Sales Funnel in Classic vs. Affiliate Marketing and Auto-funnel

21 March 2023
Reading: 6 min

A sales process is impossible without a clearly defined strategy. Well, technically possible, if you want to let your budget go down the drain of course. Experienced marketers and affiliates know that a well-designed customer journey through the sales funnel statistically increases conversion rates. In this article, let’s look at how this works and why understanding the sales funnel in your campaign is an essential part of successful marketing.

What’s the vortex…or funnel?

At this point, it is worth pointing out straight away — the sales funnel in classic marketing and affiliate marketing are quite different from each other. However, affiliates should pay attention to the principles of classical marketers in order to be more flexible and skillful in their work. Let’s break down the basic principles of both.

Classic marketing

The sales funnel is a schematic representation of the customer’s journey from the first interaction with a product or service to the transaction. In essence, it is a map by which you build the ideal flow of leads, and can also track the user’s actual actions along the way.

The sales funnel in classical marketing allows forecasting the success of product promotion. It is used to plan a user acquisition campaign, monitor the sales process, identify problems on the customer journey, and identify trends in product interactions at different stages. During campaign planning, the emphasis is also placed on the brand, through which the potential customer is loyal to the advertised product or service in advance. The main goal of the entire funnel-setting process is to ensure a flow of high-quality leads.

Affiliate marketing

In affiliate marketing, the funnel is also used to attract leads and track the user’s journey from the first link to the target action (conversion). However, affiliates focus more on short-term strategies. Broadly speaking, a funnel in affiliate marketing can be described as a combination of offer, creative, and landing page. These are the mandatory elements that hook users and induce them to take action (purchase, register, subscribe, fill out a form, make a deposit, etc.).

Such preparation is less costly in terms of time and resources than extensive strategic planning in classical marketing. In addition, the affiliate relies far less on the name and influence of the brand in his work. He concentrates his efforts on generating the user’s impulse to buy the promoted product here and now, and for the desired targeted action he will soon receive his share.

Sales Funnel in Classic vs. Affiliate Marketing and Auto-funnel

Sales funnel structure

The sales funnel has a distinctive framework, which consists of four elements that are identical to classic marketing and affiliate marketing, but they are implemented slightly differently.

The classic funnel 

It is based on the AIDA model:

  • Awareness — the user learns about the product or service
  • Interest — interest in what is offered, studying its characteristics, comparing it with peers. Information about the product forms the user’s desire to obtain a product or service.
  • Desire — the desire to buy/order/sign up for a trial period. This stage may be stretched due to external factors (lack of money, lack of goods in stock, tight appointment with a specialist, and others).
  • Action — closing the deal.

This is the basic skeleton of the classic funnel and depending on the product you are selling, the funnel can be fleshed out with new elements and change its shape.

Sales Funnel in Classic vs. Affiliate Marketing and Auto-funnel

The affiliate marketing funnel

In affiliate marketing, the structure of the sales funnel and the user’s interaction with the product or service at its stages changes slightly:

  • Awareness — the user sees the creative
  • Interest — transfer to pre-landing or landing page
  • Desire — transfer to a landing page or lead form
  • Action — take a targeted action

The basis remains the same, but the essence changes. While classic marketing is all about competition and multiple options, the purpose of affiliate is to encourage the user to take an impulsive action. No new steps are added to the funnel, sometimes it is even intentionally shortened (for example, if there is no pre-landing page or lead form in the chain of actions).

Sales Funnel in Classic vs. Affiliate Marketing and Auto-funnel

Types of sales funnels in affiliate marketing

As we said above, regardless of having a fixed structure, the funnel can vary depending on the goals of the affiliate campaign, vertical, target audience, and other factors. Here are some examples of types of sales funnels in affiliate marketing:

  1. Creative + landing page: the user navigates to a landing page where they immediately take a targeted action
  2. Creative + pre-landing + landing page: as above, pre-landing is also added
  3. Creative + social networks + warming + landing page: user goes to a page or channel in social networks, where with the help of posts and videos with success stories user is pushed to take a targeted action
  4. Creative + WebView app installation + WebView + push ad: used in the gambling vertical, the user is regularly reminded of bonuses for making a deposit.

The essence of auto-funnel

An autonomous sales funnel is an automatic promotion of clients with the help of trigger messages, from their first visit to the point of purchase.

Auto-funnel promotes all visitors to the site to purchase independently without human resources — whether they are 500 per month, or 5 million. With auto-funnel, when traffic increases, you do not need to hire more employees to work with visitors — everything is done automatically.

Auto-funnel helps to cope with the following tasks:

  • increase revenue per client
  • retain a client
  • increase total revenue
  • reduce costs to acquire clients
  • reduce customer churn
  • optimize advertising costs

Auto-funnel allows you to increase sales without hiring additional human resources. All you need to do is set up trigger messages for auto-funnel, and then they will attract customers on their own. It is usually implemented using specific technical tools such as data tracking, pop-ups, emails, chat trigger messages on the website, etc.

Sales Funnel in Classic vs. Affiliate Marketing and Auto-funnel

Final thoughts

A truly successful affiliate is a real businessman who controls all the processes of his campaigns. And it’s not only about the preparation of the necessary marketing tools but also about building the logistics of user interaction with your product once marketing has been launched. In this case, it’s important to understand the specifics of the affiliate marketing niche, compared to the classic interpretation of the funnel. You can also try to automate the process with an auto-funnel. Good funnel = high-quality leads = happy affiliate.

Have a story to tell about traffic arbitrage?
Become a ZorbasMedia contributor!
Become an author