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Everything You Need to Know About Sales Funnels

A Step-by-Step Guide

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by Tracie in General
Launch Steps

I remember like it was yesterday… the first time I tried to set up a sales funnel.

It was late on a Saturday, my husband had corralled kids all day so I could work on my business. I spent the entire day designing my landing page so I could send it out to my list.

For 8 hours I worked on learning Leadpages, figuring out how to change fonts, play with images and get the perfect wording and layout.

Finally, I was done.  All I needed to do was test it out.

Nervously, I clicked my brand new “download now” button, excited to see what would happen after my day’s work. 


I waited.

I waited. Checked my email.

Waited some more.

“What the heck?” I thought, “Where’s my freebie?”

Five years later, I can look back on that day and laugh because, of course, nothing happened.

I hadn’t set up any of the integrations necessary to get the systems to talk to each other.

There was no confirmation page.

No thank you page.

No email list.

No way for the freebie to be delivered.

Heck, I didn’t even know what integration meant!

Today I can see all of the mistakes I made but back then those steps were as foreign to me as programming a mission to Mars would be to me today.

I didn’t understand the specific steps required to ensure the opt-in offer got delivered and did everything it was supposed to do. 

But let me back up and explain a few things. The first is the idea behind an opt-in.

If you are starting a business online, you need customers. Well, pretty much any business needs customers, but to communicate with your customers online what you actually need is your customers’ email addresses. And email addresses are not easy to get.

Long gone are the days when you could put a “Sign up for my Newsletter!” box on the home page of your website and get all kinds of people dying to hear what you have to say.

People are busy. Email inboxes are bursting with things they don’t have time to read and they are not about to add their names to one more list. 

Unless you offer something really cool in return.

Sales Funnel Step #1: Create a Freebie

That’s where your freebie comes in. A freebie is the really cool thing you offer to someone in exchange for getting their email address. Note I said really cool in bold. That’s because it’s very important that the thing you’re offering is something your potential new customer really wants. A short video, a checklist of some type, a blueprint for a process, a template they really need or any other item that offers them a quick win and is something they really want is a great freebie. 

Your freebie will create a first impression of you and your brand. It must be well done, and free of typos or other errors. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two to put together the copy and another day or two to get it designed nicely.

Today we’re going to call our freebie 10 Ways to Get Your Teen to Think You’re Cool. (Don’t get too excited, it’s just pretend. Nothing that that exists in real life!)

While you wait for your freebie to be designed, move on to step two.

Sales Funnel Step #2: Set Up Your Email Service Provider

If you’ve been in business of any length of time, you may already have your email service provider (ESP). It may be MailChimp, Aweber, GetResponse or any number of other providers. If you don’t already have an ESP, you have to get one. I have a handy insider’s view of the top four email services here that will help you choose the best one for your needs.

Once you’ve got your ESP, you need to create a list in that ESP that all of your new email subscribers to be added to. We’ll call ours Freebie Subscribers for now. Later, your ESP will be where you send out your weekly newsletters to your subscribers and communicate with them via email, but for now you’re all set. One of the things you’ll have to do when setting up your ESP is to decide if you want single or double opt-in. You can find out more about double opt-in here.

Sales Funnel Step #3: Create a Landing Page & Opt-in Form

Landing Pages and Opt-in Forms go hand in hand. A landing page is where your clients LAND when following a link. An opt-in form is the place they actually enter their email address. 

Tech Steps to Launching Landing Page Example

A Landing Page


Tech Steps to Launching Opt in Form Example

An Opt-in Form

I use Leadpages to create my landing pages and opt-in forms, but there are many other providers out there as well. When you create your landing page and opt-in form, you want to customize them to make them your own. Change the colors, add your logo or branding, definitely use wording that reflects who you are and what you’re offering (that cool freebie you designed).

When setting up your opt-in form, you must be sure to integrate it with your ESP.  In fact, this step is so important, LeadPages won’t even let you save the opt-in form without setting up the integration first. The integration step is how the person’s email address actually gets added to your email list. Find the spot labeled integrations. You will have to choose the email provider you are using and follow the tests to integrate to your Freebie Subscriber list. 

Sales Funnel Step #4: Decide Where Your Freebie Will be Hosted

In order for your freebie to be delivered, it needs to be stored somewhere. Two of the simplest solutions are to upload it to your website as a media file if it’s a PDF, or to YouTube if it’s a video. In either case, you’ll need the url (web address) where it is hosted to add to your ESP.

Sales Funnel Step #5: Deliver Your Freebie to Your New Subscriber

Here’s where it gets tricky. You now have a brand new subscriber on your Freebie Subscriber list. His name is Dave. Dave’s expecting to receive 10 Ways to Get Your Teen to Think You’re Cool because he went to your landing page and put his name and email address on your opt-in form. 

Now, you need to set up the last step so he can get his freebie. Go back to your ESP and find the setting that determines what happens when someone new is added to your list. In that area, you want to put the link to where your freebie lives, the url. In some ESPs you can upload the freebie directly. On other ESPs you have to put a link to a freebie that is hosted elsewhere. That is why you’re hosting it on your website or YouTube. 

Sales Funnel Step #6: Test

Your final step is to test everything out to make sure it works. Go to your landing page and get the published url. Cut and paste it into  your browser and you should see your landing page. Click on the button, enter your email address and see what happens. If your version of 10 Ways to Get Your Teen to Think You’re Cool shows up, you’re golden. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to back track through your process to see where you went wrong.

Congratulations! You’ve just set up your first lead funnel! You are well on your way to becoming a Launch techie! Welcome to the Club!

Are you stuck setting up your funnel? Comment below and I’ll be in touch!

  1. Amy Buttiglieri says:

    Loved the analogy to being “out of stroke”, Tracie – I learned something about RVing as well as my launch tech!
    Question about Step 4 (Where to Host Your Freebie): can you please explain a little more about the differences between where to host it? Example: I have a PDF. How do I host it on my website? Right now I have it on Dropbox, but when someone clicks on the link to it, Dropbox doesn’t simply download – it makes them choose whether to sign up or download first. I’d like to avoid that!

    1. Tracie says:

      Hi Amy!

      I not only can explain how to host the PDF on your site, it was a topic of one of my past Tech Tips! Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zlffgn19GE&t=17s

      Let me know if you have questions or don’t understand something!

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