The ‘sales funnel’ is a crucial weapon in your quest to boost your online customer base and you need to create one in order to get the most out of your website. It is effectively a marketing system that leads people through a specific process with the end goal being to make a sale. Here is a brief overview:
- Lead: This is someone who is aware of your business and you have elected to focus on them for a sale. There are different types of leads; for example, a ‘qualified lead’ is someone who is likely to be interested in your product/service. For instance, if you sell golfing equipment, a ‘qualified’ lead is an individual who actively plays golf.
- Prospect: Your goal is to turn a lead into a prospect who is someone that has shown an interest in your products or services. An example of this would be a subscriber to your email newsletter.
- Customer: You should know what a ‘customer’ is by now or else you’re in the wrong business! Again, there are different kinds of customer from someone who makes a single purchase to a repeat customer.
5 Ways To Build Your Sales Funnel
Your aim is to ‘push’ people down the sales funnel so they go through the full process of lead – prospect – customer. It doesn’t need to be a complicated process; simply follow the following 5 steps:
- Landing Page: This is your ‘first impression’ so make it count! A well designed landing page is likely to encourage visitors to at least subscribe to the site. As a result, you end up with the contact information of leads (most likely their email addresses) which is used to market to them.
- The Main Offer: This involves providing prospects with the option to purchase a product or service. In most cases, this means creating a sales page on your website which espouses the benefits of doing business with you.
- The Upsell: Give existing or potential customers the option to ‘upgrade’ a product/service. Fast food restaurants have the all-time classic upsell which is of course the ‘value meal’ where you get fries and a drink with your burger for what appears to be a discount price.
- The Downsize Option: Some of your customers may be on a budget so you need to offer a less expensive option to keep their custom.
- The Follow Up: Your work isn’t done once your prospects have become customers; you need to follow up to ensure they are happy with their purchase. Again, this can be in the form of an email where you ask for feedback. This is a good way to gain repeat customers.
In the end, there are many different ways to create a sales funnel to suit your business and your customer base. Just remember that leads are on top of the funnel and customers are at the bottom. Your goal is to make the journey from point A to point B as smooth and seamless as possible.
You have probably read a lot of articles that explain how to drive traffic to your website but how do you get visitors to land on the exact page you want them to? For most online businesses, this is the home page or landing page and these are the most crucial pages on any website as they provide visitors with a first impression of your business.
Below, we look at 5 simple ways to drive traffic to specific content which should hopefully increase leads, prospects and ultimately, sales.
1 – Add Calls to Action (CTAs)
Too many businesses make the mistake of cluttering their homepage with forms. A better strategy is to add a CTA which contains one of your best offers and quickly steers visitors to the right place. This is a good idea since your homepage is likely to be the most visited page on your entire website.
If your site has a blog (it should), its pages will be among the highest ranking in the search engines. Again, you should look to add CTAs to relevant offers on each blog post page. Finally, use Google Analytics to find out the most popular pages on your site and add CTAs to them as well.
2 – Email Marketing
If you are embarking on an email marketing campaign, make sure the links are to a targeted landing page and NOT your homepage. Email subscribers are already likely to be qualified leads and shouldn’t need a great deal of persuasion in order to convert.
3 – Thank You Page
If a customer has made a purchase, send out a ‘Thank You’ email with a related offer the recipient is likely to be interested in. This will appear to be a ‘helpful’ email rather than a nuisance one that’s trying to make more sales.
4 – Share on Social Media
Send out a link to the page(s) you want to be visited with a targeted message to ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. If it’s a good offer, it should receive a high number of ‘shares’ which could do wonders for a page’s traffic.
5 – Nurture Your Leads
Look to build relationships with leads by sending personalized emails tailored to the recipient’s location in the sales funnel. This is great for credibility and also reduces the time spent trying to qualify your leads.
Once you have adopted the above methods, be sure to track the traffic using tools such as Google Analytics and HubSpot. The data you will gather should help you drive the right people to specific pages on your website.
There is a profound difference between traditional marketing and inbound marketing. While the old method involved commercials, television and adverts designed for a mass audience, the overall return on investment is quite low. In contrast, inbound marketing involves targeted techniques such as social media and content creation. In fact, it is known to bring in a greater level of quality leads than traditional marketing at less than 40% of the cost.
Types Of Inbound Marketing
The entire process begins by creating valuable content that will attract visitors to your website and compel them to make a purchase. Content such as blog posts, images and videos are created to increase traffic. SEO techniques involving targeted keywords are also utilized while pay-per-click advertising is also used. Overall, inbound marketing is a great way to convert leads into customers and a well-managed campaign will appeal to people at every stage of the buying process.
Following Up With Email Marketing
Email marketing has the potential to be the most successful of all inbound marketing methods. When it comes to inbound marketing in general, creating informative content is vital and this is specifically the case when it comes to sending emails. Instead of launching a generic marketing campaign, you need to put more effort into being found by customers. While becoming known on social media is important and SEO helps your search engine ranking, email marketing is a quick and effective way to follow up on all your inbound marketing efforts.
This basically entails the sending of persuasive email messages in order to sell your product/service. You need to time these emails in order to get the greatest level of sales impact by using an auto responder service. It is also important to craft emails for every part of the lead spectrum from new subscribers looking to learn more about your company to those already familiar with what you offer and are on the verge of making a purchase.
An ezine or electronic newsletter is another effective tool because it involves compiling other people’s content rather than writing fresh new material of your own. You can combine this with the advertising of your own products for an effective sales technique.
In essence, following up with email marketing can be done in a number of ways, all of which can be effective when performed correctly. If you want to turn leads into customers and increase your sales, going through the inbound marketing motions is not nearly enough. You need to be determined enough to follow up and persuasive enough to make a compelling pitch. Email marketing is one of the least expensive ways of doing this and following up via email is known to increase revenue by up to 300%!
Landing pages are a fantastic method of capturing leads and customer data when written correctly. A landing page is easy to program and design because it is usually a single page only. Static landing pages are comprised of one set of data which performs a single action. Dynamic landing pages have an almost unlimited amount of data, copy and results. With a dynamic landing page, you can track the results and responses of your system.
Statistics show that most companies utilizing landing pages are lucky to have a 3% conversion rate. In order to increase that figure to 10%+, you need to create organized and concise pages with a clear call to action. This may involve a link to your website or else an online form which gets them to provide an email address. Then you can begin the process of email marketing in earnest.
Tailor Made Landing Pages
Having a single landing page is not good enough. You must have one for every campaign you run such as SEO, email, social media or banner ads. When visitors land on your site, you have to work fast in order to get them to act. The landing page must turn visitors into subscribers or customers or else it has failed. Well-optimized landing pages should be a prerequisite since they increase conversion rate by 700-800%. Have another landing page for visitors that convert in order to keep a strong relationship with the customer. A customer’s likely value increases the longer you keep him engaged with your website.
Whenever you make changes to your landing pages, be sure to test them. Testing tends to fall into four areas:
Strategic: Test your branding, messaging and segmentation strategies here.
Tactics: Testing the timing of the message, the feel and the tone.
Context: Does your message match? Who is the competition?
Miscellaneous: Testing colors, images, texts and layout. These are fairly easy things to test.
Even seemingly minor changes can have a huge impact. For example, DHL experienced a 25% increase in leads when they switched an image of a male with one of a female.
Focus On Pitch
Yes, you need to worry about the pitch even more than the content. Landing pages are designed to capture data, generate leads and make sales so forget about a long and boring press release type page. Begin with a strong headline and a value proposition. Make sure every part of the landing page supports your offer and delivers on what you promise. This is one of the keys to increasing your landing page conversion rate.
Forget about traditional landing page strategies. If you want to increase the rate of conversion, ignore ‘normal’ practice because this results in a derisory 3% conversion rate and your business will not thrive on that!
Frankly, we are surprised it has taken so long given the popularity of social media marketing but Facebook has finally released its call-to-action feature. It is an entirely new method of communicating with your page community and it offers seven action buttons:
- Book Now: If you have a webinar or event in the works and would like your community on Facebook to attend, you should add this button to your company page.
- Contact Us: Now your community has a quick and easy way to get in touch with your company in order to ask for more information or tell you their concerns about a product/service.
- Use App: Apps are incredibly popular so this button is invaluable as it allows your audience to try out any app you happen to have.
- Play Game: While most companies won’t need this button, it is handy for companies in the game development industry.
- Shop Now: If you have ever dreamed of getting your Facebook page members to the purchase page on your website then you will love this button.
- Sign Up: This is a great way to get customers to sign up to any email newsletter you may have.
- Watch Video: As video marketing is such a great way to communicate what you offer to customers, you can use this button to send visitors straight to the marketing video that’s on your website or YouTube page.
How To Make The New Call-To-Action Button A Success
This innovation is still in its infancy so we don’t yet know how companies will make the most of it. However, it really is a golden opportunity to increase sales. The trouble is, many customers will not even be aware of the button’s existence unless you make your page stand out. Here are some quick tips when it comes to creating noticeable Facebook cover photos:
- Make sure the cover photo is changed monthly to freshen things up.
- Be sure to share your newest marketing campaign with your community members.
- Add a description to your cover photo along a relevant link.
- Try to avoid being blatantly promotional.
The Dollar Shave Club is one of the first companies to report major success using these new Facebook buttons. Steve Kim, its director of acquisition, said that the Sign Up button increased the company’s conversion rate by 150% when compared to other comparable social placements. This success is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg so start using your Facebook CTA buttons today!
Getting customer feedback is critical not only for your marketing efforts but also for the future of your business. Understanding how your customer base views your brand, products and services not only enables you to increase the level of quality on offer, it also allows you to determine the products and services you need to introduce into the marketplace in order to keep customers happy.
In other words, the humble customer survey may well be the single best tool for collecting marketing data and we provide you with more crucial information on surveys below.
5 Reasons To Use Online Surveys
- Saves Time & Effort: You don’t need to lift a finger once you send out the emails since your customers provide the information.
- Easy Analysis: There is an abundance of software on the market that enables you to quickly and easily create charts and graphs to analyze the data.
- Honest Answers: As they are protected by the cloak of anonymity, customers can provide you with their true feelings about your company and what it offers (be prepared to learn some home truths).
- Company Value: Once you know what customers want, it is possible to confidently make changes to your business that places you ahead of your rivals.
- Marketing Strategy Information: Customer surveys give you all the data you could ever need when it comes to launching a brand new marketing strategy whether it involves content, social media or email marketing.
4 Ways To Improve Customer Surveys
- Responsive Design: Your survey emails must be responsive to all devices because at this moment in time, almost 20% of all surveys are opened on a mobile device; a number certain to increase.
- Choose The Right Template Design: There are countless great template designs available for surveys so pick the one that best suits your brand. It’s a good idea to choose a color/pattern that is close in appearance to your logo for brand consistency.
- Use A Drag & Drop Editor: This makes the entire creation process so much easier. An intuitive drag and drop editor is fun to use and saves a lot of time.
- Personalization: Personalized emails increase conversion rates by at least 10% so make sure you use an online survey that is integrated with your contact list. The feedback you receive can then be stored in your company’s email database. Then it is possible to create segments and personalize each email.
In order to provide customers with relevant email campaigns, you need to discover their needs, desires and concerns and personalize accordingly. There are few better ways to receive this information than through online customer surveys.
It’s a mistake to believe that your email marketing efforts end once you have converted visitors into paying customers. In fact, you should believe it is only the beginning because once you have customers; it is much easier and less expensive to retain them than to bring in new custom. In fact, it can cost 7 times more to bring in new customers than to keep old ones yet companies habitually shift their focus away from customer retention.
What Is Customer Retention?
This process isn’t just about keeping customers; it involves actively trying to keep them happy by ensuring they have a great experience which coerces them into spreading the word about how great your products/services are. When you focus on existing customers then bringing in new consumers almost takes care of itself.
This is where triggered email marketing comes in; it is a way to identity what is troubling these customers (pain points) and make a difference. Behavioral marketing involves the personalization of marketing based on the data you collect relating to the activity of users. Here are a few ways to use this strategy and retain a high percentage of your existing customers.
- Advocacy Program: Send an email to new customers inviting them to join and offer reward points for signing up. Make sure the advocacy program has expiry dates to ensure the recipients of the email take quick action.
- Promo Code: This classic strategy still works! Offer a thank you gift or special coupon code once customers have made a purchase. The gifts on offer depend on your business and what you can afford. If you sell something with an annual plan for example; you could offer 20% off.
- Holiday Gifts: Holiday marketing is extremely popular so offer a gift inside the email to make sure your company stands out from the rest. Corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks send e-gift cards to customers so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone else!
- Market Research Survey: As well as gaining important insights into your company through customer input, these emails can be great ways to retain customers. Simply ask customers for their opinions in a short survey (shorter emails of this nature tend to have better response rates) and offer them a spot in a draw for a big prize like a $500 voucher or vacation in the Caribbean. This gets customers excited about your brand and may even cause them to spread the news about your generosity.
The above is just a handful of retention email strategies you can use to keep a loyal fan base and ensure you are forced to spend less on new customer marketing campaigns.
There are thousands of different email types you could be using in your marketing efforts but in reality, only a small percentage are successful. Instead of relying on one type of email or a mishmash of unsuitable emails, stick to the following message types.
- Welcome: An estimated 80% of companies now send welcome emails so don’t get left behind. In this email, you need to not only welcome subscribers, you must also immediately set their expectation levels. Let them know what to expect and add a discount or special gift as a ‘welcome’ present.
- Promotional: Make your offer clear; while customers may not read the entire email, they should at least remember what the special offer is. The best promo emails are very short and also create a sense of urgency; expiry dates work well.
- Newsletter: These messages are designed to build a relationship with your audience and should consist of short and easy to digest paragraphs. Always include your contact information on this email as its purpose is for customers to find you as opposed to making an immediate sale.
- New Inventory: This email tells recipients about new product launches and should be sent as soon as the news becomes available. Use the subject line to make your point and include at least one glossy image of the product/service.
- Product Advice: Provide customers with advice on how to get the best from what you offer. This email is all about great content so make sure it is well edited and has a focus on providing outstanding customer service.
- Reorder: Retaining customers is crucial to any business model so a gentle reminder to reorder your goods is a necessary marketing ploy. Remind customers of the value of what you offer, mention previous purchases and have a clear CTA.
- Educational: This email should contain information about your industry which is helpful to customers. Again, it is all about the content here which should be divided into smaller paragraphs.
- Testimonial: This helps to build brand trust with customers; these emails should contain customer reviews and have a few images of the items you offer. Be sure to offer readers the chance to leave their own feedback.
- Shopping Cart Reminder: As an estimated 76% of shopping carts are abandoned, you should send customers an email reminding them of what they chose. Additionally, tell them that there are only limited quantities to create a sense of urgency.
- Survey: This involves collecting customer information as a means of learning more about your target audience. Offer an incentive to complete the survey, make it easy to access and keep it short.
When you engage in email marketing, it is important to provide a way to easily opt-out in each message but did you know that there are various anti-spam laws in force all over the world? Below, we briefly look at the regulations in place which will hopefully prevent you from breaking the law and receiving a huge fine!
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 says that businesses must identify themselves and cannot use subject lines to deceive recipients. In other words, the content of the email must be reflected in its subject line. Additionally, you have to provide customers with the physical address of your business along with clear directions on how to opt out.
A combination of the 1998 Data Protection Act and 2003 Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive legislation means the UK has one of the world’s strictest approaches to spam as it is illegal to send a direct marketing email unless the recipient has provided you with his/her express consent. This is not the case if a business relationship has already been established. Additionally, the opt-in option needs to be clear and distinct to ensure individuals know precisely what they are opting in for when they sign up.
The 2007 Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act defines unsolicited commercial marketing emails as spam. Senders of emails must include up to date information about their business and all promotional emails must contain options which allow the recipients to opt out or refuse to receive any further communications.
There is no ‘grace’ period when it comes to unsubscribing emails; as soon as the recipient clicks on ‘unsubscribe’, it is illegal to send them further emails at any time. If marketers refuse to allow the Japanese Government to inspect their records or violate the law, they are hit with a 1 million yen (just over $8,000) fine. If a sender’s agents violate the law, the fine increases to 30 million yen (over $240,000).
Canada has some of the most up to date spam legislation in the world as it make changes to the existing Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in 2014. Now, marketers need express or implied consent when sending commercial emails, they must clearly identify their company in each email and they must have an opt-out option in every email sent. Along with the UK, Canada has some of the world’s strictest anti-spam laws.
It is imperative that you continually monitor your database and ensure unsubscribe and opt-out requests are immediately processed. Otherwise, you could be on the wrong end of complaints which will damage your reputation and your bank account.
Despite its importance, typography is an overlooked part of the design process and this causes marketers to make very basic errors. While generic fonts such as Times New Roman will suffice much of the time, this is no excuse to avoid learning more about the subject of typography. Below, I have included 10 essential typography terms you should become acquainted with.
- Aperture: Refers to the area partially or totally enclosed by a symbol or letter form.
- Arm: A letter’s Arm is the horizontal stroke you see on some characters which does not connect to a stem or stroke at one or both ends.
- Counter: This is the open space in a partly or fully closed area within a letter.
- Kerning: This is a term used to describe the adjustment of spacing between the characters in a word.
- Leading: The amount of space between lines of words. ‘Single’ and ‘double’ spacing can also be called Leading and it can make a significant difference to the legibility of a text. For example, 12 point Leading can look messy whereas 30 point Leading makes text easy to read.
- Ligature: When two or more characters that are not usually combined are joined into a single form. The result is an unusual looking character.
- Sans-Serif: Along with Serif, Sans-Serif is the most popularly used classification type and refers to characters that don’t have the Serif finishing strokes on them. The word ‘sans’ is French for ‘without’ which makes the term Sans-Serif almost self-explanatory. Common Sans-Serif fonts include Futura, Verdana and Arial. As it looks good on lower screen resolutions, Sans-Serif is popular for blog posts.
- Serif: This is the other most common classification type and is the small finishing strokes you will find on the tails, stems and arms of characters. Common Serif fonts include Georgia, Richmond and Times New Roman. In a typical novel you’ll find a Serif classification used because the distinctiveness between the letters makes it easy to read long texts.
- Stem: The main stroke of a letter; the stem is usually a vertical stroke.
- X-Height: This is the height reached by lowercase letters based on the height of the lowercase ‘x’. The x-height does not include descenders or ascenders.
Hopefully, the terms above will give you a slightly better understanding of typography though it really only scratches the surface.