This was originally published for Twenty Over Ten.
When you first build your marketing funnel, it can feel like you’ve taken a massive step toward growing your business. You’re not wrong! Getting started is one of the hardest steps in the process, and many business owners skip creating a marketing funnel when they first launch their website if they ever get around to it at all. However, creating your marketing funnel and setting it up on your website is only step one in the process.
As much work as you’ve put into creating your funnel, you want to ensure that it’s working! Once you’ve had your funnel up and running for a few months, it’s worth checking in to see where the “holes” are in your funnel – and taking action to fix them.
Before We Dive In: You’re Inevitably Going to Lose Leads
Before you dive into fixing the holes in your funnel, it’s important to remember that you are inevitably going to “lose” leads. The point of your funnel is to have a large number of leads come into the top, filter out those who aren’t an ideal fit, and ultimately have a limited number of qualified leads reach out to schedule a meeting.
The goal of fixing your funnel should not be to convert every single person who enters it. Instead, it should be to provide opportunities for qualified leads to stay in your funnel long enough so that they eventually convert.
Ready to start fixing the holes in your funnel? Let’s dig in.
Step One: Determine What Funnel is Creating the Most Traffic
If you only have one lead magnet, or webinar, or method of gathering new leads for your business – you can skip this step! You’ll focus on updating your funnel and perfecting it in the following steps.
However, if you have multiple funnels that generate leads for your business, I find it’s easiest to update one at a time. To decide which you want to focus on, take a look to see what’s generating the most interest, or traffic. For example, if you had two free lead magnets available on your website, you’d look to see which is the most frequently downloaded, and update that funnel first.
Step Two: Look for Clear Areas Where Prospects “Fall Off”
Where do people in your funnel stop engaging?
This question can be tough to answer. Let’s look at the following diagram to help:
Natural spots for leads or prospects to fall out of your funnel happen every time the funnel narrows. For example, you may have hundreds of people who view your new blog post, but only five people sign up for your corresponding lead magnet. In my experience, the two biggest breaks where business owners lose leads are:
- Between your public content and content behind an email wall.
- Between when a prospect gives you their email in exchange for a lead magnet and having them “convert” by booking an introductory meeting.
Let’s look at both of these breaking points, and review how you can “patch” these holes in your funnel.
Step Three: Determine How to “Patch” Those Holes Within Your Funnel
Digging into the two common breaking points in your funnel can help you retain more qualified leads and, ultimately, convert more clients.
Start with the top of your funnel.
The top of your funnel includes any free, public content that isn’t behind an email wall. This could be:
- A blog
- Your podcast
- Your firm’s YouTube channel
- Social media
At the top of your funnel, your primary goal is to provide high-quality content and information that catches the attention of your ideal audience. Your content should be educational, actionable, and it should give your audience a taste of what your brand is all about. This way, when they move down your funnel, they’re transitioning from a cold lead to a warm lead who is already familiar with you, your company, and the services you provide.
One of the problems my team sees with top-of-the-funnel content is that it isn’t tailored enough to a business owner’s ideal client. Although this may not seem like a funnel “hole” it can cause qualified leads to leave your website before you have a chance to effectively communicate your value proposition.
Here are a few ways you can evaluate the relevance of the content at the top of your funnel:
- Review your blog’s analytics from the past 6-12 months. What topics consistently rank above others? This may be an indicator of what your audience is looking to learn more about.
- Check your business’s content calendar for the upcoming 6-12 months. Does your content directly address pain points that your ideal client experiences? Is it targeted, or too general? How can you adjust your content to better answer the questions you hear from clients regularly?
Once you’ve started creating content that’s more focused on your ideal client, you can move to the next common top-of-the-funnel fix: removing barriers to entry. Think about the top of your funnel. Where, in relation to your content, can website visitors access the next step in your funnel? All too often, I see business owners creating fantastic, relevant content…that leads to nothing. Even if you have an incredible lead magnet, it won’t mean anything if your audience can’t access it easily!
Here are a few ways you can make the next step in your funnel obvious and easy for your audience:
- Add a free resource library to your website with all of the lead generation tools you offer.
- Embed a call-to-action somewhere in every piece of content you produce. This could be a banner in your blog post, a pop-up on the page that hosts your podcasts, or a link to your most-relevant lead magnet landing page in your YouTube video description.
Your goal should be to make it easy for your audience to say “yes” – removing barriers to entry can help!
Now, consider the middle of your funnel.
This is where you get to truly let your marketing skills shine. If the top of your funnel is full of free, informative content, the next step in your funnel is to offer your audience something in exchange for their email address. Once you have that, you’re able to continuously market to them. If they’re qualified, this is also the step that shows they’re truly bought-in to your value proposition.
However, this isn’t always how creating a lead magnet works in practice. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar:
You’ve spent hours creating the perfect Retirement Checklist Guide. It’s beautifully written, branded, and set up in a fantastic landing page. You post it to your website’s home page, embed a sign-up form in every blog post, and regularly post the landing page to your social media channels. You’ve grown your list of sign-ups significantly, but nobody is scheduling a meeting. What gives?
Unfortunately, creating a perfect lead magnet that attracts a lot of attention doesn’t always directly translate to a huge uptick of introductory calls booked. People may have completely bought into your value proposition, and they might love your content, but if you don’t find a way to stay in front of them and make their “next step” clear, you may see very limited results.
Here are a few ways that you can patch this hole in your funnel:
- Introduce a nurture sequence. What are you doing with new leads who come through your lead magnet sign-up form? Most business owners create a delivery email that contains their lead magnet and a way to contact them and stop there. My advice to you: Don’t stop there! Instead, build-out a nurture sequence for all new leads. Set up 2-5 follow-up emails spaced out over the course of several weeks once someone downloads your free lead magnet. These emails should contain more information about your business and value proposition, point them to additional free content and resources you offer, and encourage them to get in touch.
- When in doubt, add more value. This is where an ongoing newsletter comes into play. Once a lead works their way through your nurture sequence, they may still not be ready to buy. That’s okay! Your goal should be to warm up the lead by providing as much value as possible until they’re ready to take the leap, which will make the sale a snap for your team when they do finally reach out.
- Find a way to connect more quickly. If you’ve moved through each of these steps and are still finding that your lead magnet is converting a very low number of prospect calls, you may need to add an additional step in your process. Depending on the information you gather upfront in exchange for your lead magnet, you can look to either call prospects or email them directly asking if they’re interested in setting up a conversation. I usually recommend leaving this as a last resort, since many people aren’t accustomed to having business owners give them a hard-sell immediately after they download something for free.
Although taking the time to fix a “leaky” marketing funnel may seem overwhelming, the results are worth it! Having a funnel in place that runs seamlessly and converts cold leads into prospect calls can help you to scale your business efficiently.
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