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If you spend any great length of time online in your own industry, the chances are you'll have come across your competitors landing pages – the entry point for prospects into their sales funnel.

Here's a quick and dirty list of 7 types of sales funnel that your competition are using right now  to attract customers into their sales funnel.

  1. The free ebook. This is the oldest one in the sales funnel book (pardon the pun) and its efficiency has dropped off. However, its replacement – the free physical book – works a treat. Of course, usually, the recipient has to pay a minor shipping and handling fee, but usually it's a great deal for the buyer – a physical book has a higher perceived value than an ebook. Want one ready made? Start here
  2. Free consultancy. For many potential customers, they crave the interaction with you or your business to learn how seriously they will be taken, or to create a personal bond with your brand. Often they feel that given a virtual meeting with your team, they may have their problem solved without any further involvement. And that's perfectly okay. But for those that want to take the next step? They'll book you.
  3. Calendar/Event management. The interested party can choose from an online calendar to initiate contact, whether that is by phone or in person. This works better in some industries than others, generally offline businesses.
  4. Webinars. Webinars are a great way to include video in your sales funnel and engage prospects at all levels of the buyer journey. The ability to answer Q&A directly on a webinar makes it a multipurpose tool for your business growth as well as adding immense value to the person attending.
  5. The impulse buy. This style of sales funnel makes use of the loss-leader product to grab an immediate sale and follow it up with the rest of your sales funnel, including up-sell and down-sell offers.
  6. The launch offer. This is where early subscribers are offered a deal for signing up for the “early bird offer”. By taking you up on this offer, the subscriber will get a special deal on your product when it launches, moving them through the sales funnel at a faster pace.
  7. Direct advertising. This is the funnel used in advertising for a direct sale. The funnel is implicit in the ad targeting and is a very direct approach. This works well when the buyer already knows you.

There's no typical sales funnel.

Many are a combination of the above and as always, they require testing on a continual basis to ensure a smart return.

Some work more efficiently than others in certain marketplaces. For example, calendar bookings to view properties work best for offline businesses such as realtors, while free books work best for consultants and coaches looking to sell high-end products.

What ones have you tried?