Skip to main content

Beginner’s Guide to Click Funnels

Click funnels guide your customers through a series of steps to purchasing your products or services. Learn what a click funnel is so you can use one properly.

Imagine a sales professional on the showroom floor or even a merchant in an old-world style market trying to close a deal. It might be easy to imagine him placing one hand on the back of the potential buyer's shoulder with his other hand held in a semi-upright position.

Now, if viewed from the air, if we were to take a series of snapshots of the two as their conversation progressed, we might find that the positioning of the salesperson's hands persistently suggested movement and awareness aimed at a specific direction toward the item for sale.

That series of images might reveal a trend in the positioning of his hands attempting to guide the customer down what might look like a funnel of sorts.

Considering the nature of their conversation, we might find something similar. We might notice that the salesperson was starting from a broader position, discussing various needs and situations in the customer's life where the product for sale would be desirable.

As the conversation progresses, we might notice that the options represented in the salesperson's language were narrowed down to the point of purchase. Again, we have a funnel. This is very much the idea behind what we call the sales funnel, or click funnel.

A funnel is a structure that begins broad and becomes narrow. This is what we want to do in sales. We want to bring in as many people as possible, from as many points in their daily lives as possible. We want the baker, the butcher, the banker, and their wives to enter the funnel. We want them to enter it in the morning, after work, before they go to bed, and on any and every day of the week.

Our entry point is broad. We could be doing advertising through email marketing or other marketing tools based on our business model. But we want them to exit at a very precise point, the point of sale. Consider a department store with a wide range of products under one roof.

Every product category is different, offering different things to different people. But the outcome and the exit point bring them all down the aisle, past the cash register, and through the automatic doors on the right.

In online marketing, we are doing the same thing, but we call it a click funnel because we are attempting to reduce the potential outcome down to one possibility: money in your pocket.

Here, we will discuss what a click funnel is, how to create one, and how to optimize it to best suit your customers and you from small businesses to large.

What are click funnels, and how do they work?

In the digital marketing world, funnel types vary, from a marketing funnel to a sales funnel to a click funnel—it almost seems like there are unlimited funnels to think about.

When we look up questions like "what is a click funnel," we see a lot of diagrams that are intended to give you the impression that creating a click funnel has been narrowed down to a science and can be easily created with a funnel builder.

You will see images of cartoon funnels with bands around them labeled with words like "awareness, discovery, evaluation, intent, purchase, loyalty." As neat and tidy as all of that is, it's really just online marketing people trying to convince you that their method is a sure thing. In other words, they are taking you down their sales funnels.

But there is some truth to that image and idea. The customer starts at a vague form of awareness and is herded through discovery and evaluation into a purchase.

Then we try to secure their loyalty. But we have already covered that. A click funnel is a little more to the point than that.

A website homepage might have 50 items to click on. The sales page might have 20. The product page might have 10. The options page might have 7 clickable items, and the checkout pages will rapidly narrow the options down to "CONFIRM PURCHASE."

Now that is a click funnel.

If only there was a clickable option labeled "be a loyal customer." But that part is your job, and really cannot be part of a sales funnel.

But that is why Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing and customer loyalty generation platform. We do our best to make the loyalty part of the funnel a meaningful component of the click funnel experience.

The main differences between a click funnel and a sales funnel

The way online marketing professionals describe a click funnel is a "series of pages leading to a conversion event." A conversion event refers to a couple of things. It means a point where all entry points converge. It also means converting shoppers into buyers.

Eventually, we want to convert buyers into return buyers, but that's not the same thing. It's good enough to understand a click funnel as a narrowing series of options.

What separates a good click funnel from a bad one is that in a good one, the narrowing of choices is paired at every stage with convincing sales content until the customer is guided to buying your product or service. A click funnel might seem like just a tool, but when used correctly it can boost businesses.

Yes, we want to actually persuade our customers at the same time as we narrow the number of things they can click on. It isn't as if we can force them to stay inside our funnel. No, we have to be persuasive at every point, or they will spiral out of the funnel like a refrigerator in a tornado. The main difference is that sales funnels are a broader concept, something like the salesperson and his guiding hands in the introduction.

Understanding sales funnels is more difficult because it is more abstract. Therefore, it is better to think in terms of a sales funnel as you construct a click funnel.

How to create a click funnel

Creating sales funnels is a much more organic topic than creating click funnels. But building a click funnel is a good way to better understand sales funnels and the sales process overall, whether you are a smaller business or larger.

Built on well-researched customer journey maps, it's something like building scaffolding into the loose structure of a sales funnel to make it more rigid with a more certain outcome.

Begin with your landing page

The landing page is a simple web page with a high-quality image, some slick but simple graphics, and a simple message. Landing pages tell your prospective customers that they have arrived at the place their search was aimed at.

This is important because driving traffic to your site can come from many different places, such as from email campaigns, network marketing campaigns, or other creative products and advertising efforts, but once customers arrive at your landing pages, they need good support need and detailed information to be set on the right path from here and drive up your conversion rates.

After the landing page, the idea is to build your website to conform to the optimal sales funnel. When creating sales funnels for an online business, the landing page is the last step before the customer steps into the broad opening to the click funnel.

Generate leads

In sales, leads are a gold mine. We are always searching for them so that we can mine them for sales. Leads are potential customers, people who are similar to our target demographics, or who have taken some action indicating potential interest in our products or services.

Generating leads is at the heart of what we do here at Mailchimp, making it easier for our clients to get smart recommendations. Once your leads are generated and in hand, then we want to simply direct them toward our landing pages and allow the click funnel to do the rest.

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is about marketing to qualified leads. We have determined that the customer has an interest in what we sell or potential interest, and we work with that connection to develop the sale.

This might be referred to as targeted marketing. It's about guiding the prospect toward a landing page, and then further into our website.


At this point, the visitor has expressed a pointed interest in a product or service. We have succeeded in showing them something they believe will be of benefit to them. They are looking at the item or main service, reading about it, perusing options, and so on.

This is where businesses can present them with possible upgrades to the basic plan, add-ons, subscription plans, or just more of what they have already expressed an interest in.

It's here that businesses follow up with the more expensive plan, the premium package, the executive trim level, the first-class suite, the subscription services that will improve their lives—the pricier side of whatever product or service originally caught their attention.

In short, businesses present customers with a better, more expensive version of what they have already shown interest in. You will need to create your online store to support this process.

Analyze feedback and keep it going

Here, we want to take everything the customer has done and said and use that information to move them toward the checkout page. We try to give them what they want based on their feedback.

Click funnel example

Let’s walk through the journey of a customer at an online business down a click funnel:

  1. Customer searches for lawnmowers
  2. They click on a link that leads them to the image of a beautiful mower (hopefully one of your landing pages)
  3. They follow a link to a product page where they see a series of listings
  4. They click on a specific mower and begin looking at specifications
  5. They see options for additional features
  6. They choose a set of features
  7. A series of additional add-ons are offered to them based on their selection
  8. They put the item in their "shopping cart"
  9. They proceed to checkout or continue shopping

At each point in the funnel, a purchase becomes more likely. Keep in mind that as you build sales funnels, choices become less diverse and more sales-oriented until the only button left to click is the one to complete the transaction.

More advanced funnels might take a slightly different path, but regardless of the funnel type, it should end with a conversion.

You must design your landing pages and your sales and content pages to guide the customer along your sales funnels to purchase.

Click funnels to target each stage of the customer's journey

Perhaps the key to creating a good click funnel is the knowledge that the customer can leave your site at any moment. We present them with narrowing choices, but at the same time, we offer real value and truly attractive options so they don't get lost in what seems like unlimited funnels.

At the end of the funnel, it's all about quality products, valuable services, and meaningful rewards for customer loyalty.

Share This Article