How to Build a Sales Funnel That Gets a 44% Opt-In Rate
If there is one recurring theme in our work here at V-Squared Creative from business owners and CMOs it's on how to more effectively generate leads on a consistent basis. Every business on the planet needs a steady stream of leads to survive, yet it seems like this is the one area most struggle with.
No Magic Bullet
The main reason for this - contrary to popular belief - is that there is no magic formula for marketing. I’m probably one of the only marketing guys out there with the balls to tell you that. After all, most of these marketing gurus out there are pedaling some shiny object that guarantees to fill up your sales pipeline overnight while you sleep.
Nope, the fact is, there are just way too many variables involved for there to be a one-size-fits-all marketing plan, even across businesses in the same industry. That may be a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. If anyone tries to convince you otherwise look closely at what they’re trying to sell you.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let me also add that just because no two marketing plans or campaigns will be exactly alike, there are some best practices that will hold true across businesses. One is a sales funnel…
You Need a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is just another name for a process. You are trying to get people to move from Point A (seeing your offer) to Point B (getting that person to buy from you). There are lots of components to a great sales funnel, but this list should get you started…
- a target market
- a lead magnet (preferably something free that can be sent digitally, such as an ebook, white paper, video series, etc.)
- a landing page
- an email autoresponder
- additional follow-up procedures (i.e. phone call from a sales rep, a mail package, an in-person meeting, etc.)
- a way to generate traffic (i.e. get people to your Point A, aka landing page)
Let's talk about each of these.
A Target Market
You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you are offering it to the wrong people, you are going to fail. Period. Spend some time with this. Dive a little deeper than normal. Who are you absolutely perfect for? If you could only sell to one type of customer, who would that be?
Don’t be afraid to really niche down here. Remember, you can always create multiple sales funnels to speak to a variety of audiences.
A Lead Magnet
If you want to catch a mouse you use cheese. You’re not going to use steak or fruit smoothies or whatever. Cheese. You use cheese.
Same with your lead magnet. It has to be enticing, relevant, and/or useful to the target market you are going after. If you have an accounting firm and you are offering a white paper on the newest tax laws to come out you’re going to strike out hard. B-O-R-I-N-G. But, if that white paper is about how to legally and ethically get your tax liability to under 10%, well, that’s much more interesting to people isn’t it?
Your lead magnet is going to be used as a way to give your audience something they want in return for something you want: their contact info.
A Landing Page
A landing page differs from a website in the sense that it is generally just a single page that talks about a single thing: your lead magnet.
The only purpose of this landing page - and I mean the ONLY purpose - is to get your visitor to request your lead magnet by giving you additional information about themselves. Whether that’s an email address, a phone number, a mailing address, or whatever, your goal is to get that information in exchange for your lead magnet.
An Email Autoresponder
Now that you have their email address you have two action steps that need to be taken. First, you need to deliver your lead magnet. Second, you need to put them onto a drip campaign that periodically sends them messages about your company, your products/services, solutions to their problems, etc.
This is your permission to market to them on an ongoing basis. Don’t waste it.
Additional Follow-Up Procedures
If you have additional information you have gathered from your prospect then you need a process in place to use it. This may entail a follow up call from a sales rep, an in-person meeting to show them a demo, a Skype call for an initial consultation, a shock ’n awe package mailed out to them, etc.
A Way to Generate Traffic
Now that you have the pieces in place you need to start sending traffic - i.e. people - to your landing page. There are a million different ways to generate traffic online and they each have their pros and cons.
For example, we have a lead magnet we use to generate leads called the Lead Generation Blueprint. It’s a handy guide on how to generate leads and the process to do so. (Think of it as an expanded version of this blog post.)
I have advertised this PDF download in a variety of ways. I tried Facebook ads, sponsored posts, Twitter ads, Google, banner advertising, and on and on. I have had a wide range of success and failure with those media as well.
The one media that has been really consistent and delivers the highest conversions is LinkedIn ads. I get over a 44% opt-in rate from cold traffic on LinkedIn. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is I am making a highly targeted offer to a highly targeted group of people.
I’ve also experimented with headlines, body copy, landing page elements, etc, etc, etc, but the bottom line is, I am talking to the right people about the right thing.
Is this stuff easy? No. Is it cheap? Not usually at first. Is it time consuming? You got that right.
Is any of this an excuse not to do it? NO.
Look, if it were easy then everyone would do it. If you don’t know how to build a sales funnel or need help, then hire a professional to help you. It’s probably more affordable than you think and it will save you countless dollars and headache in the long run.