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Marketing Funnel vs Sales Funnel With Examples, and Why It Matters (for Your Business)

Let’s get straight to the point: a sales funnel is actually a part of the marketing funnel. They are both parts of the same process and have the same goal.

Marketing Funnel vs Sales Funnel and Where the Difference Lies

The difference between them is that you’d want to use a marketing funnel to strategize about your business processes, but it’s the sales funnel that you’d use on every step of the marketing funnel, in order to get your customers to move to the next stage.

The marketing funnel would include bringing traffic to the table, like running paid ads, SEO, email marketing, etc. The sales funnel would deal only with interest, consideration, and conversion.  

The boundaries between marketing and sales are getting blurred, and that includes concepts of marketing and sales funnels. 

Compare them by looking at these awesome infographics by TrackMaven and ClickFunnels:

What is a Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel describes a customer’s journey with a business.  It maps a process that takes a complete stranger and leads them to make a purchase from the business. The process does not end there – after they’ve bought once, you’d want to get them to buy repeatedly. 

The marketing funnel use is to be a higher-level strategy, a roadmap that helps you plan and guide someone from being unaware about you to a loyal customer of yours. Every stage of it is important, and each must exist and drive people forward, all the way to purchase. 

A Real-Life Marketing Funnel Example Of an E-Commerce Store

Here is how a marketing funnel could look like for an e-commerce store:

  1. A person visits the website.
  2. That person then visits a product page.
  3. They add an item to the cart.
  4. They start a checkout process. 
  5. They purchase the item and turn into a paying customer.
  6. They join the store’s email newsletter, join the store’s social media, receive sale and promotion information and buy again.

A Carpet-Cleaning Business’ Marketing Funnel Example 

Next, here is an example of how a marketing funnel of a carpet-cleaning business could look like:

  1. A person visits the landing page.
  2. They click the “Order” button and submit an order form.
  3. They are contacted back by the business to confirm their order details.
  4. The service picks up their carpet for cleaning, then delivers it back.
  5. The customer subscribes to their monthly email newsletter that shares useful tips and tricks regarding carpet care. (Now they would remember about the service every time the newsletter arrives. There is a good chance they would call the same business when they need carpet cleaning again).

What is a Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a step-by-step process that describes the paths people take in order to buy from you. It’s not a standalone thing though – it is a part of a marketing funnel, 

A sales funnel specifies what landing pages, email sequences, order forms, and so on are used to sell a specific product. 

A Carpet-Cleaning Business’ Sales Funnel Example

Let’s go back to the carpet-cleaning business example from above. The competition is intense in bigger cities, and they need to work hard to stay ahead of the curve. So they could use a sales funnel to acquire leads that would then sell their services to and outpace the competition. 

Here is an example of a simple 3-step funnel they might do:

  1. A dedicated landing page offering a free carpet buying guide.
  2. An opt-in page asking for an email.
  3. The download page, that allows people to download their guide. 

They could also go after a specific segment of their target audience with the following funnel:

  1. A dedicated landing page offering free carpet care tips for pet owners.
  2. An opt-in page asking for an email.
  3. The download page for carpet care tips.

This is how this carpet-cleaning business could form its “own” audience pool. From there, they could market their carpet-cleaning services via email, use retargeting,  cross-sell cleaning products for carpet care, or market their partner’s services that complement their business. 

Bottom Line

If you have a functioning business, you already have a funnel. The steps people take before they buy from you is that funnel. 

But how well it works? If it appeared “by itself”, chances are, not very well. 

A sales funnel made by an expert that knows what they are doing works much more effectively, than a randomly created one. 

And even if you are already killin’ it… There is always room to grow. 

Interested in sales funnels? Check out these 7 Simple Hacks To Get Your Sales Funnel To Convert from a co-founder of ClickFunnels Russell Brunson.

By Natalie Voloshchuk

Natalie Voloshchuk is a freelance content writer & marketer who’s been writing since 2010, creating blog posts, articles & long-form content.

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