Internet Marketing, Monetize, Sales Funnel Creation, Thrive Themes Tutorial

What Is A Sales Funnel And How Does It Work

 July 15, 2020

By  Peter Nyiri

If you really want to sell your product and make maximum profit, you need a high converting sales funnel.

What Is A Sales Funnel And How Does It Work?

A marketing funnel could be explained as a series of stages created from articles, webinars, emails, video content that the visitors of your website need to go through in order to become your customers. At each step they are less in number, therefore when you make a graphical representation, it will look like a funnel.

As new visitors move through your funnel,

  • they get introduced to you and your product,
  • get educated,
  • are given tons of value
  • trust is built
  • and pitched with strategic marketing messages throughout the process.

The landing page is dead. Long live the sales funnel.

The Traditional Affiliate Site Model

A funnel is nothing more than a flow plan for your traffic. The traditional flow plan that affiliate sites use looks like this:

  1. Visitor comes to website from search engine after searching for a keyword
  2. they read your pre-sell content
  3. and click on on your related affiliate link.

Certainly, there is a “plan” how the visitors are supposed to go… And people make a living with this type of site. They just target tons of long-tail keywords.

In fact I use this model to make this kind of money (see my income report for more details):

Aff payout Nov 1

Why Do You Need A Sales Funnel?

The problem with the above affiliate site structure is that it requires a lot of “fuel” (energy to drive visitors). You don’t own the customers that purchased and the (lifetime) conversion rate is around 1.5 percent.

Conversion rate

Having a properly built marketing funnel on your website is synonymous with the following ideas:

  • How do you grow your customer base?
  • How do you get a new customer to buy your product?
  • How to increase sales by getting someone to buy more
  • How can I get customers to to come back and spend more money?
  • How to retain and get more business from existing clients

If any of the above appeals to you, this post is a must-read and you need to sign up for my free course.

Did you know that

  • it costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one and
  • 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%?

Solution: Build & Engage Your Audience

Building an audience (or selling to someone else’s audience) will all by itself increase your sales.

Theresa Nguyen, when she was 13-14 years old, was using the following Instagram funnel:

  1. She shared videos of her homemade slime on her Instagram account that got hundreds of thousands of views.
  2. People followed her on Instagram. With just 400 such live posts, she gathered 1 million followers.
  3. Her Instagram account was linked to her Shopify store.
  4. Her follow-up? She posted videos and announced the restock on her Instagram account.

This used to be her Shopify store:

rad slime shop funnel

Since then she quit because she has other purposes in life. But this is what a Time article wrote about her:

[pullquote align=”normal”]By Veronica Quezada March 22, 2017

While most kids her age are making a few extra bucks selling Girl Scout cookies or babysitting, Theresa Nguyen is raking in $3,000 a month.

How is she doing it? By selling homemade slime on Instagram.

Theresa, a Texas native who runs the account @Rad.Slime, is one of many teenagers cashing in on the rising trend. Her homemade slime is very different from from the Play-Doh or putty you grew up playing with. It’s much more colorful and glittery, and it comes in all sorts of textures.

After seeing other people post their homemade slime on Instagram last summer, Theresa was inspired to create her own. On a trip to Walmart with her parents, she picked up a few bottles of glue to experiment with. She eventually wanted to sell her creations, so she asked her parents for permission.

“They laughed because it is silly to be honest,” she said. But soon they changed their tune.

“When I did start getting a larger following and more sales, they immediately wanted to help,” Theresa said. [/pullquote]

At 13 years old, Theresa already had 1 million followers, more than some major brands such as AT&T, Yahoo, and CVS.

And maybe you think she is a special case? Look at the “Suggested” button on her account:

Slime Instagram account

Purple slimes, Stellar slime, Slimey fantasy… Some of these kids are 12-year-olds. They only have 41k or 234k followers…

They use Etsy as their platform.

So, if a 14-year-old can make $3,000 per month from her store, don’t tell me you can’t… (just kidding).

Do You Have Sales Funnel Awareness?

A lot of people don’t see the forest because of the trees. They see the opt-in forms, the emails in their in-box, the thank you page, but they fail to connect the dots. Such funnel blindness in a website owner will decrease conversions.

Don’t be upset, scared or confused about sales funnels… They don’t need to be confusing.

When you have a correct set-up, you’re going to be

  • getting new email subscribers every single day
  • selling more products
  • making money while you do something else.

Now, the point where other guides go wrong is the following:

They show you the parts of a sales funnel.

But they don’t explain how to breathe life into it once it is set up. And this is where my guide is different.

Let’s Increase Conversion Rates

bloggers make money
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There’s a huge difference between a regular affiliate site and a sales funnel website. On a regular affiliate when site visitors come,

  • some of them click your affiliate links,
  • some of them buy,
  • but the majority (70 percent) will leave and never return. All those visitors are now lost for your business.

A sales funnel expert is able to take your site and get it to a point where it will be making more sales with the same number of visitors (improve conversions).

Unless you are happy to make some random sales here and there and only during big promos, you need a funnel, a SYSTEM for bringing in cash every single day.

You can’t just put up a product, a service or a course, and hope that sales will flood in. You need to communicate with your new subscribers, EDUCATE them, and pitch them strategically throughout the funnel.

Sales Funnel Stages

There are several different models for the stages of a sales funnel.


This is the most basic model and it stands for

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Another extended model is this:marketing funnel diagram

  • Awareness: This is the first phase where visitors find out about your brand/website, what you offer. This is the prospecting and lead generation stage.
  • Interest/Discovery: In this phase you are sharing valuable content related to your prospect’s need. Qualifying your prospect, personal meetings, email marketing fits into this stage.
  • Consideration: A prospect already in your lead-tracking system, who has expressed interest in buying your product. We can send prospects more information about products and offers through automated email campaigns, while continuing to nurture them with targeted content, case studies, free trials, and more.
  • Intent: In the Intent stage, your prospect has made a decision to buy, but the deal hasn’t fully closed yet. This can happen after a product demo, or when a product is placed in the shopping cart.
  • Evaluation: During the evaluation stage, buyers are making a final decision about whether or not to buy your brand’s product or services. They are also looking at other options.
  • Purchase: The deal is closed and your prospect is turned into your new customer.
  • Loyalty: This is post-purchase, where you have an opportunity to follow-up to see how the product is working and ask for referrals. This is a great time to look for additional sales opportunities.

We can also classify these as TOFU-MOFU-BOFU

  • Top of the funnel – Awareness and discovery
  • Middle of the funnel – Researching solutions
  • Bottom of the funnel – Making a purchase decision

There are several other versions too.

How I Built The Sales Funnel For My Blog

1. I wrote all my site content in one blitz.

I didn’t do bits and piece writing. I simply took 20 blog posts from my old blog (didn’t worry about duplicate content at all).

Then I updated these posts with my new knowledge and I left the ones on the old site unchanged. Now the content was unique.

Note: Copying content didn’t mean that it was unoriginal and low quality. On the opposite – very high quality unique content, just like this post. In fact I had someone telling me about the “crazy deep posts” that I have on my blog.

I also wrote several new blog posts, and all this content was strategically incorporated into my free email course.

I used all my SEO knowledge, I tried to use long tail keywords with low search that no one was targeting.

The purpose of some of these posts wasn’t search engine traffic, but having material that my email subscribers find useful and end up with long time-on-page to generate trust with Google. Look at this screenshot:

Time on Page 19.1.2018

4:05 average time on page, but some has over 11 minutes.

These posts also had the function to provide materials that can be promoted in Facebook groups.

Almost forgot, I created my Facebook page, my Pinterest and Twitter accounts, added my new interests to Quora.

2. I figured out my niche

First of all, I gradually worked out what my blog FunnelXpert stands for, and this is what I communicate on all channels.This may not be a one-time thing… And just because you have a subject for your blog, it doesn’t mean you found your niche. I always knew that FunnelXpert was about sales funnels, but unfortunately that’s not well defined.

This is what I mean:

  • FunnelXpert originally was for bloggers that had trouble getting traffic to their blog and making it profitable. NOT for the ones that were trying to figure out how to set up their domain and hosting, etc.
  • FunnelXpert teaches value, trust, engagement. These are the factors that I thought would set me apart from the rest of the blogs on the internet.
  • Then I figured out that “make money” niche aspect is not the best, simply because trust level is very low and I didn’t have any results (proof) to show.
  • I started to also address the technical aspects of setting up a sales funnel. Setting up email, plugins, lead magnets, hosting, creating videos, etc.

This was where I eventually started making money – affiliate commissions from software tool tutorials.

It started to function as an affiliate site and this is how I found my niche.

3. I ensured my site looked great and was opt-in friendly

I use Thrive Themes and Thrive Leads and I would never switch. I wrote an entire post about Thrive, but it doesn’t communicate everything – it only shows the “shell” of the funnel.

I am using the Pressive Theme, but Thrive Themes has a total of 10 themes you can pick from. (They are also putting together their theme builder.)

There are pre-made templates that you can use for home page, landing pages, opt-in forms, you name it:

Thrive Templates

I have no problem creating landing pages, opt-in pages, I just pick the one I like and replace the text, which is a great function of the Thrive Architect plugin.

In terms of opt-in forms, my Thrive Leads plugin automatically places my opt-in boxes to the bottom of each post, I set my opt-in pop-up to go off 30 seconds after the visitor arrives, and this converts the best.

Using this plugin does result in more opt-ins, I never in my life received opt-ins on autopilot like this.

I didn’t spend time on creating a lead magnet, I just used my sales funnel course (autoresponder series) as my lead magnet.

I did make mistake of naming it incorrectly – what you call your lead magnet can mean the difference between 1 percent and 20 percent conversions. I know a blogger who is getting a 40 percent sign-up rate for an email course to increase blog traffic.

4. I wrote my autoresponder series

In fact I had to rewrite it 3 times so far…

The emails need to have catchy subject lines that people open. I am averaging 20-40 percent open rate, depending on the email.

The next email1problem I ran into was the click-through rate from my emails… Around 10 percent.

I had to realize that writing an email needs to be treated the same way you would treat writing a blog post…

It needs to be engaging, stuffed with value… Not just a “click here to read my post”.

One thing I need to use is story telling.

If you think back to the story of the teenagers selling their slime, you will have an idea what I am talking about.

Stories create engagement through an emotional effect.

People make a lot of decisions (also buying decisions) because of their emotions and not because of rational reasons.

You need to utilize this in your content.

5. I added my affiliate offers

This was very tricky…

I don’t have affiliate offers in my emails at all. Many email providers have strict rules on affiliate marketing and you can have all your work shut down like it happened with my MailChimp account.

On the affiliate offers it is very important to pick the right product that matches your subscribers AND converts – I spoke about this above.

If you see you are getting sales from a specific product, start pushing it more.

I used to always have the in-text links, which are not bad, but don’t give you maximum conversion. It is a good practice to use offer boxes.

You have to break up your text anyways with images, so why not use the opportunity to insert some pictures and link to an affiliate offer that matches the text? I am about to do a whole number to implement this.

6. I drove traffic and wrote more blog posts

My traffic strategy was very simple.

I am a member of a Facebook group that has Comment-for-comment, Share-for-share. But not just the kind where you have to share 5 posts. If 50 people are on the thread, you need to comment all 50. It’s a lot of work, but you get 50 comments in exchange.

The key is that my posts are engaging for anyone who is in these groups. To do otherwise can destroy your Analytics metrics.

I kept pumping traffic. I watched the email open and click-through statistics and I tweaked the subject lines and the email content.

I wrote more posts, but now only with long-tail keywords to build more organic traffic. With my low authority blog, I only used keywords that have less than 100 monthly searches, but I packed as many as possible into my posts without destroying user experience or stuffing keywords.

I tweet regularly, not just my own stuff, but other people’s, this give value and authority to my profile, as people like and retweet the stuff that I tweet out.

I regularly answer questions on Quora, but I take it to a new level compared to what other people do. Here is an example:

Q: Which domain registrar is better: Namecheap or name.com?

And this is my answer:

[pullquote align=”normal”]Peter Nyiri, FunnelXpert.com Owner (2017-present)

You need to know that pretty much all domain registrars provide very similar service in terms of regular domains. The main difference is prices and customer service. Let’s do a very simple comparison.


As you can see, I am very thorough, just like in my blog posts and I link back to my relevant articles. (Affiliate links are not allowed on Quora.)

Peter Nyiri

Peter Nyiri

  • This is quite the interesting read Peter! Although I implement keywords and utilize affiliate links in many of blog posts, I never thought of it as a sales funnel. It looks like I have a lot to learn! Bookmarking this post so I can come back to it again later. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  • Very interesting and informative post. A lot to take in and digest. I will be returning to this post to read indepth. Thank you.

  • I really have to start working on this. I still have no sales funnel on my site. But for now, I don’t really know what I want to sell. Maybe I will try affiliate marketing next year.

    I want to thank you for taking your time and write such a complex article. You really made me think.

  • Wow, this post was chock-full of helpful information. I’ve been out of the blogging game for a while and it’s crazy how fast things change. I need to be as adaptable and creative as these teenagers selling their slime. So cool! Love the visuals you used for this funnel too.

  • Sales funnel is an important part of the business. To run our business nowadays online, sales funnel is best to work on. Cause, sales depend on its sales strategy or on the sales funnel. Well, I must say that It was really a good read on this topic! It’s good to see someone put forth recommendations on sales funnel tips & tricks. As you point out, there are plenty of tricks & strategies. Great selection! it was very useful. Thanks for putting top-notch content in the article. It will encourage entrepreneurs to work more effectively and gain potential results from it. I would like to be here again to find another masterpiece article.

  • Hey Peter, Let me make my startup with a huge warm thanks to you for your outstanding and highly precious article. I do believe every guy here will admire this amazing stuff without taking a moment. Sales funnel is pretty much buzzword to the online business era and you explained this very clean and decent way. Yeah, you are quite right, it’s a proven way of diverting and attracting customers to your desired sales platform. Seriously, you made the content very resourceful and age-worth. Surely to reach any business to its highest goal, then you have to think about creating a sales funnel. BTW I enjoyed your long detailed contribution. Please carry on with it.

  • Hey Peter, what an amazing piece of content! Really in-depth and well-writen article! A big warm thanks to you for your incredible article. I do believe every online marketer here will admire this amazing stuff.
    Sales funnels are being used more and more, nowadays and people should be aware of what exactly a marketing funnel is.
    Yeah, you are quite right, sales funnels are a proven way of nurturing people and drive them to your desired sales platform.
    You have a lot of information about creating funnels that can be useful. Building profitable sales funnels is vital to generating an income from blogging and for small business.
    All in all, what an amazing article!
    Keep it up!
    Stay safe!

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