6 Marketing Funnel Tips
Marketing funnels are all the rage these days. Or at least that’s what it seems. The reality is, marketers have been using them for decades to produce results and skyrocket company profits. They just hadn’t have fancy names back then, we just called it marketing. Or kicking ass.
As a marketing agency with a strong emphasis on ROI driven copywriting, I wanted to peel back the curtain as share a few insider perspectives that you might not have heard before. After all, we have worked with thousands of business owners. Chances are you probably haven’t worked with thousands of copywriters. If you have, and it wasn’t us – I apologize. 😉
Without further ado, let me break down the key steps involved in creating a marketing funnel that resonates with your audience, a birds eye view of the entire customer workflow, and finally a few surprising ways a master copywriter can help ensure your company’s success.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Ground zero for any effective marketing strategy – and especially a marketing funnel – is defining your target audience. The more specific you can be in addressing their needs, the higher your conversion rate. Ideally, you will have a handful of existing ideal clients that you can use to fine tune your approach. Sharing surveys, questionnaires or even asking for feedback on a beta release can all be helpful for gathering research.
A word of caution here, whatever you do – resist the temptation to “guess”! I know it can be tricky if you haven’t officially launched your product yet, but you still have options. For example, you can offer free lead magnets with a few variations that are targeted to different audiences. Which angle and audience had the most downloads? That is a good indication of who your audience really is and what their goals are.
- What are your current challenges with [the area that you cover]?
- What are your current fears and frustrations?
- What are your goals and aspirations?
- What have you done to try to solve your problems/achieve your goals? How well did it work?
2. Build Your Buyer Personas
As with most things, you can’t have a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to sales funnels. You must build different buyer personas to target the various segments of your customers. To accomplish this, you must dig deep and research the motivation of your audience. And yes, I know it can seem terrifying to not try to sell to anyone and everyone who clicks through.
A sale is a sale, right? No. It doesn’t work that way. If your messaging is not completely dialed in to a specific buyer persona, your message will become too “generic” and lack the impact needed to move the needle. Your offer will become another “me too” sales pitch that pushes customers away rather than draw them in. Resist the urge to fit in!
- Why will they buy your product?
- What are the things that influence them into buying a product?
- How are they going to use the product after purchasing it?
- Don’t settle for the answer at face value, always follow-up with “why?” to discover underlying motivation
3. Generate a Traffic Plan
Once you’ve defined your target audience and buyer personas, the next key is generating a traffic plan for your offer. There are a multitude of strategies you can implement, and ultimately having a variety of both paid and organic sources is helpful. This way, you have multiple reference points to analyze what angles are converting the best.
With so many options it’s important to be realistic with how you will be generating traffic for your sales funnel. For example, if you have a technically heavy B2B Saas product, you’ll probably need to be creating white papers that can be used as sponsored content on LinkedIn. Boosting your post on Pinterest will do nothing for you no matter how cheap the CPC rates are. Additionally, how much traffic can you honestly generate organically? Sure you have 5,000 names on your email list, but the average open rate is 2% and they haven’t heard from you in 9 months. All problems are solve-able, but please do yourself a favor and be upfront about them.
To help you brainstorm opportunities for traffic, here are a few suggestions:
- PPC and social media ad campaigns
- Influencer marketing
- Content marketing and guest blogging
- Social media outreach
- Referral and affiliate traffic
4. Build Engagement
Depending on your overall approach, this next section can be optional. If your long term goal is to establish credibility in the market and build a strong foundation for future products and up sells, engaging your audience is a vital step. However, if your offer is based off the credibility of someone else, say a Doctor recognized for his work in a key ingredient of your new supplement, you might not need to build as much trust with your audience. Especially if you are solely focused on driving cold traffic (ads) instead of warming them first. In this scenario, writing out a 2,000 word blog post to seed on Twitter might not the best use of resources.
It all comes down to your individual goals and how you envision your company being represented in the marketplace. Is this a passion project of yours? Or is this just one of the dozens of faceless companies you have scattered all over the interwebs? That being said, if you do want to build an online presence and trust with your audience, you can help educate them about your product and services using the following strategies:
- High quality blog posts and cornerstone content
- Create interesting videos that establish creditability and build trust
- Influencer outreach to request feedback and/or reviews
- Promoting your content on social media platforms
- Email marketing campaigns that take potential clients on a journey
5. Convert Your Leads
Almost there! If the sales funnel has been set-up properly, the audience will cheerfully opt-in to your sales offer. If they haven’t made the leap yet, there can be several reasons why your offer isn’t converting the way you had hoped. This section could be an entire post all to itself so I can’t get into every nuance and detail here. I can, however, invite you to check out the free download we created, 7 Reasons Your Offer Isn’t Working to help get you back in the black.
For our limited space here, I’ll just add in a few tips to help increase your odds of a transaction, here are a few tips:
- Keep forms as simple as possible
- Include plenty of testimonials and customer reviews
- Ensure your payment gateway is easily recognized and safe (SSL preferred)
- Add Google tracking codes, Facebook pixels, and any other tools that will help track audience behavior
- Set-up A/B testing to track your conversion rates (across EVERYTHING – not just the offer itself)
Setting up your funnel and driving traffic is only the beginning when it comes to implementing a successful sales funnel strategy. According to Wordstream, the average conversion rate for a landing page is just 2.35%. Chances are, your audience will not complete a purchase on the first, second or even third time they land on your landing page. This is where re-targeting and a timely email follow-up sequence come in to play. To help convert otherwise hesitant visitors:
- Have a lead magnet visitors can opt-in to as part of an exit pop-up
- Re-target visitors with Facebook and Instagram to reach prospects who abandoned their cart
- If selling a high-ticket offering, consider following up with a payment plan
- Offer a follow-up survey to help uncover objections
Webinar Sales Funnel Diagram Explained
The term “sales funnel” gets thrown around quite a bit. I’ve seen it refer to everything from a 5,000 word research paper to a simple email sequence. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and clueless about all this funnel mumbo jumbo, you’re not alone. As much as 68% of companies have not identified or attempted to measure a sales funnel. In other words, they don’t have a direct path for turning marketing leads into paying customers.
Without a rock solid funnel in place you’re basically flushing money down the toilet. I see it happen over and over again. Would-be clients come knocking on our door complaining that they’re spending $5,000+ on Facebook ads but can’t seem to boost their sales. After a few minutes of digging the problem becomes glaringly obvious, there’s no ROI driven copy on the sales page, no follow-up email sequence to win business from the over 97% who don’t buy on impulse and while data is being collected – it is not being used to re-target effectively. Swosh. Swosh. Swosh.
Part of the problem stems from just flat out overwhelm. Sales funnels can involve an endless grind of moving parts. Many businesses overcomplicate them to try to seem more sophisticated than they are, or just because they think that’s what everybody else is doing. It just doesn’t work that way. The true mark of a superstar marketer is being able to accomplish greater results with less steps. Leave the fluff for your morning latte.
To help eliminate some of the confusion about what exactly a sales funnel is – and how to craft a successful one, I’ve create a handy dandy visual for you. While there a several kinds of funnels you can utilize, I’m using a webinar sales funnel for this example. The goal here is to keep it as dead simple as possible.
Your first step will be defining your traffic source. This can be through inbound marketing, paid traffic, or ideally a combination of both. From there, you will take them to either a landing page or a video sales letter (VSL) page. A well designed lander can do the trick, but a video sales letter gives you significant advantage. According to research by American Writer’s and Artists Inc, 4 out of 5 users spend more time on a company’s page when it includes video content. Also, it is projected that 80% of online traffic will be via video by 2020. Love it or hate it, video is highly effective and here to stay.
From there, thank your subscribers and nurture them along with an email sequence that piques their curiosity, teases results, and ensures they might actually show up for your webinar. The average attendance rate for a webinar is 44% which is great, however, 78% of webinars have less than 50 attendees. Say you’re at the top end – 50 attendees – that’s still just 22 people who show up. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you have to not only build your attendee list but enact some serious hand holding to get them logging in come show time.
Once you’ve launched the webinar, the real magic happens. Your mind is racing with 101 things you might have forgotten and you’re refreshing your Stripe account every 30 seconds. It’s rarely a popping bottles moment, it’s typically more a pepto bismal and vague booking excuse as you question your sanity. Hang in there tiger! It’s common for first launches to fail, for offers to need a few tweaks, and for ad targeting to need overhauls.
If your opt-ins didn’t show, launch a replay email sequence that gets them back in the game and re-invested in your irresistible offer. Sometimes they’re not great customers, other times they’re simply busy and didn’t even realize they missed your webinar. All good, hit them up again. And again. And again.
No matter how you get them through the webinar – once they’ve watched it, it’s showtime for your sales page. It should reinforce the value, create a sense of urgency and weave a narrative of psychological triggers that offer only one logical next step to release the well orchestrated tension – Buy the Offer. Now.
If they buy the offer, awesome! Strike while the “buying” iron is hot and deliver a juicy up sell offer they can’t resist. Thank them for their purchase and unleash a series of indoctrination emails that highlight the value of your offering and eliminate any buyer’s remorse. If they hesitated and didn’t hand over their cold hard cash just yet, no worries. It doesn’t mean NO, it just means they need a little more coaxing. By re-targeting and supplying additional client testimonials, reviews, and case studies, you still have a good chance of converting them.
How a Copywriter Can Help
Once you have the sales funnel process mapped out and a framework established, the real fun begins! Here at The Shift we have worked with hundreds – if not thousands – of clients over the past 15 years. It’s been my experience there can be a bit of confusion to how exactly a copywriter brings value to a project. I mean, you’ve seen the masters transform a company overnight – but how do they do it?
Sure, we craft kick ass sales copy and squeeze out as many conversions as humanly possible, but that’s only scraping the surface. We have a few tricks up our sleeve you might not realize.
Define and Research Your Irresistible Offer
“The best copywriters are the most tenacious researchers. Like miners, they dig, drill, dynamite, and chip until they have carloads of valuable ore.” – Gary Bencivega
I might as well jump into this one first, because I think it is a highly underrated skill. To have a successful project, you must craft an irresistible offer that speaks directly to your ideal audience. Grab their eye balls, draw them in, and convince them to loosen that death grip on their wallet. All while educating and sprinkling in psychological triggers that will compel them to continue scrolling and ultimately hit that big fat “buy now” button.
It is NOT an easy task and getting a “quick rundown” from you regarding what you feel your most attractive sales points are won’t really help either. The harsh reality is that you are too far down the rabbit hole with your business to see it objectively. And that’s OKAY.
Master Copywriters have years of experience knowing how to extract the tiniest bit of information from clients they can spin into a winning sales angle that captivates even the coldest of traffic. And spoiler alert: it might be something you’ve NEVER considered before. This is especially true if you are trying to gain traction in a heavily saturated market. The status quo “me too” marketing you’ve been leaning on isn’t going to move the needle.
That’s where we come in. Buckle up.
Strategize Your Backend Offer
Often we work with clients who have had some success, but their sales are basically one-offs and lucky breaks such as getting mentions on high profile social media accounts or online publications. That all works great – until it doesn’t. You’re then left with stagnant sales and email open rates that look like they’ve fallen off a cliff. Now what?
This is where a direct response copywriter can come in and breathe new life into your offering. They can re-work your funnel, add in additional monetization opportunities and brainstorm up sells that add significant value to your bottom line. The beauty of this process is that we not only focus on what might be currently working for your audience, but what is working for your competitors and industry as a whole. All the stuff you probably don’t have time for. Bottom line: There’s a good chance you are leaving money on the table with your current offer and/or lack of backend offer.
We eat, sleep and breathe marketing. It’s our job to have the finger on the pulse of what’s moving the needle for online sales TODAY. Why not leverage that to bolster your success?
Analyze Audience Data
“When it comes to direct marketing, the most profitable habit of constantly being on the lookout for groups of people (markets) who have demonstrated that they are starving (or, at least hungry) for some particular product or service.” – Gary Halbert
Online marketing in such a data-driven time can be a blessing and a curse. Don’t get me wrong, I love numbers! I geek out nonstop on all the scroll rates, click-through-rates and ROAS I can get a hold of. The flip side of that however, is that all that data can be very confusing. More often than not I’ve seen it create analysis paralysis instead of emboldening a strategy like it should.
As digital marketers, we have driven traffic for both our own companies and others over the years. We can help you interpret the data and define KPI’s that can help dictate what tweaks and adjustments need to be made. For example, if your open rates are low it doesn’t matter how many times your re-work your email content – no one is seeing it. Or likewise, say your open rates are through the roof, but you’re getting zero click throughs.
Breakdowns in results happen at different stages and can help pinpoint very distinct issues with your offering. We can help you identify those breakdowns and strategize how to overcome them.
Strengthen Your Business Model
Master copywriters can be a secret weapon when building your business. In addition to having years of hard-earned business experience ourselves, we’ve also seen first hand what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to a multitude of industries. Also, our work rarely happens in a vacuum. We typically have an impressive assortment of other professionals we can call on that just might end up being instrumental to your company’s success.
In addition to valuable connections, we also have the gift of zero attachment to you or your business. This untethered lens allows us to see both the reality of your current and future business opportunities without any emotional attachment, preconceived notions, or psychological impediments. I cannot stress just how important that last sentence is!
All too often I’ve seen business owners come to us struggling to make an objective work and basically running into a brick wall over and over. They are plum dizzy from all the headaches and need help ASAP. After listening for a bit, it becomes apparent that there are far easier wins they could be pursuing. Once we bring this to their attention it typically unfolds like this. First, they look at us like we sprouted a third eye, then they explain why it won’t work, then they get quiet and admit they had never even thought about it.
We get it! With the frenetic pace of a startup it’s VERY easy to get caught up in only one strategy and develop tunnel vision preventing you from considering other options. That’s why bringing in a set of seasoned copyrighters with a strong entrepreneurial background can make or break not only your project, but your business. Use it to your advantage!
Have a Question?
If you’ve made it this far, I’m hoping you are thinking about your friendly, neighborhood copywriter a bit differently. Whether you are building a marketing funnel, launching a new product, or even a new business, a well crafted brand voice is the key to standing out in a crowded marketplace.
So tell me, what are you working on? What questions about copywriting do you have? Curious if we might be able to get you to your goals more effectively? Let’s chat! Email me here.