How To Setup A Simple 5-Step Online Sales Funnel

How to Sales Funnel

Within the last few months, many businesses shifted to online marketing because of COVID-19. This left many organizations and small businesses scrambling to come up with effective digital marketing strategies, especially those companies that relied predominantly on sales through their brick-and-mortar stores. 

While restaurants, retail stores, and so many others are starting to open again, the lesson learned over the last several months is clear – online marketing must be a part of your overall business strategy.

For some, this can be intimidating because online marketing is a new venture. There seems to be an endless number of tools, channels, and platforms that one can ascribe to.

To this crowd, I would say don’t worry – online marketing isn’t as complicated as it seems.

In fact, there are only five simple steps that you need to take to get started with your online marketing and have it work for you.

The 5 Steps

  1. Craft a one-liner
  2. Wireframe your website
  3. Create a lead-generator
  4. Create a sales email sequence
  5. Create a nurture email sequence

marketing made simple book

These five steps are the marketing framework written by Donald Miller and Dr. J.J. Peterson in the book Marketing Made Simple. Together, they form what we typically call a marketing/sales funnel.

While you can get a detailed description of each step in the book, I’m simply going to highlight each step, explain why you need the particular step in online marketing, and provide you with a practical to-do item that you can implement immediately.

Ready to jumpstart your online marketing? Let’s dive in.

Step 1: The One-Liner

Your one-liner is a simple 2-3 sentences that describe the problem you help customers solve, your solution to that problem (i.e. your product/service), and the results that a customer can expect after doing business with you.

The reason we begin with a one-liner is because of its versatility. You can apply your one-liner to your email signature, business cards, direct mail assets, website, and a whole host of other assets. It’s not limited to just your online marketing assets.

The purpose of the one-liner is simple – pique interest in your brand – and that’s done by beginning with the problem you solve for customers. Only if you can pique your potential customer’s interest in your brand, then they will move onto the next part of the funnel. So be customer-centric when crafting your one-liner!

Action Step – Craft your one-liner by stating the problem your customer faces, followed by the solution you offer, and the results that your customer can expect after doing business with you.

Step 2: Wireframe Your Website

The next step in your sales funnel is to design and develop a website that works. I know that sounds a little intimidating but you can always outsource your website needs to an agency if you’re not up for it. 

Your website needs to be as simple and clear as possible and it’s meant to be a sales tool. Too many business owners view their website as static when it really should be generating more money for you. The less links the better, and again, the more you talk about the problems your customers face and your solution, the better.

The reason we include a website in the sales funnel is because it’s likely that it will be the primary place people do business with you online. Once you pique their interest with your one-liner, we then want to give people a little more information and move them a step closer towards a sale.

Action Step – While designing your website, you’re going to need to think through your primary call-to-action (CTA). That is what action must potential customers take to do business with you. This could be something simple like “purchase” or something more complex like “get an estimate”. Whatever is relevant to your business. Think through your primary CTA and it will make your web design process a little less stressful once you get to it.

Step 3: Create A Lead-Generator

Here is where we get to see the sales funnel in a more traditional sense. Your lead-generator is a downloadable asset that a potential customer can receive in exchange for their email address. I’m sure you’ve seen tons of examples across the internet.

I typically like to create a simple PDF or short video that potential customers can receive if they give me their email address. Some ideas for a lead-generator could be an interview with an industry expert, a checklist, or a how-to video. It’s entirely up to you and what you think will provide value to your target audience.

The purpose of the lead-generator is to obtain a potential customer’s contact information. More than likely, if someone downloads your lead-generator, they’re a warm prospect and potentially interested in your product/service. Exchanging an email address for your lead-generator is one more step in the sales funnel and one step closer to a purchase.

Action Step – Brainstorm a piece of content that would be valuable to your target audience and that would entice them to give you their email address. It doesn’t have to be complex, but it does need to be relevant and valuable to the people you’re trying to sell to.

Step 4: Create A Sales Email Sequence

We now get into the automation part of our sales funnel. Your sales email sequence is 5-7 emails that are sent to your potential customer once they download your lead-generator. These can be sent a few days apart or a few weeks apart depending on the nature of your industry.

Your first email should be geared toward delivering the lead-generator you promised and nothing more – keep it simple. Then you should have the next several emails in your sequence focus on testimonials and overcoming common objections to buying your product/service. The final email in the sales sequence should be a direct sell email. Don’t be shy – if someone downloaded your lead-generator, they want what you have. They just need a little convincing.

It’s at this point we begin to see potential customers become actual customers. The reason we have an automated sales sequence is so that you don’t get burnt out trying to always sell to your prospects – you can put all of this on autopilot. And the goal of your sales sequence is self-explanatory – close the deal!

Action Step – Think of the 5-7 emails that you want in your sales sequence (including delivering the lead-generator, testimonials, overcoming objections, and a direct sales email) and write them. They don’t need to be long or complex – in fact, the simpler the better. However, the golden rule is that they must be relevant and interesting.

Step 5: Create A Nurture Email Sequence

Your nurture email sequence is anywhere from 6-52 emails depending on how motivated and gung-ho you are about email marketing. These emails are typically sent out on a weekly basis and can be anything from tips, company/industry news, how-to’s, or anything else you think would be valuable to your target audience.

The reason we have a nurture sequence is because even after downloading your lead-generator and going through your sales sequence, some customers may not be ready to buy. That’s okay. However, we don’t want to lose these potential customers. So, you continually send them emails to remind them that your product/service is the solution to their problem.

It’s okay if people don’t even read or open your email. This sequence is still valuable because your brand name is appearing in their email inbox, which is often on their mobile device. So, prospects are continually reminded that your company exists.

Once potential customers go through this nurturing sequence you can place them in another nurture sequence or transfer them to another sales sequence. Ensuring that you’re not losing anyone in your funnel and business is top-of-mind.

Action Step – Determine the theme for your nurture email sequence. Will you be sending out tips related to your industry? How-to’s? Company news? Or perhaps something else. You decide.


There you have it! A simple 5-step sales funnel that you could implement yourself or with your team.

If transitioning to online marketing has been a challenge, then give this simple framework a try. I promise you’ll see better results than having no online strategy at all. 

And if you’re interested in learning more about the company that created this sales funnel framework, check out They also have live workshops and private workshops to educate you and your team on their simple framework.

If you’d like to have a sales funnel created for your business following the StoryBrand principles, then reach out to our team at Agency Boon.

Contact Agency Boon

Here’s to your sales funnel and business growth.

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