Your ultimate goal is to increase sales, and grow your business, right? It doesn't matter if you're a startup founder, app developer, entrepreneur, or ecommerce website owner. There's one secret weapon that can skyrocket the growth of your business.

If you think that increasing traffic to your website will be enough to do it, you're not seeing the whole picture. You need to convert your website traffic into paying customers. And for that, you need a kick-ass sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is the process you lead prospective customers through. It starts the moment they become aware of your brand or products, and ends when they make a purchase and become your customer.

A typical sales funnel has four stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Decision
  4. Action

You can use the five steps below to create your first sales funnel, or to optimize an existing one for maximum conversions.

1. Research your target audience.

The first step to building a sales funnel is to research your target audience. You need to understand:

  • What pain points do they have?
  • What are they interested in?
  • What expectations do they have?
  • Which social media platforms do they use?

2. Create different buyer personas.

To create accurate buyer personas, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Why do they want to buy a product?
  • How will they use the product?
  • What inspires them to purchase a product?

3. Plan an effective lead generation strategy.

Once you have deciphered your target audience, and created buyer personas, it's time to focus on your website traffic and lead generation. You can increase traffic to your website and generate leads with the following methods:

  • Pay-per-click campaigns
  • Guest posting
  • Social media advertising
  • Influencer marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Landing page optimization

4. Devise a strategy to engage and nurture leads.

After developing a strategy to increase traffic and generate leads, your next step is to engage and nurture those leads. To achieve this goal you can:

  • Create useful, engaging blog posts
  • Create informative, interesting videos
  • Use social media platforms to promote your posts
  • Have influencers create reviews and tutorials of your products
  • Use email marketing to promote your content

5. Convert leads into paying customers.

The final step is to convert prospects into customers.To increase your conversion rate, make sure you make it as easy as possible for people to complete their purchases. You can do so by:

  • Providing one-click signup and sign-in options
  • Minimizing the form fields
  • Simplifying your checkout and payment processes

To learn more about creating a sales funnel, check out the following gifographic.

Image courtesy: Shane Barker