Posted on : December 14, 2016
Marketing pipeline. Sales cycle. Sales funnel. They all mean the same thing. It’s a multi-step campaign to help you acquire new leads and encourage them to take a desired action. However, a conversion can still occur without making a purchase. Downloading an eBook or content offer is also a conversion. Whether your goal is to encourage a download, make a purchase, or upsell a customer, these five elements are critical to building an effective conversion funnel:
- Call-to-action (CTA)
- Landing or checkout page
- Thank you or confirmation page
- Follow up email (optional but highly recommended!)
That’s it! Try to avoid adding any steps in between in order to streamline your conversion funnel. But how can you create a “set it and forget it” funnel to create a steady, predictable influx of leads? Use these tips to save time and create a funnel strategy to apply to any of your marketing efforts:
Get straight to the point
Describe the benefit the user will experience by purchasing or downloading the content and ensure it’s extremely clear. If you’ve designed a .jpeg CTA, leverage the image alt text by using the same wording. You’ll increase your chances of finding new leads from Google Image searches.
Use words like “discover”, “buy now”, “explore”, or “find out” to pique the reader’s interest and encourage click through.
There have been a number of studies conducted on which colors convert best but the success of those CTAs need to be considered along with the colors on the rest of the page. If your web page is primarily white and black, choose a bold color to stand out. If your page uses neon colors, try a black CTA with large bold text.
Above the fold
Don’t go through the trouble to create an awesome CTA if no one’s going to see it. Place it on a pages where it’s visible without scrolling. Keep in mind that people browse on mobile phones more often than desktops (Mobile marketing statistics 2016) and their the screen is significantly smaller. TL;DR: keep your CTA high on the page.
Landing & Checkout Pages
Every landing page should be comprised of a header, sub-header, copy, and a form. Follow these guidelines to create landing pages that flow with your conversion funnel and boost submission rates.
Header matches what the CTA promises
Carry the same or similar terms over from your CTA to create a seamless user experience. Your sub-header should really sell the product or offer you’re encouraging leads to download. Tell them what benefit they’ll experience and why they should take action.
Every landing page should focus on one goal. This means stripping out any other elements that don’t align with that goal. Take out the navigation for starters and any other internal links.
Optimize the copy
Keep your landing page copy short and concise. Try to avoid giving away too many details and ensure it’s completely relevant to your target persona. Does your company have multiple personas (if not, you should!)? Create separate landing pages with customized copy to be used in your ad campaign. Once you’ve written the copy, have two or three different individuals read it. Even better if they’re from outside your company! Ask them: Is it clear? Is it engaging? Does it answer our personas common questions?
Include an image (if it’s relevant)
Images help break up the text and add some depth to the page. If you can’t use a picture of the item the individual will receive, don’t add a cheesy stock photo just for the sake of it (you know the one…where suited employees are giving a thumbs up to the camera). Make sure it adds value.
As a pivotal point in the relationship between you and your lead, the landing page serves as an excellent opportunity to earn trust. And sometimes it takes more than persuasive copy. Consider including these trust-building elements into your landing or checkout pages:
- Testimonials with a photo of your customer. Don’t have any testimonials yet? Show social proof by including a personal recommendation you’ve received on LinkedIn. This is particularly effective for consultants or service professionals just starting out.
- Trust badges such as:
- Logos of companies you’ve worked with in the past
- Certifications such as McAfee or VeriSign
- Accreditations like the Better Business Bureau
- Warranty or return policies
If the lead found your page through a specific campaign with a coupon code, ensure it’s easy to find. Your lead will bounce if they have to go looking for the code!
Your lead form can make or break a sale/download. It’s the last element in your conversion funnel before the lead makes their decision and if it’s not streamlined, your lead may bounce. Keep these best practices in mind:
Only the basics
You’ve probably heard the notion that forms need to be short in order to optimize conversion rates. While this is true to an extent, the types of form fields should be your focus. Consider how you’ll use each of the form fields. If it’s not going to add any value to your company, skip it. If the offer is a high-level, awareness piece of content on email best practices, are the individuals going to be willing to share their allocated budget for sales enablement software? Probably not. Bonus tip: If you’re using lead nurturing emails, you can collect the more deep dive information further down the road by using smart form fields. Once the lead clicks through to a related offer, they’ll see new form fields that ask different questions in order to access their download (or demo, etc.).
Optimize the button
“Submit” is so overdone. Why not try more engaging copy like “Let’s do this” or “I’m in!” as long as it fits with your brand and persona.
Thank You or Confirmation Pages
All landing pages should lead to an optimized thank you or confirmation page. Not only does it tell the lead their action has been recognized, but it also provides a valuable opportunity to further engage the lead or encourage a buyer to become an evangelist. Here are a few ways to optimize your thank you or confirmation page:
- Include the link to the PDF of the content offer
- Add icons for the lead to share the landing page with a friend on social media. Ensure the link points to the landing page (not the thank you page or eBook itself!) so you can capture contact information from these new leads
- Add a CTA to your related offers or blogs to keep the lead on your website
- Encourage leads to connect with your company on social media or subscribe to your blog
Follow Up Emails
Creating an automated follow up email will require marketing automation software. Most e-commerce platforms offer this functionality as well. The purpose of your follow up email may vary depending on the type of conversion. A few common uses include:
- Providing a link to download the content offer
- Confirming a purchase
- Thanking the lead for engaging or purchasing from your company
But what about these opportunities?
- “Can I answer any questions?” Start building a connection with your leads and customers by creating an automated personalized email. The email should come from a real person and include conversational copy to offer your assistance if they have questions.
- “You might like ____, too” Include relevant content in case the lead skipped by it on the thank you page. Ensure you include a clear CTA.
- “Enjoy this treat on us!” If the lead hasn’t purchased from your company, offer a discount code or free demo.
- “So, what did you think?” Ask for the lead’s input on what they thought of their purchase or download. However, it’s crucial to send that email after enough time has lapsed to give the individual enough time to form an opinion. This is a highly underutilized tactic that can make a major impact on your conversion strategy.
This may seem like a lot of steps in order to create a streamlined funnel. The good news is: once you create this initial funnel, you can apply it to any of your marketing campaigns! Hosting an event? Wrote a new eBook? Running a new ad campaign? Just swap out the copy and utilize these same guidelines and you’ll have a lean conversion-making machine.
Creative, driven marketing and communications leader with a proven track record in strategy and implementation. Entrepreneurial spirit and experience with inbound marketing, social media, digital marketing, and public relations.