Here’s how to automate your sales process using funnels


If you’re running an online business or setting up an online course, you would have heard about sales funnels. All the top marketing experts spruik them.

But if you’re not 100% sure how to make it work for your business, you’re not alone – there is a lot of advice out there!
What you’ll find is there are a few different angles you can take when it comes to creating a sales funnel. And with all forms of online marketing, it may take some trial and error to get it right.
In a nutshell, a sales funnel is a well thought out sequence of emails. These emails (usually written by a copywriter or a sales pro) ‘lead’ your prospect along the buying pathway.

Each email gives your audience tips or tricks, subtly upselling your products or services. Ultimately, at the end of the sequence (the bottom of the funnel), you want the reader to purchase what you’re offering.

Let’s have a look at a classic sales funnel

Sales funnels can take on many different directions depending on what you’re using them for. However, as an intro into the world of a sales funnel, here’s what a classic one looks like:

  1. The reader discovers your landing page either via paid or organic traffic.
  2. They like what they see, so they enter their name and email to download your lead magnet (usually a PDF download, a video, a checklist etc.).
  3. In return for their details, a thank you page opens, revealing a limited time upsell that adds on additional learning or benefits to your freebie ($7, $17 product – planner, web class, etc.).
  4. Your prospect will do 1 of 2 things – purchase your upsell (#winning!) or close the page.
  5. Your prospect is now in your sales funnel and will receive a series of follow up emails – first with the lead magnet (& purchase), then a series of tips and tricks and soft upsells for your products/services.

When it comes to sales funnels, persistence is the key. If you find that your sales funnel isn’t converting, make some tweaks and keep trying. It may be that your wording is the wrong tone or language, your upsell may not be enticing, your product may be unsuitable for the audience you’ve attracted and so on.

4 proven types of sales funnels that work for business marketing

There are multiple types of sales funnels depending on what you’re selling. Here are some of the ones we’ve seen used successfully by our clients.

1. Lead generation – the most common type of sales funnel (lead magnet + emails) and works well for products or services valued up to $200. Higher-end products don’t often sell well via email only. Using a lead generation sales funnel, you nurture your audience via an automated email sequence before pitching a low-cost item after a few days.

Lead magnet landing page > Email nurture sequence > Buy your product > Upsell

2. Self Liquidating Offer (SLO) – this funnel is to get leads only, and you don’t usually make an immediate profit from these funnels. Instead, you’re gathering tons of leads, breaking even and hopefully in the future, some of these leads will purchase from you, giving you profit for practically next to no work.

Landing page > Tripwire (really cheap sale) > Upsell #1 > Upsell #2

3. Automated webinars – this funnel is used for higher-priced products, usually from $497 to $2000. Webinars are a great way to spend time with your audience to build trust in you and what you’re offering. By the end of the webinar, you can sell your product, and hopefully, your prospect is ready to jump on it.
Landing page > Webinar > Upsell #1

4. Discovery call – this high-end client sales funnel is used for premium offers such as coaching packages, where you need to make a call to your prospect. This sales funnel helps you qualify your leads, so you know your prospects are serious about signing up for your program.
Services page > Pre-qualifying questionnaire > Discover call (free) > Sign the client


Sales funnels are the best way to automate your marketing

Once you’ve got a sales funnel set up, you can replicate them, using different lead magnets to entice a diverse audience.

Active Campaign (a major CRM perfect for automation funnels) states, ‘An automation is a sequence of events that you create to help execute your business processes’.

Neil Patel (SEO & marketing god) states, ‘Marketing automation is the process of using software and technology to optimise, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks’.

What’s the best tech to create a sales funnel?

There are a few programs online that you can find to help you create sales funnels. Here are the ones we use and recommend:

1. Active Campaign

You’ve probably noticed we’re massive fans of Active Campaign! We love it so much that in our Think Tank Society Course Creator membership, we explain how to use Active Campaign to automate your business. You can check it out here.

AC is brilliant for email automation for your sales funnel marketing. It’s so easy to create automations, and it allows you to segment your audience and tag them into categories.

You will need to have all your emails written for the sequence, but the system will send them as you’ve set it up. It saves manually sending multiple emails and works a treat to nurture leads and convert prospects into buyers.

2. FG Funnels

FG Funnels is a new player in the world of online sales funnels. Some of my favourite marketing peeps, Julie Stoian and Cathy Olson have launched this female-owned funnel platform.

The funnels come with beautiful templates, so it’s perfect for people who aren’t great at design and don’t want to hire a graphic designer to do the work.

FG Funnels are so easy to use, look amazing, and we highly recommend them.

Need a hand to create a sales funnel for your online course or lead magnet?

As website designers and online course creators, we not only help you build the platforms but give you insights into the bigger marketing picture for your business.

We’re more than happy to explain how a sales funnel will work for your type of service or product, and we can even help you set this up if it’s not your thing. Feel free to get in touch for a quote.

Also, if you’re an online course creator, you’re more than welcome to join us in the Think Tank Society Course Creator Membership. Here you’ll find valuable tips and tricks on how to automate your business and how-to videos for Active Campaign.

The feedback from clients is that the courses are brilliant as they can quickly set up automations, love the share codes for sequencing models and find it easy to replicate our process and change to their branding. You can do this too!

Need a hand to slay tech gremlins and automate your business?

Did you know we now offer monthly Support packages to support clients with their Thinkific School/Course or their Divi WordPress website!

For only $880/month you’ll receive up to 10 hours of support – you can use this support across your course or website. Whether that’s adding new content to your course, fixing a tech issue, posting a blog or updating a page on your site or scheduling email campaigns in ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp or Mailerlite we’ve got you covered.

You can breathe a sigh of relief that our experienced team has got your back.

Interested? Click here.

Alethea Tuitahi

Alethea Tuitahi

Online Course Designer & Founder


Alethea specialises in creating beautiful, conversional, student focusd online courses. Allowing course creators to deliver their course or program to the world… sans tech frustrations and problems. Need help building your online course? As a Thinkific specialist, Alethea is here to help! Book in a free call here.

Disclosure: Some of the links provided in this blog are affiliate links. I only promote services that I personally use and love. I will be paid a small commission if you use this link to make a purchase.

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