As e-commerce business owners, we always strive to find ways to increase our sales. We spend a lot of time and money trying to bring visitors to the website to buy our products and services, yet 69.8% of visitors abandon shopping carts. That’s two-thirds of your visitors gone, two-thirds of the budget wasted, and two-thirds of the time and effort wasted. Putting a dent in the abandoned shopping carts rate is crucial.
Today, I want to introduce you to sales funnels in WordPress. Sales funnels help increase conversions (decrease abandoned shopping carts) and profits by providing a better, tailored buyer experience controlled by you.
In this post about sales funnels, I’ll cover:
- What a sales funnel is (and why you need one)
- An effective copywriting formula for sales funnels
- How to create and test your sales funnels using my recommended WordPress tools
What Is a Sales Funnel?
Simply put, a sales funnel is the path someone takes towards making a purchase.
An example of a basic sales funnel in e-commerce could look something like this:
Facebook ad › Product page › Cart › Checkout › Purchase
In this example, your prospect would see and click on your ad in their Facebook feed. They would then be taken to a product page to learn more about your product, then a cart page once they’ve added the product to the cart. Finally, they would checkout to complete their purchase.
Of course, sales funnels can get a lot more complex than this. Steps can be added or removed, but the concept is always the same: it moves the buyer from being a prospect to becoming a customer. With the right tools, you can not only increase the number of orders you get but increase the average order value by utilizing upsells, order bumps, upgrades, etc.
Can you make online sales without a sales funnel? Absolutely! Technically, a default e-commerce checkout is a simple sales funnel: unoptimized, barebones, and not tailored to your buyers and business. It’s like trying to win an F1 race with your Toyota Corolla. You’ll go from start to finish, but it won’t be fast, and you’ll undoubtedly be last.
Another benefit is that you can test and tweak your sales funnel based on what’s working and not, ensuring you’re constantly bringing in the maximum revenue using A/B testing. So you can test, learn, and adapt to continue to increase your income.
4 Ingredients Of An Effective Sales Funnel Copy
Sales funnels can be quite flexible, giving you control over the buyer’s journey from the first contact to the purchase. For sales funnels to be effective, you must write compelling copy (text) to help move buyers along the funnel.
An effective model for copywriting sales funnels is the AIDA model. The four steps in the model represent a thought process or motivation your prospects experience during the buying journey. Most copywriting will be done on the product (or sales) page, but keep in mind that you can continue to leverage it throughout the funnel if it has more than one page. This might be the case if you sell high-ticket items, services, or recurring subscriptions.
AIDA stands for:
- Awareness: Get the attention of your prospects and help them become aware of your brand. This initial step can be split (or repeated) between off-site (including ads, email marketing, social media, etc.) and on-site on the product or sales page. Do not discount your off-site collateral, such as ads. They plant a seed that brings visitors to your website. You need to water and fertilize that seed to grow into a sale.
- Interest: Tell your prospects how your product or service solves a problem they’re facing. You must connect with the visitor and show them you understand their needs and issues. Introduce them to your product/service as a solution they need.
- Desire: Desire is about making your solution “desirable.” This is where case studies, examples, testimonials, buyer-focused benefits, etc., become incredibly useful. Stay away from adjectives. They will kill any desire a buyer may have. “Best,” “Leader” – unless there is evidence to back those claims up, don’t use it.
- Action: Get your buyers to take action and purchase your product or service. This is the ultimate goal of your entire sales funnel. In addition to the “add to cart” button, you must consider upsells, cross-sells, order bumps, etc., to increase the average order value.
Good sales funnels are multi-step checkouts. One-page checkouts are not ideal. They can overwhelm buyers with a lot of information and decisions to make. Well-optimized multi-step checkouts are better than one-step checkouts for sales funnels.
How To Create And Test a WordPress Sales Funnel
Let’s move on to the good stuff, creating your sales funnel.
For this article, I assume you have (or want to build) an e-commerce website using WordPress and WooCommerce. It’s one of the best self-hosted e-commerce combinations available. This is what I use and recommend for my clients and personal projects.
Here’s how to create your own sales funnel easily using WordPress.
Step 1: Install WordPress And Choose a Theme
First, you’ll need to install WordPress if you haven’t already.
To be clear, this is the self-hosted version of WordPress, not WordPress.com. WordPress.com can get expensive for the plan that includes WooCommerce.
Most website hosts offer a one-click install of WordPress through Softaculous or Installatron. You may already have WordPress installed if you use managed WordPress hosting.
You’ll then need to choose a WordPress theme.
My top recommendation is the Astra theme. This is the theme I use for all my client and personal projects. The Astra theme offers several free e-commerce templates, each of which will work for building an e-commerce store.
When choosing a template, I highly recommend selecting one that uses Beaver Builder (more on this in step 2). This will make building and managing your pages quick and easy.
To see which templates use Beaver Builder, simply select “Beaver Builder” next to the search box on the Astra template page.
Astra offers a free light version of the theme, but I highly recommend you choose the Pro version to access all the e-commerce templates and additional WooCommerce integrations. Astra theme integrates well with WooCommerce, offering many customization options.
Step 2: Install Plugins
A few plugins will make creating your WordPress sales funnel so much easier. The recommended plugins integrate with Astra theme and WooCommerce so that you can create customized sales funnels without any custom coding.
- CartFlows is a WordPress sales funnel plugin that helps you build your funnel. It enables you to optimize the WooCommerce store to increase sales through a better sales funnel, order bumps, one-click upsells, checkout templates, and more.
- Keep in mind that I focused this post on e-commerce, but using Cartflows, you can create sales funnels for lead generation with lead magnets, selling services, selling subscriptions, selling courses, and everything else. You also don’t need WooCommerce.
- Beaver Builder lets you quickly build pages on your WordPress website. Because it’s all drag and drop, you don’t need to know any coding to create beautiful, functional pages. This is the main plugin I have used for all my client and personal projects since 2016. It’s by far the best page builder plugin for WordPress.
Note: There is also the Elementor page builder plugin. Many themes come bundled with it. You can use it instead of Beaver Builder, but my choice is always Beaver Builder. Elementor works well with the Astra theme, and they offer templates too.
Once these plugins are installed, activate them from inside the plugins menu. You can then go into the settings for each of these plugins to set them up.
I recommend you build our e-commerce website before you start working on the sales funnels. You still need a fully functional website. Cartflows will give you control over your checkout experience and help you optimize it to get better results.
Step 3: Set Up Your First WordPress Sales Funnel
When your website is ready, you can begin building and optimizing your sales funnel with Cartflows. There are other WordPress sales funnel plugins, but Cartflows is one of the easiest to use, feature-rich, and integrates with tools I already use.
Remember, you need to think about your buyer’s journey. You must consider what you have written or need to write for your product or sales pages. You must work the AIDA formula to write compelling, persuasive copy to help move buyers along the sales funnel.
In your WordPress dashboard, you should see “CartFlows” on the left-hand side of your screen.
From the CartFlows menu, click “Settings.”
In the “Show Ready Templates for” dropdown menu, select Beaver Builder and then “Save Settings.”
Now go to “Flows” in the CartFlows menu, and click “Add New.” You can now choose from any of their prebuilt sales funnel templates.
Each template comes with prebuilt pages for each step of the sales funnel.
For instance, if you click on the “Protein Supplement” template, you’ll get a four-page funnel that looks like this:
You then click on “Import Flow” in the top right corner to start customizing each page on your own site.
It’s that simple!
Note: The free version of CartFlows will let you assign a product to your page. However, if you’d like to add bump offers, upsells, downsells, coupons, or have a more comprehensive selection of templates, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version of CartFlows.
Step 4: Test Your Sales Funnel
If you want to ensure your sales funnel generates as much revenue as possible, you’ll definitely want to do some split-testing.
Fortunately, this is easy to do inside CartFlows.
Go into your flow, and you’ll see each page of your funnel. Click on the three dots next to the page you want to test and select “A/B Test.”
CartFlows will now create an identical page (a clone) that you can edit to create a variation of the original page.
You can now change and test any element you want: your page colors or layout, your bump offer, and your call to action.
Finally, you’ll need to tell CartFlows to direct traffic to your cloned page.
Click the cog on the top right side of your flow next to “Start Split Test.”
You can now decide what percentage of traffic you want to send to each page: adjust this by clicking on the slider next to each page.
Finally, click the “Start Split Test” link, and your A/B split test is now live!
Step 5: Don’t Forget Analytics
If you want to understand user behavior and see what users do on your website, including your sales funnel, you should consider using session recording tools such as Hotjar. You’ll be able to watch visitors navigate and engage with your website. I find it incredibly useful to help me understand what works, what doesn’t work, and what we need to change to make improvements.
Whatever you choose to track your visitors, ensure you’re keeping it legal and ethical, and learn from it. What’s the point of measuring if you don’t learn from it?
Creating your own WordPress sales funnel is easy using the tools and steps recommended in this post. WordPress + WooCommerce + Astra theme + Beaver Builder is a winning e-commerce stack. This is the stack I use for all my projects, including my latest personal (my wife’s business) e-commerce project, boobie.ca. Integrating Cartflows is next on my to-do list for this project to help reduce abandoned shopping carts while increasing average order value with order bumps.
I would love to hear from you: what do you sell? what problem are you trying to solve with a sales funnel? Comment below with any feedback or questions.