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3 Keys to a Highly-Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Creating compelling, relevant and consistent content is a highly effective way to attract and retain your audience’s attention, gain their trust, and, ultimately, to convert them to customers. To achieve this goal, it’s important to focus on three prongs: business goals, personas, and your sales funnel.  


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Covid-19 has significantly changed business-to-business marketing plans. As Forrester noted recently, “It’s more than a combination of discrete trends such as rising bounce rates, declining open rates, or increasing churn; it’s that buyers now expect a fundamentally different relationship with your company.” Consequently, creating compelling, relevant and consistent content is a highly effective way to attract and retain your audience’s attention, gain their trust, and, ultimately, to convert them to customers.

In a world full of false advertising and eroding trust, content marketing should be at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. It’s the foundation of all digital marketing channels, including SEO, public relations, social media and traffic generation. According to Hubspot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing in 2020. Rather than trying to directly sell  your products or services, you are offering useful, relevant content to your prospects and customers to help them overcome their challenges. So then, the focus is on content – be it in the form of infographics, YouTube videos, whitepapers, webpages or information in other formats.

Effective content marketing sends a message to potential customers that you are passionate about what you do and that you want to share your expertise with them — for free. To achieve this goal, it’s important to focus on three prongs: business goals, personas, and your sales funnel.

Related: The 17 Best Content Marketing Books You Can Read Right Now

Three Essential Factors to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy

In order for your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to create a strategy based on these three factors.

1. Business Goals

Step One in beginning an effective content marketing strategy is to be certain it lines up with your business goals. Understanding what business goal you want to achieve or support gives you the needed clarity to set the appropriate marketing objectives. Are you aiming to strengthen customer loyalty and reduce churn? Maybe the goal is to attract new prospects or overcome objections. Once you have defined your marketing goals, you can develop your content marketing campaign.

2. Personas

Developing buyer personas is a necessary part of your strategy, but you have to take it a step further. Find the individuals within your audience that have the influence and enthusiasm that will help grow your company. If your audience is split into several types of buyers, refine your buyer personas to focus on those most likely to convert.

Start by identifying some of your most loyal customers. From there, find the primary decision-makers who championed the decision to purchase from or hire you. There are probably sales or service team members in your company who have close relationships with these people. Find those employees, and use sales data to create a persona – data points like goals/motivations, challenges, background, demographics, common objections, biggest fears and hobbies.

3. Your sales funnel

Vendor research happens online, and what will move the buyer down the pipeline is valuable content being published on your web, email, search and social channels. In order to drive success with B2B content marketing, you need to understand how the content you create fits into the different stages of your sales funnel.

Be aware that your funnel may vary from the norm depending on elements such as your sector, solution, business model, pricing structure and target market. In fact, experts report that “today’s B2B buyer might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor.” Confer with the sales team about the particulars of your sales funnel, then use that intelligence to create a marketing strategy that addresses leads at the top, middle and bottom of that funnel.

Related: Content and Content Marketing Are Not the Same. Here’s How to Frame the Top 11 Content Formats.

What Can Be Gained from Content Marketing?

There are many benefits of content marketing, including:

  • Addressing pain points leads to sales: When prospects look online for ways to solve their issues, your content is there to help over and over. As an example, marketers who use blogs as a primary communications tactic are 13x more likely to see return on investment.
  • Creating a community: As you establish thought leadership through content marketing, you gain credibility and encourage stronger relationships with existing and future customers.
  • Long-run savings: Good content has legs. It continues to work for you long after you’ve created it, continually bringing in qualified leads. That lessens paid marketing expenses. Demand Metric found that not only does content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing efforts, but it generates three times the number of leads.

HubSpot’s content marketing efforts showcase the powerful results that can be produced from a comprehensive strategy. The company is well-known because they produce massive amounts of content. HubSpot sells inbound market, sales and service software, but its claim to fame among marketers is the quantity and quality of its marketing resources, much of which is free. Their repertoire includes case studies, guides, ebooks, blog posts, courses, reports and more. Their content drives free traffic to their site, with the end goal of converting those leads into customers without spending a dime on advertising.

Related: The 5 Cs of Content Marketing Copy

Gaining Leads, Gaining Trust

Compelling and relevant content is the cornerstone of demand generation and lead nurturing strategy. Marketers depend on content to connect with prospects and existing customers in the current communications landscape, but to be successful, it must inform, excite and be worthy of sharing. It should arm audiences to address obstacles and accomplish their goals. If you’re able to accomplish this, prospects will come to trust your brand.  This involves prioritizing original content creation to promote that message so it can add value to the lives of your customers. Use the best practices discussed above to begin or refine your content marketing strategy.

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The Focus Fallacy: Why You Should Widen Your Sales Funnel

Principal of Global Sales Mentor and VP of Pharmajet. Zach has sold in 135+ countries over 30 years, building 9 sales teams in the process. Getty There is a story that CEOs like to tell each other about a dinner party in 1991 when Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were each asked what the most important factor…

Principal of Global Sales Mentor and VP of Pharmajet. Zach has sold in 135+ countries over 30 years, building 9 sales teams in the process.

960x0 - The Focus Fallacy: Why You Should Widen Your Sales Funnel
Getty

There is a story that CEOs like to tell each other about a dinner party in 1991 when Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were each asked what the most important factor contributing to their success was, and they each said focus. These two men, and countless other successful CEOs and businesspeople, are ruthlessly focused. It stands to reason, then, that any CEO should consider focus a key element of succeeding in and growing their business. There is, however, a fallacy in this obsession that some CEOs have with focus. As a sales leader, I see this all the time. After interacting with dozens of CEOs over the years, I would say that 90% of my arguments with them have come down to understanding the place of focus in growing a company. Very few CEOs have an extensive background in carrying a sales territory, and they often struggle with the basics of sales and sales management.

I’ve heard that Bill Gates focused for months, nearly every hour of the day, to produce his first product. Then he turned around and focused, every hour of the day, on the next product. Warren Buffett focused on the idea of understanding the investment market and what could influence his investments.

While they were both focused, I am sure that they would be familiar with spreading risk and with the fundamentals of project management. As with many stories and slogans, when a strong statement like “stay focused” winds its way down to the practical level, it can be misunderstood and abused. Very often, CEOs with little sales experience believe that the path to success is to focus on a very small number of prospects or a very small market or niche and put a full-court press on that small target until they see results.

There is a fundamental rule that applies to all sales efforts: Not every sales interaction will result in a purchase order, no matter how good a sales process is, how excellent a product is or even how clear an ROI it has. Sales success is dependent on a balanced funnel and a wide funnel. Just to provide a very simple example, you have a 10-month sales cycle with five stages to the sales process, and you are losing 50% of the prospects over those five stages and 10 months. If you want to produce $1 million, you need to have $2 million enter the funnel. More importantly, if you want to produce $1 million the following year, you need to be feeding new prospects into the funnel over the course of the year, not focusing all of your efforts on one prospect as it makes its way through the funnel.

Of course, those are dumbed-down numbers, and we also aren’t taking into consideration yet that our whole goal is to grow. In reality, a sales funnel will look more like this: “I have an 18-month sales process with 12 stages. The conversion ratio from stage one to stage two is 50%. From stage two to stage three, it’s 75%. From three to four, it’s 10%, etc. I need to produce $5 million next year, but I need to produce $8 million the following year, and I am expected to produce $12 million the year after that. The primary benefits that my customers perceive they’re getting from my product are related to weather, so major changes in weather could impact buyer behavior. I have two solid competitors right now, and I understand the advantages I have over each, but I know that one of them is working on an improved product, and there may be another company entering the market.”

That is usually the level of complexity that a sales leader in a startup faces. To achieve my three-year goals, which will impact our ability to sell the company, start the initial public offering (IPO) process or drive later-stage investment, I need to balance the monthly input into the funnel (new prospects), and I need to manage the customers’ buying journey (all the customers) through the various stages of the funnel. I also need to be careful not to fall into a trap of low customer diversity. As with farming, if all of my customers are too similar, one adverse event could clear out my funnel. In 2012 and 2013, my company’s biggest-producing customers were from oil-based economies. They represented 60% of our international top line. My CEO at the time argued, extensively, that our selling expenses were so much lower in those countries that we should shift all of our focus there and ignore countries that were not extraction economies.

I pushed back, vehemently, with no knowledge of the oil market. I based my stance on the guiding principle of not putting all of one’s eggs in one basket. In 2014, the oil market tanked, and we lost most of the revenue from those markets. If we hadn’t had a strong position in other markets and time to pivot our efforts, we would have been seriously hurt. What we need to understand is that when we all stand together on the bridge and try to guide our company to success, we need to balance the real world with what we read in books and get in school. We can quote the greats all day long, but taking those quotes out of context or not understanding the ramifications of blanket statements won’t help us achieve our goals. We need to balance focus with the understanding of how a sales funnel works and the risks of putting all of our eggs in one basket.


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How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

Want to attract and convert more people without Facebook ads? Looking for tips to develop an organic Facebook funnel? In this article, you’ll learn how to model an effective sales funnel with organic Facebook content.

Want to attract and convert more people without Facebook ads? Looking for tips to develop an organic Facebook funnel?

In this article, you’ll learn how to model an effective sales funnel with organic Facebook content.

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#1: Leverage Existing Facebook Audience Engagement to Create Awareness With New Prospects

Back in the good old days when organic reach of Facebook posts was still very high, you could more or less count on your Facebook audience seeing your organic posts in their news feeds.

When Facebook overhauled organic reach, limiting the reach of our organic posts to our audience, it had a beneficial effect: Now you can have more confidence that a page like or follow comes from someone with a genuine interest in your business. And while you may not reach 100% of your Facebook audience with every organic post, your following is a more reliable source of potential prospects that you can count on.

With the right organic Facebook content, you’ll continually add new followers to your audience via shares and other audience engagement on organic posts. This, combined with the rate at which your posts are seen by your current followers, means that each new post you use to drive traffic through your funnel could potentially reach new faces.

For businesses that have cracked the code and found success in acquiring an audience but don’t have the budget for Facebook ads, converting that audience can be a struggle. What good is a Facebook fanbase if it never leads to a sale?

That’s where an organic sales funnel comes into play. What this sales funnel looks like will vary by business, but typically, the steps taken along the path to conversion are similar to this:

  • Step 1: Awareness
  • Step 2: Interest
  • Step 3: Evaluation
  • Step 4: Decision and action/conversion

Sales funnels often rely on ads, but when fueled by organic content designed to convert an existing Facebook audience, a sales funnel could look something like this:

  • Awareness: A person likes or follows your Facebook page.
  • Interest: They see and click on an organic Facebook post for a service you provide.
  • Evaluation: They arrive at a landing page on your website populated with a few testimonials and bullet points listing the perks of using that service. The page also includes a form to request a quote.
  • Decision and action: They fill in the form, see the estimate, and book the service.

The idea is to create organic content to create as much awareness of your Facebook page as possible, thereby filling the funnel and giving you the best chance at the maximum number of conversions on the other side.

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Whether the sales funnel concept is new to you or you’ve had one in place without realizing it, it will benefit your business to put some attention toward refining it into a sales-driving machine. And if you have a strong Facebook following or are working toward creating one, you already have the ideal resource from which to draw sales prospects.

#2: Create Organic Facebook Content to Nurture Prospects Through Interest and Evaluation

We’ve established that the top of this sales funnel is composed of your Facebook fanbase. So how do you get those who follow you on Facebook to continue along the path of your sales funnel? Essentially, you need to give your followers a compelling reason to leave Facebook, and ideally, take additional action.

One way to cut through the noise is to run Facebook ads. However, if you don’t have the budget or faith that ads will work for your business, don’t fret. Building a sales funnel without ads can still be effective and a great jumping-off point to test the conversion of different posts before investing in ads.

Here are some examples of the types of posts that can drive traffic off of Facebook to your middle funnel.

In this post, Zappos draws attention to a new line of products and includes a link that leads to more information.

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If Facebook users click on the provided link in the post, it takes them to a landing page that includes a call to action (CTA) to make a purchase.

landing page for facebook interest evaluation post 1 800 - How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

As another example, this Facebook post offers a showcase of menu items in next week’s HelloFresh shipment.

facebook interest evaluation post 2 550 - How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

The CTA here isn’t to subscribe to HelloFresh but rather to entice viewers with what they could be having for dinner. As a bonus, an offer is displayed on the page.

landing page for facebook interest evaluation post 2 800 - How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

4 Types of Organic Middle-of-Funnel Content to Model

You may be wondering, “Why not just direct Facebook fans straight from a post to my online store?” Because, as one might say on a first date, “You’re moving too fast.”

Nurtured leads typically make significantly larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. So don’t be so quick to take traffic from the top to the bottom of the funnel. Use middle-of-funnel strategies to cultivate prospects, priming them for the next stage of your funnel.

In a traditional sales funnel, where marketing efforts are like the net that fills the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel is where sales show up to the party. This can be in the form of a landing page filled with testimonials, persuasive bullet points, and catchy taglines.

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Here are some ideas for Facebook link posts in the middle of the funnel:

  • Link to a basic sales page with info and a CTA: This is great for selling a specific product or service. The CTA can link to a subscription form or a shopping cart.
  • Link to a quiz: Gauge the knowledge level of a prospect by having them answer a series of questions. To illustrate, an HVAC company may ask a few questions about the danger of dirty ducts. A low score could prompt a sales call or a “Request a Quote” form.

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  • Link to a contest or giveaway: Although contests and giveaways may not be the best sales tools in and of themselves, they’re ideal for attracting and engaging online traffic. Hosting a contest or giveaway is the perfect hook for driving traffic off of Facebook and to your entry form. With the collected entries, you’ll have leads to add to your email list to use for further marketing.
  • Link to a blog post, guide, or resource: For certain businesses, free content is the perfect gateway to selling better content. Consultants and other experts can drop a few bits of free advice in a blog post or guide with a primer to subscribe, purchase, or hire their services for the valuable expertise.

#3: Analyze Organic Facebook Content and Landing Page Performance to Optimize for Conversion

The bottom of your funnel is decision-making time. It’s that crucial moment where your Facebook follower could become a paying customer or patron of your business.

This part of the funnel is largely based on the work the top and middle of the funnel did to get them to this stage, but there are still measures you can take to make sure you don’t lose momentum when the prospect is faced with the decision to convert.

If the bottom of your funnel includes an entry form, whether it’s to make a purchase or schedule an appointment, make sure the form includes the minimum number of fields needed. A lengthy entry form is an absolute conversion killer.

There are additional strategies you can implement at the bottom of the funnel to nudge those visitors to customer status. To visualize this, if you’re a shoe retailer, when a consumer adds a pair of shoes to their shopping cart, you could display a discount code offering half off the purchase of a second pair.

To understand the customer conversion process and bring to light any problem areas that might be causing prospects to drop off along the way, it’s essential to consistently analyze the performance of your organic Facebook content and the sales funnel landing pages.

As the chief evangelist of what you do, it’s clear to you why your business should be the number-one choice for shoppers but relaying that sentiment to potential customers can be a challenge. Worse yet, you may not even be aware that parts of your sales pitch aren’t sinking in.

Taking a magnifying glass to your funnel will help reveal its weak spots, especially if you’re familiar with the benchmark behaviors of those passing through your sales process.

For instance, note the number of clicks each Facebook post is getting in relation to the clicks on your CTA. If you were to add a short video to the landing page showing your service technicians in action or happy customers’ testimonials, does anything happen to your conversion rate? Do CTA clicks go up or down?

Or maybe you need to make some tweaks to your appointment scheduling form. If you make it shorter, do conversions go up? If so, you know that your entry form was causing more prospects to drop off.

Changes like this can help you understand the impact of your landing page on the conversion process and areas where you can improve it.

Pro Tip: As prospects drop off of your funnel, there’s always an opportunity to re-engage them. If you were able to capture an email address along the way, make sure to follow up with email marketing. Keep prospects aware of upcoming promotions, send discount codes, and announce new products.

If the visitor ends up abandoning the sale, make sure to trigger an abandoned-cart email—10.7% of abandoned carts can be recovered through a follow-up email.

The beauty of a Facebook audience is that it will always be there for you to call on. Continue to post on Facebook with the intention of driving traffic through your conversion funnel.

Conclusion

A sales funnel is an effective way to drive traffic from the stage at which prospects become aware of your business to the stage at which they decide to purchase. Developing and fine-tuning a sales funnel helps you understand the parts of your sales process that cost you conversions.

Your Facebook audience is primed and perfectly positioned to start the journey along a sales funnel because they have a genuine interest in your business. Use posts with incentives and CTAs to drive traffic off of Facebook and into the next stage of your funnel. That next stage could include content such as a landing page with a sign-up form, blog post, guide or eHow book, giveaway, quiz, or contest.

Make sure to keep a watchful eye on clicks and bounce rates so you know where your sales funnel needs to be tweaked to continually boost conversions.

For those who don’t convert, keep the conversation going. Continuously engage your Facebook audience, leveraging the resource you’ve put so much work into cultivating.

What do you think? How do you attract and convert people with organic Facebook content? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles on Facebook marketing:

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Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)

Do you have your online store up and running, but sales are not living up to your expectations? There is a big chance that your eCommerce sales funnel is leaky. Let’s find out why your eCommerce sales funnel isn’t working and how to fix it in order to make a fortune with your online store in 2020

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Why-Your-eCommerce-Sales-Funnel-Isnt-Working-And-How-to-Fix-It-768×510.jpg” />

Do you have your online store up and running, but sales are not living up to your expectations? There is a big chance that your eCommerce sales funnel is leaky.

With more than 79% of leads never converting into sales, you have to pay close attention to each and every single prospect that could become a paying customer. Analyzing your sales funnel, from the moment your customer-to-be lands on your website for the first time, to the moment he or she clicks “buy”, can help you understand how to improve your process.

Truth is, there might be plenty of reasons why your funnel isn’t bringing you the results you are looking for. In this article, I will analyze a bunch of them and suggest fixes you can implement right away to make a fortune with your online store in 2020.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

You attract poor quality traffic

It’s common to see eCommerce businesses that get tons of traffic coming to their stores thanks to SEO or paid advertising, but the conversion level is next to nothing. There are plenty of possible explanations for this situation and the first one to explore is the poor quality of traffic brought to your page.

What does it mean?

Simply, people coming to your website do not
fit your buyer persona criteria and they land on your page without real
intention to buy anything from you. For example, it’s possible that your
article will organically rank for keywords that you did not intend to rank it
for, and which would not help you convert.

Take a look at the article titled The Best Innovative Chatbot Examples by Industry written by Tidio Live Chat and two organic keywords that it started ranking for: “adult chatbot” and “adult chatbots”.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”The best innovative chatbot examples by industry ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/The-best-innovative-chatbot-examples-by-industry-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

As Tidio offers chatbots to be installed on websites (such as eCommerce stores) to help automate the sales process and improve customer service, everyone coming to the blog after searching for “adult chatbot” is probably not someone with a potential of becoming a lead.

That is an example of bringing to your page poor quality traffic with little chances of converting. If your website or a blog is attracting new visitors that aren’t qualified and interested in your product or service, that means that your content marketing and SEO strategy might be at fault.

How to
fix it:

Improve your content marketing and SEO

The most important step you can take in order to start bringing relevant traffic to your online shop, is to start producing SEO-optimized and useful content. This can range from starting a company blog to improving your meta titles and descriptions of your products. Here’s where you should start.

  • Invest in a company blog

Having a company blog with content around your
brand and your products is a powerful way to educate your users about what you
have to offer. For example, take a look at how BestSelf – an eCommerce business
selling journals and planners that also runs a blog related to their products.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”BestSelf eCommerce blog for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BestSelf-eCommerce-blog-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

The content on their blog is heavily focused
around their products which is very helpful for their SEO efforts. Moreover
it’s also very educational which helps in building trust and authority.

Once you’ve started your company’s blog, you can use free tools such as AnswerThePublic in order to find new content ideas for your company’s blog. For example, let’s say you are selling yoga mats. To generate ideas for your articles, you can simply write “yoga mat” and check the most popular searches for this query.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”AskThePublic tool to find new content ideas for companies blog ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AskThePublic-tool-to-find-new-content-ideas-for-companies-blog-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />
  • Implement user-generated content

Engaging your customers to share content relevant to your brand is a great way to start bringing new traffic to your online shop. A popular way to do this is via social media channels. For example, it’s common to run giveaways, contests, as well as hashtag campaigns where your followers publish their own content and use the specified hashtags in order to enter the competition.

Take a look at how Frank Body has approached this and keep in mind that they have achieved $20M in annual sales in 2017 by investing in content marketing.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”frankfeedback user-generated content for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/frankfeedback-user-generated-content-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />
  • Level up your SEO game

The topic of SEO for eCommerce businesses is a complex one and it includes both: on-page and off-page SEO related to your landing pages as well as your content. A good place to start would be to run a technical SEO audit and improve technical issues such as:

  • URLs
  • Title tags, meta descriptions
  • Image alt text
  • Page speed
  • Sitemaps

After that, it’s time to ensure that your website’s content is optimized. I won’t go into details of the whole process for SEO content optimization, but the key here lies in keyword research. And here’s a great guide that can help you design your SEO-optimized content strategy.

Focus on link-building

Once you’ve created SEO-optimized content, you should move on to start building links to your content. I won’t go into details explaining each strategy, but backlinks will help you rank your content (and your online shop) higher on search engines and, as a result, bring more organic, high-quality traffic.

For example, BestSelf started building links for one of their most popular products – a Self Journal. This has helped them to start bringing in 3.5k of organic (free) traffic on a regular basis.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Self journal goal setting planner for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Self-journal-goal-setting-planner-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

The faster you master building links to your products and your content, the faster you will see qualified traffic coming to your store.

Experiment with product promotion
and content distribution

Organic traffic is one thing, but there are
also other ways that can help you bring qualified traffic to your website.

  • Social media

Social media should be a key component in your eCommerce marketing strategy. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and soon probably also TikTok are powerful channels for bringing tons of traffic to your store. You can either try to attract traffic with your organic social media reach or invest in PPC advertising.

Nowadays, it’s quite tricky to build a huge audience on social media platforms from scratch, as the market is overfilled with companies that have been doing this forever. In this case, using paid, targeted ads might be the way to go.

For example, here’s how ConvertKit runs their
Facebook ads using their customers’ testimonials to come across as more
trustworthy.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”ConvertKit experiment with product promotion and content distribution for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ConvertKit-experiment-with-product-promotion-and-content-distribution-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />
  • Influencer marketing

Instagram influencer marketing continues to be a big thing in 2020, and it’s a tactic you should leverage. It works like this: A customer sees a post shared by their favorite IG influencer, who – for example – is raving about a brand new lip balm. The post ends with ‘link in bio.’ The customer then clicks the link and is directed to the eCommerce store where they can buy the lip balm or – at the very least – opt-in to the sign-up form.

Influencer marketing is successful because, while new customers might not trust you yet because they don’t really know who you are, they DO trust their favorite influencers. It’s literally the best endorsement you can get.

To make influencer marketing work, you need to find influencers who’ve got the same target audience as you.

  • Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing connects you to marketers
who use their content creation and promotion skills to a) raise awareness of
your products and b) direct traffic to your store.

It’s an excellent strategy because it takes a
load off your plate. Instead of you working tirelessly to qualify all leads, affiliate marketers do some
of the job for you (for a fee, of course).

All you need to do is find expert independent
marketers in your niche (you could create an affiliate program, which is what
Amazon and many others do) and they will then write about your products on
their blog, and even create videos about them. They’ll also include a little
link in their content to your store.

You don’t have a clearly defined
target audience

Another issue that might be contributing to your low conversion rate is the fact that your target audience isn’t clearly defined. If you don’t really know who you are marketing to, it’s hard to get people to buy your products or services. Having a clear picture of the needs and wants of your customers-to-be is what will help you deliver the solutions they are looking for.

How to
fix it:

Analyze your product and the
market

To understand who could benefit from using
your product, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What needs and gaps does my
    product fulfill?
  • What features and benefits does my
    product have and what problems does it solve?
  • What group of people would benefit
    the most from using my product?

Ideally, you should do that for each and every one of your products in order to understand their core benefits and how they can help solve problems of people considering buying them.

While researching the target market, you
should collect information related to:

  • Demographics
  • Age
  • Location
  • Sex
  • Income
  • Most used device
  • And so on.

It’s also a great idea to take a look at your existing customer group and their behavior. You can use basic analytics tools such as Google Analytics or more advanced ones, such as Finteza to get accurate insights into your target audience and their behavior.

For example, with Finteza you could start tracking the efficiency of your funnels as well as set up some goals. This tool offers a detailed funnel visualization where you could see how exactly users landed on your site and what kind of further activities they did. This data even includes how many users click or not clicked on a particular button or even downloaded some gated content.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”What criteria can be implemented in a funnel for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/What-criteria-can-be-implemented-in-a-funnel-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

Conduct competitor analysis

Another way to understand and define your target audience is to spy on your competitors. Performing a competitor analysis can help you better understand their customers and where they are coming from.

In this way, you’d be able to design a strategy that could allow you to “steal” your competitors’ customers or simply attract a similar audience to your own store. One way you could analyze how your competitors bring traffic and what channels work best for them is to use a tool called BuzzSumo.

With BuzzSumo, you can check the top-performing content of your competitors and get ideas on how to produce your own. For example, let’s say you are running an online t-shirt shop for skaters and you want to create content about creative t-shirt designs ideas. All you have to do is type “t-shirt design ideas”:

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Web content competitor analysis for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Web-content-competitor-analysis-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

Now you can see what kind of content produced by your competitors gets the most engagement and through which channels. This should give you a good idea of how to create your own.

Design a buyer persona

After collecting enough data about your target audience, it’s time to start designing your buyer persona. You could do that from scratch or use one of the ready-to-use buyer persona templates available online.

Here’s an example of how such a persona could look for your eCommerce business.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Sally the dog owner design your own persona for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Sally-the-dog-owner-design-your-own-persona-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

Your store’s landing page isn’t optimized

Depending on the eCommerce platform on which you run your online store, your landing page could be at fault when it comes to keeping your conversion rate (and therefore, sales) down.

Here are some of the most common landing pages
mistakes:

  • Poor design
  • Difficult navigation
  • Complex language
  • No clear call-to-action (CTA)
  • The discrepancy between the ad copy and page copy

The landing page of your eCommerce store is like a shop window in a regular retail shop. It’s important to have it as appealing to your visitors as possible. In order to gently push your audience down the sales funnel and convert them, their customer experience on your store’s page should be seamless. There are a few landing page best practices that you can implement in order to optimize it.

How to
fix it:

Create separate landing pages for
popular products and promotions

To start with, you should consider building several landing pages for your most popular products and current promotions in addition to your main website. This will increase your chances of bringing qualified traffic and potential leads to the products they are most interested in.

Here’s an example of a nicely done landing page for a specific product – window shades by Axis.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Axis separate landing page for popular products and promotions for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Axis-separate-landing-page-for-popular-products-and-promotions-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.jpg” />
  • Add social proof (testimonials)

Here’s the thing: A prospect might be very close to clicking this “buy” button
but something is preventing them.

Often, that ‘something’ is a lack of social
proof.

Think about it: If you stumbled upon a brand new online store’s website, would you be inclined to purchase something if you have a) never heard of this store before and b) it seems that no one else has yet bought anything from them?

According to statistics, which show that we read 40 online reviews before believing a store’s star rating is accurate, you probably wouldn’t, and for good reason.

If you stick a few pieces of social proof on
your landing page, you could easily tip a dithering prospect into the
conversion zone. For example, you could add a quote and image from your
influencer, or add a few reviews from satisfied customers.

You could also ramp things up by adding a line
such as, “don’t take our word for it, take the word of …”

Don’t be afraid of adding numbers, too. If
you’ve already sold 20,000 products so far, let us know!

Here’s a great example of using social proof
on an eCommerce landing page in practice:

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Customer hub see what our customers have to say for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Customr-hub-see-what-our-customers-have-to-say-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />
  • Improve your website’s performance and go mobile-friendly

A poorly performing website is a huge
conversion barrier. Here are a few best practices for optimizing it:

  1. Take a look at your page speed. If it’s too slow, customers will get frustrated, and they will bailout. You can use PageSpeed Insights from Google to perform a test.
  2. Implement product zoom. It is really important especially for eCommerce businesses related to fashion, as it gives customers the chance to see your products in more detail.
  3. Implement intuitive UX design and easy navigation. If a customer can’t find their way through your store with ease, they won’t hang around for much longer.
  4. Consider adding a wish-list option as they are perfect for hesitant customers who are interested but want to save things for later. When they return to your site, their wish list reminds them of the things they wanted to buy. It also helps to improve the user experience and it’s becoming a feature that people expect to see in an online store.
  5. Make your store mobile-friendly. Not only do 59% of customers make purchases directly with their mobile devices these days, but you can target them with mobile-friendly ads, such as Facebook ads.
  6. A smooth checkout process is key to reducing cart abandonment. Make it short, easy, and remove any unnecessary distractions
  • Have a clear CTA

Customers can be funny things. They have this
feeling that there’s something they should be doing next, but they sometimes
need you to give them a nudge.

If there’s something you want your customers
to do – make a purchase, add something to a cart, opt-in to a newsletter – you
need to show them very clearly how they can do it.

This is where the CTA comes in. A CTA needs to stand out on your page and it needs to tell your customers what they have to do in no uncertain teams. Be direct, concise, and action-packed with your language, and consider turning your CTA into a button. Make this button bright, optimize it with a catchy headline, and make sure you always deliver on your promises.

The way you optimize your CTA will, of course, depend on the purpose of your CTA. For example, if you’re raising awareness of a promotion, you can add the promo code in the header.

Lack of a lead nurturing process

It often happens that your website’s visitors are initially interested in your offer, but they aren’t ready to buy from you right at the moment when they land in your store. In order to convert them into customers, you need to first build trust and often also educate them about your products.

That’s where the lead nurturing process comes in. According to studies, a lack of lead nurturing sequences causes 79% of marketing leads to never convert into actual sales. That’s potentially a bunch of your customers-to-be left hanging and eventually forgetting about your business and your brand.

If you don’t have a solid lead nurturing
process in place, it’s about time you think of creating one.

How to
fix it:

Launch email marketing campaigns

When thinking of lead nurturing, you cannot forget emails. Running email marketing campaigns personalized for your leads is one of the most powerful ways of converting them into paying customers. The key word here is: Personalization.

In order to be effective in your email marketing campaigns, you have to personalize your message to each of your customer segments. Different subscriber groups (segments) should be receiving different emails, for example depending on their behavior.

That’s why segmenting your audience and collecting analytical data is so important. Here, for example, you can see an email sequence designed using Hubspot.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Launching your own email marketing campaign for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Launching-your-own-email-marketing-campaign-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

As you can see, different recipients receive different emails, and its content depends on the actions they took on your page in the past. With such personalized email campaigns, you are increasing your odds of converting your leads into customers. Your emails might be educational (familiarizing your leads with your product), promotional, or related to cart abandonment or other events.

Also, make sure to always monitor the email deliverability rate, open and click-through rates to be able to adjust your campaigns when needed.

Use conversational landing pages

Another way to build trust with your leads and prepare them for moving down the eCommerce sales funnel is to use conversational landing pages. It’s simply a dedicated landing page with a live chat or chatbot that can help you to connect with your leads one on one.

If your leads have any questions related to
your products and don’t want to jump on a call, you can offer them a chat
conversation in real-time, instead.

Conversational landing pages are great for
nurturing your leads as they make them feel special and simply taken care of.
Using such a dedicated page you can secure your sales with customers who are
still hesitant about your brand and need confirmation that you are a
trustworthy business. Additionally, it’s an awesome way of collecting direct
feedback from the people you chat with.

Here’s an example of such a landing page:

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Use a conversational landing pages for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Use-a-conversational-landing-pages-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

Image Source: TopContent

Poor customer service and
retention strategy

With 78% of customers having backed out of a purchase due to poor customer experience, it is clear that your customer support can make or break your eCommerce business. Your customer service reps are the ones answering your website visitors’ questions and assisting your customers-to-be along the sales funnel.

Unfortunately, it is still as common to see customer support done poorly as it is to see businesses completely ignoring their loyal customers. A solid customer retention strategy is an important part of fixing your leaky eCommerce sales funnel.

How to
fix it:

Automate your customer support

In order to avoid an overfilled inbox as well as missing out on your customers’ emails, you can consider installing a live chat supported with chatbots on your website to improve your customer service.

Live chat will allow you to answer your customers’ queries in real-time and provide 24/7 support. Chatbots, on the other hand, can be used to automate the process and save your time and money. For example, you can create a FAQ chatbot answering the most popular questions automatically.

- Why Your eCommerce Sales Funnel Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)” alt=”Livechat automate your customer support for ecommerce sales funnel” data-=”” data-src=”https://www.jeffbullas.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Livechat-automate-your-customer-support-for-ecommerce-sales-funnel.png” />

Another solution that you might want to consider is setting up a call center where you can communicate with your customers via phone. In order to make this work and avoid keeping your customers frustrated while waiting on the line, ensure the process is highly automated and you have enough operators to handle all queries in a timely manner.

Implement a cart abandonment strategy

There might be multiple reasons why your customers-to-be eventually decide to abandon their carts and not complete their purchase. Whatever it is, your job is to stop this from happening.

Implementing a solid cart abandonment strategy starts with running a thorough analysis of why your leads abandon their carts in the first place. Collecting this data will allow you to understand and address the issues they might be having on their journey.

The most common way for existing leads is to
use email campaigns that are triggered and sent to them reminding them about
the item left in a cart. This strategy can be effective if you’ve mastered your
subject lines and prepared a really appealing email body. However, even that
does not always work.

Another approach is rather about preventing your shoppers from abandoning their carts by making the checkout process as fast and easy as possible. It can entail adding Google Pay and PayPal payments, as well as installing chatbots assisting your website visitors in their journey.

Whatever strategy turns out to work best for you, you should keep in mind that reducing your cart abandonment rate is what can help fix your leaky eCommerce sales funnel and boost your conversions exponentially.

Reward your loyal customers

Did you know that in some industries, acquiring new customers costs five times as much as retaining an existing one?

That’s quite a lot, isn’t it?

That’s why having a healthy customer retention strategy in place is so crucial for your business. There are several ways you can reward your loyal customers. For example, you can offer them discounts, free shipping, gift cards, or… set up a referral or affiliate program for them to make a buck or two recommending your products.

Referral programs are truly a win-win situation, as you get free word-of-mouth and increased brand awareness, as well as new leads and customers while your existing customers get some cash.

The same is true for affiliate programs which
are a great solution for those of your customers who have audiences of their
own and a website.

Lastly, you can’t forget about regularly
checking in with your customers and preparing them special deals, surprising
them from time to time, or remembering about their birthdays. It’s all an
investment that you won’t regret.

Conclusion

All eCommerce stores need a sales funnel. Without one, your chances of converting cold traffic into red-hot traffic that eventually turns into paying customers are low.

Use the tips in this article to fix your flagging eCommerce sales funnel. Generate leads, nurture them, and play the long game. In other words, build relationships with your customers that last for a very long time.

Guest author: Margo is a Growth Marketing Partner for tech companies. She creates content that converts website visitors into paying customers for B2B/SaaS companies with digital marketing funnels. Get in touch with Margo on her personal blog – Margo Leads or LinkedIn.

The 4 Key Steps to Creating Your First Ad Campaign

The 4 Key Steps to Creating Your First Ad Campaign – following these four key ingredients will help you create a first ad campaign that you can be proud of

Imran Tariq

Guest Writer

Co-Founder and CEO of Webmetrix Group

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Social media and Google advertising campaigns have continued to grow in recent years. Because entrepreneurs and ad managers can generate a highly specific audience based on their customer personas, the ROI to online ad campaigns is substantial. However, to a first-time ad campaign creator, the entire process can feel a bit intimidating.

How do you define your audience? Which advertisement idea will work? How do you set a budget? The process should be iterative, meaning it won’t be perfect on your very first try. But these following four key ingredients will help you create a first ad campaign that you can be proud of: one that you can add onto and change as you receive data.

1. Determine your goal

First, it’s important to understand what your goal is. This will drive all decisions about the advertising campaign. For some companies, sales drive all of their advertising efforts. For others, it’s simply traffic or exposure. Define what a set of successful results will look like for your company.

Related: 5 Tips on Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign

This is always part of a larger conversation regarding your sales cycle. If you have a funnel that incorporates an email list, a webinar or a Facebook group, perhaps your ad spend is best spent moving potential customers into the funnel rather than trying to immediately take them to the sale.

2. Use high quality visuals

The average person has the attention span of a goldfish, and this is exacerbated during their social media scrolls or Google searches, when they’re overwhelmed with information and so much to look at. That’s why it’s critical to use large lettering and high quality visuals. Paul Getter, the founder of The Internet Marketing Nerds, recommends “using natural, everyday photos and not the more staged, professional-looking pictures. They invoke curiosity.”

Related: 4 Branding Lessons From Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Ad

If a photo looks too much like a stock photo, your customers will see it as an advertisement. This is also why photos generated by influencers work so well. “It’s important to recognize, however, that catching a person’s attention is an always-evolving art. What worked yesterday might not work today,” Getter added. Make sure to switch up your strategy until you find one that gets you the results you’re looking for.

3. Conduct market research with a split test.

Once you’ve published your first few ad campaigns, it’s a good idea to engage a split test (also known as an A/B test). A split test enables you to put two ads next to each other and see which performs better. This judgment will typically come down to one key performance indicator.

You’ll be able to tell from a split test if one of your advertisements is more effective than another on these KPIs. From there, make a decision on how you’ll invest moving forward. It’s possible that one ad could perform well by one indicator, and the other could perform well by another. This is why it’s important to know what your ad goals are.

4. Continue to iterate on your ad audience

Finally, remember the final key ingredient is your audience specification. If your ad campaign isn’t performing to your expectations, it could be an issue with how you’re targeting your audience. Targeting is both an art and a science.

Some marketers recommend using psychographics to better target an audience. This goes beyond mere demographics and into more specificity, such as a target audience’s motivations and values. These are good to know in constructing your ad messaging generally speaking, so invest time in understanding these psychographics, then apply it to your audience targeting, too.

Related: How to Win at Facebook Advertising

Advertising knowledge is a muscle that’s strengthened with time and experience. Get started on the social media sites that your ideal customer most frequently visits, and create a detailed overview of data from each campaign. Every data point can be used moving forward.

How to Attract and Nurture Quality Instagram Followers

Want more business from Instagram? Looking for a proven process to follow? In this article, you’ll learn three steps to attract and engage your Instagram audience, and convert them into leads and customers. #1: Attracting the Right Audience on Instagram At the top of the funnel, your job is simple: You need to grow your…

Want more business from Instagram? Looking for a proven process to follow?

In this article, you’ll learn three steps to attract and engage your Instagram audience, and convert them into leads and customers.

#1: Attracting the Right Audience on Instagram

At the top of the funnel, your job is simple: You need to grow your number of Instagram followers and make sure they’re engaged with your content. It’s important to have only high-quality followers; inflating your numbers by buying followers will skew your data further down the funnel, resulting in lower link clicks and conversion rates.

So how do you make sure you’re getting engaged followers? You can have thousands of Instagram followers but if they don’t engage with your account, they’re not doing you any good. Put your effort into gaining real followers so your data doesn’t get skewed as you move leads further down the funnel.

Brands get real Instagram followers through methods such as:

These are just a few effective ways to ensure you’re getting real followers. Your account’s growth might be slow at first, but if you keep working at it, you’ll start seeing steady growth. By using these tactics, you can see sustained growth in your Instagram account, giving you more leads that you can move into your Instagram sales funnel.

Organic Tactics to Establish and Build Brand Awareness

In digital marketing, growth hacking is a term that refers to the process of experimenting with different marketing tactics to see what works—and more importantly, figuring it out fast. You try a marketing method, quickly decide whether it worked, and either keep it or scrap it and move to the next strategy. The focus of your experiments is on growth and trying to find the best ways to quickly grow your Instagram followers and your business.

So what growth hacking methods can you use to grow your Instagram account in preparation for moving people through your sales funnel? Let’s break down a few ideas to try.

Brand awareness refers to how easily people recognize your brand. To visualize this, just about everyone recognizes Twitter’s little blue bird. Another good example is the golden arches of McDonald’s. But these are well-established businesses that have been marketing themselves for years. Small businesses have a little more work to do before their brand is easy to recognize.

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You can establish brand awareness by optimizing your Instagram business profile to help people understand what you do. In your bio, add your company name, a brief description of what you do, and your website. Also consider using your logo as your profile picture.

The Instagram bio for clothing company Posh Peanut explains what they sell and shares their values, location, and an on-brand profile photo. Optimizing your profile like this will help anyone who comes across your account to immediately understand who you are.

You can also grow brand awareness by carefully crafting your social media posts. Consistently post photos and captions that are a good representation of your brand and include testimonials and on-brand graphics. Don’t be too salesy, though. Instead, simply use a consistent posting strategy and your brand awareness will gradually begin to grow.

Hashtags are yet another way to increase brand awareness. What sort of hashtags should you use on Instagram? Begin by thinking about what someone would type into the search bar to find your profile. If you’re a clothing retailer, descriptive hashtags such as #fashioncompany (which only has 19K uses) or #teenstyle (which has 219K) could help your account be found. It’s best to stick with hashtags that have fewer than 300K posts or your content won’t be seen.

Search through the hashtags your competitors are using to get some inspiration. Also experiment with different types of tags including your own branded hashtags.

Use Influencer Campaigns to Grow Your Followers

At the top of the Instagram sales funnel, you’re still trying to grow your account, and influencer marketing is an excellent method for growing brand awareness and your following. When you ask an influencer to post about your business, you’re exposing your company to a large number of people who may not have known about it before.

Getting started with influencer marketing is fairly easy. First, decide whether you’d like to work with macro- or micro-influencers.

Macro-influencers typically have anywhere from 10,000 to 1 million followers. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have fewer than 10,000 followers. While macro-influencers might seem like the better option at first glance, micro-influencers have a lot of benefits too. They’re less expensive and they often receive more engagement on their posts.

Once you’ve decided what type of influencer you want to target, start identifying specific influencers who might be a good fit for your brand. You can find influencers within the Instagram app by searching for specific hashtags or scrolling through the Explore tab. Look for influencers in your niche who post high-quality content that gets decent engagement.

In addition to using Instagram, you can also search for influencers using a third-party tool, which makes it easy to narrow your search criteria.

After creating a list of potential influencers, reach out to them via email or direct message to see if they’d be interested in collaborating. Craft a short, conversational email that states what you like about the influencer’s account, explains what your brand does, and asks if they would be interested in discussing a collaboration.

For compensation, you might send the influencer a free product in exchange for a post, or for a more long-term partnership, pay the influencer cash in return for consistent promotion. Whatever type of collaboration you decide to do, make sure to send the influencer a list of the deliverables you’ll need up front. That way, they can gauge how much time the project will take and decide if they want to take it on.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool that offers exposure and brings more Instagram followers your way. Once your account has grown, it’s time to move to the middle of the funnel: keeping those followers around.

#2: Interacting With Your Instagram Followers

The next step is to keep your new followers highly engaged, which is the middle of your funnel.

Social media engagement has a lot of benefits, from providing social proof to boosting brand awareness and expanding your reach. In the context of your Instagram sales funnel, engagement is a way to measure whether your audience is tuned into what you have to say. Likes, comments, and shares on your posts are the precursor to what’s next—hopefully making sales.

So how do you keep your followers engaged? Here are some tactics to try.

Tell Your Brand Story

First, you need to create a story for your brand that entices people. Be authentic and tell the true backstory of how your company got started. And don’t be afraid to add an emotional hook and put a spin on things. Your brand story should also encompass your business goals.

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SoulCycle’s brand story is about redefining the exercise experience to make fitness fun and inspirational. Similarly, your brand story can explain the vision behind your business and the goals you have in place. If you do it right, people with those same goals and values will be drawn to your business like moths to a flame.

Include CTAs in Your Instagram Posts

When you create your Instagram posts, be sure to include strong calls to action (CTAs). You can add CTAs that ask your followers to do several different things such as:

  • Like the photo.
  • Tag a friend.
  • Leave a comment.
  • Visit the link in your bio.
  • View a product.

PBH Foods encourages followers to tap on the product tag in their images. A good CTA uses actionable language that creates a sense of urgency such as “Buy Now,” “Tap Here,” or “Subscribe Today.” It’s also effective to include the benefit someone will receive by following the CTA such as, “Subscribe now to become an expert in all things digital marketing.”

Use Questions, Polls, and Contests

Additionally, you can increase Instagram engagement by using questions, polls, and contests.

Questions are an Instagram Stories feature that gives you an opportunity to hear direct feedback from your audience. Polls are also popular on Instagram Stories, helping you crowdsource ideas and have a little fun.

Instagram contests are also an excellent way to get engagement. A study by Tailwind found that posts related to contests get 64X more comments and 3.5X more likes than traditional content. These types of posts can help boost your Instagram engagement rate.

#3: Converting Your Instagram Followers With a Lead Magnet

The next order of business in the middle of your Instagram sales funnel is creating an enticing lead magnet. It should be gated content, which means users have to fill out a form, or at the very least enter their email address, to receive the content. Gated content is an excellent way to generate leads because it provides you with valuable information about someone—in this case, your Instagram followers—as you encourage them to download the content.

When you create your lead magnet, first decide on the type of content you want to offer such as:

  • White papers or case studies
  • eBooks or PDFs
  • Videos
  • Short email courses
  • Discounts
  • Free trials
  • Assessments or tests

White papers and case studies are popular lead magnets for B2B companies. If your target audience is made up of consumers, you might choose an eBook or video. The content in the lead magnet should be valuable to your followers.

To produce something truly valuable, think small. Pick one of your target audience’s common pain points and then solve it. Your lead magnet should also be well-written and well-designed. Hire freelancers if you don’t have the resources available in-house.

Let’s look at an example of how to offer content that’s tailor-made for your Instagram followers. Lindsey Roman is an elopement photographer with more than 35,000 Instagram followers. She runs a business educating creative entrepreneurs on the side so the large majority of her followers are also photographers. Recently, Lindsey shared a link in her Instagram Stories to an “Instagram Master Guide,” encouraging her followers to swipe up to get their copy.

When users followed the instructions to swipe up, they were taken to a landing page where they could enter their name and email address to receive the free guide, which shared Lindsey’s personal experience growing her Instagram account. The information was highly valuable to her followers.

In addition to asking for an email address, consider having a form for users to fill out to access the content. Think about what information would be relevant to help you reach this lead. Maybe you want to know what country they live in, what job title they hold, or their age range. Add those to the page, too.

Once you’ve gathered a list of email addresses from the people who downloaded the content, nurture those followers through email marketing. Send regular sales emails and newsletters to continue moving your leads further down the funnel to eventually make a purchase. Gated content is a highly effective method of lead generation and can be extremely helpful to your business.

Create an Instagram-Specific Landing Page

When your Instagram followers click on your lead magnet, they should be directed to a landing page that’s specifically for Instagram. This landing page is the bottom of your Instagram sales funnel, and the visuals and messaging on the page need to be tailored for your Instagram followers. To create this landing page, add an unlinked page on your website. This is a page that can’t be found unless someone has the direct link.

You can send people to this landing page through a link in your bio or by using the swipe-up feature in Instagram Stories. Business accounts that have more than 10,000 followers are eligible to use the swipe-up feature, and it’s an easy way to get people directly where you want them to go. This feature also makes it easy to track how many people are visiting that landing page. This way, you’ll know if you need to change the CTA you use in your Instagram stories.

You don’t have to use this landing page just for your lead magnet, though. You can use an Instagram landing page for other things, too. For instance, suppose you want to run a holiday discount that’s just for your Instagram followers. In that case, announce the discount on Instagram only and send your followers to a landing page where the discount applies. That’s what Discount Dance did here to advertise a special holiday sale:

Conclusion

The process of capturing and converting leads on Instagram might seem mystifying, but in reality, it can be fairly simple as long as you follow the right steps in the right order. Get more Instagram followers, make sure they’re engaged with your account, and then offer a lead magnet to start moving them through the funnel.

Instagram is a lucrative platform for businesses and applying your sales funnel to this social media platform can help you get more leads and more conversions.

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What do you think? Will you try this approach to attract, engage, and convert your Instagram audience? Do you have any tips of your own to offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile

About The AuthorSuzanne Scacca is a former WordPress implementer, trainer and agency manager who now works as a freelance copywriter. She specializes in crafting marketing, web … More about Suzanne Scacca …Every website or PWA you build should automate as much prospecting and selling as possible. The only thing is that visitors enter websites with…

Every website or PWA you build should automate as much prospecting and selling as possible. The only thing is that visitors enter websites with various mindsets, depending on which part of the buying stage they’re at. This means that you can’t just take every person who enters the site through the same path. You have to design a custom sales funnel (or pathway) for each kind of buyer. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

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A sales funnel is a set of invisible steps you lay before visitors that takes them from the point of entry to the desired action. There are three stages in a sales funnel:

  • Top of the funnel (TOF),
  • Middle of the funnel (MOF),
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOF).

Why do we call these three stages a funnel? Because, together, they form a funnel-like shape:

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A sales funnel and its three key stages: top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, bottom-of-funnel marketing. (Large preview)

At the top are all the people who enter your website or PWA. At the bottom are those who’ve bought something. The reason it tapers off is because your funnel sheds visitors and leads along the way who aren’t a good fit.

This process actually occurs with or without your help. (It’s just more effective if you take the time to carefully construct it.) Open Google Analytics and locate the tab called “Users Flow” under “Audience” or “Behavior Flow” under “Behavior”.

You’ll see something like this:

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An example of using Google Analytics to chart the natural flow of visitors through a website. (Source: Google Analytics) (Large preview)

In this particular user flow, we’re looking at how traffic from various mediums (e.g. organic search, third party referrals, social media) moves through the website.

The shape isn’t as explicit as a funnel, but you can see that’s exactly what’s happening with the numbers. There were 4500 sessions to start. By the second interaction, only 143 remained.

By actually designing your sales funnels, though, you can improve your results and make them more predictable. You’ll do this by driving the right kind of leads into your website, laying down a clear set of steps for them to take and, hopefully, maximizing the number of them that convert.

To do this, you’ll need to understand what’s going on in the minds of your leads at every part of the funnel and then design an experience that caters to that exact mindset.

Let’s look at some examples.

Designing For Top Of The Funnel

Someone discovers your website or brand on Google, through a social media post or from a personal referral. So, they visit the website on a fact-finding mission.

TOF marketing is all about discovery. You want to take visitors from:

Sounds interesting.

To:

This is promising! I should [subscribe to the newsletter/like them on Facebook/grab this free downloadable].

Here is an example of how you might build out the Awareness part of the funnel:

Step 1: Show Up in the Right Places

Your sales funnel doesn’t begin on your website or app. It begins in places like Google search results, like this example for the Atlassian enterprise software company:

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This is the first step of the TOF funnel: a Google search result for Atlassian. (Source: Atlassian) (Large preview)

In order for visitors to enter the funnel, you have to increase the exposure of your brand in places like:

  • Organic Google search results,
  • Social media posts,
  • Review site recommendations,
  • Content like blog posts and podcasts.

You can also use paid search and social ads to boost brand awareness, but be careful. As this WordStream infographic demonstrates:

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The WordStream infographic shows how different keywords perform better in SEO vs. PPC placements. (Source: WordStream infographic) (Large preview)

Paid placements are much more attractive to consumers who are ready to buy (i.e. at the bottom of the funnel). Top of the funnel consumers, however, are simply on a fact-finding mission, which is why you’d be best off finding organic placements (in search and elsewhere) to put in front of them.

Step 2: Help Them Learn More

Once visitors enter your website, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to get the information they need. On mobile, that means giving them a shortcut above the fold:

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The Atlassian home page invites visitors to ‘Learn more’. (Source: Atlassian) (Large preview)

There’s nothing complicated about what the CTA button is asking visitors to do. No pressure to buy. No snarkiness or attitude. Just a straight-forward, “Let us help you discover our products.”

Step 3: Give Them a Little Room

It’s not as though Atlassian is some unknown brand. It’s the developer of products like Jira, Trello, and Bitbucket. And, yet, its first step is to invite visitors to take time to learn more. More websites would be better off if it had as welcoming of an approach.

The next step in this process gives visitors the time and space to research Atlassian’s products:

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Atlassian encourages visitors to take time learning about all of the software available. (Source: Atlassian) (Large preview)

There are no pesky pop-ups on this page to distract visitors from the list of products. There are no ads or banners drawing attention to special offers or anything like that. There aren’t even any “Buy Now” buttons. Each product description is followed by a “Learn more” button.

This is perfect for the business owner or CTO who simply wants to gather up facts on software options before making any buying decisions.

Step 4: Make a Connection

Because these are top-of-funnel visitors, there’s no way you’re going to get them to convert on the spot — especially for enterprise software. So, your best bet is to throw a soft pitch their way.

In the case of Atlassian, it offers a free trial:

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Atlassian doesn’t push TOF visitors to buy right away. A free trial is offered instead. (Source: Atlassian) (Large preview)

No credit card is required at this time. This is simply about letting prospective users learn even more about the product without the pressure of a price tag.

If you have a product that they can discover first-hand, this is a great way to earn the trust of TOF consumers and fast-track them to conversion.

If you don’t have a product that can be tested, that’s fine. There are other ways to help your users learn more and stay connected through email. A lead magnet like a downloadable checklist or ebook is one way to do it. A subscription to your blog is another. Or you might just invite them to follow you on social.

However you make that connection, make sure you’re only asking for the bare minimum:

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Atlassian free trial form asks for only required user data. (Source: Atlassian) (Large preview)

If you’re thinking of going the route of a lead magnet, read this guide for tips on designing the lead gen landing page.

Designing For Middle Of The Funnel

For businesses with shorter sales cycles (i.e. ones with less complicated and cheaper products), this part of the funnel doesn’t usually exist. For those that do need it (like service providers and SaaS companies), though, it’s a critical part of the sales process.

We’ve already established that leads that get to this stage are interested since they shared their email address or connected with you in some other manner. Now, it’s your job to feed them with free value and insights so they go from:

This is promising!

To:

This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

MOF marketing is all about building relationships and nurturing trust while you give your prospects time to consider whether the purchase is worth it.

Here is an example of how you might build out the Nurturing part of the funnel:

Step 1: Keep in Touch

Your website has successfully educated visitors enough to become interested leads. Now, you have to actually do something with that connection.

If they subscribed by email, started a free trial or downloaded a lead magnet, they should begin receiving email communications.

If they followed your brand on social, then they should start seeing your posts on a regular basis.

Just keep in mind that these messages shouldn’t be about the hard sell. At this stage, all you’re doing is providing extra value and building trust in the process. If you contact them at the right frequency and with the right kind of content, though, they’ll eventually get to a point where there’s no doubt in their minds that they want to buy from you.

For example, I was on Google recently looking for “spas near Providence” (where I’m moving to early next year). I always book a spa session for my birthday and was just curious what kind of options I’d be working with.

In my Google Maps results, I discovered The Bodhi Spa. It had great reviews, it was close to where I was moving and it had the kind of spa services I was interested in. So, I figured, why not click and learn more?

I was happy with what I saw, so I decided to follow them on Instagram so they could stay top-of-mind until I move to Providence. This is the exact thing you want to happen with your TOF prospects.

And the way the spa continues to stay in touch is the exact thing you (or whoever handles the marketing for the website you built) should be doing in the MOF:

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A recent Instagram post from The Bodhi Spa. (Source: The Bodhi Spa) (Large preview)

What’s great about this example is that the spa doesn’t overdo it. They only post once every week or two — just enough to keep followers (and interested prospects) engaged:

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The Bodhi Spa posts enticing photos on Instagram every week or two. (Source: The Bodhi Spa) (Large preview)

Another nice tip you can leverage from this example is how the posts are written.

Sure, the Instagram page is meant to be promotional. However, the posts themselves aren’t written in a sales-centric tone. For instance, the last post that went up simply says:

Gimme some #happyhormones #plungepool #bodhispa #heatupcooldownrelaxrepeat

The enticing image and the relaxed message work well for MOF marketing. It’s like, “Hey, we’re here whenever you’re ready.” And, for my own purposes, that’s perfect. As an interested prospect, I’m glad I’ll have these kinds of updates to remind me to book a session once I’m in town.

Step 2: Always Include Your Link

When you get close to the bottom of the funnel, your links should go deeper into the site. For instance, let’s say you were to run a Google ad for a specific product or sale. The link in that ad wouldn’t go to your home page. It would go to a targeted landing page that would shortcut the whole process.

MOF prospects aren’t at that stage yet, so you should still send them to your home page or some other top-level page on your website (just not a navigation-less landing page).

The Bodhi Spa, for example, points all Instagram visitors to its home page:

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The Bodhi Spa includes a link to its home page on Instagram. (Source: The Bodhi Spa) (Large preview)

Most newsletters and email communications will do the same, with a link at the very top or bottom of the email pointing to the home page.

Just make sure the link you send them to naturally directs them through the middle-of-funnel steps.

Step 3: Point Them in the Right Direction

For longer sales cycles, make sure your website is fully prepared to provide answers to interested prospects — both directly and indirectly.

As far as the direct approach goes, a contact form and live chat would be useful. You should exhaust the indirect options before you go too crazy with setting up contact channels though.

As far as the indirect approach goes, your website should be like a self-guided journey. That way, when they land on the home page, it’s clear which directions they can go in:

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The home page of The Bodhi Spa has a ‘Begin Your Journey’ button. (Source: The Bodhi Spa) (Large preview)

The home page gives visitors two ways to go:

  • Begin your journey,
  • Or access the menu.

Now, as a first-time visitor at the top of the funnel, the prospective customer likely scrolled through the home page to look for an opportunity to quickly learn more:

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The home page of The Bodhi Spa PWA points visitors to ‘Learn More’. (Source: The Bodhi Spa) (Large preview)

As a return visitor, however, this part of the home page opens up a new pathway that they likely hadn’t considered the first time around: “Book Now”. Even the order in which the buttons appears suggests that that’s the order in which visitors should interact with them.

That said, MOF prospects aren’t necessarily ready to buy on a second, third or even fourth visit. While they’re not in the initial “Is this worth it?” discovery phase, they’re still trying to gather all the facts and make up their mind.

(And if they are sold on your offer that quickly, that’s great! You have the button there, ready for them to click.)

Step 4: Reinforce Your Value

Even though this is a mobile website (or PWA) where content should be kept to a minimum, it’s important to include all details that will make-or-break their decision to buy. Don’t stuff them into the home page or a single services or products page though.

Lay it out in your navigation like this:

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The Bodhi Spa has a dedicated page for each of its services and its company story. (Source: The Bodhi Spa) (Large preview)

At first glance, you might not think this website has that much information since the home page is so straight and to the point. However, this navigation digs deep into the spa’s offerings along with the company’s story.

Also, take note of the FAQs included under “Our Journey”. That’s a great touch. If you know that prospects tend to come to you with the same questions, don’t make them use the “Connect” or “Contact” page to fill out a form. It not only clogs up your inbox with questions, but it forces them to do extra work.

Make your website do most of the work instead.

And if it’s not prepared to answer all of the questions and ease all of their doubts, then it’s time to revisit the structure, content and design of your site. The MOF is the trickiest part of the sales funnel. If you can successfully bring prospects back to the site from your mobile marketing efforts, don’t let it go to waste.

Designing For Bottom Of The Funnel

Okay, so your prospects know what you’re offering and they’re ready to buy. All they need is one last push through a seamless and effortless checkout so that they go from:

This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

To:

Where’s my credit card?

Here is an example of how you might build out the Conversion part of the funnel:

Step 1: Make Your Offer Clear

If your website were a flesh-and-blood salesperson, this is the point of the call or meeting where they’d ask, “Can I have your business?” There’s no point in beating around the bush on your website or your marketing either.

For MOF visitors who’ve finished checking up on you and your offering, you’ll want to boldly make your offer where they’ll easily see it, just as the Boston Calling Music Festival does:

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The Boston Calling Music Festival website clearly and boldly published its tickets. (Source: Boston Calling Music Festival) (Large preview)

For TOF visitors who don’t need much convincing or nurturing, you can directly post your offer to them over email or social media:

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An email for tickets to the Boston Calling Music Festival. (Source: Boston Calling Music Festival) (Large preview)

Just make sure your sales funnel can be truncated into TOF and BOF in that case.

For something like a concert where the offer is clear-cut, going this route would be fine. However, think about something like a professional conference or retreat where tickets run upwards of $1000 and the cost of travel adds even more weight to that total. If you’re asking for a huge commitment of time, money or effort from your customers, don’t skip the MOF marketing steps.

Once you’re in this stage, though, you can put aside all of that education you did earlier. All you need to do now is sell, so make sure the “Buy” button is as clear as day wherever you put it.

Step 2: Summarize Their Purchase in the Cart

Whether customers are putting products into a shopping cart, purchasing tickets to an event or signing up for your SaaS, it’s a good idea to quickly remind them of what they’re about to buy before you hop into checkout.

On the Cart page, provide a summary like this:

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The Boston Calling tickets page reminds visitors what they’re buying before they check out. (Source: Boston Calling Music Festival) (Large preview)

The Cart page makes sure that buyers fully understand what it is they’re buying. That way, they don’t go through checkout, only to realize at the email confirmation stage that they bought something they can’t use or on dates they’re unavailable. This’ll reduce the numbers of emails, calls or refund requests you have to handle post-sale.

Step 3: Streamline Checkout

Last but not least, make it easy for your customers to get through checkout.

The first thing to do is simplify the sign-in/sign-up process:

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The Boston Calling Music Festival website provides multiple options to sign in or up for tickets. (Source: Boston Calling Music Festival) (Large preview)

Customers can sign in with an existing account or they can sign up for a new one. And the sign-up process has two options as well:

  1. Create an account with Facebook,
  2. Create an account from-scratch.

You can’t see it here, but the form is enabled with autofill technology, which made filling it out lightning-fast.

The rest of the checkout process should be as easy to get through. One way to do this is by using dropdowns with the most popular options already selected (when it makes sense). That’ll save customers time having to manually enter their data:

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Boston Calling auto-fills some checkout fields to speed up the process. (Source: Boston Calling Music Festival) (Large preview)

That said, even the most streamlined of checkout processes can get tiresome if there’s a lot of data to collect. But Boston Calling does a nice job of this, always giving customers a look at how many more steps are to come:

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The Boston Calling checkout process clearly lays out each step of the process. (Source: Boston Calling Music Festival) (Large preview)

Even though there are four steps customers have to complete to get their music festival tickets, the last two steps are easy. Secure Ticket provides information on how their tickets are protected in case of inclement weather, disaster or some other reason for cancellation. And the last one is a final check to ensure they purchased the right ticket and are ready to submit their payment information.

It’s a beautiful system from start to finish and ensures that as many interested concert-goers book their tickets as possible.

Wrapping Up

Building a sales funnel into a website can be a huge relief for the people who run it. That’s because a carefully designed pathway can usher your visitors from the point of entry to conversion without much oversight or intervention from you at all.

Aside from some email or social marketing along the way (which can be automated), the rest of the work is done by your website to convert the best-fit customers. Plus, by building your sales funnels for mobile, you’ll ensure that you’ve created the most efficient pathways for your visitors regardless of which device they’re on.

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About The Author

Suzanne Scacca is a former WordPress implementer, trainer and agency manager who now works as a freelance copywriter. She specializes in crafting marketing, web …
More about Suzanne Scacca

How to Create a YouTube Sales Funnel

Want more customers from YouTube? Wondering what types of YouTube videos you need to make? In this article, you’ll discover different types of videos to create for a YouTube sales funnel. How to Use Video in a YouTube Sales Funnel Building a YouTube marketing funnel means understanding what types of videos to produce, and there’s…

Want more customers from YouTube? Wondering what types of YouTube videos you need to make?

In this article, you’ll discover different types of videos to create for a YouTube sales funnel.

How to Use Video in a YouTube Sales Funnel

Building a YouTube marketing funnel means understanding what types of videos to produce, and there’s no better framework than the content marketing funnel.

By understanding the stages of the content marketing funnel, you’ll clearly see how powerful it is and how your videos will appeal to buyers at each stage. Let’s take a look at what the funnel includes along with types of YouTube videos you can produce at each stage.

Create Awareness at the Top of the Funnel

The top of the funnel is where you help buyers identify the challenges they face. This stage is important because buyers aren’t yet aware of a solution and won’t know why yours is the best choice.

Put another way, they won’t know that your solution is ideal if they don’t fully understand what challenges they face. This stage is all about educating them about the problem. Here are some YouTube videos you can create to do that.

Educational Videos

Buyers lack information at the beginning of their journey to findi a solution. This is where becoming their guide can pay off. And becoming a guide means creating videos that answer quick questions, as in the Watermelon Media video below. The video explains what content marketing is in a short, animated, easy-to-understand way.

Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are a staple in digital marketing. They discuss complex concepts in simple language, giving viewers a better understanding of what your solution offers and how it works.

Using visually interesting graphics and animations, this Zendesk video explains how Zendesk Guide can help businesses improve customer service by putting all of their institutional knowledge of customer issues to work for them:

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Short Video Ads Identifying Problems

Short ads can be highly effective when executed well. Take this “Backing Jody Pardue” ad from QuickBooks, for example. In the video, actor Danny DeVito dispenses advice to Jody about how switching to QuickBooks can save her time and energy running her personal trainer business. The ad lasts 30 seconds but hooks you from the start. It has more than 960,000 views on YouTube and has also run on TV.

Drive Consideration at the Middle of the Funnel

The second stage of the YouTube marketing funnel is where you begin to introduce your product as a solution to the challenges identified at the top of the funnel. Here you want to focus on specifics, including how your product works, why it works in a certain way, and even the alternatives available and why they aren’t the ideal solution.

Product Intro Videos

Videos that introduce your product and how it works are critical for buyers. The goal of this HubSpot video is to show how easy it is to use HubSpot CRM. If you’re a potential buyer who’s strapped for time, watching a 60-second rundown the CRM’s capabilities is a quick win.

Tutorials

Tutorials provide prospects with a more in-depth experience of your offering. This type of video is ideal for prospects who are considering their options and want to take a closer look at what your product can really do for them.

Pixelmator created this 3.5-minute video to peel back the curtain on what buyers need to know about getting started with Pixelmator Pro. The video teaches beginners how to use the image-editing software.

Influence Decision-Making at the Bottom of the Funnel

The bottom of your funnel is where you move in for the sale, so focus on YouTube content that will help convert leads into customers. This often involves reinforcing ideas shared at the middle of the funnel.

Demo Videos

Online marketer Pat Flynn has attracted a large online following over the years. He is also a ConvertKit customer, pairing up with the company to host this 27-minute demo and tutorial. In the video, Flynn shares how easy it is to use ConvertKit’s email marketing software.

Customer Testimonial Videos

According to social proof theory, a person who doesn’t know the proper behavior for a certain situation will imitate the behavior of others and look for guidance for their actions. Using video testimonials at the bottom of your funnel is a great way to inject some social proof into your buyer’s journey.

But don’t just scratch the surface or be vague in your video. Give specifics and create a story that’s worth watching, especially for buyers looking to be convinced that yours is indeed the right solution.

In this testimonial video from Dropbox, Australian construction company Built explains how Dropbox Business has helped them streamline operations.

Improve Retention By Onboarding New Customers

While the content marketing funnel generally includes three stages, savvy marketers will also focus on what happens after leads become customers. YouTube video can also be used as a tool for onboarding new customers, helping them quickly become familiar with your product. One of the potential benefits of doing this is a longer customer lifetime for referrals.

Agile CRM walks new customers through the steps for creating landing pages with their software. In the video below, customers get a walkthrough of each element of the landing page builder and how it can be used to quickly create landing pages.

Mention, a media monitoring solutions provider, also does a great job of setting their clients up for success. They offer a collection of free YouTube tutorials on how to navigate and use their software.

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of videos to create for a YouTube sales funnel, here’s how to get started developing content for your channel.

#1: Outline a Video Content Plan for Your YouTube Marketing Funnel

The first step in planning your content is to identify where your business is in its YouTube lifecycle. Take stock of what YouTube video content you currently have and how it’s performing. Knowing what you’re working with will help you make the right decisions about where to spend your time and budget.

To visualize this, if your business is just getting started on YouTube or has only a handful of videos, developing videos for the middle and bottom of the funnel won’t be the best use of your budget or time.

Why? New channels need to build audiences and the best way to do so is by focusing on awareness. Building awareness on YouTube means going after long-tail keywords and creating content that can be shared and viewed as much as possible.

Over time, as your channel grows, you can produce content for the middle and bottom of your funnel. This content will then be relevant to your problem-aware audience.

If your YouTube channel has been around for a while, figure out how much content you have for each stage of your funnel and how those videos are performing. If you have a number of awareness-building videos but no how-tos or tutorials on your product, there’s a good chance that the lack of these kinds of videos is influencing how many leads you’re generating and sales you’re making.

Plan a Content Mix for the Different Stages of Your Funnel

Once you’ve established what you’re working with, it’s time to plan your content.

As a (very loose) rule of thumb, try this content mix for your YouTube video funnel:

  • Top-of-the-funnel content: 40%
  • Middle-of-the-funnel content: 40%
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel content: 20%

Why the 40:40:20 split? Consider the shape of a content marketing funnel. It’s broader at the top and narrower at the bottom. Its shape signifies that fewer buyers make it all the way through the funnel.

In Jeremy Miller’s book Sticky Branding, he introduced the idea that only 3% of the top 10% of your buyers are active and ready to spend money. The other 7% intend to reconsider and become active buyers at some point.

Miller goes on to explain that the remaining 90% consists of buyers who have a need but aren’t ready to act (30%), don’t have a need (30%), or simply aren’t interested in your company (30%).

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It’s easy to see why you should be spending more time creating videos at the top and middle of the funnel. Producing the right amount of content at these stages will help introduce your business to buyers who aren’t ready to commit yet.

When they are ready to make a purchase, there’s a greater probability that they will turn to a brand that’s helped them identify their challenges and educated them on how best to solve their problems.

Create a YouTube Content Calendar

Planning your video content is like planning any other content marketing initiative: It must be strategic and well-documented. Creating a content calendar for your YouTube videos will eliminate any confusion, lack of direction, or anxiety associated with producing and publishing videos. Then use your calendar to produce the videos you need for your marketing funnel.

#2: Produce Videos Optimized to Increase YouTube Watch Time

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, and like all search engines, SEO is an important element for generating views for videos.

But what should you consider if you want to rank and get more views on YouTube? For starters, use keywords in your video title and description. But don’t stuff your keywords; instead, get creative with your titles and work your keywords in so they’re eye-catching and relevant.

And while keyword optimization certainly matters, watch time matters more. Watch time is the amount of time someone spends watching a video. As an aggregate of all video views, this metric is considered one of the most heavily weighted.

Why does watch time matter? YouTube, like Google, wants to serve up the most relevant content to users. The longer someone watches a video, the more proof the video is relevant. Briggsby’s YouTube SEO Ranking Factor Study found that the more watch time a video receives, the higher it ranks on YouTube.

Here are some ways you can optimize your videos to increase watch time.

Lead With Your Hook

There’s a good chance that you’ll be entering a market filled with competitors. Your YouTube video isn’t going to be the only one covering a specific topic so you’ll need to present your take more compellingly.

Resist the urge to lead with flashy intros. Instead, give viewers concrete information. Lay out how you’re going to provide value throughout your video to show them that watching it will be worth their time.

Use Pattern Interrupts

Pattern interrupts are more commonly used in neuro-linguistic programming to alter psychological states. The process of using a pattern interrupt in video involves introducing a new idea that’s completely different from the one being discussed, making the viewer shift their attention.

Pattern interrupts are valuable because they prevent viewers from switching off, especially when topics get complex. In the video below, Sonos uses sound effects, animated text, and constantly switching camera angles to hold viewers’ attention.

Pattern interrupts have been proven to be very successful. Buffer used them in their YouTube videos and saw a 59% increase in audience size in just 30 days.

Introduce Key Graphics

Graphics are a great way to address ideas introduced in your videos. They improve comprehension and recall, and pattern interrupts.

#3: Drive Traffic to Your YouTube Videos

Generating traffic for your YouTube channel isn’t as challenging as you might think. With a little work, you can start feeding the top of your funnel with viewers who are interested in your content.

To do that, you need to change how you think about traffic. It’s out there. All you need to do is figure out where your audience is and get in front of them with an offer to watch your content.

There are tons of places to look to find traffic. A simple way to start is to head over to Google and research terms related to your video. Search for terms your audience is using to find answers to their questions. Look for forums, Facebook pages, online magazines, websites, podcasts, and more.

Also cross-promote your videos on your other social media channels. If you have an Instagram following, use Instagram Stories to market your latest video. If you have a Facebook page, create a post with a link to your newest video.

#4: Generate Leads and Sales From YouTube

YouTube ads are a great way to target audiences. Users are typically looking for information to solve a specific problem, and by targeting the right demographics, you’ll be able to reach your audience with a short, impactful ad.

Note that while you can run ads to a new audience, another powerful way to generate leads is to retarget people who have visited pages on your website. This approach is more strategic and allows you to serve videos that are relevant to what visitors have seen on your site, making their journey to purchase more coherent and easier to follow.

One of the oldest and most effective ways to generate leads is with lead magnets. Introduce yours as an offer in your YouTube video and send viewers to a landing page.

If your sales process is simple, sending a viewer to a sales or product page is straightforward. You can either create a call to action (CTA) with the link or direct them to the description section to find the link.

4 Places to Deliver CTAs in Your YouTube Videos

Delivering clear CTAs is critical to building your YouTube marketing funnel. Without a clear CTA in your video, your buyers won’t know what to do to take the next step in the journey and move down your marketing funnel.

YouTube Cards

YouTube introduced cards to allow video creators to engage users on mobile and desktop. You can use YouTube cards to suggest content (videos, playlists, channels, or a link to a website), share a poll, and request donations at specific points during your video. Cards are perfect for drawing viewers’ attention and directing them toward an offer.

Landing Links in the Description

Content downloads work well to help generate leads. In the example below, Wholesale Ted makes viewers an offer to download their free eBook. Note how clear the CTA is. Viewers are directed to the description section to download the guide.

Descriptions are an ideal place to include links to content that’s on YouTube or an external site (like a landing page or social media account).

Overlays

Overlays, like other CTAs, are clickable. They appear in the bottom left of your video. They’re a great way to entice click-throughs because of their design. Overlays also allow you to add UTMs, making it easier to track the effectiveness of your CTA.

Endscreens

You can offer viewers the CTA at the end of your video with endscreens, as shown below. This is an older, more common approach to asking viewers to subscribe to your channel, but it still affords you the option of placing a clear next step directly in front of your audience.

Suggesting other videos to watch works well for content that’s related to your last video. What’s more, you can decide which videos show up as suggested content, making it easier to help your buyers move through your funnel.

Conclusion

If you’ve been creating YouTube videos but your audience doesn’t seem to be interested in converting, you’re likely wondering what you need to do to convert viewers.

The most effective strategy for converting YouTube viewers into paying customers will depend on the industry you’re in and the products and services you offer. A B2B technology company with a complex SaaS offering, to illustrate, isn’t looking for the sale immediately after a brand-awareness video. Instead, SaaS marketers know that their sales cycle is slightly longer, with more important engagements that must be made to win the customer over.

A clothing eCommerce store, on the other hand, will have a simpler conversion process. It could start with a video of an article of clothing or a pair of shoes followed by a CTA to make a purchase at the end of the video.

By following the steps outlined above, you can build a high-converting YouTube marketing funnel that’s tailored to your business. If you create your funnel the right way and produce quality videos, you’ll set your brand up for success, making it easier to attract and convert more buyers using video.

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What do you think? What types of video will you include in your YouTube sales funnel? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles on YouTube marketing:

Building Brands In The Middle Of The Sales Funnel

Effective content moves mid-funnel metrics. Unless you work at a breakthrough company, your brand health metrics look very similar to the vast majority of other brands. You have strong aided awareness and strong conversion rates, but your mid-funnel metrics are weak. Those are the metrics that show how well people understand what makes your brand…

Building Brands In The Middle Of The Sales Funnel - Building Brands In The Middle Of The Sales Funnel

Effective content moves mid-funnel metrics. Unless you work at a breakthrough company, your brand health metrics look very similar to the vast majority of other brands. You have strong aided awareness and strong conversion rates, but your mid-funnel metrics are weak.

Those are the metrics that show how well people understand what makes your brand different and better than the competition. Almost every brand today has a mid-funnel problem. This is the inevitable result when brands don’t use a differentiated strategy.

Since the advent of digital, the business world has thought that the sales funnel had exploded. Consultants have created sales funnels that look like Seussian sousaphones and charged ludicrous prices to untangle them. But the sales funnel has not fundamentally changed in shape. The funnel is still broad at the top, with a bunch of people who are aware of a brand. It then tapers into perceptions of the brand, and finally narrows with those who convert and purchase.

Now think for a moment about what makes a brand great to you, personally. It’s not about the overwhelming awareness at the top of the funnel (think Walmart) and it’s not about the amazing coupons and discounts at the bottom of the funnel (think Walmart again). It’s the perceptions of the brand that sit at the middle of the funnel. Most people only have a handful of brands that they are loyal enough to evangelize for (now you can stop thinking about Walmart). Those brands empower you in some way, even if it is as simple as how Amazon empowers us to make a more educated and convenient purchase.

Digital is the mid-funnel playground. It’s where all of the fun and exciting marketing is taking place. It’s about creating experiences that help the audience understand what the brand truly stands for and how it can impact their lives. A strong experience produces change. It makes someone think and behave differently.

Activations like Patagonia’s content, North Face’s events, Rapha’s retail experiences, USAA’s customer service — are all ideas that play in the midfunnel playground.

Successful mid-funnel experiences deliver benefits without implicit returns. There’s very little commerce built into them. In fact, when brands add a “buy now!” button, they reek of selfishness and insincerity. It renders the content ineffective. Great experiences are about teaching the audience something, connecting with them emotionally and getting them to perform better.

While most brands are still stuck in the awareness-building mindset or the conversion-only attitude, those that adopt this expansive approach succeed at differentiation. Yet, the benefits are not limited only to building brand perceptions. Empowering experiences help the entire sales funnel. They create brand evangelists who build awareness at the top of the funnel more effectively than paid media and reduce reliance on promotions at the bottom of the sales funnel.

Old-school, commercial-style branded content that solely seeks to entertain is risky, expensive and rarely sustainable. It’s virtually impossible to compete against raunchy, yet viral content. No matter how well you do, you’ll never win on a day when some violent and tasteless video steals the show. Brands can’t win in this arena. But they can win by creating content that has true meaning. Content that enriches, informs and creates a deeper connection than simple entertainment. Digital is the mid-funnel playground. Go play in it.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Jeff Rosenblum and Jordan Berg, excerpted from their book Friction: Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption, published by powerHouse Books

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