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When you look to monetize your website, one of the ways you are likely to do this is by setting up a sales funnel for your services and programs. A sales funnel, simply put, is a sequential process that moves your potential clients to their first purchase, and then, after they’ve purchased the first time, offers them pathways to purchase more.

sales-funnelA well-designed sales funnel can mean the difference between success and failure in selling online. If you have a strong sales funnel, you’ll be able to maximize the revenue you make from each purchaser. With this money, you can then easily fund your future products, new initiatives, and keep your business in positive cash flow. Taking the time to develop a strong and effective sales funnel can exponentially increase the value of your business.

Yet, even though sales funnels are vital to online selling success, there still exists some confusion about how to avoid common mistakes.

Here are five of the most common mistakes I see:

#1: Not Split Testing Email Opt-Ins

The first step in your sales funnel is likely to be your email capture page. This is the highest leverage step, where small improvements at this level can make a massive difference at the next levels.

For instance, an increase in your optins from 10% to 13% is a 30% increase not just in optins, but, also, for your entire funnel. You’re likely to make 30% more sales if you have 30% more people to follow up with. This means that testing your email capture page to make it as effective as possible is a high leverage step you can do to make a real difference.

#2: Introducing Yourself with a Sales Pitch

When building a sales funnel, it’s wise to start softly and gently. This means focusing on building a relationship with your subscribers, first- with the goal of first gaining attention, and then building credibility and, eventually, trust.

It’s ok to sell a little, just don’t make this the first and foremost focus of your initial interactions. If you would get turned off if someone did this to you, it’s a good bet that your subscribers will be turned off if you do this to them.

#3: Assuming Leads Are Worthless If They Don’t Buy Right Away

If someone doesn’t buy your $47 product today, that doesn’t mean they won’t buy your $2,500 workshop a year from now.

Leads don’t always convert linearly. Don’t discount your leads simply because they don’t buy right away.

We all have stories of people who have been on our list for years and never purchase, and stories of people who heard of us once and invested in our highest level program.

So keep the focus on nurturing your leads, even when they don’t buy right away.

#4: Wasting “Buying Mode” Sells

The best way to maximize your sales is to offer an upsell or cross-sell immediately after purchase. Right after someone buys something, they’re much more likely to impulsively buy another item, especially if their first purchase was a product.

Using cross-sells or up-sells can be very profitable. Your standard conversion rate on your $297 product might be 1%. But if you offer a $40 discount to people who just bought your $47 product, a good 30% of them might take you up on it. That’s a conversion rate you’ll never see anywhere else.

Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the “buying mode” phenomenon by adding cross-sells and up-sells to the “Thank You” pages people see after making a purchase.

#5: A limited range of prices

When building your funnel, don’t just focus on low-end price tags. There are people in your market who might gladly pay $2,000 or even $5,000 for one of your offerings, if only you just went ahead and offered it.

Give people the opportunity to spend money with you. Start your business by producing the low price point products, but make sure to eventually graduate to high price point products.

A good next step would be to review your existing (or planned) sales funnel and see if you’re doing all you can to maximize its profitability. If not, then start by split-testing optins, and work through each of these steps, one at a time.

The end result? A highly optimized sales funnel and more profit for you.