Are you happy with the results of your online marketing efforts? If you're like most small business owners, the answer is no.
Learn how to create a online marketing funnel for your business and start seeing real results and conversions from your online marketing activities.
The problem is that most small business owners focus on marketing tactics, going from one marketing opportunity to another, without a cohesive strategy or end goal in mind. If you've ever run a Facebook Ad or tried a Google Adwords campaign without thinking about your audience, your offer and how you will convert them into a customer, then you are focusing on tactics and not on strategy.
My advice to you? Never spend money on marketing until you have a clear system in place to turn traffic into customers for your business. In fact, the actual marketing and advertising should be the last thing you do and only after you have set up a proper marketing funnel.
Here we are going to discuss the elements needs to create a marketing funnel, as well as driving traffic to your campaign with online marketing and advertising.
This is a long article so if you prefer video, you can sign up for our free video course on how to create your own online marketing system. It walks you through every step needed so you can create your own customized online marketing funnel.
PART 1: Understanding Your Audience
Know who your customers are
If you don't understand who your customer is then you will have no idea what will motivate them to buy from you. Generic marketing messages reach everyone but appeal to no one. You need to understand who your customers are. You need to find out what conversations are going on in their head. You do this through qualitative research, asking past and current customers as well as people just like your ideal customer what their challenges are and why they buy from you. You also do this by monitoring social media and online forums to see what your ideal customers are talking about. Do this for each of your customer types. Once you have this information in hand, then you are ready to start crafting your own digital marketing funnel.
Understand what they want and what they struggle with
Now that you understand who your customers are, you should have a better idea of what their struggles are and how your product or service can help them. Brainstorm all of the struggles they have and write down solutions on how your product or service will fix their problems. Time and money are the two biggest challenges most people face, how can you solve one or both of these? Create and prioritize a list of all of your customer's challenges as well as the solutions you provide for each of them. You will use these in creating your marketing messages as well as the offers you create for them.
Create offers that appeal to their needs and wants
So now you understand who your customer is and what they struggle with. Now you can start crafting offers that appeal to them, offers that will make them want to take action. Now take your list of customer struggles and corresponding solutions, and start crafting offers based on them. You should create offers that fit into the following categories:
Free offers. Something of value that solves a problem for your customer. This is a risk-free way for potential customers to interact with you and gives you the ability to get their email address or get them to walk through your door for the first time. Examples would be a coupon for a free dessert with their meal or a free ebook or whitepaper download on your website.
Low-cost offer. We internet marketers sometimes refer to these as tripwires. In retail, they may call this a loss-leader. The idea is to not make money on this offer, the idea is to get someone to make a baby step by purchasing something for a low cost, a low-risk way of trying you out. Once someone pays for something, even if it is only for a few dollars, they now become a paying customer, which is a world away from someone who takes you up on your free offer. Examples of low-cost offers would be a $39 first time customer lawn care service offer that normally retails for $125 or a $7 video course you offer that normally costs $150.
Core-offers. These are offers to sell your main product or service. When it comes to the online world, most people won't buy your main offer until they feel more comfortable with you and your business. The free and low-cost offers are there to help ease their way into a relationship with your business. But once they feel comfortable, you need to have offers ready for your main product or service, which is the whole point in doing all of this. The good thing is, if you have done things right, you will have multiple opportunities to make an offer, so create a list of different offers based on their struggles, this will allow you to test different offers and see which ones trigger them to take action.
Make it a low-risk proposition to try you out
When it comes to selling your core product or service, use risk reversal to make it a risk-free way for people to do business with you. Risk reversal is when the business takes the risk away from the customer and carries it for themselves. A money back guarantee is a classic risk reversal offer, if you don't like it, we'll give you your money back. One step further would be, we give you your money back and you can keep the product. The thing is, most businesses are terrified to make offers like this, but in reality, the increase in sales always far outweigh the few extra returns you get. People are inherently good and honest, they are not buying from you with the hopes of ripping you off. Unless you are selling a very poor product or service, risk reversal offers will always lead to more net sales.
PART 2: Creating Your Online Marketing Funnel
Create a landing page
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to online advertising is sending people to poor landing pages, worse yet, their homepage. When someone clicks on your ad you have to send them to exactly what they are looking for. They key to conversions is to send traffic to a dedicated page that closely matches the offer and content of the ad they clicked on. Ideally, it should also have minimal distractions and little to no opportunities to leave the page, like a header menu and social media icons.
This landing page can be part of your regular website or it can be hosted on dedicated landing page software like Unbounce. A solid landing page is your best opportunity to convert traffic into leads for your business. There are certain elements that need to be included on your landing page, see the video below for some tips on creating a high converting landing page.
Create a solid free or low-cost offer
When someone arrives on your landing page, the kind of offer you have waiting for them is going to make or break your conversions. And no, “call now for a free estimate” is not a compelling offer. Everyone and their mother offers free estimates and consults, there is nothing special about that. You need to understand the needs of your customer and provide them with a solution to one of their challenges.
For e-commerce, this might be a first-time customer coupon. For restaurants, this may be a free dessert with a paid dinner entree. For service-based businesses, this might be a free educational course or downloadable checklist. The idea here is to bridge the gap between what you have to sell and your potential customer's perceived risk of doing business with you. A free or very low priced offer creates a low-risk way of trying you out. They now have a low-risk way to try you out and you have their information so you can start the nurturing process to turn them into a paying customer.
Create an email lead nurturing campaign
Once people take you up on your free or low-cost offer, it is your job to educate them and to earn their trust. You do this by proving your value to them and making them more comfortable with the idea of being your customer. In the online space, email marketing with an autoresponder will help accomplish this. If you are just starting out, MailChimp is a great email marketing program with a generous free plan to try it out. Eventually, as you get more advanced, you may move over to marketing automation software.
The way it works is that when someone takes you up on your free or low-cost offer, they will opt-in to your email list where you will have a series of pre-written emails that will be sent via a pre-determined sequence that you have set up. The idea is to send them a series of communications that educate them and proves your value to them. A lead nurturing email sequence will be delivered with content like:
- Case studies, how your product/service solved similar challenges to theirs
- Educational tips and how to's. Empower them with your knowledge
- Your business story and behind the scene sneak peaks. Show them the story and faces behind the business
- Offers. Sprinkle in offers and calls to action so they have the opportunity to take the next step when they are ready
You'll want to over deliver on value while giving them the opportunity to take the next step in doing business with you. It's a balancing act as you do not want to bombard them with “buy me” offers but you also want to give them the opportunity to become your customer whenever they are ready.
Create solid sales or lead gen page (the main product or service you want to sell)
Your sales page will most likely be a different page than the landing page you create that visitors originally visit on your site. Reason being is that your sales page will be your main, full priced offer and not the free or low-cost offer you are using to entice first-time visitors. An example would be a landscaping company having a landing page people initially visit on your site that offers a one-time lawn care service for $39 (full price is $129) and your sales page offering your full lawn care subscription which costs $700 a year. Most people will probably not immediately sign up for your full price subscription plan but will take you up on your intro offer. Once they see your value, a percentage of them will upgrade to the full priced subscription, which will be on your sales page.
If you are a service provider, same thing. Your initial landing page may be a free report or whitepaper and your main lead generation page (your sales page) will be your offer to schedule a one-on-one consult or quote. If you sell complex products like financial planning or insurance, most people will not jump right into a consult, you first need to build trust with them and get them at a stage where they feel comfortable and motivated to speak or meet with you.
Your sales page is your money page. This is the page that is going to make you money so you need to make sure it has a compelling offer, builds trust and has social proof that it is safe to work with you.
So when do you introduce the sales page? At multiple points. There will be a small percentage of people who are ready to become your customer now, so make it easily available to them. You will have it on the menu of your website as a product or service you offer so anyone can find it at any time. It's not about hiding your main offer, it's about capturing the large percentage of people who will not be ready to buy on the spot. Usually, with an online marketing funnel where you start off with a free or low-cost offer, you will present them with the option to go for your main product/service right after they take the intro offer. A few may take it, especially if you offer a limited time deal for these people. Then you will make it available to them throughout the lead nurturing process so that is readily available to them once they feel comfortable enough to engage with you.
Part 3: Generating Traffic
Most people start with advertising and driving traffic first and then worry about the rest of the details (if ever) we outlined in parts one and two above. This is why most people have little success when it comes to online marketing and advertising. Never spend money on advertising until you have a clear conversion strategy and funnel setup or you'll end up wasting your money. Driving traffic with targeted advertising is the easy part, creating the marketing funnel to convert them is the hard part. Get your marketing funnel right before you start spending time and money sending traffic to your website.
The key to marketing? Creating specific offers and experiences for specific audiences. The exact opposite of traditional mass advertising. You can't be all things to all people. If you create an ad for everyone, you have to create a generic message/offer for everyone. This means that unless you are selling pizza, it will at most be mildly appealing to most people, but probably not enough to get them to take action. You need to create offers that get people excited, make them want to call you today so they don't lose out. You do this by segmenting your different customer types and creating specific marketing campaigns for each of them.
Even if you are selling the same product to everyone, your marketing should be specific to each audience. People will buy for different reasons, highlight those specific reasons for each audience. Customize the copy, images, and offers for each audience. Yes, it takes more time, but your increased conversion rates and sales will thank you.
While there are lots of places to spend your advertising dollars online, here we will focus on the two most popular and most effective, Facebook Ads and Google Adwords.
Create Facebook Ads
There is no other advertising product around like Facebook where you can laser target specific audiences like they can. Want to target moms within 5 miles of your business that have young kids, make over 100K a year and have recently purchased a car? Check! How about women under 30 who are recently engaged and are a first time home buyer? Check! Yes, you can pretty much target anyone and anything with Facebook Ads, so if you really know who your customers are and what motivates them, you can make a killing with Facebook Ads.
The one thing to remember is that this is a social network, people tend to view regular posts and ads the same. Which means you most likely won't sell directly on Facebook, though you definitely can, but engage them either with a special offer or some form of content like a targeted blog post or info download offer like an ebook. Once you get them on your site, then they enter your marketing funnel and you begin the process of turning them into a paying customer.
Learn more about Facebook Ads:
Create Google Adwords ads
Google Adwords is the largest advertising platform on the planet, covering over 80% of the internet between their search and display ad platforms. The search platform is the one we will discuss as it's the one more likely to generate leads and sales for you. It's also the one you see every day when you search on Google, the ads at the top and bottom if the search results.
The Google Adwords search platform is different than Facebook Ads in that you are not targeting specific audiences, but their intent. So with search ads, you target the search query, so if someone searches for “mortgage brokers in Charlotte” in Google, it doesn't matter if it a man or women or if they are young or old, what matters is that they are searching for a mortgage broker in Charlotte. They have made a clear indication of what they want and this makes it very easy to you to get your ad in front of this targeted lead.
The key with Google Adwords, when it comes to search campaigns, is to make sure you are targeting the right search terms and sending people to the right landing page. Search ads can get expensive so it's important to set them up correctly. Make sure you are targeting search terms with buyer intent, not research intent. If someone searches for, “home renovation contractors in Denver”, this would be a great search term to target if you are a home renovation contractor in Denver. If someone searches for, “home renovation ideas in Denver”, this search query does not show buyer intent and they are most likely ways away, is ever, to making a purchase decision. Prune your keyword list wisely.
Learn more about Google Adwords:
Planning and Execution Are The Keys To Success
Most small business owners rush into online marketing campaigns, giving little thought and planning on their end goals. Take the time to understand your customer and their challenges. Take time to draw out a plan for when people visit your website. Give them a reason to engage with you. Solve their problems and make them happy. This is how you turn online traffic into customers for your business.
The best part? Once you figure out how to do it, you can do it over and over again with little effort on your part. That's the power of creating an marketing funnel for your businessss.