How To Create a Dangerously Effective Automated Sales Funnel

JillBlog, hits, Sales Funnels16 Comments

Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re grinding it out in your business, taking all this sexy action and building your list, creating share-worthy content, and rocking your customers worlds…

But when you look back on your revenue and expenses for the month, you think “WTF?! Where did all my money go?”?

And so you get a little fired up, a little anxious, and the angry typing ensues.

Have you been there?

Come onnnn.

Admit it.

I have.

And it’s frustrating as all hell.

I mean, we bust our butts to create businesses and lifestyles that light us up inside…

Which means when things aren’t clicking and more money is flowing out than in, things can get a little…ummm…stabby.

So what’s a webpreneur to do if they want to take their business to the next level and make more money, without having to put in more hours?


You create a sales funnel.

But, what?



Let’s dive in…

What the Eff is a Sales Funnel?

Simply put, a sales funnel is the journey you take your website visitors through when trying to sell your products and services to them.

Now some funnels (sometimes also reffered to as a marketing funnel) can be super simple and some can be more complicated and involved

We personally prefer to keep things simple and streamlined so we stick to 4 main sales funnel stages:

  1. Read magnet
  2. Lead magnet
  3. Introductory offer
  4. Core offer

However, before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s first talk about how you can pinpoint exactly what your funnel should be about in the first place.

After all, there’s no worse feeling than going full steam ahead on an idea only to realize that you missed the mark and none of your site visitors are jiving with your new fancy funnel.

Because let’s be real, that feeling blows.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid it and make sure your funnel hits in a big way.

Actually, there’s two…

The Simple Way

This process is, well, simple and best of all, it works like a charm!

All you have to do is send an email out to your list—I prefer the subject line “Can I ask you a question?”—and ask them: “What is the ONE thing you are struggling with right now?”.


Send out a short email to uncover the major interests or issues.

As people start to respond you can keep track of the common issues or problems in a spreadsheet so you can see which are the most popular.

From there, pull out the most common problems, narrow it down to one (ideally the most popular) and use it as inspiration for your first funnel.

Worried people won’t respond?

Don’t be!

You can even incentivize someone responding by saying you will pick 10 (or 20…or whatever you want) people to do a 15-minute call with.

This will help you understand your subscribers on a much deeper level, ultimately giving you the information you need to create wildly successful sales funnels around their core needs, fears and desires.

The Surefire Way

Of course, you can always crank things up to eleven and take this process to the next level!


Facebook groups.

Now, I know I’m a little biased…

I mean, hell, our free FB group grew to over 4,000 members in under 6 months…organically.

So I think I know a thing or two about how to grow them, how to run them and how to use them to strategically build your business.

Here’s how you can add a group to your sales funnel arsenal…

Similar to the process above, you’ll want to send an email out to your list and ask them to reply back with the one thing they’re currently struggling with.

But here’s where things change slightly…

Inside your email, you can mention that those who reply back to your email with their biggest struggle will get early-bird access to your new FREE Facebook group where members will have more direct access to you.

Once you then have a decent amount of replies you’ll start to group them into common struggles and challenges faced by your audience.

From there, take the top 3 most popular answers and run a poll inside your group asking people to vote on the one they struggle with most.

Kinda like I did here:

FB poll results

Facebook groups allow you to poll your audience and get an even better understanding of what they want.

Once you have that data, you can take the most popular answer, use that to create your first funnel and let your members know that you’ll be creating a series of free content around their particular struggles.

This will help you not only serve them, but you’ll be able to build your list, get your brand out there in a bigger way and show your audience that you have a vested interest in helping them overcome their obstacles.

After that, it’s all about pulling the trigger on your funnel.

Starting with…

The Read Magnet


Notice how I didn’t say “lead magnet”?

That’s because we believe dangerously effective sales funnels don’t go for the jugular straight outta the gate.

Instead, they warm a reader up first…

They romance…

They make it all about the reader, before ever asking for the opt-in.

And that?

Is just the beginning.

So here’s how you do it…

Using your survey results, start mapping out a jaw-dropping, clarity-inducing monster of a blogpost that hits on the one struggle most of your audience is plagued with.

Go deep…

Get in-depth…

Drop some mad knowledge…

And don’t hold back.

Kinda like what I’m doing with this blogpost.

Now does it absolutely have to be a blogpost?


Instead, you can create a video or even a podcast episode around it.

Hell, you could periscope about it, transcribe the video, turn it into a blogpost, rip the audio and cover all three bases in one single post.

The whole goal of this post is to attract people who are interested in that specific topic.

However you choose to deliver that content is totally up to you!

To get the creative juices flowing, here are three posts that typically do well:

  1. How To posts
  2. List posts
  3. Case studies

Then once you’ve created your read magnet, you need to start thinking of additional value-packed resources that can serve as a next-level lead magnet and entice people to opt in to get their hands on it.

Now, if you’re having a “next-level-what-now?” moment, don’t sweat.

I’ll break it all down in a sec.

However, the key with these read magnets and lead magnets is to make sure they are both related to the overall purpose of your sales funnel.

That means, where relevant, you’ll want to link to your lead magnet within your content (and at the end) and prompt people to opt-in for it.

Once that’s all set and your lead magnet has been peppered throughout your post, it’s time to get eyeballs on it.

To do this, you can do a few things:

  1. Email your list with a link to the post
  2. Post the link inside your Facebook group
  3. Drive some paid traffic to it – Facebook ads, anyone?
  4. Create guest posts for other sites around this topic that link back to your post

The key is to get people on your page, consuming that content and opting in for your lead magnet.

Speaking of that…

The Lead Magnet

So peep this…

A lot of web surfers these days seem to be getting more protective over their email addresses.

Which means the days where you could offer “free updates” as an opt-in, and build a list of tens of thousands of subscribers are straight up over.


You need some game, playah.

That means you’ll want to create a free giveaway that not only builds upon your read magnet, but takes it to a whole ‘notha level.

What’s more is you’ll want to deliver this all via email.

Want to know how I structure our emails and what I say to move a new subscriber through our funnel?

Grab ’em here and use them in your own business!

sales funnel email templates

See what I did there?

This is the funnel in action…

Not only have I polled my audience to find out what they wanted, but I created that piece of content (in fact, you’re reading it right now), and have sprinkled in my lead magnet throughout this post that takes this content to the next level.

What’s more is it’s not a frivolous freebie, like an unnecessary ebook that will sit in someone’s inbox waiting until they “have time” to read it.

Instead, it’s quick, consumable, and most importantly, it’s solving a specific problem.

Am I saying all ebooks are useless?

No, not entirely.

But they certainly don’t make for the most effective lead magnets.

I mean, think about it…

How many free ebooks have you opted in for that you’ve actually finished?

I’m guessing not many.

Instead, you can save yourself loads of time and create bite-sized lead magnets that pack a value punch and provide a quick win.

For example, you can create:

  • Cheatsheets
  • Checklists
  • Swipe files
  • A recording of a talk you gave
  • A replay of a workshop you hosted
  • Resource lists
  • Buyer’s guides
  • Printables
  • Email courses
  • Webinars
  • Audio downloads
  • Step-by-step blueprints

The choice is yours and you are only limited by your own creativity.

Then once they have opted in, the fun begins!

Now while most people think the process goes like this:

basic sales funnel breakdown

Which can work, for sure…

However, we prefer to create our sales funnel so it plays out like this:

Sales funnel breakdown

I know.

It’s probably a lot to take in.

Fortunately, Josh breaks down the whole process, essentially giving you a sales funnel template—including what each of these elements include and how to set it all up so your funnel flows, inside our mini course: The Perfect Sales Funnel.

But if you’re sitting there, staring at your computer with your mouth hanging open, wondering what the hell an introductory offer is, allow me to explain…

The Introductory Offer

Often referred to as a “tripwire”, an introductory offer is a relevant low-cost offer you make to a new subscriber once they have joined your list.

Now I know that sounds a little ballsy, but hear me out…

Because our whole goal with these funnels is to turn our readers into lifelong customers, it’s important to make a relevant offer that ties into your lead magnet (and read magnet) while they are still hot n’ heavy for you.

That means striking while the iron is hot and offering them something so irresistible that it’s hard for them to say no.

For us? It’s The Perfect Sales Funnel.

You see, as you’ve moved through this post, I’ve educated you on the basic foundation of a simple sales funnel.

I’ve outlined most of the layers (we still have one to go!) in this post…

And on top of that, I’ve also given you the chance to grab a copy of the emails I use in our funnel, inside our lead magnet.

If you opt-in, you’ll then be presented with the chance to get The Perfect Sales Funnel as a one-time offer which will you show you everything you need to do to get this funnel set up and functioning on your site.

Each step has lead into the next—which is the key with these funnels.

They need to flow.

And you need to create free, low-priced and premium offers that are all related to each other—otherwise you run the risk of your funnel feeling disjointed.

Which will likely end in someone closing the window, deleting your emails and peacing out from the funnel.

Not good.

To avoid that, keep these few tips in mind…

  1. Your introductory offer should be affordable and (typically) priced under $20
  2. The offer should be relevant to your read magnet, lead magnet and core offer (coming up next!)
  3. It should 10x the value they’ve received in your read magnet and lead magnet
  4. It should be offered on the Thank You page once someone opts in for your lead magnet
  5. It’s not used as a money-maker, instead it’s used to change the relationship from subscriber to customer

So what can you offer as an introductory offer?

What about:

  • A 3-part video course
  • A one-time audit (of someone’s website, SEO, design, speech, even their overall strategy)
  • Rapid-fire coaching calls (this is what we started with!)
  • An ebook you wrote
  • A customized diet plan
  • Lesson plans
  • Shopping lists
  • Done-for-you graphics
  • Audio course
  • Mini group coaching calls
  • Mini meditation series
  • A 10-day challenge
  • $1 trial for your product or software

It’s totally up to you and the sky’s the limit!

The real key to converting on your intro offers is to add an element of scarcity.

We typically do this through pricing, by presenting a one-time offer to get our mini course at a crazy-discounted rate for 15 minutes.

Intro Offer

We like to reward action takers with a short one time offer.

However, if pricing ain’t your jam, you can incentivize by limiting the number of people who get them each month.

This is especially useful if you are going to offer rapid-fire calls.

The main takeaway with this is to create some sense of urgency to prompt people to act and get them progressing towards your core offer.

But here’s the kicker…

This sense of urgency has to be REAL.

That means you can’t just say someone has 24 hours, when really your offer never expires.

Fortunately, we have a sick hack for doing this (especially for evergreen funnels) which Josh is breaking down in a big way inside The Perfect Sales Funnel.

So, now I bet you have a question.

And I bet I can guess what it is…

“What if my subscriber doesn’t take up my offer?”.

Well first thing you should do is…relax.

This is totally normal, and what’s more is it presents you with the chance to revisit this offer within your email sequence.

What I mean is, whether they take the offer or they decline it, they are going to be sent down an email sequence that will eventually pitch your core offer.

Now if you’re thinking, “Oh em gee! I don’t want to burn my list and sell, sell, sell!”…

I want you to realize one thing…

While you might be making offers to your subscribers, they are all in line with the content they just consumed.

Therefore it doesn’t feel random, pushy or desperate.

Remember, selling your products, programs or services isn’t bad, it’s merely an opportunity to exchange value for value.

That’s it.

Besides, you can always pad your email sequences with additional helpful and value-packed resources and content that will further help them achieve a particular outcome.

From there, it’s all about…

The Core Offer

This is where everything you’ve created comes to a head and you’re given the chance to introduce your new subscriber to your flagship product, program or service.

Which means this is your chance to change someone’s world, and increase your bottom line.

And it’s where you get to play around, experiment a little bit and have some fun!

*fist pump *

Now the thing with these core offers is you’ve gotta bring your A-Game with them.

That means they have to be hyper-detailed, value-packed and help your customer achieve a specific outcome or result.

So what can you offer?

Pfffft what CAN’T you offer is more like it!

Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning:

  • An online course
  • Tickets to your premium live event
  • High-ticket coaching
  • A certification program
  • A monthly membership community (like we do with Screw U)
  • Done-for-you services
  • Group coaching programs
  • Monthly consulting sessions
  • A software
  • A bootcamp
  • Mentorship
  • A physical product

The choice is yours!

For us? It’s our monthly membership community, Screw U, that teaches you the HOW of online business.


The inside of Screw U, our monthly membership site and also our core offer.

Which means we can use this simple sales funnel over and over again, each time fracturing off one of the courses inside the community and using it to create a sales funnel around.

What’s more is YOU can do this!

You can create sub-topics around your core offer and reverse engineer funnels around them.

That means you would start with your core offer in mind, use that as inspiration for your introductory offer, then figure out what your lead magnet could be based off that, and from there round it out with a read magnet all about the overall topic.

For example, say you had a business that helped people with digestive issues and your core offer was a 8-week digestion and hormone detox program.

You could fracture those different weeks into separate funnels.

So you could create one around detoxing your pantry and fridge, including what to keep and what to throw away…

One could be focused on the different supplements you need to take and why…

Another one could be around the emotional issues that are sure to pop up when detoxing your body…

And so on, and so on.

What’s more is anyone can do this!

It just takes some thought, some prep, and some audience feedback.

Best of all, once they are set up, they run without you having to do anything other than getting eyeballs on your read magnet.

“But what if they don’t opt in…or take up my intro offer…or invest in my core offer?”

Is what I imagine you’re thinking to yourself…

Fortunately, it’s a simple fix!

Capturing Lost Leads and Customers

First things first, if someone doesn’t opt in or doesn’t buy, don’t sweat.

You’re not going to convert errrr’yone and turn them into stark raving fans.

And that’s a good thing!


Because you ONLY want the people who are a perfect fit for you, your business, and what you’re offering.

So if a few slip through the cracks, don’t stress over it.

Instead, here are a few things you can do to follow up with them:

If they don’t opt-in:

Place a Facebook tracking pixel on your read magnet page and retarget people with your lead magnet, giving them another chance to sign up

If they don’t purchase your introductory offer:

Offer them one more chance (for 24 hours) to get your offer…at a higher price.

If they still don’t take it up, have an email in your sequence that asks why and invites them to reply back and let you know.

This will give you amazing insight into where you might be missing the mark in either your communication or your offering.

If they don’t purchase your core offer:

Give them a chance to sign up for a webinar that is related to your overall topic where you will be pitching your core offer again

If they still don’t purchase, or sign up to your webinar:

Send them an email and ask them how you can help them and what kind of content they would like to see you create

This will give you even more insight on the specific topics your audience is struggling with, ultimately providing you with even more inspiration for future funnels.

And that?

Well, that’s just gold.

Not sure what to say in these emails, how to structure them and when to send them out?

Click that “download now” button in the box below and get your hands on every single email I use in our sales funnel.

Fo’ free!

So it’s kind of a no-brainer.

And if you’re ready to take your business to the next level and create some seriously fly sales funnels, grab our mini course, The Perfect Sales Funnel and let Josh show you exactly what to do, and how to do it.

Wanna Steal Our Emails?

Get the EXACT set of emails we use in our sales funnel for FREE & take away all the guesswork!

  • Awesome post! I really like the idea of beginning a funnel with a “Read Magnet”. I will be implementing these steps immediately. Thank you!

  • This opened my eyes to a lot of Qs I had. Love the “read funnels” idea.

  • Jill, fab blog! Smart methodology too here. Asking for feedback is the easiest way to create something that folks want. I use email and also probe with twitter, and through blog comments, to let the truth serum flow freely 😉


    • Awesome strategies, Ryan! And so happy to hear you dug the post 🙂

  • Michael

    Jill awesome blog and insight. I want to ask how you initially get the audience and email list to start the sales funnel?

    • Josh Stanton

      Michael just jumping in here and sorry for the late reply. The traffic comes from a combination of free organic sources like Google and social sharing as well as paid Facebook Ads.

  • clevergirlfinance

    love love love this thanks so much for the valuable information!

  • Finally a format one can follow for a clear strategy. Loving the detailed course too! Thanks!! 🙂

  • Mel Dee

    What an amazing article! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Kyron Eldridge

    What platform you use to create the funnels?

  • Samdan ali

    excellent content! i do have a question though. I want to build sales funnels for local clients, what would be the best platform for building sales funnels? or do you even need a platform?