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How to Build Ethical Sales Funnels

July 20, 20213 min read

“Sales funnel” isn’t a dirty word.

I’ve seen so many marketers speak out against sales funnels as “sleazy” and “inauthentic.”

But the problem isn’t the sales funnel itself. It’s how you’re using it.

At its core, a sales funnel is simply:

A step-by-step process that attracts your ideal audience and moves them through a series of marketing actions toward a conversion.

That’s it.

Now, what you do in each of those steps can make your sales funnel FEEL sleazy and inauthentic.

But it’s not the funnel’s fault. A funnel is simply a process.

And here’s the thing:

No matter what anyone tries to tell you, sales funnels are pretty much the only way to get consistent leads and sales.

Let’s talk it out…

Say you’ve created a free offer. Regardless of whether you collect email addresses before distributing that offer, the people taking you up on it are still entering into your funnel. Your funnel, as it is, is just going to take longer to convert.

The truth is, we’re all in several sales funnels at any given moment. And usually, we don’t even realize it.

Here’s an example of what a funnel might look like:

  1. You create an ad to bring people into your lead magnet landing page.

  2. They enter their email address.

  3. Your welcome email sequence kicks in. This is where you work to build relationships with the people who subscribe to your list. You tell them about you and how you work, offer them even more value, get to know them a bit, and nurture them towards your offer.

  4. You make an offer. Some subscribers will become customers at this point.

  5. You continue to nurture the relationships you’ve built with your subscribers, providing value with every email and only marketing to them once out of every 3–4 value emails you send.

Your other option is hoping that you get referrals and people stumbling upon your offers organically.

Those are also wonderful options, don’t get me wrong, but they take a whole lot longer.

So, why do so many marketers think that “sales funnel” is a dirty word?

My guess is that it’s due to a misunderstanding of what they actually are and how to use them to cultivate relationships instead of using fear or intimidation and false scarcity or urgency sales tactics.

The goal of your sales funnel shouldn’t be to encourage your ideal audience to go against their own judgment, but instead, give them the information and support they need to decide if your solution is the right one for them.

How to Build Ethical Sales Funnels

tips to build ethical sales funnels
  • Ditch the false scarcity and urgency

  • Don’t promise the moon when you can only deliver a rock

  • Keep the process transparent

  • Use honest pricing (none of that “a $45K value, but you can get it for $200 if you sign up within the next 15 seconds” crap)

  • No high-pressure sales tactics

  • Use genuine testimonials and social proof (and, please, no name-dropping for clout)

  • Be honest about the amount of effort required to see results with your solution

I hope this eliminates some of the fear you might have around building sales funnels for your business. Just remember to be honest, transparent, provide value, and focus on building relationships and you’ll be just fine.

When you’re ready to build a sales funnel that you can feel good about, let's talk!

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Jacinda Santora

Jacinda Santora is a marketing consultant who uses marketing psychology to help businesses grow. She knows that research informs strategy informs execution — and nails it all.

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