How To Grow A Profitable Online Business Using A Relationship Funnel

Your relationship funnel – also known as your sales funnel or sales process – leads prospective customers through their buying journey.

A relationship funnel has four stages: awareness, interest, decision, and action.

It helps an online business to convert their cold traffic into paying customers.

It’s important – and not easy – to build a great funnel. One that helps you identify the right buyer early, and makes buying your product a happy experience.

If you’re about to create your first sales funnel, this post will help you understand the different steps of building a sales funnel.


Serious question.

How strong is your relationship with your leads and customers?

1 being REALLY bad… 😞

10 being SUPER awesome. 😊

Now that you have that number in your head…

I have something that I really want to share with you…

It’s very special.

I normally do not talk about relationship funnels…

… but people who operate a business need to know what a sales funnel is and how it works.

Ready for it?

Let’s do this!

I want to introduce you to a relationship funnel

“Okay, Nate what exactly is a relationship funnel?”

A relationship funnel creates a real and long-term relationship between you and your audience.

This is where the real value happens through education and training.

The sole job of a relationship funnel’s job is to turn strangers (usually from cold traffic), into readers, and then eventually becoming a subscriber… who know, like and trust you!

Your Raving Fans

The purpose of having a relationship funnel in your online business is to deliver value and education to create trust before your subscriber decides to pull out their credit card to buy something from you.

What I love about having a relationship funnel is that is guides cold leads through a sales process and sells your product on autopilot.

How does that sound?

Pretty awesome right?

The core of the funnel is to establish a STRONG relationship with your audience.

We sometimes like to call this our ‘perfect avatar‘.

The Backbone Of The Relationship Funnel Is Automation.

It takes the lead through a process and shows them the ‘right’ message‘, at the right time to sell your product automatically.

Don’t get me wrong here, but sometimes your ‘perfect avatar’ may not buy on the first exposure.

That’s why you have to create a bond (if you will) with your lead so eventually, they will feel comfortable purchasing something from you.

If you can connect with your lead by leveraging a relationship funnel, you will end up at a pretty magical place…

It’s where the unicorns, fairies, and dragons hang out, lol.

The most important thing that you must know when you’re operating your online business at this level is the user experience.

This is why you need to focus on building a preeminent business that distinguishes yourself from your competition.

It’s All About CULT-ure.

In a nutshell…

You’ll want to be viewed as an authority in your space…

… as an expert sort to speak.

Without any kind of trust, most people will not buy from you.

Follow this mindset, and you’ll have some hungry raving fans who cannot wait to buy from you.

Raving fans that will be loyal to you and love you for your value.

Your fans will see you as the expert (per se)…

Their advisor…

This is what you’ll want to aim for.

Use this mindset over and over to operate your business and before you know it, these same raving fans will buy from you, over and over…

Serving Your Customers At The Highest Level

Now that you have earned their trust and attention.

Care about your customers, and they will care back.

This is the exact strategy I’ve used to build my business.

As many of you know, I am all about big-ticket items.

I stopped selling and promoting low-ticket items many moons ago.

This has been the foundation of my online business.

I like to call this, “high-tech, “high-touch”.

It’s how I approach marketing and engage with my customers and prospects.

When I develop relationships, I always look at it from a long-term perspective.

They may not buy now, but you never know if they decide to buy from you later down the line.

Welcome to the world of relationship funnels.

If you want to start building out your relationship funnels and start building a group of people who fall into your ‘perfect’ avatar.

Follow your mindset, your heart, and you will win the hearts of your audience.

I recommend using Click Funnels to build out your sales process.

Get the details here.

I created this type of funnel for people who want to run an online business.

Here are the moving parts that are needed to make this type of funnel to work.


There’s no what if’s or but’s about them.

There are two types of traffic.

Paid with “money” traffic (Facebook ads, Google Adwords)

Paid with “time” traffic (SEO, Social Media, Youtube Marketing).

I generally like to use both types of traffic.  The reason why paid traffic works well is that you get results right away.  The con of having paid traffic is when your paid traffic runs out, it stops overnight.

However, with paid with time traffic, it takes a bit of work and commitment.  When I first started, I didn’t have money so I had to go with organic and SEO traffic.

The whole goal of driving traffic is to catch leads.

Think of yourself as a fisherman.  You’re basically trying to catch all of the fish in the ocean and see what you catch.  In this case, you are looking to see what sticks.


I use this as part of my funnel process because this gets rids of the “tire kickers” and the people who are not interested in your offer.  The goal here is that you want to attract the right people (a.k.a your perfect avatar).

These are the people who matter for your business, product, or service.

These are the SERIOUS people who actually buy your product and want to better themselves.

As I shared earlier in this post, you will want to start with a filter system with a simple blog post or piece of content.   This piece of content can be a blog post like that one you are reading, a social media post or a video on Facebook or YouTube.

From there you’ll want to drive free traffic to your landing page.  This part of the process serves as a filter to filter out the wrong people.

This is why your piece of content should be specific in terms of who you are trying to attract.  Once the person lands on your piece of content, they will know if it’s for them or not.  If they are interested then they will click on the link to go to your landing page and they will view your offer.

If it’s something they desire, they will put themselves on your e-mail list by signing up with their name and e-mail.

So say, you have a blog post it talks about “How to lose weight in 30 days with the Keto diet”.  If they like what they read, then they will move forward with a content upgrade.

A content upgrade would be an ebook.  It would read something like this…

“Download my top 10 grocery shopping list for the best foods you can buy that doesn’t taste bad”.

This offers your visitor extra value.  This attracts those who are really interested in your blog post and want to sign up for your content upgrade.

Here’s the catch

Not everyone will sign up.

Some will read your content, some may land on your page and not read anything.  They may for whatever reason click off your website.


There’s still hope!

You can still re-target these same visitors through a Facebook pixel and show them your content again.  This is where paid traffic comes in where you have a higher chance of getting that same visitor to come back to your content and have them sign up.

Instead of getting them to go to your piece of content, you can take them directly to your free ebook and get them to sign up that way.

Once they are on the inside, they will be taken to a ‘thank you‘ page.

This is where you can take them through another process.

You could interview them on the spot and ask them a series of questions.

  1. How did you hear about us?
  2. What if your product or service?
  3. What would you like to learn in the next 90 days?

This is important because you get to learn more about your audience and how you can better serve them.

Moving forward, you can send your audience relevant content.  Make it special for them and exclusive.  You filter out uncommitted people.

We talked a little bit about free traffic and how you can gain e-mail subscribers by offering a free e-book.

So what do I do with my new lead?

This is one of my favorite parts, and this is why this part of the funnel is important.  Remember your new lead doesn’t know who you are.

This is where you nurture your list and start developing a relationship with your list.

You can set up a sequence of e-mails with Aweber which will go out automatically to your new subscribers.

Think of e-mailing your list like a TV series.  Share your value!

Take the answers you get from the interview and start showing them how to solve their problems. You can provide value by sharing videos, and also feel free to sprinkle your offer within the sequence if they haven’t bought yet.

Which brings me to the next part of the process.

High Ticket Sales!

This is where the high-ticket offers come in.  If a customer purchased from you, more than likely they will purchase from you again.

So let’s say they purchased from you…

This is the beginning of a bigger opportunity.  This is where the upsells comes into play and this is what it looks like.  This is what we also call a value ladder.

So let’s recap a little bit.

First, you need to get Click Funnels.

Create a landing page so that you can start capturing your lead information.

From there, present some type of offer.  This can be a free e-book, free training, and education.  You can also present a front-end offer too.

Have them walk through the process and give them an upsell offer on the back end such as coaching or a high-ticket item of $997 or more.

Establish a relationship by e-mailing your readers regularly using Aweber.  This way you can give them value, and also make offers to them.

It’s your turn!

Did you enjoy this blog post?

Do you use sales funnels?

What kind of results have you got from using them?

Did you get value from this blog post?

If so, please leave your comments below and share this on social media 😊

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20 responses to “How To Grow A Profitable Online Business Using A Relationship Funnel”

  1. Alexandra says:

    Wow, Nate! What an interesting post. Full of so much useful information. I feel like I could learn a lot from this, so I am going to come back and read it again later to really absorb it all. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Betsy says:

    Excellent post about relationship funnels. Terrific ideas for those of us trying to build a relationship with our audience so that we can further connect. Thanks for your post!

  3. When it comes to getting conversions from any funnel, traffic will definitely be a must have. Thus, proper marketing should be done. And good enough, if they are all raving fans, the better!

  4. Amber Myers says:

    This is helpful if you have an online business, that’s for sure. I know the ones I shop at always have great customer service, which is a huge plus for me.

  5. I am very familiar with Clickfunnels and I have a lot of respect for Russell and his team. I would not advise using it for newer bloggers due to the high monthly cost. It is a great solution if you have the budget.

  6. tara pittman says:

    Having good relationships are always good for my website. I know that being honest with them makes them come back to my website.

  7. Corinne says:

    This post is super informative! I work for an online business so this is going to be so helpful!

  8. Joanna says:

    This is all great advice for small business owners who don’t know yet how to nurture client relationships. There is a funnel for everything when it comes to business, and building trust is one of the most important of them all.

  9. Natalia says:

    I’m quite a rookie when it comes to an online business. I find this post really informative and it will take me some time to understand all this information well. 🙂

  10. Beth Deyo says:

    Thanks for making the concept of relationship funnels simple and easy to understand. This is very informative and helpful.

  11. aisasami says:

    I am quite new to funnels, so I have to read up on these a bit more.

  12. Heather says:

    This is very interesting. I never thought of it this way.

  13. Pradnya says:

    Thanks for sharing the link to click funnels. Was looking for something like this for sometime. Will definitely check them out.

  14. Waren Jean Go says:

    These are actually good tips, but with the growing compilation in online business you really have to make something unique. Awesome post btw!

  15. Heidi says:

    I really need this. I think most of my readers are one-time readers who find me through pinterest and don’t have a relationship with my brand.

  16. Sharon says:

    Great tips! I really enjoyed reading it. They’re very informative and resourceful and I agree with many of your pointers. Yes, establishing and taking care of business relationship is important when it comes to driving traffic.

  17. Sigrid Says says:

    hmmm I never thought of it this way. The relationship funnel could even apply to blogging, not just if you have an online store.

  18. Kathryn says:

    Never considered a Relationship Funnel before. Thanks for giving me something to think about as I grow my online business!

  19. Surekha Busa says:

    This is such an interesting post to read and learn. I appreciate that this post is so detail and you really given a thought on this.

  20. Storefortech says:

    Informative post. I never think that building a relationship is an effective way to increase an online business peformance.

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