12 Best Sales Funnel Examples to Help Your Website Convert More Customers

Featured Download: Get my free checklist that will help you setup your own sales funnel faster and implement the lessons of this article. It’s called “The 11 Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist

customer sales funnelI learn best by observing and studying what works well for others. How about you?

When it comes to marketing on the internet though, it’s still “voodoo” for many of us because even if we can see what works for other businesses, we don’t always understand it.

This is because we’re not able to look at it from a 30,000 foot view and compare it with what works for other websites.

That’s why I’m taking the time here to expand upon a previous blog post on sales funnel examples that has received a huge amount of organic traffic in the last couple of years.

My goal here is to give you a high-level overview of what works for these companies who are all continuously converting customers through their websites.

I want to also bring to light some of the more “hidden” secrets that make these funnels so darn effective from the moment you hit the page until the moment you enter your credit card information and click “submit.”

Fill out my online form.

Want to jump ahead? Here’s a handy table of contents (and don’t miss the bonus at the end):

  1. Example 1 – The Smart Funnel of CrazyEgg.com
  2. Example 2 – Groupon.com’s sales funnel
  3. Example 3 – Grasshopper.com
  4. Example 4 – Basecamp
  5. Example 5 – Mixergy.com’s freemium content sales funnel
  6. Example 6 – Planscope.io
  7. Example 7 – Saber Blast
  8. Example 8 – Harvest
  9. Example 9 – Perfect Audience
  10. Example 10 – Leadpages.net
  11. Example 11 – HelpScout.com
  12. Example 12 – RescueTime.com

Featured DownloadDownload a free checklist that will help you setup your own sales funnel faster. It’s called “The 11 Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist”

Here’s the format for how I’ve broken down each example:

Steps in Sales Funnel - This lays out for you point-by-point each page and each step the customer goes through on their way to making a purchase. In some cases, it also works to point out some of the follow-up steps and “if – then” scenarios. For instance, how does the funnel respond “intelligently” to get prospects who didn’t by to come back to the website?

Why It Works – In this section of each example I breakdown down for you why funnel works and what natural logic or emotional “hooks” it’s using to drive conversions.

What Makes It Unique – This section is self-explanatory.

Where it Could Be Better – Here I give my own professional opinion of what can be improved and why certain aspects might be causing a “leak” in the example’s sales funnel.

Example 1 – The “Smart” Funnel of CrazyEgg.com

crazy egg homepage

 

Neil Patel is one of my marketing heroes and CrazyEgg was his first successful SaaS business. Although Neil no longer directly manages that business since his focus is now on KISSMetrics, he is still involved with the company.

The website has changed a lot over the years but surprisingly, the product hasn’t changed much as all. It remains simple, offering 4 core features for anyone who wants certain analytics data on their website that Google Analytics just isn’t able to provide.

This is an important point because so many people focus on the product, when the product rarely accountable for more than 50% of its success — the other half of the equation is the marketing.

And although I’m sure the Crazy Egg team has worked to improve the product (i.e. make it more stable) all of the changes I’ve been able to observe in the last five years have been on the marketing side.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ traffic from referrals, organic, blog, and ads ]
  2. Homepage (email and password required for next step)
  3. Pricingpricing crazy egg
    1. If you exit the funnel at this point (i.e. leave the site) Crazy Egg has set a cookie on your browser so when you come back to the website
    2. In addition, because you had to enter your email address to get to the pricing step, they will also send you a simple, automated sequence of follow-up emails that include: “can I help you” and an FAQ email
  1. Purchase formcrazy egg signup pageOn here the purchase form, if you have bypassed the required email and password form on the homepage your email address and password will be pre-filled.

Why It Works

I am a big fan of how this sales funnel is designed, which is why I’m featuring here as #1.

This is a funnel that is “smart” because it remembers which step you last visited and brings you back there if you leave the site and come back later.

In addition, it has automated email follow-up from a customer support member once you go past the homepage, but don’t covert.

They also go out of their way to emphasize the 30-day free trial by explicitly showing, when you put in your credit card, that you will be charged “$0 today.”

Their funnel also does a nice job of balancing between educating and aggressively nudging potential customers forward.

What Makes It Unique

Original design and branding, combined with customer-focused copywriting makes this funnel one of the best performing sales funnels on this list. And as discussed above the “smart” features also make it stand out (automated follow-up, retargeting, and bringing return visitors back to the step they left off on).

One other “smart” funnel tactic (that many will perceive as aggressive), is the exit-intent popup that is shown when a user’s mouse moves off the webpage.

crazy egg popup

Where it Could Be Better

There are a lot of claims on the website and in Crazy Egg’s ads about how the tool helps increase conversions. While the value of the product is evident, it’s not specifically clear how this heat-mapping / click tracking tool helps customers to increase conversions.

Crazy Egg should seriously consider addressing that in greater detail.

Example 2 – Groupon.com

groupon_homepage_sales_funnel

Groupon used to be a more interesting website as far as design and general concept goes, but unfortunately, with the departure of it’s founder it has become more bland, less unique and is obviously just trying to maximize revenue in the interest of shareholders.

Regardless, last time I checked it was still  a public company with a multi-billion dollar market cap and up to a couple of years ago it was the fastest growing company in history.

So let’s take a peak inside at their funnel and see what was can learn…

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ traffic coming in from ads, direct, referrals, affiliates, and more ]
  2. Homepage
    1. The homepage requires you to input your email address and location information in order to proceed to the “internal” homepage most relevant to your location.
  3. Internal homepageView offer details
    1. For example, Groupon in New York City.groupon_home_deal_sales_funnel
  4. Purchase formcomplete_order_form_groupon

Why It Works

People love exclusive deals, and Groupon has built up name-brand recognition over the last 5 years that few others can match.

In addition, even if they don’t over a deal that’s relevant to you today, because you’re required to enter your email address, Groupon can continue to follow-up with you over time with new offers.

What Makes It Unique

Unlike some other sales funnels, Groupon’s business model is largely based on its ability to grow and maintain its email list.

Their business is best understood as one giant, consumer email marketing machine, segmented by location. This is the reason why they are so aggressive upfront about collecting emails (you’re not even allowed to see the deals when you first go to Groupon.com).

The only thing that makes Groupon’s funnel unique (and the reason why they can give almost no information or content upfront) is because their value proposition is so incredibly simple (“50-90% at local restaurants, products, and activities”).

Where it Could Be Better

Groupon has gone from a “deal of the day” website to a sprawling, international clearinghouse for local deals and discounts. This isn’t a bad thing, but it certainly hurts the scarcity / game-based factor that made the site so interesting to look at day-to-day.

In general, as a consumer-facing brand, it’s boring. And when you’re a B2C business, that’s not a place you want to be.

Example 3 – Grasshopper

grasshopper_hompage

Grasshopper is one of those companies that have a simple product that just works (I’m a customer) AND they are amazing marketers. If you don’t believe me, take a peak at this video:

But enough flattery. Let’s look at their website’s sales foundation and understand why customers buy from them… to the tune of $60 million+ annually.

(Note: $60 MM is my low-end estimate. One of the founders did an interview on Mixergy.com four year ago and revealed at that time that they were doing $30 million annually)

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ traffic from PR, blog, and ads ]
  2. Homepage
  3. How It Works pagePricing Plan Pagepricing_page_grasshopper
    1. Note: they used to have a “features” page in their funnel which came directly after How It Works, but that has been removed (and combined with this step).how_it_works_page_grasshopper
  4. Sign-up formgrasshopper_billing_page

Why It Works

Other than some of the excellent PR / marketing campaigns Grasshopper has executed over the years, Grasshopper has continuously tested and innovated on its sales funnel design.

They’ve tested a variety of color combinations, aggregate design changes, an as noted above, even removed one step from their funnel.

In addition, other than testing, I believe that clear communication and positioning the product as a something something connected to an entrepreneur’s identity (e.g. “Run your business while talking on the phone in your car or in a coffee shop or while on the beach even!”) is why this funnel has converted millions.

The last observation worth noting is that similar to the Crazy Egg website, Grasshopper explicitly summarizes how much you’re about to spend in the interest of setting clear expectations.

order_summary_grass_hopper

What Makes It Unique

  • Unique color choices (somewhat retro)
  • Original character design to help explain the product concept and how it’s used
  • Brand name
  • Social proof
  • Simplicity of product

Where it Could Be Better

The Grasshopper team might want to consider testing a design that places a stronger emphasis on the 30 day guarantee and explain how that works, as well as risk reversals like “cancel any time.”

Also consider testing other, more practical appeals to logic like “How many customers are you missing out on because you don’t have a professional phone number and phone system connected to your business?”

Example 4 – Basecamp.com

basecamp.com_homepage

If you haven’t heard of Basecamp you might want to start paying closer attention to them. They’ve been on the scene for over a decade now and have set the trend for SaaS companies and other kinds of upstart web businesses.

Recently, the founders made a gutsy move and decided to rename their business from 37signals to Basecamp since that is the main product they are known for.

Here’s how they are leveraging their brand name and reputation via their seemingly simple sales funnel.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ traffic from a wide variety of sources: blog, PR, organic search ]
  2. Homepage
  3. 60-day free trial sign-upbasecamp_free_trial_signup_page
  4. Thank you page (not so important, but worth noting)thank_you_basecamp_signup

Why It Works

Lots of social proof! Since Basecamp has been around for over decade, and since they are the leader in cloud-based project management software they are able to say things like:

“Last year alone, Basecamp helped over 285,000 companies finish more than 2,000,000 projects.”

Also, the sign-up process is free, and only two steps.

What Makes It Unique

  • Fun and minimalist design
  • Extremely low percieved risk
  • Lots of transparency around how the product works (screenshots, detailed explanations)
  • Tons of social proof from existing customers and people who sign-up daily that many other businesses simply cannot match.
  • Value is completely front-loaded for customers (2 month free trial is a long time!)

Where it Could Be Better

Consider bringing back the pictures of real people, instead of having only cartoon drawings. This makes it more personal.

Example 5 – Mixergy.com

gated_homepage_mixergy social_proof_mixergy_pricing_page

You might not think of Mixergy when you think of sales funnels. But in just a relatively short amount of time, Andrew Warner, the founder, spearheaded one of the earliest business models around charging for interview-based content on the web.

If you’re not familiar, Mixergy is as a website where successful entrepreneurs teach and tell their startup stories for the benefit of others who are either in business or who are thinking of starting one.

How Andrew and the Mixergy team continues to build their audience and customer-base is worth a closer look.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ traffic from email list, organic, social media, referrals ]
  2. Homepage (email address required)
  3. Content list (blog-roll page)mixergy_home_blog_roll_page
  4. Premium content page (shows that some content is restricted to members only)
    1. This is where each interview and course preview is listed.mixergy_masterclass_gated_page_sales_funnel
  5. Pricing plan pagemixergy_pricing_page
  6. Pop-up payment formmixergy_payment_form

Why It Works

Everyone who is a member of the audience trusts Andrew and the Mixergy brand, in part because he comes off as authentic and transparent in the interviews he conducts with guests.

Because of this “social capital” built up over time between members of the audience and the Mixergy brand, as well as the absene amount of value one can get just one interview or course alone people are more inclined to purchase.

In addition, because Mixergy is somewhat aggressive in building up its email list (see step 2 of funnel above), it allows a more direct line of communication between the brand and its audience when it comes to special offers or promoting new courses / interviews.

What Makes It Unique

  • As mentioned above, the transparency, authenticity of the founder, and social capital built-up over time makes Mixergy’s sales and marketing process stand out from all others.
  • Also, it’s a blog and the business model is in selling unlimited access to a library of educational resources for a fixed monthly price.

Where it Could Be Better

The Mixergy team may want to consider testing different pricing packages, as well as redesigning the payment form. Some people might not be comfortable with the minimal number of credit card fields or lack of a security logo / credit card logos.

Example 6 – Planscope.io

planscope_homepage

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know the name Brennan Dunn. Brennan is a personal friend of mine and some one I admire, especially for his thought process around marketing and servicing customers.

His product, Planscope.io, helps freelancers and teams plan and track projects with their clients. It’s intuitive and the software is designed to help their bottom-line.

Let’s take a look under the hood of Planscope’s sales funnel to understand how Brennan is converting customers.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ inbound traffic from email newsletter and blog ]
  2. Homepage (instant sign-up)
  3. Dashboard tour
    1. This is an internal set of pages that gives the user a personalized, guided tour of how the product actually works.
  4. 14 day free trial begins
    1. This occurs after the tour and the user types in his / her company name to kick it out.

Why It Works

As far as customer experience, what Planscope does exceptionally well is require the minimum amount of information from a potential customer up front (just email and password), and then it “teases out” the rest of the information over time, one tiny (not annoying) step at a time.

planscope_free_account_demo_setup_process

The reason this process isn’t annoying either is because I as the customer am not presented with a lot of new information to digest at each step. It’s always minimal, and with each step I feel like I’m making progress.

What Makes It Unique

The minimal data-entry and minimal effective communication style provides users with a truly non-stressful, pleasant experience while also helping them get quickly acquainted with how the software works.

One of the most unique steps in the this sales funnel though is at the end of the guided tour, a pop-up video of the founder, Brennan Dunn, comes on the screen. In it, Brennan welcomes the user and even offers to schedule a 1-on-1 time to chat over Skype if he or she has any questions.

brennan_dunn_personal_welcome_to_Planscope.io

Wow! Someone hand me a credit card so we can pay this guy just for proactively providing some personalized, unexpected customer support.

Where it Could Be Better

The sales copy and setup experience of the website is great.

The only area that feels a bit lackluster and could user some polish is the layout and visual design of the website pages (pre-login).

Example 7 – Saber Blast

saber_blast_homepage_sales_funnel

Saber Blast, as you might know, is Petovera’s first product.

Let’s take a look at how Saber Blast’s sales funnel is designed and why it’s converting customers.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ organic traffic and referrals from Petovera.com ]
  2. Homepage (with email sign-up required for next step)
  3. Pricing pagesaberblast-pricing-page-sales-funnel
  4. Purchase form (no free trial)saber_blast_payment_page

Why It Works

Lots of social proof inter-spliced in between the different sections of the page (press logos, number of emails sent on behalf of customers, testimonials with pictures, statistics from third party sources, like the Direct Marketing Association).

In addition, because the funnel is extremely linear (no navigation), we’re able to retarget visitors and follow-up via email in the most relevant way, based on whatever step they reached in the funnel.

In addition, our copy was written separate and prior to doing the design. This allowed me to focus on clearly communicating ideas and benefits to customers, without being restricted visually.

Also, we heavily emphasize out 30-day money-back guarantee.

What Makes It Unique

Similar to the CrazyEgg funnel, Saber Blast has a “smart” sales funnel that is dynamic based on actions taken by potential customers.

For instance, if someone leaves the pricing page after inputting their email address, the next time they come back to the website, it will bring them back to that page. Also, we have built in automated follow-up to check-in with people who input their emails to ask them if they have questions or concerns before signing up that we can address.

Also, the homepage and pricing page are both designed to be long form landing pages, covering in great detail what the product is, what it does, and how that helps customers.

Where it Could Be Better

We compete with Mailchimp and other email marketing products for small businesses.

What makes Saber Blast different is our product is simpler than the competition (e.g. we completely demphasize and recommend against using email templates and purposefully do not offer a do-it-yourself template designer), everything happens in real-time (stat’s stream in the moments after you push send, zero page load time, etc.), and we’re focused on continuing to develop features that increase a  business’s bottom-line (this is not sending newsletters for the sake of sending newsletters, this is about growing your business with features like LeadSuggest(TM) ).

My belief is that all of these differentiating points need to be explicitly incorporated into the design.

In addition, our video on the homepage is terrible :) and too long.

Other than that, I believe it’s worth testing out a free trial option down the road.

Example 8 – Harvest

get_harvest.com_homepage

I’ve been a customer of Harvest for many years now. My team and I use it for tracking time and for sending invoices to clients.

Harvest’s funnel is relatively simple, but let’s see what we can learn that’s unique about the pages and steps in their sale funnel.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ integrations ]Homepage
    1. Harvest has a lot of integration partners around its software. This is helpful because it means it is almost “locked-in” as part of a larger ecosystem of products that work together to increase productivity for clients. Each product within that connected ecosystem makes the others more valuable, plus the send each other referral traffic.
  2. Free trial sign-upstart_your_free_trial_conversion_page_harvest
  3. Free trial ends, offer / reminder to sign-up

Why It Works

Simplicity, professional design, and a network effect around co-dependent and co-promotional integrations with other software providers.

harvest_integrations_and_addons

What Makes It Unique

Harvest is smart because it understands it’s not really losing anything by offering its product for free. In fact, for anyone who is seriously planning on using Harvest to track time or bill clients, once they use it they’re progressively “locked in” to using it over time.

Why? It’s because there’s a switching cost (all of your data is there, plus you’ve already linked up payment processing and entered client details… etc).

For this reason, Harvest has made it free and easy to sign-up.

Where it Could Be Better

Compared to the competition (i.e. FreshBooks), the branding and design of the site feels more impersonal and less customer-facing.

One way to improve this is to more prominently feature the team behind the product, as well as doing a better job of emphasizing benefits as told from the point of view of real-world customers.

They might also want to consider AB testing a different color (instead of orange), and yes, I understand that’s a big change. I recommend some kind of light green (think: “harvesting crops” / “harvesting money”).

Example 9 – Perfect Audience

perfectaudience-homepage

I recently signed up for Perfect Audience and I am looking forward to using them in the very near future.

Perfect Audience is a retargeting platform, meaning if a visitor arrives on your website or on a certain page and doesn’t convert, Perfect Audience will set a cookie on their browser and your ads will then “follow” that visitor around the internet. The hope is that this type of follow-up will convince someone who may never have come back to your site, to click-through and sign-up or buy.

I am a fan of their design and branding and I would personally recommend them over their lead competitor Adroll (I had a pretty bad customer service experience there).

Let’s see what we can learn from studying how their funnel is constructed…

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ retargeted banner ad ]Homepage
    1. If you’ve visited the website in the past, you’ll be retargeted and encouraged to come back to the website to complete your sign-up.
  2. Free Trial sign-up pageperfect_audience_free_trial_signup_page
  3. [ "nudge" emails sent post-sign-up to help you get setup ]

Why It Works

The team at Perfect Audience has made it extremely low risk when it comes to giving their service a try. They understand that on the part of the customer it takes some time to get setup (i.e. create banner ads, install tracking code) so by offering 2 weeks for free, then lowers the barrier a lot.

Also, if you’re like me and you sign-up for something just to check it out, thinking “I’ll finish this later” — from PA’s point of view, this is still a win for them because now they can follow-up with you via email and offer assistance.

It’s super easy to sign-up and get started right away, and perceived risk is low.

Lots of social proof doesn’t hurt either.

social_proof_perfect_audience

What Makes It Unique

The colors of the website are unique and memorable to me for some reason.

Also, I enjoy how on the homepage they clearly explain all of the benefits in clear, simple language, with well-designed graphics associated with each point.

Where it Could Be Better

They should position themselves as more of a leader in the space. Compared to their top competitor, AdRoll, they seem to be a close second at best as far as value (even if it’s not true).

Also, speaking from experience, I was apprehensive to sign-up at first because Facebook retargeting was so heavily emphasized

Finally, the pricing page should be redesigned and made more visual. It feels as though it’s a tutorial article within a large knowledge database (and frankly, everyone hates those because companies like Bank of America are always trying to force their customers to use them instead of calling support and speaking to a person). Bad mental associate there.

Example 10 – Lead Pages.net

leadpages.net_homepage_sales_funnel

I recently signed-up for Lead Pages for a new project I’m working on with one of our clients for developing landing pages that convert visitors.

Lead Pages allows you to rapidly created landing pages (e.g. for webinars, ebooks, courses, other products). You can easily split test different landing page variables and they have a decent sized library of templates you can use right from the start.

How is a company that “sells” the idea of more conversions, converting its visitors into buyers? Let’s examine their funnel.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ email list or blog page ]lead_magnet_example_leadpages.net
  2. Homepage
    1. Features lots of social proof, engaging visuals, and videos show how key features work.
  3. Pricing page
    1. By default the pricing page shows annual pricing rather than month to month.leadpages.net_pricing_page
  4. Purchase page
    1. Dedicated page, no navigation, with a number of form fields to fill out and text to read.leadpages.net_purchase_pageleadpage.net_purchase_page_part_2

Why It Works

Leadpages.net has an effective funnel because they focus hard on educating potential customers by showing (not just telling them) the features and benefits in video format. If you visit their blog you’ll see what I mean here as well since every time they launch a new feature, they write about it.

Also, their blog is nicely positioned as a resource where the founder conducts interviews with other entrepreneurs and people in business–as well as offering free incentives for subscribing to their email list.

What Makes It Unique

It’s visually engaging, from the graphics to the videos. I really like how they took the time to make individual videos about individual feature to provide complete clarity to potential customers.

It’s also more aggressive than many other funnels in going beyond education with potential customers, but really nudging them to opt-in to their email list and/or sign-up to buy the product.

Where it Could Be Better

Something about it feels very salesy (in an affiliate marketing kind of way), and I like it less for that reason.

To put it another way, I don’t care about being pitched to buy something but something about the funnel doesn’t feel authentic. For example, on the purchase page, the sign-up form feels unreasonably long, and there’s a lot more text there than is necessary (or typical). It almost feels like I’m signing a contract, even though I know I’m not.

Similarly, some of the blog articles, though educational and really informative (thank you for for sharing your knowledge!) brand LeadPages in a negative light with article titles like “Use this new (sneaky but ethical) tactic.” I feel like by signing up for their software, I’m almost going to unfairly manipulate my customers.

Last, I believe the 30-day money-back guarantee could also be better emphasized to help lower perceived risk.

Example 11 – HelpScout.com

help_scout_homepage_sales_funnel

Help Scout is a website I’ve heard more and more about over time. They provide customer support software for small businesses and startups.

Their software is seamless in the way it looks like (from the customer’s perspective) a regular email coming from a member of the business’s support team, unlike ZenDesk which is, frankly, annoying (ever recieved those “notice that your request has been recieved” emails? Or, “are you satisfied, what your question answered?” It’s a good chance that’s ZenDesk).

Let’s see how this recent upstart is successfully taking share from competitors and growing via it’s funnel.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ blog or resources page]
    1. These are subpages that help bring in traffic in the first place, from search engines and social media sharing. This is not a required step in the funnel, but I’m including it here because it’s likely that for many visitors, this is how they first arrive on HelpScout’s site.
  2. Homepage
    1. The homepage prominently features a personable picture of one of HelpScout’s customers and an associated testimonial. Below that there is a video explaining how HelpScout works and its primary benefits.
  3. [possible subpage, e.g. pricing page]
    1. Since there is no clear call to action button indicated on the homepage other than the video player, it can’t be said explicitly that there is no middle step prior to signing up.pricing_page_helpscout
  4. Free trial sign-up pop-up
    1. After you decide you’re ready to get try the service, you can click on the “Free 15 Day Trial” link and a pop-up will appear with a form requesting some basic information before you can get started. No credit card is required.start-free-trial-helpscout

Why It Works

The website is cleanly and professionally designed so that on the homepages and subpages, you don’t feel like you’re overwhelmed by a lot of information.

Starting a free trial is also quite painless.

Also, social proof with customer logos and testimonials are prominently featured.

What Makes It Unique

There are two elements that stand out about the Help Scout funnel compared to other websites.

  1. Part of the way that Help Scout is acquiring organic, inbound traffic is by creating indepth resource ebooks and publishing them openly on their website (no payment or email address required). They are legitimate ebooks books because of their shear length and they appear to be publishing new resources every month.helpscout-resources-page
  2. On it’s homepage, HelpScout is brazenly willing to mention what other sales funnels go out of their way to avoid: the competition. In fact, they have landing pages dedicated to explaining who HelpScout is ideal for, and they don’t trash-talk the competition. I find this incredibly unique and smart. Why? It makes sense since HelpScout, one of the newest players in the customer support software, has probably gotten this question many times. Namely, “how are you different from the big guys?” This is a tactic I’ll be using on the Saber Blast funnel soon since I face a similar question from potential customers on a regular basis.compare-to-competitor-help-scout

Where it Could Be Better

The website could be a lot more aggressive in regard to telling people “click here to sign-up.” There is no obvious call to action to sign-up anywhere on the site.

Educating customers is great, but, I believe, you shouldn’t be afraid to nudge them into a sign-up–especially when it’s free trial.

Example 12 – RescueTime.com

rescuetime-homepage-sales-funnel

Rescue Time is fantastic for quantitatively and visually understanding where your time goes everyday and how productive you were. In the age of the internet, with distractions everywhere, this type of software is a must.

The most basic version is free and then there’s a premium version with more features and benefits.

They’ve been around for quite a bit of time, so let’s see what is it about their funnel that’s made them a must have app in the productivity space.

Steps in Sales Funnel

  1. [ traffic from blog, referrals, organic, affiliates ]rescuetime-blog
  2. Homepage
    1. Their homepage is straight forward and simple. Note the high contrast between the green call-to-action button and the dark background. Also notice the headline and how clearly and simply it explains the primary benefit to signing up.
  3. Premium vs. free plan summary page
    1. Paid plan is emphasized, makes the free plan look barely sufficient by comparison. Notice how the paid plan is “popping out” in the design.select_plan_page-rescuetime
  4. Free trial sign-up form
    1. Minimum fields and required info. Not asking your users to write you their biography is key.signup-free-trial-page-example
  5. Instant upgrade
    1. After signing-up you are informed that your account has been instantly upgraded to the premium version even if you haven’t signed-up for it. But of course it’s on a trial basis. (Note: they may have stopped doing this recently or are AB testing it since when I created a new account it did not occur).
  6. Downgrade (unless paying)
    1. 14 days after sign-up, you’re offered the chance to keep all of your premium plan features by paying a one time or small monthly fee. If you don’t your account is downgraded to a basis plan and the benefits of the premium plan go away.

Why It Works

RescueTime’s sales funnel works because they make it incredibly easy for everyday consumers and businesses to start receiving the benefits of their product.

It literally takes less than 30 seconds to sign-up and you don’t even have to pull out your credit card since the most basic plan is free, and the premium plan is a free trial.

If you extend their funnel to include to include the steps before the homepage and after the installation of the software, then you can further see how they are acquiring new customer relationships.

Through their blog, they write about new features and benefits being rolled out within their software. Occasionally they write an educational article, like “Stop beating yourself up about ‘all that time’ you waste on Facebook, it’s probably less than you think.”

On the other side of the equation, even if you’re using the free plan, you’re gently reminded over time of the benefits you’re missing out on if you’re not on the paid plan. For instance, within the software you are allowed to click the “Get Focused…” feature, but then it will prompt you to upgrade since that feature is only available to premium users.

What Makes It Unique

It is incredibly simple to get started. There isn’t a lot in the way of aggressive or “over the top” arguments and social proof to convince potential users to sign-up. It is simply: here’s what it is, do you want to sign-up?

Where it Could Be Better

The sales funnel could be seen as being too simple, though I have little doubt they are convert visitors into users at a high rate.

Still, I’m confident that a majority of those users are on the free plan and not paying the company any money in exchange for the benefits of the service, which makes me wary that RescueTime is just amassing data on its users to sell to other companies (this is a key objection they might want to explicitly address on the website).

Finally, they might want to do some design testing to better encourage users to scroll down on the homepage. I completely overlooked all of the social proof (i.e. NY Times and other press logos and testimonials) that are presented below the fold.

Conclusion

Each one of these sales funnel examples is different.

But it is by studying the patterns of this sample set that we can build a template in our mind of what an ideal sales funnel should look like and how it should function.

Here are the top takeaways worth keeping in mind:

  • One step leads into another, everything is connected, nothing in your sales process should be an “island.” you can also remember this lesson as “All roads lead to Rome… and all webpages lead to a purchase.
  • Social proof – If you don’t have a spreadsheet to help you keep track of testimonials, awards, and other “positive stuff” that other people are saying about your brand, go ahead and set that up now. Every single sales funnel here emphasized their social proof in one way or another. Why? Because people are more likely to trust other “real” people rather than some lessor known brand.
  • Simplicity – Most of these funnels are only 2-3 steps before a customers get to the point where they have made a purchase or are actively benefiting from using the product on a free trial basis.
  • Free – A majority of the examples here, like CrazyEgg, offer free trials on their products. Some require a credit card, others do not. People like free trials because often it’s hard to tell if a product suits your needs until you get your hands on it.
  • Email list – Many of the sales funnel examples here focus on increasing email list opt-ins. Why? Because email is the highest converting marketing channel and it’s an easy, inexpensive way to follow-up with would-be customers.
  • Retargeting – Several of the examples here use retargeting because it’s a relevant, cost-effective way to draw visitors back to your website until they convert.
  • “Smart” funnel tactics – Check out CrazyEgg and Saber Blast. Examples of “smart” tactics include: a sales funnel that “remembers” where you left-off and automated email follow-up.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you haven’t done so already make sure you grab a copy of my free download bonus, “The 11 Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist.”

11 Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist Download

What are some other key takeaways you got from studying these examples?

What would you like to see examples of in the future?

Image credits:
http://www.meltwater.com/social-media-blog/social-media-to-social-marketing/

15 Responses to 12 Best Sales Funnel Examples to Help Your Website Convert More Customers

  1. JB says:

    Thank you for sharing your blog. It was nice!

  2. Thanks for the fine evaluation of Crazy Egg!

    • Hi JB,

      Nice chatting with you over the phone just now. As I mentioned, it’s best to think of your website as a “leaky bucket” and there are a number of holes to plug (several of which are fairly simple to fix) so that your sales funnel stops “leaking” customers. For instance, here are a few quick wins:

      1) Remove the advertising — it’s distracting to visitors, risks taking them off of your website and out of your sales funnel, and it hurts credibility (i.e. most of the big name ecommerce website don’t have 3rd party ads because the product is the “ad”)

      2) Show a picture of the product on your homepage (people might not understand it’s a physical product that you’re selling until they see it!)

      3) Have a clear call to action (i.e. a big, bold button that’s clear to the user that “this is the next thing I should click on” — on the homepage it could be “order now” or “learn about the benefits”)

      I recommend a complete redesign of the website over all because over all the site feels a bit basic and dated, and doesn’t visually engage the user. I don’t say that to be critical, I say it as a professional giving constructive feedback that could help you grow your bottom line :)

      Look forward to talking more and working together,

      Matt

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