Have you ever participated in a treasure hunt? Or even familiar with the basic idea of the whole thing? It’s amazing how people are so motivated to find a treasure about which they know nothing.
You have a lot of incredible clues along the way and you have to go through a journey where you don’t know what is next. And at each step people are filtered until one person or team finds the treasure.
Fun Fact: This is what google shows you when you search for a filter. Most of the results look quite similar to a funnel.
Nothing fun about this actually
I’m guessing what you’re thinking; why is a marketer talking about treasure hunting? (If you’re not, then you should)
I’m talking about this because it relates very closely to what we are doing right now. Building our Marketing Funnel but there are a lot of differences too.
If you are familiar with the concept of a treasure hunt, you have a basic idea about a marketing funnel and a buyers journey.
Similarities with a marketing funnel
- Customers, like treasure hunters, know that they have to look for a particular service or solution for themselves which is in itself a reward.
- All the customers have the same starting point which is the Social Media and the Internet. (the first clue in context to treasure hunters)
- Some customers will drop the search for your service because they are not able to find you, similar to the way that treasure hunters drop the search if they cannot figure out a clue.
- Customers are required to do some action in order to activate them, meaning getting them to interact with your business in some way. This would be similar to the way treasure hunters do certain activities to get to the next clue.
- Customers decide to subscribe to your paid plans. Just like the way that hunters finally find the treasure.
- Unlike a treasure hunter looking for treasure, today’s customer is not motivated enough because of the level of convenience that they have throughout the whole process of finding and subscribing to our service.
- We are not the only treasure that they can find. There are other services similar and better than ours that they can find.
- Instead of the hunters looking for clues, clues have to do a better job at finding the hunter. The customers don’t have to find us, we have to present ourselves to the customer. It’s a classic case of Finding Customers vs Being Found.
All these things that I talked about are a part of the modern buyers journey. I’m going to share with you what we learned throughout the whole journey of making our own marketing funnel.
Bonus: I will telling you about the industry standards for different metrics that we are measuring and what we are doing to achieve that. (Maybe it can work for you too)
How To Build A Marketing Funnel
Top Of The Funnel (TOFU)
- Creating A Buyers Journey
- Tracking Visits to our website
- Mapping a behavioral flow
- Who qualifies as a lead
- Why are they there on our service? Just wandering or serious about buying?
- Are they interacting with the touchpoint that you set for them?
- Crafting The Touchpoints: Finding The Right Hook
- SEO and Copywriting
- Marketing Techniques/Campaigns
Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU)
- Being present in front of them
- Establishing a point of contact with our service
- Ask our customers for a demo
- Social Interactions
- Generating Value For Our Leads
- Instant gratification
- Address their pain points based on their behavior
- Giving them a nudge to join our trial
- Improve User Experience
Bottom Of The Funnel (BOFU)
- Create material for sales team to close business deals
- Case studies about solutions to the problems that customers discuss in demos
- Proper blog posts about our product
- Demo Videos
- Create Brand Evangelists
1. Creating A Buyers Journey
Similar to a journey in the treasure hunt, you have to create a journey for your customers that come to your website.
Tracking Visits to our website
This process actually involves doing 2 things:
- Create a journey for our customers on our website
- Monitor if the customers are actually taking the path that we set for them
Creating a journey for our customers on our websites
It’s something that we really had to put our minds into. We decided what we wanted our customers to do and framed our journey around that. These are called touch points.
Touch points tell us the likeliness of a customer, who is visiting our website, to actually become a paid customer(or whatever you want them to do). It doesn’t necessarily include them using our best features but the features that solve their problems in the best way.
For us, we created our landing pages with the copy highlighting the answer to the questions that our customers usually ask us.
You really have to ask yourselves the right questions from the perspective of the personas that you are targeting. And answer these questions in a way that it give you more insight into where your product needs to improve and what are the strengths of your product.
These answers will tell you more about the touchpoints that you should track in the beginning.
But are the customers following your layout?
Monitor if the customers are actually taking the path that we set for them
This is tricky. There is a lot of information to comprehend and how you organize it will tell you the best insights.
It’s not just about the page views, it about how many times did the customer visit, at what time did they visit, did they open the email that we sent them, where did they go next, and the list goes on. Choose the right things from this list.
Our purpose of using these tools was to get the list of metrics that we can track and then choose from these which one would give us the correct insight. Of course we did our homework before we decided to use these tools. Also, making the journey was not enough, we took time to understand why they were taking the flow that they were taking.
Now that we have the customer journey, we need to compare this what we imagined that the ideal customer would do.
The moment of truth!
Mapping a behavioral flow
All the research is done now. The next step was to finalize the user journey. Considering all the points that were missing in the initial journey, we formed other processes around it, like email campaigns, website on-boarding and new landing pages to fix the loopholes that we had missed.
The use cases of our application varies to a great degree so there was not just one flow that we had to make. And around each user flow, there were a lot of other process that we had to make and a lot of touch points to consider.
2. Who qualifies as a lead?
Like in the treasure hunt, only the people who think on their feet or are smart, if you want to call them that, can find the next clue; only those people will qualify as a lead who will interact with your touch points or interact with your content. The important things to foresee is the intent to use your product or even better, intent to buy.
This is one of the easiest decisions to make if you really have put your effort into the first step.
Because we will have everything set in the form of touch points and external processes. Anyone who interacts with them is our potential buyer.
Now, there are a lot of intents that people have when they come to your website.
Why are they there on your service? Just wandering or serious about buying?
While monitoring the people coming to your website, you will see a lot of anomalies, like there is a stranger who spends a good amount of time on your blog but never clicks any of the CTA that you have set for him, or another person who downloads the resources that you have at your touch points but does not signup to use your service or maybe is like the most inactive guy ever.
Well, to be honest, there is very little possibility that you will be able to activate these customers to use your product BUT you can make them an evangelist for your service.
By not stopping the supply of resources to them. This will establish you as a source of credible information. And so begins the circle of word of mouth.
Are they interacting with the touchpoint that you set for them?
It’s not important for a potential customer to just interact with one touchpoint, it’s important for them to interact with most of them. This is what qualifies them as a lead, this is what educates them about your product and show them the value that you can provide.
The way you craft and place these touch points is what invokes that ‘intent to buy’. This is when you take this interaction to the next level.
3. Crafting The Touchpoints: Finding The Right Hook
The aim of this step is to get people to signup for your product/service with every touchpoint they interact with. The same way every clue in a treasure hunt points to the treasure.
As I talked above, how we place our touch points is what invokes the intent to buy and we take the interaction to the next level.
But how are these touchpoints supposed to be crafted?
SEO and Copywriting
Probably the biggest and the first touchpoint that your customers will interact with is your website. Through your website, you need to attract the right customers by answering the right questions in the copy of your website.
Some of the questions that we try to answer are:
- What is our service?
- What problem do we solve?
- Why should you use it?
- How do we compare with other similar applications out there?
- Why is our application worth your time?
What you should not do is describe the features of your application because then the customer would have to spend time to relate the use case of your application with their work.
Now, you don’t only have to write the copy for the customers but for the search engines as well. If you correctly optimize your SEO then you can get your website in front of the right audience and attract the right people.
The Moz blog is a great resource to help you with understanding SEO.
Now while copywriting, you should keep a glossary of all the keywords that you used (try to keep it in the same document where you write the answers to the questions that you are trying to answer). Doing this will help you keep a check on what worked and what did not work.
Every product goes through a lot of changes at regular intervals. And these changes should be communicated to your audience on a regular basis. This is where audits are really helpful. You should take out time to update if the information that you are providing on your social profiles, blogs and most importantly your website.
Audits also help you be updated with the SEO trends and the expectations of your customers.
Based on how where you place your touchpoints, you should have proper CTAs and actionable instances where the visitor/customer expects value.
The action that the customer performs here decides which process will be triggered for the lead-nurturing process in the near future(something that is discussed later).
Through your marketing campaign, if you target the right people at the right time, you will be able to build trust with them, which is marketing is all about at the end.
4. Being Present In Front of Them
No matter how you well you write the copy or how much you optimize the SEO of your website, there will be some confusion or some issues that your customers will face.
Establishing a point of contact with our service
It’s your cue to move out of the shadows and present yourself as their friend. One way to do that is, in the first email that you send, introduce yourself. This will give you a chance to introduce yourself as a point of contact with your business. Now they will talk to a person who will talk to the organization for him and get the job done. This means a great deal for any customer, to do the heavy lifting for them.
Ask our customers for a demo
In spite of asking our customers to figure out the application themselves, we decided to ask them if they wanted a quick demo so that they can quickly get started without going through much hassles.
The CTA in this case would be to ask them to pick a convenient time for them to schedule the demo. We tried calendly for this and put the CTA at various touch points including our comparison pages and business pages.
This significantly reduced the rate of back and forth emails to confirm just a time slot and a started receiving a lot less support emails.
This meant the customers that we were able to touch, became more privy to the product and more educated.
This is good to some extent but there is still a problem to be solved.
Within 3 hours, we get about 250-300 visits on our website, it’s difficult to talk to every customer and generalize our touchpoints with resources that fancy everyone.
We’re yet to find a solution to this.
Connecting with your customers on Social Media is essential. There is no need to emphasize the importance of presence on Social Media for businesses. But just if you’re curious, here is a video that we made about how to grow your business using Social Media.
Social interactions are important, because that’s where your customers are and that’s where they want You to be. If it’s you as a person, they will feel more safe or comfortable talking to you rather than the profile of your brand (although that’s important too).
We try to be in constant touch with our customers like Marc M. Lalonde, Simone Z. Endrich, Niko Papadopoulo, Marsha Wright, Vic Maine and follow them from our personal profiles so that they can reach out to us at any time.
5. Generating Value For Our Leads
We’ve done the job of getting your leads signed up, using the application and talking to them constantly.
Now what you have to do is show them the value that they are expecting or even better, exceed their expectations. Make them reach their ‘Aha moment’ quick.
It’s important for us (should be for you too) to not let there be any delay in the process of delivering the value that they expect from our product. We have to give them a sense of achievement.
In context to social media, trends change quickly. Goals can be very far fetched and can take a lot of time to achieve. So it is a challenge for us to make this process easier for them.
We are improving the onboarding process of our application to achieve this. Some examples like, showing a congratulatory message when their scheduled posts are successfully posted, daily and weekly emails to show them the statistics for their audience and engagement on their posts.
But what happens when that instant gratification is really not that easy to convey?
Address their pain points based on their behavior
You have the user journey, even if they don’t tell you, you can see where they might be facing an issue or they possibly might face it. Help them there without them even asking for it.
This again strengthens your relation with them. They are able to use our service for the purpose they wanted and see the value that they wanted to have from our service when they signed up.
In our application, the main values that people are looking for are
- Grow their social audience and find business leads from there
- Keep consistency in their publishing on social profiles
We help them achieve these goals by providing them with the necessary solutions that they need and a way to track their progress towards their goal through our Reporting and Analytics.
It’s not instant gratification but it keeps a close check on where our customers are in the process of achieving their goals so that we can give them the right nudges to do the right things.
Giving them a nudge to join our trial
One right nudge to give is to take a trial, not because we want our customers to pay, but it will give our customers an idea about how much of our product do they actually require and might need in the future.
It gives you a chance to communicate more because your customers will be using your service to its full potential and there will be some uncharted territories to explore.
6. Improve User Experience
Now, this is considered to be the job of your designer but it is not. It’s just a question of how convenient are you making your application to use for your existing users.
Do they have to follow the same steps that they did when they signed up or have to told them about an easier way to do things? This matters because the more convenience you give to them, the more they are likely to stick with you and become your evangelists
Remember I told you that I will tell you about the lead nurturing process? This is it.
In reality, the lead nurturing process has to be present in all the steps that I discussed above but here is becomes extremely important.
Because now you both have reached a mutual consent. The customer is using your service and you have got them on a trial. But here’s the thing, you have to maintain the relationship that you have built with them. And this will require effort.
Think of it as like this, you’ve spent a lot of trying to ask a girl out for a date and now she is finally your girlfriend. Now comes the part about maintaining that relationship.
This is where lead nurturing comes in.
It basically means answering the questions that your customers have in their minds but also predicting what questions them might have in the future. All this done through your marketing efforts.
These efforts have to have a specific tone. A tone that evokes a response from the viewer to tell you whether these efforts that you are doing are actually helping them or not.
Some means that we use are:
- Intercom Messages
- CTA’s in blog posts
- Customer Support
- Followup to the demo or trial
All this to keep increasing the convenience for the users so the keep finding the value proposition in your service.
7. Create material for sales team to close business deals
All the 6 steps mentioned above will give you a lot of insight, not just into the buyer’s journey but what problems does a customer face once he is using your service. If you carefully record and organize this data, you will be able to categorize the problems and solutions a particular type of persona. Or if you want to go much deeper, you can categorize the problems by the industry that your customer’s business belongs to.
If I generalize the whole point, there are some resources that you should make to make it easy for the sales team to push out to customers and close business deals
Case studies about solutions to the problems that customers discuss in demos
If your customer is mentioning about problems they are facing with their business and your product can solve them or has solved for them, document it. It is an invaluable resource for your company.
This is something that you can give to your next customer, whether they mention this issue or not.
Pro Tip: It’s a good practice to send an email to your customers once the demo is over, which contains the minutes of the meeting and what you would discuss in the next meeting (if any) and resources like case studies.
Proper blog posts about our product
Now, these should not be just like a regular blog post that explains what a particular feature does but why should a customer use it.
Write that post with a purpose. A purpose of conveying the usefulness of that particular feature. It should be full of screenshots and usecases for your product. I talked about doing audits earlier in this post. Product blogs are the ones that should have the highest priority when doing an audit because they represent the current state of your product, you need it to be updated.
These videos need to be directed in the same way that you organize your product blogs, except here you are describing your product and not just one particular feature (although it is good to do that too.).
There are 2 ways to do this, either you write a script and then record a screencast, speaking simultaneously about why you are doing what you are doing.
You can go on call with a real customer and record that call but be sure to ask the customer if they are okay with you recording this call. This is good because in this type of a video, there is a real customer that other customers can relate to and he asks the same questions that other customers might want to ask.
8. Creating Brand Evangelists
It’s simple. Iterate.
Whatever you did till now, you just have to keep on doing that. Improvise on everything to make the experience of the user exceptional.
Because word of mouth marketing is still the most efficient and effective type of marketing, which is why the current trend of marketing is shifting to Influencer Marketing (mostly because of shoutouts).
I read an interesting post about non-linear marketing funnels which change according to the customer requirements. In my opinion, if you’re a budding startup, you should probably focus on the linear funnels and if you are a big enterprise, you could experiment with non-linear funnels because businesses have a large amount of resources lying on the internet and the leads can enter from any stage of the funnel.
We are still in the process of optimizing a lot of these and even creating some of these processes. We do not claim to be experts or thought leaders but we are experimenting with what we experienced and improvising on that.
You are welcome to implement this marketing funnel and let us know what worked for you and what did not. We can start a conversation in the comments or you can pick a time to talk with us. Or we can go social, mention us on Twitter @Statusbrew.
And if you like this post do share it with your audience on social media or include it in your newsletter.