Marketers and entrepreneurs alike are consistently looking for ways to maximize conversions that will result in a sales. Of course, having the digital marketing background that I do, I’ll always be biased towards leveraging digital channels to help meet growth goals.
If you haven’t already, make sure you check out my latest guide on developing a digital marketing strategy. This comprehensive guide will help set you up for success and push towards a 10x plus growth plan.
In today’s blog post, I’ll walk through marketing strategies that will funnel leads by lifecycle stage and why it is important for you to personalize your approach.
Before we dive in, here are some key stats to be aware of:
- The majority of copywriters are known to spend 50% of their time on just the headline of their sales funnel pages.
- 95% of buyers choose a vendor who provides them with sufficient content which helps them navigate each stage of the buying process.
- Companies that create an easy buying process are 62% more likely to win a high-quality sale.
- Companies with 10 to 15 landing pages increase leads by 55%. Companies with 40 or more landing pages get 12X more leads than those with five or less.
- Putting multiple offers on your landing page can decrease conversions by up to 266%.
- The average landing page conversion rate across industries is 2.35%, with the top 25% converting at 5.31% or higher.
Mapping out the buyer journey
One of the easiest ways to look at your sales and marketing funnel is to simply map out the buyer journey. Understanding each step that buyers take before a purchase takes place will ensure that you line up the right content assets and activities to support every step.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
This part of the funnel narrows down to awareness and pushing your advertising, content, and organic assets to meet your target audience wherever they are online. At this phase, it is safe to say that your primary goal is to build awareness and position thought leadership content that will drive traffic back to your website.
There is a broader range of tactics here to reach your target audience and at this stage, not all of the leads who come in are going to be moving their way down the funnel.
Tactics for this phase include executions such as:
- Display ads
- PPC ads
- Cold email outreaches
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Building out targeted landing pages
In this stage, your target audience has a pain point that exists and they are looking for a solution, but nowhere ready to convert into a paying customer. More specifically, here’s what to expect:
- You will generate a ton of leads
- Not all of these leads will become MQLs
- Not all of these leads will become SQLs and SALs either
- You’ll need to build trust and credibility through great content
- You’ll need to be transparent about how your product/service solves their problems
- You’ll want to segment these leads as soon they come in by source
- Attach lead scoring and nurture leads that move down the funnel
- Disqualify the leads that aren’t a good fit
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
At this phase of the funnel, you’re still pushing the same type of tactics as you would be with TOFU, but you are more specific, based on the interests and engagement of your leads. The audience size will narrow at this stage, allowing you to customize the journey as much as possible.
To support lead generation efforts with the right persona, additional tactics should include:
- Continual optimization of ads, content, and landing pages
- Push CRO (conversion-rate-optimization) on landing pages to increase visit to lead %
- Keep testing and don’t worry about “perfecting” every implementation because it’s more important to make progress
- Collect data and use it to your advantage with changes that might be needed to make improvements
- Nurture with content more specific to your products/services
- Use email marketing as a key asset at this stage
The goal for this lifecycle stage is to clearly segment the leads you have collected into their own buckets and workflows. As you do this, you will also be able to communicate to each segmented group based on their behavior, further providing content they want to consume. In fact, 96% of B2B marketers say segmentation is the most valuable method for improving conversion rates. The two buckets to look at are MQLs and SQLs/SALs.
MQLs will continue to be nurtured by marketing until they hit a specific threshold with lead scoring. At that juncture, if leads still haven’t converted into becoming SQLs/SALs, they can be disqualified or dropped into a “newsletter” bucket to still receive communication, but not pushed any further down the funnel.
As for SQLs/SALs, it’s important to understand what triggered leads to take the next steps and how you can replicate this with other leads that have not yet converted over. Make sure you are tracking the qualification rate and then the close rate thereafter.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Did you know that companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate? As nurtured leads become SQLs/SALs and then closed as new sales, you should be able to also look at the ROI of your marketing efforts. Know that. This is one of the most important aspects of being able to clearly see the top-performing channels by conversion and LTV. Looking at both metrics will enable you to dedicate more marketing dollars to the channels that perform the best.
Once revenue starts coming in the door, it’s also important to look at retention and how you can begin to develop a deeper connection with your customers. Doing so will allow you to segment based on the customers who are your raving fans from the customers who are less likely to recommend your product/services to their colleagues.
Therefore, make sure that you have the following nailed down:
- A feedback loop between sales and marketing on lead quality
- Understand the top reasons people do not buy
- Understand the top reasons why people buy
- Onboarding needs to be seamless and engaging
- Use your NPS score and thresholds to segment your customers and communicate accordingly to each segment
- Look for upsell opportunities where it makes sense
- Push for case studies and testimonials among your raving fans
- Continue testing as much as possible
Wrapping It Up
As you put together your own funnel, know that the goal isn’t to just generate leads and provide a positive ROI for your company, but that you are able to leverage it as a way to gain internal buy-in between marketing and sales. Also make sure that you track all of your efforts with a data-backed way of reporting, seeing exactly what works.
As you discover the avenues that work the best, begin to optimize them as much as possible so you’ll be able to see which marketing channels drive the best results at the lowest cost. On the other hand, you’ll also be able to attach a baseline dollar amount to how much you’re willing to pay for a lead. This could serve as the financial model you can align with your funnel.