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3 Copywriting Tips To Optimize Your Sales Funnel

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3 Copywriting Tips To Optimize Your Sales Funnel

For every 100 people in your sales funnel, 97 won’t buy a darn thing from you. This isn’t an inflated statistic. In fact, 3% is considered a decent conversion rate. But what can you do about those 97 people who ended up in your funnel?

Are you going to just let them sit there without buying anything? 

If 3% of people are buying your offer, I bet you could sell more. 

The key to making more sales is to optimize your sales funnel. Internet marketing isn’t about plugging away at your laptop. It’s about locating bottlenecks in your funnel, testing your copywriting, and understanding conversion optimization. 

You shouldn’t chase new customers until you’ve already optimized everything you can inside your sales funnel. 

You’ve already done the hard work of attracting these people. Now let’s work on getting them to buy. 

This article will give you 3 steps (plus one BONUS tip) to optimize your sales funnel, increase your conversions, and sell your products. 

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What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is the experience your audience has with your brand. This journey takes them from being a reader or follower to becoming a paying, happy customer, and eventually someone who promotes your product for you. It’s their entire customer journey. 

The goal of conversion optimization is understanding the customer journey and giving your audience what they need to move closer to buying.

Your job is two-fold. First know what your customer expects. Second, deliver. 

If a visitor clicks through to a landing page, you’d expect the landing page copy to match wherever they’ve just clicked from, like a Facebook ad. 

A typical sales funnel will start with an opt-in (also known as a lead magnet). Then you send emails to nurture your audience before offering them a paid product or service. 

An example sales funnel inside Funnelytics. Nicola Moors

Now I’ll show you how to optimize your funnels by mixing a little bit of copywriting know-how with data and analytics.

Step 1: Understand your target audience 

Your customer is not a lifeless avatar. They’re a real-life human with beliefs and values. 

In fact, you can highlight a shared value you have to create a deeper connection because you’re showing your prospect that you care about what they care about. As an example, innocent drinks (a UK-based brand) isn’t just selling smoothies. They’re selling a better future. 

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They’re not selling you a drink. In their copy, they highlight that by buying their products, you’re contributing to a better world. 

Your sales copy should sell the promise of how much better your customers’ lives will be once your product is in it. 

That’s because transformation sells. 

Pioneering neuroscientist Antonio Damasio and fellow researchers at the University of Iowa, discovered in an experiment named the Iowa Gambling Task, that patients with damage to the part of the prefrontal cortex that processes emotions often struggle with decision-making. This tells us that emotion drives decisions. 

So by treating your target audience as a 2D persona, you’re missing out the reasoning behind the decisions they make. 

Take the emotion from your copy and you’re likely missing out on conversions. 

The number one rule of customer research is to never assume. 

Throw out everything you think you know about your audience. Let your research and data do the talking. 


How Do You Research Your Target Audience? 

Here are the top ways you can dig into your audiences’ values, beliefs and emotions. 

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Research Option 1: Surveys

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​”Surveys are easier and faster for customers to quickly provide feedback,” according to Easy Digital Downloads

In my experience, people love being asked for their opinion. So use this to your advantage by inviting your customers (and even people who haven’t bought from you) for their feedback. 

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In fact, implementing this customer feedback loop is the easiest way to retain more customers. 

Create automations and insert touch points that ask for intel at every stage of your customer journey. 

My favorite places to ask for feedback in my funnels are: 

  • Adding a question on your lead magnet’s thank-you page to ask visitors why they downloaded it
  • Asking for feedback before you launch a new product to uncover your audiences’ beliefs and objections to that particular topic (great for creating pre-launch content)
  • Asking new students or buyers to give insights on why they bought from you so you can attract more people like them 
  • Requesting feedback from non-buyers to find out how else they’ll solve their problems uncover the hidden competitors you might not know about 

All of the above can be created and added in so you can collect intel automatically at each stage of the customer journey. 

An example survey question I love to ask buyers. Nicola Moors

Research Option 2: Interviews 

Remember we want to uncover our target audience’s emotions. And while surveys are great for quantitative data, it’s really difficult to go deep. So I use customer interviews to ask follow-up questions and really dig into the heart of what’s really going on inside your customer’s head. 

We want to uncover the insights that they might not even tell their friends about. 

So if I was to interview the person who responded to my survey question above, I would want to know the following: 

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  • Explain what you mean by “nebulous idea”?
  • How had you gotten your information on brand voice previously? 
  • What type of things were you Googling? 
  • What information were you specifically looking for? 
  • It feels like the idea of brand voice was confusing to you and your clients. Is that accurate? 
  • Now you’ve used this product, how do you feel about brand voice? 

Other things you might want to know: 

  1. What problems does your target audience have?
  2. What are their goals? 
  3. What do they want to achieve by solving this problem or hitting this goal?
  4. What is driving their decision making?
  5. What’s holding them back from buying? 
  6. How else are they solving this problem? 
  7. Who else do they look to for support with this problem?

Research Option 3: Review Mining 

Mining through online reviews is an incredibly insightful way to get even more intel on your audience. In fact, it’s my favorite way. 

Look for the places your audience hangs out. 

That could be: 

  • Social media – for example Facebook groups 
  • Reddit 
  • Quora 
  • Amazon reviews
  • Social proof – review your testimonials and see what language is being used

And look at what they’re saying about your topic or product. 

Search for keywords that will help you find out their problems, hesitations, and desires. 

All of the above will help you get closer to understanding your audience and getting your message right.

Step 2: Optimize Your Product

Once you understand your target audience, you can use the intel to craft the perfect offer for them. 

In marketing, the key to creating high-converting funnels and selling your products isn’t to find an audience for your offer. You design the offer for your audience. 

The audience always comes first.

Never create a product just because you want to. Make sure there is a need in the market for it. (What we like to call proof of concept.) Your audience will crave your optimized offer because it solves a need for them. 

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How Do You Design the Perfect Offer and Optimize It?

Or how do you optimize what you’ve already got?

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Even if your offer is already selling, go back to your research and look at the following: 

Problems

What problems does your audience actually want to solve? How can your offer solve that?

Goals

How does your product help your customer achieve their goals? Remember your job is to show how their life will be easier with your product in it. 

Hesitations

What could be holding your audience back from buying? If the cost is holding them back, could you offer payment plans or free delivery? I’m sure I don’t need to go into the enormous success of Amazon Prime.

If time is their hesitation, could you make the content in bite-sized videos or offer transcripts so they quickly read the content instead of watching a long video. If they’re unsure the product will work for them, could you offer a video demo or a money-back guarantee?

Competitors

Compare yourself with the competition before your visitors do, according to CXL. What makes your product different? How can you position this? If your product is more expensive then you can explain why and how the benefits are worth the extra cost. 

Questions

What’s your audience asking about your topic? For example, when building my digital product helping copywriters nail their brand voice, I saw they were asking what went into a brand voice guide. So I added a template and real-life example of a brand voice guide so they could see it in action. This made the product a no-brainer for them because they were already seeking this information. 

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Urgency or Scarcity

Why does your audience need your product right now? 

Will the price increase? 

Does the bonus run out after a time? 

Social Proof

Social proof comes in many forms. If this is the first time you’ve launched this offer, you might not have testimonials from happy customers. That’s okay! Try adding logos of your customers to the page. You could also add stats, like Justin Welsh did here when he added, “Join 26k+ subscribers.”

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Risk-reversal

Your audience needs to believe your offer is the next best step in their journey for them. Common objections might be:

  • “Is this right for me?”
  • “Is this worth the cost?” 

Things like social proof, sales calls, providing your mobile number (if applicable) and behind-the-scenes demos can all help to increase your conversion rate.

A brilliant example of how to use social proof to build credibility with your prospect from Content Bistro.

Step 3: Craft the Perfect Message

Now your task is to craft the right message. 

Getting deep on the right message is the fastest way I’ve increased conversions. But you don’t need to be a copywriter to write high-converting copy. 

Luckily you’ve already done the hard work. 

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Effective copywriting is based on understanding your audience and re-using their language. You’re going to use the feedback you’ve gathered from your audience to write sales copy that converts. 

Based on the problems and goals of your audience, what is the transformation you promise your customers?

The promise has to be accurate. Don’t inflate your promise or you risk losing customers—because you can’t follow through on the deliverables. 

Use your target audience’s exact language so the copy resonates with them. Highlight the benefits of the offer in your copywriting so your audience can see how it will help them. 

There are so many copywriting formulas out there and I think following Eugene Schwartz’ five stages of awareness is effective. 

  • Unaware: Has no idea they’ve got a problem. Push marketing drives awareness.
  • Problem aware: Copy should talk about the problem your audience has and how it affects them.
  • Solution aware: Show them the transformation they can expect. What would life look like if their problem was solved? 
  • Product aware: Introduce your offer and the benefits.
  • Most aware: Use social proof and any risk reversals—like a guarantee or time-limited bonus—and give them an option to buy.
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Following this outline will guide your copywriting so that you give your audience all the information they need. If done properly, you’ll have built enough rapport with them so that the logical decision is to buy from you. 


Bonus Step: Map Out Your Lead Strategy 

The number one mistake business owners make after creating a sales funnel is forgetting to create a strategy to generate leads. 

You have a crave-worthy, optimized offer, with a killer message. But if no-one is reading your sales copywriting, then no-one will buy. 

It’s that simple. 

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After you create the funnel, you have to create a plan to generate leads—AKA your lead strategy.

Here’s an example from one of my recent clients. This client hired me to write the sales page copy and email marketing sequence for a course launch. Mid-launch, my client was concerned that they weren’t hitting their goals. After analyzing the data, I spotted that the sales page was converting at 7.12%. 

The real problem? They weren’t getting enough leads through the funnel. 

The best copy in the world won’t sell if people aren’t seeing it. You need to invest in a lead generation strategy. 

Now this doesn’t mean you need to get as many eyeballs on your funnel as possible. That won’t necessarily translate into higher revenue. 

There should be a balance between generating quality leads and generating a quantity of leads. 

Quality leads are people who are likely to buy your product. This is why customer research is key. When you understand your audience, you’re more likely to attract the right people into your sales funnel. 

The next step in generating quality leads is to look at which channels your target audience is spending time on. 

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Examples of channels might be: 

  • Social media such as Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest
  • Blog posts 
  • Paid advertising like Google or Facebook 
  • Direct traffic through search engine optimization (SEO
  • Email marketing 

You can use a mixture of paid and organic marketing to get in front of customers. 

Organic marketing—search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.—is a long-term strategy, but one you need to use for sustainable business growth. 

Content marketing is pull marketing where you create valuable content that pulls your audience away from the search engine results page and onto your website.

And content marketing is an easy way to inform your target audience and funnel them towards being ready to buy. You can even embed opt-ins inside your blog post to move them into your email marketing campaign. 

You can also use paid marketing, like running a Facebook ad to your newest blog post. This is push marketing. You push your content onto the platforms your audience is most likely to hang out on to interrupt their scroll and get them thinking and hopefully clicking.

As long as the blog post is written to meet your audience’s expectations, then it will funnel them closer to clicking the buy button. 

So consider writing blog posts optimized with SEO copywriting, which will inform and nurture your prospect. 

Conversion optimization and copywriting is so much more than just writing copy. Effective marketers test and tweak their copy to make sure it’s always converting as best it can.

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Hopefully you feel confident in optimizing your marketing funnel, writing more effective copy, and increasing your revenue.


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MARKETING

B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.

“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”

But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.

Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.

“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”

Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.

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“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.

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Read next: A look at the tech review space

The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).

As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.

Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”

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While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”

Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.


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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”

Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”


About The Author

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Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

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He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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