Sales Funnel Vs. Traditional E-commerce Site: What's right For Me?
This is a very good question and depending on who you ask you will hear answers like “websites are dead, the way to go is a sales funnel” or “a sales funnel is all you need.” You will also get a lot of “what is a sales funnel?” too. So what's the best choice? Well, that really depends...
Does Your Business Have A Lot Of Products?
If it does, you'll need an e-commerce site to hold all those products and make them all available to the public, so relying on only sales funnels would be prohibitively expensive. You'd need a separate sales funnel for each product, which could easily mean 50, 100 or more sales funnels.
So is a sales funnel irrelevant in this case? Absolutely not. There are many ways to do a funnel, so a sales funnel could easily be tailored to feed people into your e-commerce site after collecting their contact info for later follow up. It would then be that follow up, done by email marketing that would drive the traffic to your site, giving you access to sell to the same customers again and again, or get many changes to get that first sale from a new customer.
If you're not using a sales funnel, but instead sending your traffic straight to your website, then you only get one shot at it. The visitor either buys something and goes away, or buys nothing and goes away. Either way, your chances of getting that person back again is minimal at best.
My Business Has a Few Products Of Escalating Value
Perfect! A sales funnel is ideal for your product mix.
First of all, let me clarify what I mean by a products of escalating value, that means you have a product or 2 that sells for a few dollars, then 1 or 2 that sells for say $50- 200, then a product that sells for $200-500 and finally one that sells for over $1000.
In this case your products form what's known as a “value ladder,” meaning they form a sequence of products of ascending value. Sales funnels are ideal for this situation as you can start people off with the lowest cost items to introduce them to your company and your products, then offer them increasingly more expensive products over time as they come to like and trust you and benefit from your products. The end result is that you'll sell far more of your high-end products then you would offering them all in a traditional e-commerce setting. This is because you're offering your most expensive and highest value products to people who already know and trust you, so they're more willing to spend the big bucks on your products.
Does this mean you don't need a traditional website?
The answer is most certainly not! A traditional website can still do many things for you that a sales funnel can't. You can do blogging for a content marketing strategy on a website, which a sales funnel can't do. If you tried that, your sales funnel would no longer be a sales funnel, but a traditional website!
You can offer people access to information that can help them make a buying decision in a much more free way then in a sales funnel, which directs people through the most commonly needed info and most commonly asked questions in the most commonly needed order. If someone needs some extra info to make a buying decision, they can't get it on a sales funnel. If someone has a unique problem they need addressed, they may not be able to address it on a sales funnel.
On a website you can have FAQ sections, articles and pages where people can access exactly the info they need, when they need it, in whatever order they need it. If they need more info beyond that, they can use a contact page to ask you directly.
If someone needs a very specific product you have, but it's buried deep within your funnel, they won't even know you have that product available and won't be able to buy from you. If you have a website where people can jump onto the funnel at a later stage, such as at one of the higher value products, if that's what they want, why not do it and get those extra sales and help people with what they really need, and not force them through a bunch of products they don't need just to get at the ones that address their actual needs?
So What Should I Use For My Business?
The best answer is have both.
If your business is such that a sales funnel is not ideal, it is still an extremely valuable way to collect leads, even as your website is your primary online tool. If your business suits sales funnels perfectly, it will still benefit tremendously from the flexibility of a website to communicate with your audience in ways you can't do on a sales funnel.
I hope this information can help you in making better marketing decisions for your business. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments section below and I'll be happy to answer them.