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Online Sales Funnel Stages: Definition and Process inside

Online Sales Funnel Stages
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Understand the online sales funnel stages is really important when we build a sales funnel.

With each customization and optimization, you make per stage, you can increase your funnel’s overall conversion rate. Although each organization will have different funnel stages, overall, that’s the journey your prospect will go through.

Today, I’m going to show you a model of the online funnel stages that I usually used.

Now, let get started!

What Is Sales Funnel Stages?

Sales Funnel Stages is the phase of the sales funnel. Each funnel has more stages, each stage has two main goals (except the back-end funnel):

  1. Provide an offer for potential customers (or customers) to make money or build a relationship
  2. Warm-up them and also a bridge to lead customers to the next stage.

Why Sales Funnel Stages Important?

Sales funnel stages important because it describes the customer journey. This means marketers could offer exactly what potential customers want to build a relationship and make money.

People come to you will go through the process:

Unaware => Problem Aware => Solution Aware => Product Aware => Most Aware

Understand the sales funnel stages means you understand people in each stage, so you can create a sales message and offer suitable for them.

Traffic Temperature

1. Hot Traffic

Hot Traffic is people who already know who you are, the product you sell. They may be subscribers in your email list, followers on Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram.

For these people, the rate of closing successful orders is very high. It would help if you communicated with them like friends, and you can fully recommend products to them easily.

2. Warm Traffic

Warm Traffic is people who aware of other solutions to solve their problem. But they don’t know you, your product, and don’t understand how you can help them.

They are following your competitors or people who are related to your niche. In this case, you could use Facebook Ads, Shoutout, or Solo Ads to target them. It would help if you made them aware of your solution to their problem.

3. Cold Traffic

Cold Traffic is people who have a problem but don’t know anything about you. They don’t know the product you sell and do they should trust you or not.

People who watch your video on Youtube click on your ads and read your blog from somewhere. Anyway, it’s hard to convert them. If you want to grow, you should learn how to tap into cold traffic and move them from cold to warm and become hot traffic.

After determining traffic temperature, you will understand how to communicate with them in each sales funnel stage.

Best Practice

Depends on your products, services, and goals. The sales funnel stages are different. However, it will have the following 5 main stages.

online sales funnel stages

1. Traffic​

The first thing you need to focus on is traffic. In fact, not all traffic is created equal and not good at all. Your goal here is to target your specific audience and drive them into the funnel. Each stage in the sales funnel will have a unique task, and it is closely related to each other. After all, what you want are conversions and profits. 

To do this, you need to identify some of the following:

  • Who is your dream customer?
  • Where are they hang out on the internet? (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, Forum,…)
  • What are their problems?
  • Can your product (bait) solve that problem?
  • Does the price reasonable, and do they have money to pay for it?

I know it’s really boring to do, but what if people came to your site, watched videos, read articles, etc. They love the idea, the product you bring, however, they haven’t enough money to buy? 

It always happens, and you cannot control it 100%. You only try to increase the number of potential customers to the highest possible through content creation and ad optimization.

And to do this, you need to know “Who you want to serve” who will be watching your content.

2. Lead Capture – Bait

The goal is to collect customer information and filter the right audience. Bait or lead magnet can be either free or low cost. Bait is a product at the lower tiers of the value ladder. However, it’s essential to help your customers stay with you. So if your lead magnet useless or bad, you’re failing.

lead generation funnel icon

Your lead magnet should have:

  • Make potential customers curious, interested, and valuable enough for them to provide information (email, phone number, …) or pay a small fee with a low risk to get.
  • Despite the content, start with a low price or FREE. But it must solve their problem and be satisfied with the promise you made to them.
  • What they receive must have a higher value than the amount of money they spend.
  • Related to the next products. (For example, if you sell a book for $7 after the customer read it, they may not understand. Now, you can offer them the training courses. Next, selling the software to help them make it easier and finally introducing your done-for-you service.)

Do We Need To Create A Lead Magnet For FREE Or Not?

You should test both because each type will bring different advantages and disadvantages.

FREE: You will have more leads at a low cost. However, it is unlikely that they will buy the next product you sell. Therefore, you will need to sell more products to offset advertising costs.

Low-price: If a person has bought one, they will likely purchase many times. The cost to get the lead will be higher, but you will have:

  • List of paying customers (high-quality lead)
  • Offsetting the cost of advertising and receive 100% profitable for the next product. 

In short, The bait will help you attract potential customers to join you at a low cost and risk to start, and from there will be more involved. 

When you use free content as bait, be sure to sell additional low-priced products soon afterward or shortly to recover advertising costs. 

In case you use a low-price product in the first place, you can accept break-evens or won’t profit to get a quality list and then introduce more products to customers.

(Note: If customers do not buy or receive gifts from you, make sure they can’t see your higher products prices )

3. Core Offer

This is the main product that makes up your brand with higher value, bringing about the primary revenue. Core offers are in the middle of the value ladder, and this is what you need to focus on.

sales-funnel stages-core-offer

You can have many sales funnels offering different products. But ultimately, it needs to focus on the core product. Because each time, you can use different bait, a different lead magnet to suit the market. Also, not everyone is willing to pay your highest price. So please focus on the main product because it’s your core competency, what you do best compared to your competition, which creates your brand when people mention it.


  • The core product may also be a bait product.
  • In case it does not bring the brand, the core product is the best selling product and brings the most profit.
  • Each step on the value ladder can also be a “mini-funnel” sales funnel in a large sales funnel.

4. Up-Sell Or Down-Sell​

The product sold together helps you increase the card value. Upsell or down-sell pages will usually appear after the customer made a purchase.

Usually, the upsell offers have:

  • Discount when buying more quantities ( $20/T-shirt or $49/ 3 x T-shirt)
  • Custom version or a variation of the original product or service (if you are selling the book, you can offer them an audio version)
  • An offer to increase subscription time for a reasonable price ($29/month or 290 annual)
  • Additional products (cross-selling)
infusionsoft price - sales funnel software
Keap – Infusionsoft pricing page

If they do not eventually receive the offer, consider sending them a lower risk proposal.

Examples of down-sell include:

  • Another payment plan for the high-price product ($997 or $297 x 4 payment)
  • A smaller, cheaper version. (if they don’t buy the hardcover book, offer them the pdf version)
  • Limited trial period and discounts. (Most software company has a trial program or discounts in the first month)
Knowledge Broker Blueprint Pricing page

In both cases, the idea is to make a great opportunity for selling- and provide the exact value your potential customers are looking for at present.

Pro tip: In the sales funnel, don’t up-sell (and down-sell) more than 3 times. If you think to upsell as much as possible is better, you’re wrong. You could have a higher revenue. But you have caused the customer to have a bad experience and lost the opportunity for the next time.

5. Back-End Offer​

The highest price product or service that customers can use to solve problems in their lives. We have now clarified that your ultimate goal is to connect each of your mini funnels to create a complete sales funnel. 

Selling high-value products is not easy; it requires time and trust. To do this, you need to invest in the lower-level product to make your customers happy.

In fact, there’s no guarantee that your customers will move on to the next level of value once they have experienced everything you have to offer at the current stage. It’s tough!

(They may leave after receiving everything you provide at a specific value.)

sales funnel stages back-end offer could help you increase your revenue

It would be best to convince them that they would get massive value from the next highest level of your value ladder.

Note: At this point, customers will be in a state of confusion. They have received nearly full value from the previous stage of the value ladder. However, they’re not ready to go to the next step to the higher ladder. So instead of aggressively promoting your more valuable offer, you’ll want to keep them engaged with your brand. 

Basically, this involves doing whatever you can to continue providing value to them after they have purchased a specific product or service.

This means:

  • Provide personalized content in their preferred format, allowing them to make the most of the product or service they are currently using.
  • Provide high-quality customer service and support – from troubleshooting to the product guide you provide
  • If you can prove that your main concern is to provide value to your customers, they will be more likely to believe that the high-ticket offer is worth and reasonable even after giving you money.

Other Resources

Key logo funnel secrets


Key Nguyen

Key is the brainchild behind You'll often find him analyzing conversion rates, tweaking landing pages, and exploring new marketing automation software. He loves to write about sales funnel building and is always tinkering with the latest conversion optimization techniques!

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