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7 Ways To Improve The Conversion Rate Of Your Funnel

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7 Ways To Improve The Conversion Rate Of Your Funnel

As advertisers, we focus a lot of our energy on ensuring our ad campaigns are performing and converting as best as they possibly can.

But that’s only one part of the equation. 

What happens after the click is just as important (if not more important!)

You can have the most incredible ad campaign set-up, but if the funnel you’re sending traffic to doesn’t convert, it doesn’t matter how great your campaign is – you simply won’t see the results you desire.

And so, in this article, I’m going to share 7 ways you can improve the conversion rate of your funnel, leading to better overall performance and results. 

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1. Include the 3 argument types on each page

Whenever someone makes a buying decision, they use two different parts of their brain. 

There’s the emotional part (the limbic brain) and the logical part (the frontal lobe). It’s important to understand this because it plays a big role in how we structure the pages in our funnel.

When humans make a purchasing decision, it’s mainly an emotional reaction. A study by a Harvard School of Business Professor, Gerald Zaltman, concluded that 95% of purchase decisions are made by the limbic system (the emotional part).

We see something, like it and decide we want it. Once we’ve decided we want something, the frontal lobe then helps sway us on whether we actually buy the thing by processing it logically. 

Think about someone buying their dream house. 

They go to view the house and fall in love with it instantly and decide they want to buy it – that’s the limbic brain. It’s only when they get home and start looking at things like the area, electricity bills, neighbourhood and all the other bits that they start thinking about the purchase logically. 

And so, when it comes to our marketing (and our funnel specifically), we need to understand this as it impacts how we should structure the pages.

Regardless of the type of page you’re sending people to (whether it’s a lead gen funnel or e-commerce) you need to be making three types of arguments:

Emotional arguments

Logical arguments

Urgency

And we want to make them in this order too – since that’s the order in which someone makes a purchasing decision. 

Have your emotional arguments at the top of the page, above the fold. What are the emotional reasons someone would purchase your product? It can often be as simple as saving time, stress or money. 

As you move down the page, you can start talking about the logical arguments. These are often features and benefits. What would someone need to know/understand in order to purchase the product or service?

And lastly, for good measure – always include urgency in your messaging to further push those people to take action. There are people out there that simply won’t take action unless you give them a reason to take it now. Some good ways to do this are: Give them a certain timeframe, warn them about limited stock or simply talk about why it’s so important they take action now.

By doing this you’re structuring the pages in a way that flows with how we make purchasing decisions as human beings – setting you up for the best chance of success. 

2. Benefits > Features

There’s a common saying in the copywriting world: “features tell, benefits sell.”

However, when most come to write copy for their product/service, they write about all the features without explaining the benefits. 

Features focus on the product/service itself. Such as what you receive, what it does or how it works. 

Some examples of features are:

  • Storage up to 1TB
  • Access to a free Facebook group
  • Latest waterproof technology

Those things are great, but they don’t tell the end consumer the benefit to them, which makes it less compelling. 

Benefits focus on the outcome of the product/service, telling the customer exactly what the feature will mean for them. Bringing it back to the first point – this is how we start to build emotion into our copy.

By telling people what a feature means to them, they start to visualise themselves using it – which creates the emotional reaction we need.

Luckily for you, I’ve got a super simple way to turn your features into benefits.

The “so that” statement

This is a tactic I use every single time I write copy. 

If you’re like most people and tend to write about the features, simply add the words “so that” to the end of your sentence. This forces you to explain the benefit that’s tied to the feature, making your copy much more hard-hitting.

The formula you can use is: 

If ___ so that you can ___.

Let’s take our examples from above.

  • Storage up to 1TB so that you can save all your files without ever worrying about running out of space.
  • Get access to our free Facebook group so that you can network with like-minded individuals. 
  • The latest waterproof technology so that you can hike out in the rain for longer without getting wet feet.

Review all your copy and ensure every feature is combined with the real benefit. This will make your copy much more emotionally driven and compelling to anyone that’s reading it.

3. Split test all pages

The key to success in any advertising campaign is comprehensive testing. Testing images, copy, creative types and audiences. But the importance of testing doesn’t stop at the advertising campaign – it’s just as important to continuously test the pages in your sales funnel. 

You should test at least 2 variants of every page in your sales funnel. Tests can be big or small, from having completely different designs to changing the colours of a button. It doesn’t matter what you test so much. The most important thing is just that you are testing… because that allows you to learn what works and what doesn’t. 

And like all great marketers do: do more of what works and do less of what doesn’t. 

Things you can test at each stage of the sales funnel

  • Headline/subtitle – this is arguably the most important thing to test because it’s the first thing people see and read when they land on a page. Little changes in a headline can have a huge impact on conversion rates. The headline is where you want your biggest emotional argument on the page.
  • Main image/video – most funnel pages will have imagery or videos on them. This is another key thing to test out. Try different styles of images and videos to see which ones perform better, such as professionally designed images vs iPhone shot photos.
  • Sales copy – try testing different features and benefits. Even testing the order in which you share the features can make a difference. If you’re listing benefits in bullet point format, the first and last bullets are the most important.
  • Call to action – the copy you use on the button can make a huge impact on performance. Try ditching the boring “Learn more” and try something more unique such as “Get Started – See How 97% Lose Weight In Just 30 Days”

Upsells/Cross-sells – test different offers throughout your funnel to see which products/offerings people find more compelling.

7 Ways To Improve The Conversion Rate Of Your Funnel

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4. Improve average order value with offers

The success of a campaign isn’t always just based on the conversion rate of the campaigns and funnels. Sometimes it can come down to how much money people are spending on your funnel.

You can have a funnel that converts, but if the money being made isn’t providing good levels of profit on top of ad spend, you have a problem. 

We recently worked with an e-commerce store that sold home gifts. We managed to optimise the campaigns so successfully that we were able to get our cost per sale down to less than £5. However, because the average order value of the site was only £15, the ROAS wasn’t sustainable. 

In order for us to make the campaigns successful overall, we had to improve the conversion rate of the site – specifically focussing on increasing the Average Order Value (how much someone spends per transaction, on averageGavin Bel). 

To do this, we added in what is called order bumps and one-time offers.

An order bump is an offer made at the checkout, right before someone hits the pay button. A common order bump might be to “supersize” the order for a reduced rate or to get another product at a low price. These convert extremely well.

A one-time offer is what it says on the tin.

Once someone has made a purchase, another offer appears on the screen inviting them to purchase a related product at a discounted price.

Adding both of these increased the AOV of our client’s site by 20%, vastly improving the campaign’s overall effectiveness. Even if AOV isn’t a problem for you, look at adding these two tactics to improve it.

By not doing it, you’re essentially leaving money on the table!

5. Improve the quality of traffic on the page

If your funnel isn’t converting, it might simply be because you’re attracting the wrong people in the first place.

You can have the best funnel and offer in the world, but if the people visiting it aren’t relevant, it’ll never convert. This is why it’s so important to ensure you’re performing lots of campaign tests – testing which audiences work and which ones don’t. 

With all of the advertising platforms, it’s very easy to see which audiences are bringing in the best returns. And like I mentioned earlier, simply do more of what’s working and turn off what’s not.

There is one fool-proof way of ensuring you’re only getting the highest quality people to your sales funnel: content creation.

Creating content is one of the most effective ways to attract an audience of people who definitely have an interest in what you offer and it’s something we advise every single client to do – either in written or video format. 

The biggest objection we face is “but I don’t know what to write about?!”

And so if that’s you, I’ve got you covered. 

The simplest way to start creating effective content is to simply answer the questions, objections and queries your customers have. 

Here’s how to approach it:

  1. Create a list of all the questions you’re asked as a business (get your team involved in this)
  2. Turn those questions into eye-catching headlines
  3. Sit down in front of a camera and record the answers (or write them up)

This is so effective for two reasons:

  1. Only people who are genuinely interested in what you do will consume the content
  2. When you promote the content through advertising, it’s super cheap because you’re not selling anything, you’re providing value. 

Pretty quickly,  you start to build a large audience of people who have an interest in your offering.

Let’s say you’re a physiotherapist. You could film a 60s video titled “5 reasons you have back pain”. You could then set up a basic ad campaign targeting people in your local area (that fit your basic customer avatar).

Who’s going to watch that video? 

People in the local area who have back pain!

Which, for a physiotherapist, is the perfect audience. What’s better is, these people are qualified AND educated. They know who the physiotherapist is already (building trust) and making them much more likely to take action and convert.

And to supercharge this strategy, you could run retargeting ads to the people who watched the video, pushing them to your sales funnel.

6. Increase or decrease form friction

When it comes to lead generation funnels, there’s a fine line between lead quantity and lead quality.

It’s not hard to generate lots of leads at a low cost, but it is difficult to generate lots of QUALIFIED leads at a low cost. 

It’s a constant balancing act, ensuring that you have both quality and quantity. 

The best way to strike the balance is to simply increase or decrease the fields you have in the form. 

This increases or decreases the friction that someone has to go through in order to convert. The more questions/fields, the higher the friction. The fewer fields, the lower the friction. 

If you’re struggling with lead quality, try and add some more fields to the form, specifically around the main reason your quality is low. For example, if you find the people you speak to aren’t motivated, add a “how motivated are you?” question. 

If you’re not getting enough leads, try reducing the number of questions in the form and monitor what impact that has. 

Whenever we’re starting a new campaign, we will always start with fewer fields to make sure we generate as many leads as possible. And then if we feel like we need to improve the quality of the leads, we’ll start slowly adding more fields to the form.

7. Include social proof throughout

If there’s one thing that stops people from converting in a funnel, it’s a lack of trust. 

A lack of trust in the people behind the funnel, the offer itself or the promise the funnel is making. 

So, how do you build trust with people? How do you show them that your offer is legitimate and will have an impact on their lives?

Show the results that other people have achieved. 

Everyone in the world has problems. And they have desired results. 

Your job as a marketer is to show people how your product/service is a bridge from their problems to their desired results.

And the most effective way to do that is by showing the stories of others who have successfully achieved that with your product/service.

Social proof can take the form of: case studies, testimonials and even quotes from previous customers and people who have already converted through the funnel. The more you can share, the better. 

Even better – if you can have your social proof cover the main objections you know people have when converting, your social proof will do some of the selling for you!

Wrapping up…

Improving the funnel conversion rate can have a drastic effect on the performance of your overall campaigns and business. If you’re able to get your funnel and ad campaigns to a point where they are profitable, you can scale your spend quickly. 

Start implementing some of these strategies and I guarantee that you’ll see improvements in your overall results.

Let me know – have you tried any of these? Which was the most effective for you?


7 Ways To Improve The Conversion Rate Of Your Funnel

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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