5 Stages of a Sales Funnel – The Ultimate Guide

5 Stages of a Sales Funnel – The Ultimate Guide

Sales Funnel is the process of reaching your target audience through advertising, social media, and digital marketing campaigns like email marketing and search engine optimization, making them take the intended actions and be your loyal customer.

Utilizing sales funnel in internet marketing is a hot topic these days. People want to know how they can make use of this effective marketing tool to grow their online business. The funnel analogy beautifully explains the overall sales process from beginning to the end. The top of the funnel suggests targeting potential customers and the end of the funnel focuses on making them repeat customers.

Having a strong customer base is significant for any business. As such, a Sales funnel provides insights and approaches to market brands and attract new customers, while guiding customers to make conversions and then converting them into loyal customers.

A sales funnel is effectively divided into five stages. Thus, if you want to know how to build a killer sales funnel that drives leads & conversion and helps with customer retention, there is a step-by-step guide you can follow.

Sales Funnel Stages

Stage 1. Brand Awareness

The first stage is to make people aware of your brand and products. Whether you are a design agency or running an eCommerce website, then you must use WordPress plugins. If a person doesn’t know about the existence of your brand, how will he become your client or make a purchase? In the initial phase, products or services don’t get much exposure. However, through efficient marketing tactics, your brand can trigger curiosity leading to sales.

Brand Awareness

When people buy a product they are showing their trust in it. In return, your product needs to be worthy of the money they spent. Consider how your brand can stand out among others and what you can offer to leverage against competitors. Once a buyer makes an emotional-connect with the brand, he is more inclined towards making a purchase with confidence.

Stage 2. Content

A strong and positive message can influence the customer to make an instant purchase. As such, for marketing campaigns, it is important to personalize the content according to the needs of your potential customers.


Your content should be able to effectively communicate to your audience the benefits of a product and service. Sharing success stories, through case studies and testimonials, to show how your brand fulfils the needs and preferences of the customers, has also proven to be a productive approach for marketing. With so many emerging startups, it’s the intriguing stories that can help you stand out.

The content strategy for sales funnel would vary at each stage. This is because potential buyers all go through different sales journey and as such, you can’t fit them all in one frame. With major competition in the eCommerce business, you can‘t expect your customers to have the same starting points. Thus, the content should be aligned according to the modern customer behaviours.

Also, engaging content should not be restricted to only blog posts. Though blog posts count for significant brand exposure, you can’t ignore the importance of content associated with social media posts, surveys, eBooks, FAQs, Podcasts etc.

Stage 3. Purchase Decision

Purchase Decision

According to this research by McKinsey, a customer narrows down their options based on the initial consideration (brand awareness) and active evaluation (seek information about the products/services). When both of the former factors are in place, it leads to a purchase decision a.k.a sales, albeit just for that moment. This then needs to continue towards the next stages in the sales funnel, .i.e. customer engagement and customer loyalty.

Stage 4. Customer Engagement

Once the customer gets converted, he moves on to explore more about the brand and its products. So, ensure to lead him through different areas of your business domain by providing helpful information.

Create content and use tactics that help to keep them connected with your brand, even when they are not actively engaging with it. One of the most effective ways to boosts engagement is through Newsletters. This will keep them up-to-date about your latest products and discounts, major sales that they shouldn’t miss or any changes you make with regards to the terms & conditions of your service.

Customer Engagement

When a customer is well-informed, he is likely to visit again. Also, provide answers to the basic questions in your content like why should you buy the product or how it can solve your problems etc. As, when you send an informative or useful message, free of any kind of marketing or promotion, it is more likely to attract customers to your brand.

You can also create a landing page to provide information about a newly launched product. Or use strong call-to-actions strategically throughout each funnel stage to increase conversions. Once you have developed the interest in your customers, it’s time to sustain that interest with exceptional products/services and great content.

Stage 5. Brand Loyalty

The fifth and the final stage of the Sales funnel is Brand Loyalty a.k.a customer retention.

Instead of getting the customers to the brand loyalty stage, most marketers end their marketing goal at the purchase stage. However, the ideal customer’s journey leads him to visit your brand again and again.

Customer retention is defined as the loyalty of a customer towards a brand, wherein, he/she keeps returning back to the brand and make more purchases. Customer loyalty starts after the purchase of a product/service is made. Thus, marketers need to focus on designing an award system to retain them.

The marketing funnel recommends focusing on maximizing the lifespan of customer retention by giving value through better price, better shipping rates and better selection of products among others.

Final Words

The execution of sales funnel stages depend on your efforts and resources. By improving brand visibility and making information related to your product/service readily available, you can build a strong database of customers and prospects. This can help you set and achieve future goals. More importantly, it is also essential to focus beyond the purchase stage, as it is relatively cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.

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