s needs, and your marketing needs based on your budget. From sales funnel building, copywriting, ads and website design, to optimizing your marketing strategy, we are dedicated to elevate your online course to help you help others.

Are you ready to market your online course? Let us take care of that for you, your students are waiting!

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