Challenge: Optimizing Your Sales Funnels
As mentioned in the introduction of this article series, email and mobile campaigns should be part of your holistic marketing approach. These marketing channels however cannot be truly fruitful just by themselves, but can strengthen your other initiatives. The real power comes from achieving a strong marketing blend across these platforms, incorporating your social media activity, blogging (if you do that) and even printed marketing collateral. This does however seem to be a challenge for marketers. How do you optimize your sales and marketing funnel with email and mobile and then attend to other marketing activities in your business?
Most marketing professionals are accustomed to sending ‘one-time’ email blasts that are not necessarily related to the actions of their email subscribers, their interests or needs. Some email platforms are simply not powerful enough to perform these functions easily. Such practices do not help direct your leads down appropriate sales funnel correctly. You can easily alienate your prospects this way.
Solutions: Nurture and Qualify Your Leads
Lead nurturing is known by many different names: marketing automation, life cycle marketing, drip marketing, etc. Simply put, lead nurturing is a system that allows you to send an automated series of emails, mobile messages and even push notifications to an early stage lead in order to pre-qualify them before handing them over to your sales team. If you don’t have a sales team, this can also apply to online sales companies as well.
Along the ‘shopping journey’ your prospect may jump off the sales track due to work distractions, phone calls, chats with colleagues etc.. When they do jump off, you need some way of following up with them to entice them back to your online store and make a purchase.
The Infographic here shows five (5) inbound lead funnels. 1) From a live event, 2) using post-out cards, 3) leads from your website, 5) interest from social media, and 6) from print articles. In all cases, we are looking to nurture and qualify these leads over time, with the goal (not hope) of them making a positive buying decision in your favor.
Depending on your business, it can take anywhere from five minutes to five months for your prospects to make a buying decision.
You need to ensure that you are spreading out your communications to keep them engaged throughout the nurture period. Don’t overdo it though. Less is more when it comes to email and mobile marketing.
The timing and delivery of your content is everything.
By taking this approach, you save your ‘one-on-one’ sales time, as you are educating and qualifying your leads over time.
Let’s take a look at some of the common ‘top of funnel’ mechanisms.
1. The opt-in offer
Your call-to-action article or offer should be tailored to a specific problem that your prospects are looking to solve. A new prospect or lead is not looking to spend hours of their time consuming new information from you. In most cases, they are looking to glean educational content that addresses a particular need or desired outcome.
Whilst eBooks and whitepapers were all the rage a few years ago, short, sharp and educational videos are ‘front and center’ nowadays. Blog articles and social media posts are also a great way to entice new customers to engage with you.
Our team at MOBIT for example, have a very short 3-minute ‘quick pitch’ video. From there, if the prospect shows interest, we present them with a more comprehensive video (30 mins). Based on how this new prospect consumes our follow-on video (25% - 50% - 75% - 100%), we score them in our CRM and update their profile. The assigned sales person is updated with the prospects activity and lead score in real time.
Once the new prospect has consumed at least 50% of the video, we then invite them to book in for their no-obligation online meeting with one of our consultants.
At every point, the prospect is qualified with opt in emails and mobile messages. The more they are engaged, the higher the lead score. You will find a different process that works for your business, but the fundamental ‘opt in’ process should be the same.
2. Use testimonials
Testimonials or customer quotes can have a profound impact on your website visitors and prospects if leveraged properly. They will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate social proof with your products and services. The more testimonials you use in your email and mobile messaging sequences, the more established credibility you’ll have with your audience.
Make sure your testimonials explicitly state the benefits that your customer experienced. One effective way to accentuate the important parts of a testimonial is by highlighting the text in bold and italics. Whilst testimonials are a fantastic way to build trust, the sheer amount of time involved in creating testimonials may just be overwhelming for small companies. A really easy and time efficient way of providing social proof is to use a simple quote from your customers. Include their name, title and if possible, a photo of this person in your post. The example shown below is a quote from one of our many MOBIT clients.
3. Include a tripwire offer
The term 'trip wire' may sound a little sinister, but it is commonly a means of turning a lead into a customer by making them a low-cost, relatively painless offer, then having the opportunity to upsell them once they are in your sales funnel.
You might have heard of the old marketing adage, "20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your revenue.” What you might not know is that much of that 80 percent will likely be generated from your sales funnels. Therefore, it is important to over-deliver on your customers first experience with you. Solving pertinent problems and delivering value will garner the trust of your new customers. As a result, they will view you as a subject matter authority and will inevitably invest more in your products and services.
A tripwire product or service should offer explicitly attractive benefits that make the buying process irresistible to your prospects. In our experience, the price of your tripwire offer should be around 5 -10% of the standard value. For instance, if your flagship product normally costs $997, your tripwire should range anywhere between $49 to $99.
A low-ticket, low-risk tripwire product will immediately convert your prospects into paying customers. The lower the price, the higher your conversion rates will be.
If your tripwire offer converts, then a percentage of your new customers will consider purchasing the next offer in your sales funnel.
4. Harness the power of social media
your sales funnels or 'pipelines' will generate the vast majority of your revenue and profit; however, you’ll also want to craft your email and mobile messages to cross-pollinate your other social channels and web properties.
This will ultimately increase the overall engagement of your email and mobile list and position you as an authority in your industry.
One way to do this is by sending out an email or mobile newsletter whenever you create a blog post. Your articles should provide educational content that’s conducive to the specific needs of your audience.
By including passive calls-to-action in your body copy and sidebars, you can always present your readers with an opportunity to purchase one of your products.
You also want to encourage your email and mobile subscribers to share your content on a multitude of social media channels. There are numerous ways to do this, including:
- Placing social media icons at the footer of your emails;
- Using social buttons on your blog;
- Direct your email list to a particular social media channel once per week.
Cross-promoting your email list and social media channels will constantly put your brand in front of new audiences. This will help you create multiple streams of traffic sources to your products and services.
5. Upselling Value Add
If you want to optimize your sales funnels, then you’ll want to harness the power of up-selling. A customer’s interest levels are piqued when they purchase one of your products or subscribe to your service. This is the perfect opportunity to offer them additional products or services that provide ancillary benefits to your initial tripwire offer.
The key is to make upsells relevant to the content in your initial offer.
If you present an arbitrary product or service that doesn’t expand on the benefits of your core offer, then don’t expect great conversion rates.
On the contrary, a logical upsell that builds on the context of your tripwire product or service can increase your conversion rates substantially.
To maximize your conversions , make your upsells as seamless as possible for your customers.