Content Funnel Optimization

Improve Your Content Funnel

If you could increase your conversion rate from 1.5% to 6%, your ROI would grow more than 300% and you would move toward market leader status — the goal for any serious entrepreneur.

Our topic is conversion optimization because low conversion rates are perhaps the number one weakness for most companies.  And this is why sales software and other marketing software solutions put an emphasis on it.

Let’s take a closer look at the marketing and sales funnel and how it might match up with your customer’s journey. You’ll find a few vendors and expert resources below each providing a different angle on conversion optimization. I think you’ll enjoy the learning experience here.

What is the Marketing Funnel?

Photo courtesy of Flickr – VIPnewstoday

What marketers call the funnel typically is the route from advertisements, weblinks, Google or Facebook, emails to your blogs and then into your website.  That path includes your sales or product pages, downloadables, on through to your customer service or sales transaction pages (or sales phone calls).

It’s the path that customers take — the customer journey. It either leads to creating a new customer, or during the process, prospects leave or are lost.

Whether you’re a tech startup, ecommerce retailer, Realtor, or successful small business, understanding and optimizing the sales funnel and customer path is time well spent.

Your Content is Your Conversion Funnel

And as a key point since you’re on this website, is that your content moves prospects through this sales funnel. the customer journey is how they experience your content.  Your content is the funnel.  Your content strategy must take conversion optimization into account.

Conversion Growth Hacking

There’s been a heightened emphasis on customer conversion optimization the last few years. You can even get a mini-degree in conversion optimization/hacking at CXL.com if you want to become an expert. Much of this trend has been driven by more competition, decreasing traffic from Google and Facebook, and a realization that companies have big gaps in their conversion funnel. Those gaps/leaks result in lost sales.

The trend is also bolstered by improved sales performance (doubling or tripling sales is not a bad outcome).

Some call this process growth hacking but that might suggest a less than strategic process. If you’re going to maximize the effectiveness of your content, you need a map, and a testing and analytics system to guide you in optimizing your sale funnel.

Your AI marketing software or AI Sales software can help you understand the process, get feedback and see where all your conversion funnel gaps are, and how leaks occur. It should be an interesting and educational time for you and your sales staff.

Ramming People Through the Funnel

Some companies get really aggressive with visitors. That creates a negative customer journey.

They use endless prompts, pop ups, and pushy messaging to try to cram visitors though the conversion funnel. Will other marketers just layout content passively hoping for a conversion. The annoyance, discomfort, loss of trust, lack of direction or distaste that results, doesn’t often work and instead ruins future opportunities. It creates site bounces and aversion — eating your own leads.

Of course, most sales people want to screen out time wasting, poorly qualified prospects with no real intent. They dislike having to spend time on bad leads. Yet for instance, journalists and bloggers also generate big value for us in PR and Google rankings, and they’re not well qualified sales prospects.

Our real goal is to ensure we don’t lose all kinds of value building leads and instead guide them gently through the bottom of our lead funnel — via our excellent relevant content. Because our strategy is to build strength online and then build good leads.

Marketing Funnels and Customer Journey Maps

The whole process of how content creates a customer experience while supporting the sales conversion process is complex. Sometimes, we feel like we’re completely in the dark, without data or insight, and not in control of the conversion process. The graphics below open our eyes to new ways of viewing the lead funnel and making our content work well.

First though, I thought I’d perk up your interest by showing a few software tools that are dedicated to the marketing funnel and customer journey.

Funnelytics Conversion Optimization Software

The first is Funnelytics. It tells you right away, that it’s designed to help to visualize and optimize your conversion funnel.

Screenshot courtesy funnelytics.com

At each touchpoint (landing page, ad, blog post, emails, etc.) we can make our biggest impact. Funnelytics guides the whole process. It offers you real live examples of successful businesses via their templates. You can mimic these businesses and do your own funnel hacking.

Funnel Conversion Stages

Okay, so let’s get back into understanding the funnel more deeply.   Here’s the traditional funnel from the Mars startup accelerator:

MaRS Funnel Stages courtesy of learn.marsdd.com

A newer version from SalesForce interestingly depicts a two segment funnel system.

Your Funnel is Made of Good Content

Your content choices, copywriting, timing of incentives, and value proposition have a big impact on the conversion results. Content as you know, serves a lot of purposes. Sometimes you can fulfill them all, from high rankings to engagement to trust and brand building to repeat sales. While at other times, you have to let go of things you’re not competitive at.

For sure, you need the right content with the right messages at the right time in their journey.

Obviously this can get very complex, and you can see powerful AI marketing software will be in serving vital content at the exact right time for each visiting prospect.

Building Your Content to Fill the Gaps and Optimize the Customer Journey

If there’s content/information gaps in this customer journey, we will lose prospects. Each visitor has their own experience, which makes it so difficult.

If we have 60,000 visitors each month, how can we possibly keep them all informed and give them the exact experience they want? Well, of course, you can’t unless you use artificial intelligence software and its real time personalization feature.

However, if we use Funnelytics to set up our content funnel and track it, we’re able to use a polished AI content delivery platform to get content to visitors at the right time.

Graphic courtesy of services.ricoh.com

 

What are our Touchpoints?

Customers can only get our content via these channels:

  • Google search engine results
  • emails
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Linkedin
  • Instagram
  • web advertisements, press releases, links

Regardless of the source, you must lay out a path of quality, relevant content sequentially to carry them through to sales.

Blogs ranked on Google are the number one source of visitors. Facebook posts are next. And of course your ppc ads on Google and Facebook are next. Your blogs should be built to hit on customer journey points such as first awareness, key product value points, and product purchase pages.

That brings us back to how much pressure is on our blogs to do the lion’s share of marketing work.

Successful Blogs

Blogs are powerful. They provide constant contact with visitors via email, social media and Google. They create a constant flow of visitors/leads into the lead funnel. If you can improve the conversion rate by 1% to 3%, it can make a substantial difference in sales, and repeat sales.

So blogs can be a huge asset if used well. Of course, blogs are filled with photos, charts, stories, stats, videos, illustrations, links, headings, and calls to action. We need to find out which of these is most useful and skillfully use them to move the visitor along to the next phase of conversion.

Content Mapping

The infographic below shows the typical content that is mapped to each channel as the visitor is nurtured through the conversion process. Case studies is one valuable content piece missing.

Lead-Generation-Conversion-Content infographic courtesy of inboxinsight.com/

PathFactory AI Driven Conversion Path Optimization

PathFactory a Toronto based AI software firm creates AI-driven content journeys based on real content consumption data.

As they put it:

Fuel every stage of the customer journey with intelligent content. Nurture in real-time using bingeable Content Tracks and micro-personalized content journeys. Measure what truly matters—the time each person and account spends on every asset and webpage—right down to the second.

Elle Woulfe, Vice President of Marketing of PathFactory describes the B2B customer’s quest for education and qualification and how PathFactory smooths out the funnel to create a sale. She explains how activating content can manage the visitors experience. One of their customers reports a tripling of time on site after using Path Factory along with a big increase in pipeline flow.

And in this video, Elle explains the important matter of determining engaged intent and the 4 most powerful buying signals.

We can see content pieces need to mapped to each phase of the conversion process. The final hack we need to do is design the content in the white paper, blog, video, or case study to move them to the next phase. The content needs to be adjusted (lets say your blog, or a new blog) to answer their quest.

In traditional content strategy, you target only your best prospects and focus on their needs. But with AI marketing software, you can start personalizing content from the time they arrive. They always say quality is the key, however relevance and accessibility are often more important.

If your most relevant blog, marketing page, or video isn’t available right then, it doesn’t matter what it’s quality is.
My final thought is that conversion optimization is a big project perhaps requiring an expert consultant. Once you gain this expertise, you can train your AI software to test, learn and personalize even better.

 

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