The 5 best sales funnel strategies to use for your eCommerce business

My team and I get asked this a lot… what is the BEST sales funnel strategy for eCommerce business?

ECommerce is a beast on its own. There are so many moving pieces that need to fit neatly into place for any eCommerce business to be a success.

From the right email marketing strategy to organic marketing, branding and P.R., social proof in the form of reviews, SEO and SEM, paid social media traffic strategies, customer service, product delivery, etc.

Yep. It’s a lot.

Now, I like to always focus on the funnel aspect of things.

The main reason for that is is that you have the correct funnel in place with the right messaging, a great hook and you’re showing it to the right audience – boy, that’s one killer combination.

Though, what sales funnel strategy is really the correct one to use for your eCommerce shop?

Well, since there is no one-size-fits-all in my opinion, I wanted to share with you the TOP 5 strategies my team and I have identified after years of research.

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

eCOMMERCE FUNNEL STRATEGY #1: Create brand loyalists.

What would PooPouri, NastyGal and DollarShaveClub be without its raving fans?

Yep, you’ve guessed it. Nothing. Or, not quite what these star eCommerce businesses represent today.

However, there’s a lot more that goes into building your brand and creating brand advocacy among your fans that it might seem.

It can get especially tricky if you’re just starting out building your new eCommerce brand.

Though, these few tips should help.

First of all and as Simon Sinek so famously states, “Start with why!”

Side note: If you haven't read Simon Sinek's book yet with the title, Start With Why, I highly recommend it! You can get it by clicking here ;).

Your shop, your brand, your eCommerce businesses needs to have a point to it. I – as a potential customer – want to know why you’re doing business? What’s your why?

Please keep in mind that the story about your WHY is the ONLY thing that will set your eCommerce business apart from its competition.

If you don’t clearly define and showcase your why on your social media accounts, throughout your email sequences and on your website, you’re just another online retailer (and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?).

Ask yourself, how can I tell my eCommerce business’s ‘why story’ so that customers will get emotionally attached to my brand? You want to ask yourself this because if they’re a part of something greater than themselves, they’re invested in you before your competitor. They will stay with you.

Finally, make sure your story is consistent throughout your marketing. You want to remind people why you’re worth investing in and being a part of.

eCOMMERCE FUNNEL STRATEGY #2: The Pre-Launch Buzz

You can’t launch to crickets. You just can’t.

If you are absolutely NEW to eCommerce and you’re just about to launch your store, you might want to hold off for a bit.

A great strategy to focus on before hurrying and going live with everything, is to build out a pre-launch funnel campaign.

A pre-launch funnel campaign allows you to do two things very well:

[A] Collect email addresses of future customers and fans. 

And remember, I’ve said it on this blog before, I’d say it again – your email list is your currency online.

[B] Build up brand credibility and trust.

Now, I know you’re dying to see an example right now of what such a pre-launch funnel campaign looks like. Well, let’s take Harry’s (*big fan here*), the Saving Company, as an example.

“Our campaigns are built around our belief that the most powerful and effective way to be introduced to our new company was through a credible referral,” writes Co-Founder and CEO Jeff Raider. “Thus, we focused on building a campaign that helped people to spread the word to their friends.”

Such a pre-launch funnel typically only has two steps to it.

STEP 1

STEP 2

In case you might be wondering at this point what to use to create such a funnel and that you are not ready yet to hire a special programmer to code the sites and especially, the referral system for you, then this is what I recommend:

[A] To build a two-step pre-launch campaign funnel in under 30 minutes, use Clickfunnels. You can get a FREE 14-day Trial to the funnel building software here. The software is really easy to use and there is lots of helpful information and templates available that will help you create your funnel in no time.

[B] To create your referral network for your campaign, I recommend using UpViral. It’s also super easy to use and will get you those initial results you’re looking for until you’re ready to hire a custom developer. Try out UpViral now for a special price here.

eCOMMERCE FUNNEL STRATEGY #3: Creative Contests

Let’s say you have already launched your store but you still hear crickets chirping. What do you do?

The quickest way to gain momentum and traction towards your store is to do a contest.

However, word of warning, there is definitely a right and a wrong way to run a contest. You’ve got to really make sure to offer something that is congruent with your brand and that won’t break the bank of your new eCommerce endeavor.

You can use paid social media advertisement, such as paid Facebook or Instagram advertisement, as a traffic source to your contest.

This might look something similar like the contest we ran for a client of ours that just started her eCommerce business:

The great thing and main purpose of such a contest is that you get tons of engagement. You can then, retarget to those people that engaged with your contest ad.

If you are more of a fan of organic social media marketing (or, you are lacking the budget for advertisements at the moment), you can run a contest on i.e. Instagram with a few Instagram influencers.

eCOMMERCE FUNNEL STRATEGY #4: The Free + Shipping Seduction 

Another funnel strategy to get new potential customers into the door is a so-called FREE + shipping funnel. This funnel does not work for every eCommerce business.

For example, if you’re selling $2,000 and up watches on your store, it would not make much sense to get new customers into the door through a FREE + shipping funnel.

If you’re though a store say in the survival niche, than this kind of FREE + shipping offer works really really well and it will build you a big email list of new customers in no time.

You can have some fun with it as well by adding creative bundle up-sells and a down-sell.

By the way, if you’d like a template of our best converting FREE + Shipping funnel, you can get it here.

eCOMMERCE FUNNEL STRATEGY #5: Recurring Revenue

So far, we have mostly been talking about getting people to your eCommerce store.

However, how do you actually get them to buy (and buy on a regular basis)?

You can achieve these in two ways and funnel your new customers further down your eCommerce funnel:

[A] Re-targeting campaigns.

[B] Email marketing.

Let’s look at re-targeting campaigns.

An effective retargeting ad works the best if it includes these three aspects:

  1. The ad is personalized. It addresses the fact that reader is already thinking about buying. The user visited the site before, but something prevented them from moving forward.
  2. The ad focuses on benefits over features. What does the reader stand to gain from taking action, aka buying your product?
  3. It offers an ironclad guarantee. No one wants to commit to something they might not want later. So, be sure to offer a guarantee customers love (and competitors hate).

In regards to email marketing, the most basic thing is to have your abandoned cart emails in place.

For that and to get full copy of our best abandoned cart emails we use, you want to be checking out this related blog article: https://corneliapauline.com/2018/03/06/steal-highest-converting-abandoned-cart-email-sequence/

To find out more about how to improve the conversion rates of your eCommerce newsletter strategies, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to this blog and stay tuned for Part 2 on this topic to be published soon ;).

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Hi! I'm Cornelia Pauline, the author of this pretty badass blog. My team and I have been running a full-time, international digital marketing agency for the past 3 years. We've helped many of our clients scale up to multiple 6-and-7 figures. Throughout this blog, I hope to provide kickass value by sharing my knowledge with you ;).

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