The term “sales funnel” is by no means a new concept. In fact, it was developed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis, an American sales and advertising advocate, way back in 1898. Lewis’s purchase funnel is often attributed as the “AIDA model”, which comprises of four key nodes in customer journey: awareness, interest, desire, and action.
These are the phases that every customer goes through before they reach the final purchase decision. And just like countless of other concepts in business, it also evolved over time with the help of technology.
In the digital world, leads can pass through a sales funnel faster because interaction points between brands and potential customers are more accessible. This includes email newsletters, social media, blogs, and display advertisements.
Companies who understood the sales funnel are also able to deliver personalized experiences through content, special offers, and other modes of engagement. More importantly, they were able to identify “choke points” that either slow down or stop leads from progressing further down.
Don’t worry—even the biggest brands come across bumps in their sales funnel and lead nurturing. But regardless if you’re a totally new business or an existing brand who needs an online presence, optimizing your sales funnel for conversions is one of your top priorities.
Without further ado, here are 5 sales funnel optimization tips and strategies that every brand should know about:
1. Improve Your Targeting
Put simply, nobody can reach the very bottom of the funnel if there are no people coming from the top. But before you aim to widen the funnel’s “mouth” by pumping more cash in advertising and marketing, make sure you target your leads accordingly with your past data. For example, what were the search terms that previous customers used when they first discovered your brand? Which content resonated well with them and generated the most engagement on social media?
The use of analytics tools can help you improve the lead targeting optimization process. A popular choice is Google Analytics—a comprehensive platform that aggregates important data such as traffic source and top keywords. It can also be further expanded with third-party analytics tools to streamline lead generation and accelerate nurturing.
2. Be Smart with Discovery Forms
For B2B brands, you can roll out discovery forms that can help you segment leads as well as detect potential resource constraints in the future. These are specifically designed for the discovery process, which is why they may include questions about the prospect’s specific goals, niche, and an estimate of their budget.
Although it’s easier to create discovery forms that offer dropdown menus, it’s always a good idea to include questions that enable you to know your prospects on a deeper level. For example, you can ask them about their experience with companies that are similar to yours. Doing so will enable you to understand their expectations and determine the best approach for taking your relationship further.
Due to the length of discovery forms, they are only appropriate for B2B clients. Just try not to ask too many questions to avoid giving leads information fatigue. Only focus on acquiring relevant information that can be used to augment what your brand can offer.
3. Optimize Your Lead Capture Forms
For B2C companies, you need to focus on simpler lead capture forms for sales funnel optimization. Make sure they are shorter and ask only for basic information, such as the lead’s email address, name, and address.
Aside from their convenience, lead capture forms must also provide reassurance with a simple note like: “We respect your privacy — we promise to never share, sell, trade, or distribute your information in any way.”
When it comes to visibility and integration with your site, you may need to conduct A/B testing and experiment with different layouts. You can skip the number-crunching with a heatmap tool like Crazy Egg, which visually presents the “hot” and “cold” zones of your site. This will show you which elements on your site must be adjusted, moved, or deleted altogether.
4. Focus on Human Interactions
Remember that trust is an all-important ingredient that helps generate sales leads. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly fragile, especially in B2B where one-on-one communication is integral.
To build rapport, make yourself open to more communication mediums such as phone, email, live chat, and web conferences. It’s no rocket science—the more you communicate beyond your distribution of branded content, the more they’ll open up to your brand’s advances.
You can also leverage the online reach of influencers to boost your brand’s trustworthiness and visibility. For this, you can use a content research tool like BuzzSumo can help you spot these influencers and measure their online reach. Once you find them, provide value by answering questions, sharing links, and participating in the community in general.
5. Use Automation
Finally, a sales funnel is dotted with opportunities that are easy to miss. For instance, one lead may arrive at your site, add items to their cart, and leave without finalizing the purchase. In which case, they’ve clearly shown strong purchase intent, but they may have cancelled the transaction for a temporary reason—be it the lack of funds or loss of internet connectivity.
Nevertheless, you need to make sure interactions like that don’t go to waste. A common strategy is to follow-up with abandoned cart emails, which provide the leads with a convenient way to complete their purchase. This requires an email marketing tool with automation features, like GetReponse, MailChimp, and Aweber.
If you think about it, the sales funnel is nothing more than a visualization tool that help businesses track leads and how close they are in making a purchase. But if you use it as a framework for your next growth strategies, then it could be the key to your brand’s future.
What do you think is the best strategy to optimize your sales funnel? Feel free to leave a reply below!