“It’s important to decide on what types of leads you want at the middle & bottom of your sales funnel.” ~ Chris Knipper, CEO & Inbound Marketing Strategist at Kuno Creative
Marketing funnels… Sales funnels… Website conversion funnels…
If you put these words into the Google search box you’ll find numerous blog posts, infographics, videos, software programs and of course all kinds of free reports and downloadable PDF’s outlaying the importance of having funnels AKA optimized funnels in your business.
And as always, you’ll also find a bunch of articles talking about the “death” of funnels. Nothing new, right?!
Let’s start from scratch…
What Exactly Is A Funnel?
The most common definition goes like this…
From now on we’ll use the noun form of funnel.
So, how does a funnel work in real life?
Say you’re in the kitchen and you’re using a wide-mouth funnel to put the remaining three liters of tomato juice into three one liter bottles. All of the tomato juice is forced through the small hole in the smaller bottles. The end result: 100% of your initial tomato juice is sealed in three bottles. No waste whatsoever.
Now, what happens when you put your prospects, leads and / or customers through your funnel? Do all of them who enter the funnel at the top come out at the bottom?
That would be magical!
Unfortunately, we both know, that’s not the case.
So, where do all these people go? How come they leave your funnel?
Here’s the bitter truth: Your funnel has holes!
Only the folks who qualify make it to the next level. The rest leaves the party.
The Freebie to $97 Product Marketing Funnel
Most of you are familiar with the slogan:
==> Offer a valuable and relevant Freebie to people who visit your website. Don’t let them leave empty-handed.
By now, it’s difficult to find a website that hasn’t incorporated this strategy into their online marketing approach.
The exchange is simple:
You receive something of value (hopefully) and in return you give away your email address and the permission to keep you updated as to what is going on in that particular business or community.
Once this person AKA business has your email address they will most likely put you through an autoresponder or follow-up sequence making sure that you get the “right” information. The goal is to build a long-term relationship based on trust and mutual respect. So far, so good.
And then, somewhere along the line an offer pops up.
It’s a highly relevant product that tackles your problems and promises to relieve your pain. For $97 you get XYZ and you no longer have to stay awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering when Captain Cook is coming to save you.
But what if they don’t buy my $97 product? Did my marketing funnel fail?
Nope, your marketing funnel didn’t fail IF you manage to put these very same people back into another funnel. I’m talking here about a different marketing funnel with a different offer.
They’re not interested in your $97 product?
Do your best to down-sell them to a $47 product.
If on the other hand they want to buy more from you, up-sell them from $97 to a $297 product and put them into another marketing funnel.
Use down-sells, up-sells and cross-sells to move people through your different sales and marketing funnels. These triggers are very powerful.
Deploying the AIDA Model
Now, let’s take our funnel and combine it with the AIDA model to complete the journey of an ice-cold prospect turning into a paying customer.
AIDA stands for:
- Awareness: This is where person XYZ has to become aware of you and the solutions (your products and services) you offer. Of course, this also implies that he/she is aware of his/her problem in the first place.
- Interest: The funnel gets smaller because not everybody will be interested in what it is that you provide. (Those who’re not interested leave your funnel through the side. Remember the holes I mentioned above?)
- Desire: This is where desire comes to play. If you have a good copywriter on board, this is his / her play field.
- Action: Time to sign up for a freebie or purchase a product.
Obviously, you can split the AIDA model into several segments and mix the elements as you choose, but I’m not going to get into that. No need to over-complicate the process at this stage.
So the next question that comes to mind is this:
How Can We Trigger AKA Facilitate Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action?
At the top of the funnel we have awareness.
Here are some of the online marketing weapons you can deploy to facilitate awareness: blogging, social media (organic and paid), podcasting, video marketing, SEO, images, infographics, slideshows, eBooks, Pay-per-click (PPC) etc.
To get the most out of the interest and desire levels of your funnel, you should consider hiring a good copywriter. Crafting click-worthy headlines and creating compelling content is crucial. Same applies to nurturing your leads in a well thought out autoresponder series.
Furthermore, you could deploy webinars, resources such as checklists and swipe files as well as surveys and quizzes to boost desire.
And now: Action.
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where some will take you up on the offer, while others won’t. Congratulations for those who took action. For those who didn’t, find new ways to appeal to them. Be creative. Do whatever it takes to put them back into the loop.
Two Funnel Examples That Work
1. The Amazon Purchase Funnel
- Prospect goes to Amazon and searches for your book title. (This implies you doing an excellent awareness, interest, desire job!)
- Prospect finds and views the book.
- Prospect decides whether to purchase the hardcover or the Kindle version of your book.
- Prospect hits the add to cart button.
- Prospect buys and thus immediately transforms into customer.
2. The iTunes Subscription Funnel
- Prospect sees a tweet about your latest podcast episode.
- The tile catches his attention and he clicks on the link.
- He is taken to the iTunes store.
- Prospect takes a quick listen to see (hear) whether the format and content is appealing to him.
- Prospect loves the story, subscribes and adds your podcast show to his favorite playlist.
- You have a new fan.
The Power of the Funnel Matrix
Your sales and marketing funnels shouldn’t be set in stone.
Be willing to constantly tweak and improve the matrix. Swap between elements. Keep what’s working and get rid of those who parts that aren’t.
There is no one perfect marketing funnel. There is no one perfect sales funnel. There is no one perfect website conversion funnel.
Amazon is always testing and improving their sales funnel. Apple (iTunes) is always looking for new ways to ensure seamless experience across iOS devices.
There is no ‘one size fits all” model. And that’s exactly why you need to be willing to test and experiment.
One thing works for sure: Integration!
Therefore you’ll be well advised to focus on integrated marketing funnels. Use up-sells, down-sells and cross-sells to facilitate a smooth transition between funnels and different funnel levels.
What’s your best performing marketing funnel? What are the key success ingredients of it?