In March of last year, I released an in-depth article on LinkedIn’s Pulse called “About That Hole In Your Sales Funnel” offering very sound, tested, and very specific advice that people face in sales.
Now that 2015 has rolled around, I’ve decided to revisit that article and update it to reflect some changes I’ve made between last year, and now.
I hope you enjoy it.
If you know anyone that can benefit from the information shared, please share with them, and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.
They had paid a great deal of money to another company for a nice website and an even more expensive marketing solution that was great at getting traffic, but not much else.
Fixing the problem took weeks of analysis, dissecting the entire front end of their sales and marketing funnels, weeding out “bad” traffic, finding responsive markets, optimizing their sales content, and rebuilding a sales funnel and marketing campaigns that turned their new “good” traffic into leads and sales so their business can begin making money.
One would think that having a sales funnel that converts would be among one of the top priorities of any entrepreneur or small business owner, however this is one of the most common problems I face.
In fact, most of my consulting calls are potential clients complaining about low conversions.
So what I’m going to do is lay out a few concepts you should consider before you create a sales funnel of any kind, or if you are having conversion problems with your existing funnel, steps you can take to identify where the problem is and how to fix it.
So, about that hole in your sales funnel…
The concept of a sales funnel is really very simple, no matter how complicated the design pattern. It doesn’t matter if you are blogging and tapping into the search engines, running email campaigns or solo ads, using pay per click, using online squeeze pages, passing out flyers, running radio and television ads…
It doesn’t even matter what type of marketing you use, (online, offline, mobile, network marketing, whatever). Forget all about up sales, down sales, cross sales and anything else to do with “structure” for a moment because it just doesn’t matter.
A sales funnel, no matter what pattern or form it might come in, will always comprise of three basic steps.
- A source of traffic. This should effectively be multiple sources of traffic like classified ads, solo ads, social media, and so on.
- A traffic destination with your “hook,” followed by some action to take, that captures customer information like opt in, fill out a form, click a button, etc.
- A conversion or sales destination. This is where you close the sale, offer up sales, bonuses, etc.
In my inner circle of marketers we call it the “3 Cs of Marketing,” that is we create traffic, capture leads, and convert sales.
All of it is driven by daily marketing. A sales funnel is the engine that sits under the hood of your business, and daily marketing is the gas it uses to go.
So what happens when it breaks down or doesn’t work? Ultimately you stop making money, which, for an entrepreneur or small business owner can be a financial nightmare, because the status quo reaction of throwing money at a broken funnel is not a solution.
Most people who seek me out for consulting usually have the idea that if they spent more money in marketing, or if they ran more ads, or offered more bonuses, or any number of “more” ideas will work, and the truth is that if you don’t fix your funnel you won’t fix your business.
How to identify where your funnel is broken.
It needs to be said here that my goal is to help you understand a sales funnel, as well as how to pin-point where your funnel is broken, and fix it. This is something that every entrepreneur and small business owner needs to know, even if they aren’t directly involved in the sales process.
So, you have a product or service to sell, you have a website, you’re marketing daily, (or paying someone to do it) but you’re seeing very little or no results, where do you start to look?
The very first step of analyzing your sales funnel is to track everything. I cannot stress how important it is for you to know exactly where your traffic is coming from and at what point they leave your site.
Once you know where people are entering your site (it may not always be your home page), and where they leave from, it’s easy to locate where a problem is, but before we get to your site, let’s back up to your marketing.
Most marketing has 3 steps as well. There is the headline or subject, the body or description, and an action to take (click a link, visit a website, call a number, and so on).
If you are marketing and you aren’t getting the traffic you think you should, the problem is in the marketing itself – in other words, you aren’t connecting with people so they follow through with action.
You can’t always track performance with every type of ad, so I tell all of my clients they should run pay per click ads just to split test and see what works before they sink a lot of money into marketing – you do not want to play the hit and miss game with your marketing budget.
With a pay per click ad you can track the results you get from each aspect of your campaign. You have displays (which is how many times your ad shows up), views (where visitors click on the title to view your ad), and click through rate or CTR, (where someone clicks on your ad to go to your website).
The formula is simple.
- If you have a lot of displays and low views, then your title or subject isn’t attractive or enticing enough to get people to click on your ad and view it.
- If you have a lot of views and low CTR, then the problem is in the body of your ad. It means that people were interested enough to click, but you lost them in the description.
I have to point out that you may have a great description, but a poor call to action – where you tell the person what to do next. You have to tell people what to do. Never leave it up to someone to “figure out” what they have to do to connect with you through your marketing.
It doesn’t have to be difficult either. All it takes is a simple, “click on the link below to find out more” or if you’re offline or the site doesn’t allow links, “copy and paste the URL below to a new browser.”
If you want them to call you or fill out a form say so! You will be surprised at how many people don’t tell their potential customers and clients what to do.
Also, don’t stop with just one ad. Trial and error is a great thing. If you get an ad that has a good response rate, split test it and try and get a great response rate. Then you can take that great ad and put some money behind it.
So you have a great responding marketing going and people are flocking to your site, but still no sales…
It is just as easy to figure out your broken website as it is to figure out your broken marketing, and the formula is almost the same.
If you’re getting a lot of visitors to your site and you aren’t getting any leads, then the problem is with your landing page. Again, make sure that your headlines grab interest, that your body, (whether it’s a video, text, slideshow, etc.) builds curiosity, and you tell people what to do.
Earlier I used the word “hook.” It’s the thing that really stands out and grabs attention. What is that special thing that makes your offer unique or out of the ordinary?
I’ll get into more about how to write sales content in another article, but for right now, remember the goal of your landing page is to build interest, curiosity, and get the person to take some action.
Hint: If you’re unsure about how to do that, remember your great converting ad, and make your landing page a longer version of your ad; except instead of a ‘more information’ link for example, you can try connecting your call to action with an offer; give them something in exchange for their action.
Now, if you are getting a lot of leads (calls, people opting in to your list, filling out forms, and so on), but not getting any conversions to sales, then the problem is your sales content.
The idea is to close the sale. Potential customers already know what you’re offering, they are interested in finding out more and they are checking you out. The job of sales content is close the sale and it’s all about value, or perceived value.
What is your value proposition? Are you closing your leads after selling them?
When I say closing them, I mean, is there a transition when you go from selling them (your value proposition) to asking for the sale?
Again, most people simply don’t ask for the sale. They will list all of the features and just have a buy button or an order form and assume that people know what to do, instead of saying “click on the button below and buy now,” or “order now to continue,” or some sort of closing transition.
Face to face it might be something like, ‘okay, do you have any more questions?‘ if they say ‘no’ then ‘Alright, let’s sit down, go over some numbers and we can get started. How are you paying today?‘
Closing is a process, now let me back up a bit.
Value proposition – that is why someone would want to buy from you. What makes you unique, what makes you stand out?
When you’re dealing face to face or over the phone, or any means of direct communication (email, chat, etc.) remember that people buy from people. You are going to be the one to make yourself stand out.
For me it’s simple. I tell people straight up, you want to get this from me because I am the best at what I do and nobody else will give you the detail and attention you need. Proof of that is when you called. You didn’t get tossed to a machine or an answering service… it’s because I care about people and you’re not just purchasing a product or service, you’re purchasing me and all that I can offer you.
In my case it’s absolutely true. Your value proposition might be different, but the goal is to build their confidence.
When it’s something like an online purchase the same thing applies, so having a lot of reviews builds purchasing confidence.
Now for your product or service, and I’m going to explain it this way.
“Nobody who ever bought a drill, wanted to buy a drill; they wanted to make a hole.”
Most people, when they have a product talk about all of the FEATURES of their product – quality of the bits, RPM’s, etc. and most people don’t care about that.
What they care about is whether or not what they’re buying will meet their needs.
Think of two different branding on the same model drill sets. One say’s “Deluxe Grip 1200 xBrand Drill” and goes on about speeds, types of bits and so on.
The other says “xBrand – The Fastest Easiest Way To Get the Job Done’ then it goes on about how easy it is to use, how much faster it is than any other drill, how safe it is for home use, and so on.
Which would you buy? This was an actual marketing test that was done. More than 80% of people bought the latter. Same drill, same price. One talked about the features, the other talked about the benefits.
Focus on what your customers needs are, not what you think they want. In many cases they are different.
I know this was a pretty long article and it is my hope that you understand better the idea of a sales funnel and where to look to plug the hole in one, and that you have a better idea of what needs to be in place when creating your next funnel.
The tips I’ve given here may add a bit of time to your marketing, especially with split testing for better results, however the trade off in having more effective marketing will save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you liked this article, please like and share, and leave a comment below. I’d like to know your thoughts and answer any questions you may have.
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