What is a sales funnel and why does your podcast need one? It is a process or series of steps that a prospect goes through before they buy. It is called a funnel because as people move through the funnel many won’t go on to the next step. It is wide at the top and narrows at the bottom like a funnel.

Begin With An End In Mind.

One key point when doing a sales funnel is knowing what you are selling. You can’t move people toward something that you don’t know.

“But Ron, I’m not selling anything with my podcast.”

What? Why not? Don’t you want to make money? If so you should read my article on 1000 true fans and get the free guide on how to make money with your podcast. Also, signing up to be a Patreon supporter should be at the bottom of a sales funnel.

I’ve created a quick 1 page PDF that will give 9 Ways to Make Money with Your Podcast.

But even if your podcast is the “Money Is Evil Podcast” and you aren’t trying to make money, you are probably trying to get people to do something. Save the whales, vote, do the macarena. Whatever it is you want people to do something, even if it isn’t giving you money. Whenever you hear me talk about getting people to give you money, you insert take major costly action.

Once you know what you are selling, what action you want your listener to take, then you can design your sales funnel to move people toward that action.

The Traditional Online Sales Funnel.

In the world of internet marketing a traditional sales funnel looks like this:

It’s an oldie but a goodie. There are many variations but if you’ve got nothing, this is a great place to start. Let’s go through each step and talk about how to do them.

Lead Magnet for Email Opt-in.

A good rule of thumb is that in each step you should be promising and delivering value.

You should always give them something in return for taking the action.

A related good rule of thumb is to give them way more value than what you are asking for from them.

When it comes to giving their email address, people are pretty wary. The world is flooded in spam and they don’t want any more. If you ask people for their email you better have a good reason.

The traditional method of doing this is to give them some valuable information for free. Ebooks, free online or email courses, a special video that teaches something, are all examples of “lead magnets”. They are called that because they attract – like a magnet – potential buyers – or leads in the jargon.

So in general what you see is an email opt-in form that says something like “Enter your email address below and we’ll send you a free guide on how to make money with your podcast.”

I should point out that a newsletter is not a lead magnet. Seems like it might be, but it performs very badly. It also isn’t specific enough. What value does a newsletter provide to your listener? To most people is it just license to send them something every month, and that requires a lot of trust from the person you are talking to. A lead magnet will help them solve a specific problem right now.

Automatic Follow Up Emails.

Once someone gives you their email address you need to follow up with them. The first thing to do is deliver the thing you promised. There are a number of ways to do this automatically.

If you are using something like LeadPages to do your opt-ins, they will send your promised lead magnet for you. If you are using an email service like MailChimp, AWeber, or InfusionSoft you can set them up to automatically send the lead magnet as the first follow-up email.

Notice the word first in that last sentence? How much value do you think you need to give someone before they are willing to give you actual money for something? How much do you need to do for them before they trust you enough to invest in whatever you are selling?

The next thing you are going to do for your this listener is to try and convince them to buy your stuff. Before that, we need to build some trust with them. Do that by giving them really good stuff that they find super useful. So useful they want more and more.

You do this via follow up emails. These can be done manually, but automatically is easier and better. Just like sending the lead magnet to them, most email software can send a series of emails automatically for you. You write a series of emails giving people value in each email and set the schedule of when they are sent.

Once you’ve done this for a while and built up some trust, you can ask them to buy your stuff.

Sales Landing Page.

We use the term landing page because in general, you want to send people to a specific page on your website and make your pitch. This is where you make the case a prospect should pay for what you are selling. This case-making can be done in a number of ways, a video, a bunch of text on a page, a webinar, charts, graphs, whatever.

The point is to actually try to get them to trade money for what you are selling. Or take some action you want them to take if you aren’t in it for the money.

What goes on a landing page, or in a sales pitch is WAY beyond the scope of a single article, much less this one. But one thing I will tell you, think in terms of what they will get out of it, not why you need them to buy it.


Somewhere on that sales page – or multiple somewheres – there is going to be a big button that says BUY NOW. This is the goal of all the work and effort you have put into your podcast. Once someone clicks it they are going to immediately be taken somewhere to enter credit card information and get value from you.

Make this process as easy as possible. Lots of people lose the prospect here because they get confused by the checkout process.

Once they buy your stuff, blow them away with the quality and effort you give to make them succeed. Do this and they will come back again and again while singing your praises to all their friends.

All this sales stuff may not seem like much of a podcasting lesson, but it is foundational. By foundational, I mean selling stuff is the base that allows your podcast to last. If you can’t make money with your podcast, you won’t be able to keep it going. This stuff holds up everything else.