Attracting and converting customers is an art that not all businesses are good at. Like black and white, it’s easy to differentiate the successful from the unsuccessful.
One has a firm digital marketing strategy that is carefully refined to hit gold, while the other plays the lottery by aimlessly investing in trendy marketing methods that are more reliant on luck than deliberation.
Creating a website, investing in social media marketing and hopping on the SEO frenzy may help you to generate some leads but sometimes it’s difficult to justify your ROI. Without expert knowledge and experience leveraging specialist tools, PPC can be expensive. SEO falls under the same bracket, requiring industry experts to utilise their skills to propel you further up Google’s rankings.
The reality is that a lot of us are going through the motions with our marketing efforts, haphazardly guessing the most effective route based on a good hunch at the time. Expensive overheads, underwhelming results, and an uncertainty of what to do next are signals telling you that the wheels are about to come off.
To add insult to injury, many businesses fail to communicate with their target market correctly, inevitably stifling their conversion rates. This is reflected in a study conducted by Salesforce, where they highlighted that 79% of marketing leads are not converted into sales. Unsurprisingly, 68% of the companies involved here weren’t using the conversion funnels.
Can you see the link here?
More importantly, is this your business?
You need to map out the customer’s journey from beginning to end and understand every part of its process from top to bottom if you want to gain an edge over your competitors and attract more leads.
This is easier to achieve if you have a clear understanding of the conversion funnel.
Also known as the ‘sales funnel,’ this tool is used by successful businesses to map out the customer’s journey. It’s appreciated for its ability to tightly align the floating disconnects of your marketing operations into a compact and effective strategy to deliver sensational results.
An optimised conversion funnel is the linchpin to digital marketing success and we are here to tell you why.
First thing’s first… what are your goals?
If your business doesn’t have clear goals then you don’t know what you’re aiming at. A goal makes your business life exciting, it gives you a clear target to work towards, and it’s something your business can define itself by.
Rational decisions can be made that will align every aspect of your business in achieving this objective. Don’t you think that gives your business more purpose?
Once they’re carved in stone for all employees to see, only then can you start working towards achieving them through the conversion funnel.
A quick overview of the conversion funnel
A conversion funnel is simply a way of visualising the customer’s journey leading up to the sale or purchase. It consists of four stages:
- Attention – the ways that you make customers aware of your brand
- Interest – how you make consumers interested in your product and services
- Desire – how you instil a feeling of desire for them to purchase your product/service
- Action – how you make customers take action
Each stage leads fluidly on to the next, allowing customers to follow a logical pattern that gently guides them from point A to point B. It’s best to view the conversion funnel as a winning formula.
By understanding each of the customer’s journey, it becomes crystal clear how and when to take action and make changes. Let’s explore this further.
The Attention stage
It goes without saying that people need to be aware of your brand before they can make a purchase from you.
This is also referred to as the awareness stage and – you guessed it – it’s all about generating brand awareness to notify your target market of the products and services you offer. Your marketing efforts will build bridges for your target market to cross over and fully immerse themselves in your business.
This stage is top of funnel, and it’s where you begin to draw potential customers into your sphere of influence.
Marketing should be fun, exciting, and experimental… but to many, it’s nothing but a gamble on the spin machines with a bank loan. The rules are simple, if you don’t know your target market then it is a gamble. Do not do it!
Understanding everything there is to know about your target market drastically slashes the odds of failure and choosing to skimp over this part of the process will leave you empty-handed.
So what’s the solution?
Build your very own Customer Avatar.
A Customer Avatar is a detailed profile of your ideal customer. This is an easy process where you map out all of their characteristics. No assumptions are made, just accurate, detailed descriptions of who you are trying to sell to.
The purpose of this exercise is so that you know exactly how you should communicate with them because the reality is that trying to speak everyone’s language in your marketing will reach no-one.
Here are some typical questions that you would ask yourself when creating your avatar:
- What do they want to achieve now and in future?
- What are their priorities?
- What is their job role?
- What are their interests?
- What problems are they looking to solve?
- What’s their financial situation like?
- What platforms are they on? (e.g Facebook, LinkedIn etc)
Taking a vague guess about who you’re selling to and what platforms they operate on is a strategy that will condemn your business to mediocrity. The more you know your target market, the easier marketing becomes.
Targeting the right social media platforms
Thanks to the digital age, people now take refuge in a whole range of platforms that are best suited to their age and interests. This creates a real problem for marketers now that the simpler route of marketing via radio and newspaper is long gone.
Now we have Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Reddit, and many more. You need to understand what platforms your target market is using in order to execute your marketing with greater accuracy.
Snapchat and Instagram are more favoured amongst younger people whilst LinkedIn tends to pull in a more mature audience that are very career oriented.
Facebook has 1.65 billion users per month, giving you access to a tremendous market that is made up of innumerable niches. You need to know exactly who you are targeting to generate effective Facebook lead generation.
How do you achieve this? Your Customer Avatar.
Take a moment to reflect on what platforms you’re targeting. Is it working? Are you getting a good ROI from them? If not, then spend more time understanding your target market with your Customer Avatar.
Different marketing methods
Understanding your target market is only half the battle. The tricky bit is trying to find the most effective form of digital advertising that can fit into your budget. The good news is that the wide variety of choice gives you flexibility – you just have to do your homework.
Figuring out what works best for your business will generate the awareness needed to successfully complete the first stage of the conversion funnel.
Here is an overview of some marketing methods that you can play around with.
PPC is a way of buying visitors onto your website. It’s a system that allows you to put in a bid for a keyword relevant to your business and if successful, your website will immediately be placed at the top of Google’s rankings, making it an excellent tool to generate revenue. Let’s have a look at this more closely.
Say a jeweller enrols in a PPC campaign. They want to rank for ‘luxury watches.’ Here’s how the system would work in very simple terms:
- Keyword: luxury watches
- Cost-per-click: £2
- Budget: £600
Each time someone clicks on their website from Google Ads, the jewellers pays £2. They’ve set a maximum budget of £600, which gives them a total of 300 clicks (2 x 300 = 600). Their lowest luxury watch costs £1,000. Not taking into account profit margins, all it takes is one lead to convert for them to make a profit from their PPC campaign.
Great, easy wins. But what’s the catch?
Keywords can be expensive, especially if they are competitive. Your customers will likely want to compare various suppliers, so it’s worthwhile going beyond the front-end click and building a smart remarketing strategy to create more touchpoints at a lower cost.
You could even argue that this business would be best advised to drive cheap clicks through promoting content and answering common questions. And then, use remarketing to capture the now-interested buyer.
In any case, it’s always advised to get a reputable PPC agency to assess your needs. This is not a game to play yourself unless you want to throw a lot of money away, and leave a lot of money on the table.
Calculating the right PPC budget for your goals is an important part of the process, and by doing so, you can expect a good stream of traffic to land onto your website.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is a form of marketing that is becoming widely adopted due to the number of benefits it has to offer to businesses. To put it simply, SEO is the method behind getting your business to the top of Google’s search results. The whole process is an art, full of debate, and transition. Here are a few stats on its influence:
- SEO is worth nearly $80 billion
- Google has 5.6 billion searches per day
- SEO can lower the cost of lead generation by 61% compared to outbound leads
Say you ran a law firm in London and somebody in the city typed in solicitors into Google. Imagine if your website was on the first page of Google’s results. How many leads do you think you’d get? Maybe too many that you can handle but that’s a favourable situation to be in.
Having your business ranking on the first page for keywords is the golden ticket to lead generation and growth. The only-downside to SEO is that it can take time to see results, so be prepared to invest in the long-term.
SEO is also one of the best ways to generate awareness for your brand. Because of the time it takes to rank organically, you should tie SEO in with other forms of marketing to create brand awareness. As always, if you’re going to sink a year or more into SEO, you would be advised to seek the advice of an accomplished SEO agency with a demonstrable track record.
Email marketing involves sending batches of emails to your target market, advertising your products and services. It takes skill and persuasive copy to generate leads. However, it’s very cost-effective. Some of the benefits include:
- It’s very customizable – you have the freedom to personalise and test your email template in a way that will build a relationship with your target market
- Results are measurable – you can track and measure every aspect of performance to see what works and what doesn’t
- Cheaper than most other forms of marketing – email marketing campaigns can cost as little as £30 per month
- It takes very little time to set up
- It builds brand awareness
If you’re a small business with a modest budget, email marketing will be one of the most effective ways of strengthening your presence since it’s an incredibly cost-effective form of marketing.
In fact, studies show that email is top of the pile when it comes to return on spend, generating $38 for every $1 invested.
The reasoning is pretty simple – email builds relationships, trust, and authority. Not utilising email automation and marketing in 2020 is crazy business.
Social media marketing
If you’re guilty of overlooking the importance of social media marketing then here are some stats to shine a light on its influence:
- 3.5 billion people in the world use social media (Statista)
- On average, 2 hours and 22 minutes per day is spent per person on social media (Global Web Index)
- Social networks are the most influential places where consumers find inspiration for purchases with 37% of them using this channel
- For Gen Z, social media is the preferred go-to product research channel instead of search engines (Global Web Index)
Choosing not to connect with your target market via social media forces your business to spar in the digital arena with one arm tied behind its back. The potential behind this form of marketing is massive.
You will generate awareness, establish authority, create customer loyalty, build stronger customer relations which could all potentially snow your business under a mountain of leads.
Sounds appealing right? Yes, undeniably so but remember that it all begins with your Customer Avatar. Discover what platforms your target market uses, talk to them in their language, and guide them to your website. Some business sectors just do not perform well on social media, so do your research.
The Interest stage
Engagement is what you’ll be striving for here. When people come onto your website, you want them to stay there right? You need to spark interest, deliver value and pull them closer to your brand. Assuming that you’ve attracted the right visitors, they will navigate deeper into your website, progressing closer to closing stages of the conversion funnel.
So how do you do this? Content.
Did you know that on average a customer engages with 3-5 pieces of content before talking to a sales rep? Yes, content is very important and customers have become savvier since the digital explosion.
Think of how much information there is out there and compare it with what’s on your website. What impression will you leave if you have no content to give value to readers? Even worse, what are users going to think of you if your competition has all the answers to their problems and you don’t?
Not very highly.
Content has to be coherent, meaningful, and engaging. This builds rapport and instils trust in your target market, resulting in added prestige to your brand. Apart from this, Google’s ranking system is sorted hierarchically based on what websites offer the most valuable content. But this all becomes much easier once you understand the relationship content has with Google and users.
It’s best to view Google as a problem-solving machine. You have a problem. You type it into Google. You select one of the first websites and you receive information on how to solve that problem.
Now, what happens if this website solves your problem? It gains your trust and you probably spend more time exploring and finding out more about the brand.
This is how you engage your audience. A flimsy website that only outlines your firm’s history, products, and services will not cut it. But conversely, one that is engaging and demands attention will immediately instil trust, spark intrigue and encourage readers to discover more about your unique brand. We live in the digital age and everything revolves around content and value.
How to use content at this stage of the conversion funnel
What are the most popular questions in your industry? What are the most common problems in your niche? Your top priority is to address these issues and craft content in a way that gives your brand authority. You want to position yourself as industry experts.
Write blog posts, create beautifully constructed articles, make videos, and publish incredibly insightful guides that give your audience a better understanding of exactly what your business has to offer.
The best content on the web includes enticing images and important infographics that conceptualize their message. Choosing to skimp over this aspect will leave a gaping hole in your content.
A good copywriter is at the heart of every successful content campaign. Don’t overlook their importance since it only takes a misplaced comma to make you seem incompetent. A proficient one, however, will let your words sing on the page.
Make content actionable
Any form of content without a call-to-action has missed a trick. Offering solutions to your audience is great but you need to lay out the bait first before you can reel in the leads. Call To Actions (CTAs) are important in pushing viewers further down the funnel towards conversion.
Thankfully this is really simple. Include CTAs like sign up forms where viewers have to give you their email address. Or create downloadable guides that are ‘gated’ by requiring your audience to give them your email address. By acquiring all of these emails, you’ve converted them from visitors to leads.
Send them updates on what other helpful pieces of content you have and keep them progressing through the next stage of the conversion funnel. This will maintain a closer connection between you and your leads.
The Desire Stage
Ok, so just to recap, you’ve got the first two stages under your belt. You’ve created attention, or brand awareness, generated traffic, and instilled trust with your target market through your content.
What’s missing here? No profit.
You’ve generated leads but no sales. BUT, we are getting towards the bottom of the funnel now, where the action happens. At this stage, you need to make your brand as appealing as possible.
Use content again but in a different way. Convince your audience that they need your services and that you are the perfect fit. This is when you are allowed to make your content more sales orientated.
Remember, customers will be weighing up the potential risks of doing business with you, so all they need is a nudge in the right direction. Start blowing your own trumpet by demonstrating how you’ve delivered results for clients in the past. The type of content you want to share includes:
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- FAQ page
- Demo video
- Product or solution based webinar
- Free sample
Demonstrate value with evidence and do it again and again. Reiterate your position as industry experts, underline what separates you from your competitors and try to instil positive emotion into readers.
The Action Stage
The final and arguably most important stage, the conversion. This is what separates you from the rest – your ability to convert. So far you’ve ticked all of the right boxes, meaning that the chances are that the customer wants to buy but that doesn’t mean that they will.
This is a delicate process where businesses often fail to hit the bullseye, with many missing the target altogether. Eliminate the pitfalls and make the payment process as painless as possible.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll have dramatically increased the chances of increasing conversions.
Increasing the price via extra shipping costs, taxes or unnecessary fees comes across as a devious way of generating additional funds. Customers will look right through this and cancel the purchase.
Forcing customers to create an account
You’re simply adding another unnecessary barrier before the purchase. The extra effort required to make an account might discourage them and force them to leave elsewhere. Or, they might simply get distracted, leave, and forget about the product. Keep it short and sweet.
Making the checkout process too complicated
Customers want to get in, buy the product, and walk out. Your job is to make this as simple as possible. Many people will choose to leave the supermarket if they see that the queue to the checkouts stretches all the way to the back. Why should it be any different here?
Hiding/obscuring upfront costs
Farcical, unethical, and sneaky. These are only a handful of the potential impressions that you’ll give customers if you choose to hide the upfront costs.
How to optimise your website for conversions
Firstly, you should consider adopting purpose-built marketing funnels to help nurture and guide your potential customers towards the action(s) that you want them to take.
Marketing funnels are far more effective than websites for generating conversions. However, if you’re starting with a website only, then the following advice should be a useful place to start…
Visualise your digital marketing strategy as an actual funnel. What happens if you pour water into it? It escapes through the hole, as intended. For the funnel to be fully effective, it can only have one hole, otherwise, the water escapes, and you’ve lost a substantial amount of liquid.
That’s exactly how you should perceive your digital marketing strategy; remove any potential holes in your plan to make the customer journey as efficient as possible because with every deficiency, you are losing money.
Now as you would expect, you are not going to convert 100% of every person that lands on your page. Instead, understand that there is a small percentage of people that will absolutely purchase from you. Avoiding the common CRO mistakes should be on the top of your agenda.
Here are a few important factors to consider.
The design on each page
First impressions count. A tacky-looking website will only encourage visitors to leave and search for one that looks more professional. Did you know that apparently 75% of consumers will judge a website based on its design?
Remember, your website is your business’s first point of contact with many of your customers. Dress it up in a way that reveals your brand identity whilst accentuating professionalism.
You wouldn’t hire a lawyer that’s dressed like they were on holiday and your website is no different. Look the part.
Website design is an art in itself and it would take an eternity to explore all of its different avenues. A good designer will be able to align your brand personality with what the design of the website should look like.
Nailing this part of the process will do wonders in moving viewers further down the conversion funnel.
Insert a variety of call-to-actions
A CTA is a signpost telling viewers what to do next and without them, they will be floating around your website without any encouragement to make a purchase. No purchase, no profit. Sprinkle CTAs across each page and continuously test what works and what doesn’t.
There isn’t a one-size-fits all solution here. Some can be commanding, such as ‘GET MORE LEADS,’ and some can be more subtle, ‘find out more.’ Keep experimenting and have fun with it. The best way to track performance is through Google Analytics.
Images & infographics
Content without images or infographics is nothing but a barren wasteland of dire emptiness. Big chunky paragraphs with minimal spacing and no visuals will give you a high bounce rate and a wide gaping hole in your conversion funnel.
Eye-catching visuals and detailed infographics on the other hand will keep your readers engaged for longer, encouraging them to soak in as much information as possible. Here are some facts on their importance:
- 90% of information sent to the brain is visual (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- 65% of people are visual learners (Pearson)
- Enhanced recall: studies suggest that people are able to recall 65% of the visual content that they see three days later. Conversely, only 10% of written content could be recalled after it was read
- Content that has colour and visuals in it increases a person’s willingness to read it by 80% (Saurage Research)
Infographics give you the opportunity to convey important information creatively. Test and have fun with the visuals.
Use A/B testing
This is a way of comparing two versions of the same page to see which one performs better. For example, if you’re experimenting with what CTAs you’re using and where’s best to place them, you would use A/B testing to get a crystalized understanding of what performs best.
A/B testing gives you laser focus on the performance of specific elements on your page. This gives you the freedom to refine very specific elements on your page until you find what clicks.
Maximise page load speed
Try competing in a 100m sprint with a heavy backpack on and that’s what it’s like for your website if you haven’t optimised it for speed. A slow website will cripple your conversions and skyrocket your bounce rate. We live in an era where access to information is instantaneous.
As a rule of thumb, your website shouldn’t take longer than 3 seconds to load. Anything longer and visitors will quickly head off somewhere else. Check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how fast your website is. Here it will highlight all of the factors that are pulling your score down.
Below are some of the biggest culprits behind a slow website.
Images that are high-resolution consume a lot of bandwidth when loading. Scaling everything down can drastically improve page load speed.
Too many HTTP requests
An extra advertisement brings a bundle of additional HTTP requests that will slow your page down. Find a balance where you can monetise your high traffic without damaging the user’s experience.
As you can see, the conversion funnel doesn’t have to be over complicated, making it a very clear and simple way of growing your business. Nailing every aspect of the conversion funnel only requires a bit of time and effort.
Once you’ve taken the time to review all of the components, it will suddenly become clear what mistakes you are making, and where they are being made.
Choosing to skimp over its importance will keep you on that hamster wheel, making it incredibly more difficult for your business to grow. However, implementing these principles will help you achieve quantum growth and surpass your competitors.
Remember, it all begins with what goals you set out for your business since every aspect of the conversion funnel will be aligned to working towards them. Poorly defined objectives will lead to an underwhelming performance, and who wants that?
Or alternatively, book in a free strategy call with one of our experts to discover how the conversion funnel can take your business to the next level.