3 Tweaks That Dramatically Improve Your Sales Funnel

Smoothing and personalizing the customer journey will convert more leads into sales, if you're persistent.

learn more about Lucinda Honeycutt

By Lucinda Honeycutt

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When it comes to marketing your business, you can't just focus on one technique or area to improve. No one change will do everything you need: find new customers, sell your product and keep existing people happy.

Businesses are often looking for that one magic fix to their marketing plan that can come in and save the day. That's hoping for too much. Instead, you should be looking at the whole picture. Make tweaks and small improvements at every stage of your customer's journey, instead of trying to find all the answers with one fix.

If you're focusing on one area of your customer or sales experience so much that it comes at the expense of others, the rest withers from lack of attention. Instead, look at the journey as a whole.

Your whole customer journey and marketing funnel won't come together to grow your business unless you give each part equal attention and provide a consistent experience to customers at every stage. How can you invest in improving each stage of the funnel without completely draining your budget?

Related: The Science Behind the Sales Funnel

The marketing improvements that will serve your company best are those that improve both your efficiency and your profitability. By optimizing every stage of your customer journey, you can take advantage of every opportunity to maximize revenue and minimize the costs associated with your marketing. Here's how you can tighten each stage of your buyer's journey.

Improve lead acquisition efficiencies.

The two main problems businesses run into at the top of the marketing funnel are lead quality and quantity. It doesn't matter what lead generation tools and tactics you favor – either your acquisition efforts aren't producing enough leads, or the leads are low quality and don't convert.

To understand which is hampering your efforts, you need to analyze your full funnel to see what happens to the leads you're generating. An analytics platform like Kissmetrics can help you with this and with visualizing other important metrics to understand, like the total lifetime value of customers.

Are your current leads converting poorly, or is the problem just not having enough of them? Once you've diagnosed that, you can start making fixes.

If your problem is lead quality, compare acquisition costs for different sources against how much money they make you in the long run. You could be paying lots of money to generate low-quality leads, in which case you'll want to adjust or eliminate those sources.

If you need more leads like the ones you're bringing in, improving your brand's true reach might be a better focus. For example, if you're using AdWords for acquisition, protecting yourself against click fraud with a solution like ClickCease can help improve your true reach and increase your return on the investment.

Personalize the middle stages.

Once you've captured a lead for your marketing funnel, you need to continue providing excellent messaging and targeting through each step of the buyer's journey. This phase is when they're learning more about your business and considering your product or service.

Here, a major problem businesses often run into is not getting specific enough when speaking to a prospect's objections or how they could benefit from your product. Different types of leads will come to you for different reasons, and you need to address and appeal to each of them.

Related: How to Align Content Marketing With the Buyer's Journey

The best way to address this and nurture leads is to provide education on your business's value -- not just the product itself -- with content segmented and personalized to each main customer group.

Educating your leads allows them to see the value for themselves, which is why the content of nearly two-thirds of webinars is education-themed, according to the State of Webinars 2018 study. You're providing value outside of your product itself by teaching for free, and at the same time, you're positioning your business as a resource on the topic.

And to truly speak to the specifics of each lead's pain points and how your solution alleviates them, you can segment your marketing messages. For example, sending emails based on a customer's buyer persona or behavior on your brand's website can make a big difference in this regard.

Segmentation and sending more personalized messages increases the opens and emotional impact of your messaging and can be set up easily with modern marketing automation and email marketing tools. With more personalized marketing, you can often convert more customers at a lower cost.

Be persistent with conversion.

Finally, once you've optimized acquisition and nurturing, you need to clinch the final close. This is the most important step, the part everything else leads up to, yet so many businesses have holes and missed opportunities at this stage of their sales funnel.

The biggest mistake? Only pitching the sale to each lead once, and then giving up on them. In reality, if someone's made it this far into your process, they're likely to be truly qualified and can, therefore, be convinced to close. Try multiple times to make that happen until you find the right timing or messaging.

Related: 7 Closing Strategies to Double Your Average Sale Size

For example, you can use remarketing with a cross-channel ad platform like AdRoll to target leads who were "lost" in other stages of the marketing funnel, to start guiding them back towards conversion. Or, if someone is engaging but not converting, continue nurturing them at the conversion stage instead of cutting off marketing after one try.

The key is to fix your funnel. When your funnel is leaking business, and you're spending inefficiently to try and plug it up, you're losing twice over. What business can afford that mistake for very long? Take a look at your own customer journey. Where are the leaks that need tightening?

Lucinda Honeycutt

Freelance writer and web designer

Lucinda Honeycutt is a freelance writer and web designer nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. She's a tech geek, foodie and research junkie who writes about a little bit of everything.

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