Types of Funnels—A Versatile Tool for eCommerce

Updated · Mar 04, 2023

Sales funnels are a great way to increase your sales and conversions.

But there are different types of sales funnels, and some of themare more effective for certain businesses than others.

In this blog post, we'll discuss a few different types of funnels and how you can use them.

What Is a Funnel?

Designed to direct potential customers down a particular path, funnels help businesses to more effectively engage with and target their intended audience

Typically made up of several stages or steps, the funnel helps to nudge users along by providing them with incentives such as discounts, offers, or additional content at various points along their journey. 

While this can increase the number of conversions and ultimately drive sales, it is important for marketers to be careful not to lose sight of what is most important: engaging with their customers in a meaningful way.

After all, at its core, marketing is about building relationships and creating lasting connections with customers. Thus, in order for marketing funnels to be truly effective, it must be built with this goal in mind.

Note that funnels are essentially “plans” that are either followed through the use of different tools, like landing pages, or are put together in automation software designed for that specific purpose.

As you read about each one below, remember that you can always adapt and modify them to suit your needs.

Sales Letter Funnel

A sales letter is a classic tool for direct marketing used to generate sales leads. 

t’s a letter that advertises a product, and includes an order form so the reader can order what’s being advertised.

Before the internet, a sales letter would need to be sent in the post. Nowadays, the internet and funnels marketing makes it much easier to reach people.

A sales letter funnel has the sales letter as the first part of the funnel, along with supporting info like testimonials, before having a product page or order form as the next part. 

Membership Funnel

A membership funnel exists with the purpose of trying to persuade someone to sign up for a paid membership. 

It’s made up of three main parts.

First, the presentation of a free trial, normally for a week or month. In order to get this, the user must enter their information, and possibly their credit card.

Be careful though, asking for billing info puts many potential users off. 

The second part of this conversion funnel is after the trial has ended.

Now there is an attempt to get the user to pay for a membership. If they opt-in, the third part of the funnel can be an upsell to a higher tier.

Or they opt out, the third part can be a down-sell to a cheaper membership.

Tripwire Funnel

The tripwire funnel works by presenting an attractive low priced offering to get a user to engage.

Once they’re taken up the smaller offer, the funnel follows up with a bigger offer. If the user converted for the smaller offer, they’re more likely to accept the bigger offer than a brand new lead.

Of course, if they reject the bigger offer, like other types of sales funnels, you can adjust and down-sell into a cheaper option.

It’s all about getting a user with a small investment and trying to find the point at which they’ll invest more.

Free Plus Shipping Funnel

This type of funnel is a bold strategy.

With it, you offer the customer a free gift that includes shipping.

Everyone likes something free. This funnel can work in two ways—either you’re offering a gift to get their information, or the free gift is only redeemable with an additional purchase (upsell).

The free gift should ideally be something related to your niche, and that’s cheap to acquire.

When using this marketing funnel strategy, bulk deal white-labeled items are your best bet, because they can be cheap, and include your branding as advertising.

eBooks are another common free gift, because they can simply be emailed.

Homepage Funnel

A website's homepage is often the first impression a potential customer gets of a business, so it's important to make sure that it makes a good one. 

The homepage funnel is effectively building your homepage to direct visitors to convert.

Essentially everything on your home page should lead to a different funnel in order to improve your click-through rate, and hopefully drive sales, or engagement.

Survey Funnel

Building on the last point, survey funnels can be used as a point of first contact in your funnel system marketing.

A survey funnel is a survey that will allow you to gather valuable data on visitors (which is useful on its own) and then use it to direct them to another funnel that’s most likely to get them to answer a call to action.

It should be clear by now that to get the most out of funnels, they should be used together.

Effectively building a toolset of funnels will let you create a complete path to lead your visitors down.

Lead Magnet Funnel

This funnel is similar to the “tripwire” and “free plus shipping” funnels, however, its purpose isn’t to get a sale.

Instead, it’s part of a long-term funnel advertising campaign. Its aim is to get a visitor to share their contact information, and so become a “lead” that you can market to more directly later, through things like email automation.

This funnel normally uses an “ethical bribe” to get this free info.

The bribe can either be a free gift, or even a coupon or discount for your service or that of one of your partners.

Cancellation Funnel

The cancellation funnel is basically a more in-depth version of the final part of the membership funnel.

This funnel can be brought into action when a user is trying to cancel a membership or even an order.

This type of funnel should primarily aim to get the user to state why they are canceling, and then attempt to change their mind, either through a down-sell, or buy advertising upcoming features.

Be very careful though. Always allow the user to opt-out of this one.

A frustrating cancellation process could alienate a customer forever.

Webinar Funnel 

This funnel is time-sensitive.

Its purpose is to get users to sign up for a webinar, and then attend it. This funnel will play out in the run-up to a webinar.

It should mostly be targeted at existing leads and can take the form of gentle emails counting down to the webinar, and reminding users to book their seats. 

Sales funnel experts suggest introducing a sense of urgency can be given to encourage them to sign up.

Speaking of urgency…

Flash Funnels

Flash funnels, or daily deal funnels, are funnels that center around “flash deals”—limited-time discounts on desirable items. 

Daily deals are a good way to offer your customers value and boost loyalty, but they’re also an excellent way to get customers to regularly visit your site.

Even if they don’t take advantage of the deals, they may see something else.

If not, they’re at least pushing traffic to your site, which is a good signal.

Product Launch Funnel

The final type of advertising funnels we’re looking are product launch funnels. This funnel is used to advertise a new product and generate hype for it.

You can start this one off with a series of ads and emails that lead to a countdown to when the product can be ordered.

This will build anticipation in prospective buyers, and build excitement.

It’ll also create the impression of demand, and make customers more likely to want to buy quickly so they don’t miss anything. 


There you have some examples of various types of funnels.

Remember, as we said, a sales funnel is a plan that either comes together through the use of multiple tools or in a CRM platform designed especially for them.

With that in mind, you can build your own, specific to your needs. You could even end up making an original so good, that it ends up on a future list!

Garan van Rensburg
Garan van Rensburg

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.