Your sales funnel exists whether you know it or not. If you’re aware of the funnel, however, you have much more influence over it. What matters most when it comes to your sales funnel? Website optimization. Each of the sales funnel stages has an impact on consumer behavior, and you need to know them intimately.

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Starting with your website allows you to glean information from data and better understand your audience.The sales funnel concept becomes even easier to understand when you relate it to how people navigate your website and reach buying decisions.What is a marketing sales funnel? And why is a sales funnel important? Let’s dive in.

What is a Sales Funnel?
Here’s the sales funnel explained in the simplest form: The path website visitors take on the way to buying your product or service. Some people never leave the top of the sales funnel, while others reach the very end.
The good news? You have influence over how many people reach the bottom of the sales funnel.
Let’s step away from your website for a moment and look at a brick-and-mortar sales funnel as it might play out.The people at the top of the sales funnel walk into the store. They’re “just browsing.” A sales associate greets them warmly and offers assistance.
A customer sees a rack of T-shirts on clearance. He or she thumbs through the rack, and a sales associate connects with him. She tells him she can offer a further discount if he buys three or more T-shirts.
The customer’s intrigued by the offer and selects four T-shirts. Then, at the point-of-sale, the sales associate recommends a hat with the same theme as one of the T-shirts. The customer adds the hat to his purchases, pays for the items, and leaves.
That’s not the end, though. The customer is so pleased with the deal he got, he comes back three weeks later to buy more T-shirts.This same process plays out on your website. In place of the sales associate, you have pages to help guide visitors through the sales funnel.
Why is a sales funnel important?
Your sales funnel illustrates the path website visitors take before purchasing items. Understanding your sales funnel can also help you find the holes in the funnel — the places where visitors drop out and never convert.
If you don’t understand your sales funnel, you can’t optimize it. We’ll go into the specifics of how the funnel works below, but for now, understand that you can influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they eventually convert.
That’s called marketing. But it’s specific, targeted, and specially designed for your target customer.
The Sales Funnel Explained: How it Works
While there are lots of words used to describe different sales funnel stages, we’re going to go with the four most common terms to explain how each stage works as a consumer goes from a visitor to a prospect to a lead to a buyer.
A visitor lands on your website through a Google search or social link. He or she is now a prospect. The visitor might check out a few of your blog posts or browse your product listings. At some point, you offer him or her a chance to sign up for your email list.
If the visitor fills out your form, he or she becomes a lead. You can now market to the customer outside of your website, such as via email, phone, or text — or all three.
Leads tend to come back to your website when you contact them with special offers, information about new blog posts, or other intriguing messages. Maybe you offer a coupon code.
The sales funnel narrows as visitors move through it. This is partially because you’ll have more prospects at the top of the funnel than buyers at the bottom, but also because your messaging needs to become increasingly targeted.

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