The marketing funnel is a tricky thing.
On one end of the spectrum, it has the power to nudge prospects from awareness to purchase.
On the other end, you could be pushing out tons of content and landing pages that go to waste.
Because here’s the deal.
Marketing messages bombard and interrupt prospects countless times a day.
If it’s not a skincare ad in their Insta Stories, it’s a discount code in their inbox for 20% off dresses site-wide. If it’s not a text about free grocery delivery, it’s a CTA button asking them to register for an upcoming webinar.
You get the gist.
So, what do prospects do with all of these messages?
Ignore. Get curious. Or — best case scenario — buy.
But here’s the real question, how can we get prospects to do the latter? Or, at the very least, get curious enough to move through our funnel?
Stick around to learn how to focus on two simple tasks: understanding and optimizing the marketing funnel.
Let’s dive in.
Understanding the Marketing Funnel
It’s important to refamiliarize yourself with its inner workings to optimize your marketing funnel.
And with that, let’s review the four main stages in the marketing funnel:
Stage 1: Awareness
In the first stage of the marketing funnel, prospects aren’t aware you exist yet — that’s why it’s up to you to change that.
Here, you’ll focus your efforts on generating awareness around your company and the solutions (i.e., your products and services) you offer to solve their problems.
Stage 2: Interest
Now, prospects are beginning to show interest. They want to learn more about you to discover if you might be the right fit for them.
At this stage, you’ll focus on sharing (free) value-driven content and golden nuggets about why your brand is awesome.
Stage 3: Desire
It’s official! Prospects want what you’re offering.
At this stage, it’s time to dig deep to reveal the value of what it’d be like to buy from you. What are other customers saying? What tangible results or benefits can they expect after buying?
This is a critical time to use gated content to collect opt-ins and grow your lead list.
Stage 4: Action
And finally, it’s time for leads to take action.
Will they download your content? Subscribe to your monthly service? Attend your webinar?
At this stage, continue to use gated content to pull contact information.
Then, make sure you have an outreach or lead nurturing strategy ready to follow up with them. For instance, that might mean adding them to your warm call outreach pitch list. Or that could mean adding them to automated and segmented email marketing campaigns.
If all else fails, remember this: Stages one and two focus on generating demand — also known as “demand generation.” Stages three and four focus on generating leads — also known as “lead generation.” More on this in a bit.
Map out the customer journey
Before diving into optimizing your marketing funnel, we recommend setting aside time to evaluate and/or map out the customer journey.
This will give you a better understanding of what prospects need at each touch point to move along the funnel._ Pro-Tip: Name potential roadblocks along the way and how to fix them. For instance, when a lead bounces off your product page, consider using retargeting strategies to remind them about the products they were looking at previously._
To make the most of the customer journey, map out a few paths, and look to understand prospects’ core needs and pain points at each touchpoint. This will also help you for business process automation implementation in the future.
When you’re done, update your buyer personas to match the information you mapped out.
Another Pro-Tip: Consider using a CDP to collect customer data before optimizing your marketing funnel. A CDP can help you segment users, build personas and provide invaluable insights about your leads that you can later apply to your marketing funnel.
Once you clearly understand your prospect’s needs and how they tend to move along the funnel, use these insights to guide you as you move through the steps below.
Optimizing the Marketing Funnel
And without further ado, here’s how to optimize your marketing funnel in five simple steps.
Now that you better understand your prospects and how they move throughout the funnel, it’s time to set marketing goals and KPIs to measure your funnel’s success.
Use free Google tools to set your goals, track progress, and let you decide which way is better to see your data. You can also use Google Analytics (GA) to collect detailed insights about prospects visiting your websites or landing pages, so you can refine your approach as their needs change.
And speaking of data …
Consider using a report builder to help your marketing team digest and make sense of the information in front of them.
When setting up goals in GA, you’ll need to:
- Define your funnel
- Give each goal a name
- Give each goal a value
The best part of setting this up? You’ll be able to find out when and where people are leaving your landing page or site during the funnel. This is crucial to discovering how to refocus and personalize your landing page or site’s copy, CTAs, and trust elements to nudge leads closer to conversion.
This brings us to …
Test and analyze landing pages
One of the most important steps in the process is testing and analyzing.
So, in this step, take a hard look at your website and landing pages to spot any potential funnel leaks.
Use the following checklist for auditing what you currently have:
- What problems do you see?
- Where/why aren’t the fish biting? (Check GA if you already have it set up)
- What headlines have the least (or most) engagement and why?
- What copy has the least (or most) engagement and why?
- What color choices captivate your audience most?
- What font styles do prospects like most?
- What kinds of images hook leads most?
- Which CTAs have the highest conversion rates?
- Which trust elements lead to higher conversion rates?
- Are you using social proof? Is it working? (More on this in a bit.)
- Do you make it easy for prospects to opt-in to view or download your gated content?
- Do you make it easy for leads to sign up for your offers, subscribe to your free trials, and purchase from you?
Then, conduct A/B tests to discover which design elements and text your audience engages with most. If your results are poor, consider designing a new variety of landing pages to test. Refer to the test results, and update your landing pages and website accordingly.
Pro-Tip: It might sound simple, but one of the easiest ways to give your funnel a boost is by optimizing your CTA buttons.
Opt for buttons with a short and clear call to action, like “Buy Now” or “Get Started.” And most importantly, make sure your button is one of the first things prospects see.
Take a look at this CTA button by a landlord insurance company, Honeycomb, to see what we mean:
In this example, Honeycomb features its CTA at the top right in a bold color with three simple words: “Get a Quote.” We especially love this CTA because it holds a low barrier to entry.
It’s easier to convince top-of-the-funnel leads to sign up for a quote, than to convince them to sign up for an insurance plan. Consider finding low-key barriers to encourage higher CTA conversions.
Finally, a CTA button that’s easy to spot is meaningless if it leads to a contact form with endless fields.
Make it easy for prospects to follow through with sign-up by sticking to just a few core fields, such as name, email address, and phone number.
Gather social proof and customer results
It’s no surprise that prospects are more inclined to make a purchase from a business that has positive customer feedback and recommendations.
In fact, if you consider your own purchasing habits, how often do you check reviews before deciding where to eat, shop, or spend your time?
If you answered honestly, that’s probably pretty often — maybe even every time you make a purchasing decision.
And the reason for that is simple: You want an epic experience.
You want the food to smell glorious, the event to be show-stopping, and the product to reverse signs of aging (or whatever it promises to do).
So, whether you sell fleet dash cams or floor mat cleaners, you can build trust with prospects by highlighting social proof and real customer results on your landing pages and your website.
Pro-Tip: Use a social media listening tool like Mention to quickly and easily pull brand mentions and visual products!
Redefine your value proposition
Your value proposition can make or break your copy in seconds, so it’s worth doing a double-take to make sure it’s still up to par.
When re-defining your value prop, consider the real results your customers have experienced, and infuse them into your statement.
Here’s a template you can use to rewrite your statement:
“Who you are + what you do + how you change your customer’s lives for the better.”
This is also a great time to introduce and feature some of your brand’s core trust elements.
For instance, if you write or promote marketing books for a living, you might write the following:
“I’m a 10x published author specializing in marketing and business. My marketing books have helped over 7000 entrepreneurs scale their businesses and hit their growth goals.
In this example, your trust elements include:
- “10x published author”
- “Helped over 7000 entrepreneurs”
- “Hit their growth goals”
Not only are you raving about the benefits your customers get by working with you, but you’re also highlighting your brand’s unique expertise — both crucial to captivating prospects and building trust.
Optimize your landing pages, website and lead generation content
Now it’s time to take the information from your customer journey mapping (and your homework from steps one to four) to optimize your landing pages, website, and any relevant content — namely, your demand gen and lead gen content.
Your demand generation content includes the assets you use in funnel stages one and two.
For instance, if you’re in the dental industry and promoting your dental veneer treatment options, you might’ve written articles covering how much veneers cost, how to decide if they’re worth it, and what the procedure looks like.
You might also have recorded Reels and mini-videos showcasing your patients’ smiles before and after treatment, or use an online collage maker to make photo collages of the treatments’ results.
Depending on when you published these, you’ll likely have stats, figures, and numbers that are out of date. Run through all the articles and media tied to stages one and two in your funnel, and refresh them, so they’re up to date.
Make sure to do the same with your lead generation content, too. That includes the assets you’re using in stages three and four — in other words, all of your gated content. You’ll need to make sure all CTA buttons are functional, all links point to active downloads and media, and your contact forms load quickly.
Below, you’ll find a checklist you can use to optimize your landing pages, website, and funnel content. Grab the results from your A/B tests before running through the checklist.
Funnel Optimization Checklist Informed by A/B Test Results
- Swapped ill-performing titles with high-converting headlines
- Updated all copy to speak directly to my audience
- Personalized all content and offers with my unique audience in mind
- Updated all demand generation content to ensure it boosts awareness, stirs curiosity, and delivers value (don’t forget to check for outdated stats and figures!)
- Updated all lead generation content to hook, captivate and nudge prospects to conversion (don’t forget to check for outdated stats and figures!)
- Set up a retargeting plan or follow-up strategy in case a lead bounces
- Made sure all of my color palettes, font styles, and images are captivating and on-brand across all funnel-related content and channels
- Optimized my CTA buttons to promote the highest conversion rates
- Reviewed and updated trust elements that lead to higher conversion rates
- Embedded my value proposition, social proof, and real customer results wherever possible
- Made it easy for prospects to opt-in to view and download my gated content
- Made it easy for leads to sign up for my offers, subscribe to my free trials, and purchase from me
- Checked my web performance and landing page performance to ensure everything loads quickly
- Made sure no necessary pages, buttons, links, or downloads are broken or missing
Understanding and optimizing your marketing funnel is a practice worth learning and embracing today and forever. Or, at least until another marketer coins a new savvy concept that’s even better.
But until then, we have the holy grail of all marketing activities: the marketing funnel in all its glory.
By taking the time to reevaluate and amend your funnel as your business grows, you’ll meet prospects where they are and learn the secret sauce to building meaningful relationships with them.
Understand + Design + Evaluate + Repeat.
And, now, over to you. Are you ready to take the insights you’ve gained today to revamp your marketing funnel?
We hope today’s article has given you the push to make it happen.
To your success!
PS: Don’t forget the power of using Mention to pull valuable brand mentions and visual products for your funnel campaigns. You’ll thank us later!