If you’ve ever looked for information about affiliate marketing, there’s a good probability that you’ve heard about sales funnels. But what are they and do you need to create one for your online business?

To be honest, I didn’t know anything about them when I started and thought they had to be pretty complicated.  But what I found was that all I needed was to be aware of the different stages and use them to when writing content on my site!

Understanding online sales funnels for affiliate marketing can help you focus your content and help draw your readers through the process of converting from visitors to customers. Let’s check out this process!

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel, also called a revenue funnel, is basically a marketing strategy of building a relationship with your website visitors that leads them through steps to becoming paying customers. At each step of the funnel, a percentage of the visitors will move down to the next step until some will become referrals and then customers through your affiliate programs.

The 6 steps of an affiliate marketing sales funnel are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Intent
  5. Evaluation
  6. Purchase

Affiliate Marketing Sales Funnel

We’ll go through each of these steps and see what it takes to get your visitors through the sales funnel.

Awareness

Search Engine OptimizationThe first step and top of the funnel is Awareness. This is the process of bringing your site and your content to the attention of people who are looking for the information you provide.

The most popular way people look for information on the internet is through search engines, with Google, Bing, and Yahoo being the most popular. In order to focus your content on the topics people are looking for, you need to know the words and phrases in your niche that are being searched for–these are called keywords.

Using a keyword tool is the most efficient way to find the keywords that will bring traffic to your site. There are several available, but my favorite is Jaaxy, which has many useful features in addition to being an excellent keyword tool. Jaaxy can help you find low competition, high traffic keywords that will bring quality traffic that converts well.

Also, don’t forget about YouTube as a search engine! People are visual by nature and respond very well to articles that show them something instead of just telling them about it. Content that includes relevant images and videos have been shown to convert by as much as 30% higher than those without.Social Media

There are projections out there that say by 2020 nearly 80% of all searches online will be on YouTube and other video sites!

Social media is increasingly becoming a powerful way to engage with those who are interested in what your site has to offer. By following groups in the same niche and posting regularly to sites such as Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and many others, you can literally reach out to millions of people worldwide!

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Interest

Once you’ve made people aware of your website, many of them will go on to the next step in the sales funnel which is Interest. These people will visit your website and be interested in reading your content.

To keep these visitors moving through the funnel, you’ll need to be sure that your site is easy to navigate and the articles are informative and interesting. Your goal in this step is to create content that engagesCreate Content That Engages your visitors by answering a question, helping them solve a problem, showing them how to do something, or providing information about something they may never have heard of before. You need to grab their attention!

Within this content you will also be promoting products or services. You might show them how a product will make a task easier or a service will help them solve a problem, whatever is relevant to your topic. Reviewing the pros and cons of a product or comparing the features of several products are a couple of terrific ways to get people interested in learning more about the ones you recommend.

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The Interest stage is also where you can introduce a subscription form, such as a popup form, so that your visitors can opt in to receiving emails from you. Any visitor who doesn’t move onto the next step of the funnel could be brought back to your site from a newsletter or email about a new post that interests them.

Consideration

Once you’ve got their interest, many of these visitors to your site will move to the Consideration step. In this step, your visitors have now turned into prospective customers. They’ve read your content and are considering taking a closer look at the recommendations you’ve made.Taking a closer look

The people who have made it to this stage of your sales funnel are reading a few more articles on your site and looking to see if you are an authority in your niche. This stage is where they are looking closer at the quality of your content and how thorough you have been with your details.

This is the point where prospective customers are deciding whether they can trust your opinions about the products they are interested in.  Building that trust with your visitors is one of the most important steps in this process.  Without it, no one will have any reason to take your recommendations!

Intent

Once the determination of trust has been established, many of these people will move to the Intent stage. This is the step where prospective customers show their intention to possibly purchase a product by clicking on a link that will take them to a retailer that sells the product.Ensure no broken links

This is an important step, and you’ll need to be sure that your links are all working properly and that they are directing your customers to the correct page. If you have a broken link or it redirects to the wrong page, you will likely lose the customer for good at that point. So be sure that you are staying on top of your website maintenance for a seamless customer experience!

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Evaluation

The prospective customers who reach the Evaluation step of your sales funnel are serious buyers who are just one step away from becoming paying customers.

Product EvaluationIn this stage they are on the retailer’s website evaluating the product or service to determine if it is worthwhile to purchase. They are looking at all of its features, price, and all the ways it could be useful to them.

If your promotion of the product was thorough, most of this evaluation process is a verification of what they’ve already learned from your site. So at this point, many of those who have evaluated the product and determined that it is right for them will move onto the final step of your funnel!



Purchase

PurchasePurchase is the ultimate goal for any sales funnel, and you will earn your commission for any customers who reach this stage! Once a customer has purchased a product from one of your affiliate links, they will very likely recommend your site to others and visit again.

If you’ve been building an email list with an opt in form, you can start your sales funnel by sending newsletters and updates on new posts.  This is a great way to build a relationship with your subscribers and to let them know about new products and promotions!

Create Your Online Sales Funnel!

Understanding online sales funnels for your affiliate marketing business can be a huge benefit to creating content and marketing your website. You can tailor your landing pages and posts to reach an audience in whatever stage of the funnel you’re targeting.

The more targeted your content can be, the more conversions you will make.  The more conversions you have, the more money you will earn!

Do you use sales funnels as a marketing strategy for your business? We’d love to hear how you use them to drive traffic and increase conversions, so let us know in the comments below!

I'm Janelle, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother of 5 angels (most of the time)! I started BuildYourEarlyRetirement.com as a way to show how anyone can become financially independent and retire early. As I build out this site, I hope you'll comment and share your experiences as well. Good luck in all your endeavors, and may your success start now!