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How to Make a Sales Funnel Work for Your Brand

The absolutely worst advice that you can get as an entrepreneur today is ‘build it and they will come.’ Just because you build a business doesn’t mean customers will flock to it the first day that the doors are opened. Most online businesses work the same way, and they often fare worse than brick-and-mortar stores because they don’t have a physical existence.

If your current sales funnel is not working, that means something is wrong with the process. Basically, you have to form a connection with potential customers, make them trust you and prove that your services or products are amazing.

Sound simple, but it is far from being so.

To understand how you can improve this funnel, perhaps it is time to get a fresh perspective on it. Also known as a conversion funnel, this is the path that a prospective customer takes through a website that should lead to a sale at the end. However, most of them drop off at various points during that journey and only a small percentage manages to convert or funnel down to sales.

While drop-offs are normal, if the rate is too high, there can be a number of reasons behind it. The more people abandon the funnel before reaching the end, the higher your bounce rate gets. This, in turn, reduces your conversion rate but those leaks can be fixed to ensure more prospects become loyal customers.

These questions may seem overwhelming at first but not if you break them down and deal with them one at a time.

For example, the key to attracting customers today does not lie in your offerings as much as it depends on how much you can educate them about said offerings. In other words, you need to prioritize quality over quantity.

If you try and fill the funnel as fast as possible with questionable or low-quality leads, you will spend more time weeding out inactive visitors rather and less on creating value for genuine customers. This includes creating content marketing solutions that will make even medium quality leads convert into regular customers.

To do that you need to know exactly what your audience wants and not what you want to sell them. Here are some things you need to ask yourself:

  • What is your competition doing better compared to you?
  • What customer needs are you ignoring?
  • How can you outperform the competition?
  • Is there anything you have that you can capitalize on?

At this stage of the funnel, you need to search for solutions that can benefit your customers holistically. Remember, each one has a separate point of view regarding your brand. That means they will approach it from a different point in the sales funnel. With a multi-pronged attraction strategy, you can attract hotter leads.

That is much better than casting a huge net via say a vlog series that people may or may not follow. In other words, your sales funnel should include several elements that can attract different types of leads rather than a few types that may or may not convert. That is the best way to increase conversions AND increase awareness about your brand.

In other words, the main issues that most business owners run into at the top of the funnel have to do with the quality and quantity of the leads they get. Irrespective of the tools you use, either your acquisition strategies are not working to produce enough leads or the ones that you are getting are too low quality to work.

To understand what is preventing your efforts from bearing fruit, you need to examine the sales funnel to see where those leads are coming from. A program such as Kissmetrics, for instance, can help you do that as well as help you visualize the total value of said leads.

Once you have determined whether the problem lies in conversion or the lack of leads, you can work to fix the problem. For example, if the main issue is the quality of the leads, compare the costs that you incurred to acquire them with how much revenue they generate for you in the long run. Chances are that you may be wasting money on useless leads which can be re-directed to effective ones.

If the problem lies in lack of leads, the issue may lie in your brand’s lack of reach or you may be a victim of click fraud. If that is the case, you should take measures to ensure you get organic leads by investing in solutions such as ClickCease that can help you increase your reach as well. This is a better way to get a return on the investments you are making in your sales funnel. You can always earn that money back when quality leads start rolling in and low-quality ones stop clogging the funnel so to speak.

In Conclusion…

Once your sales funnel starts attracting quality leads, your job is not done. You need to nurture that flow via targeted marketing efforts that speak to your customers on a personal level. This is where Smartcut Marketing can help. We are based in New Jersey and specialize in providing strategic marketing solutions for online ventures. Get in touch with us today.

5 Steps to a Conversion-Driven Facebook Ads Sales Funnel

Looking for new ways to drive more conversions for your business? Of course—always!

Keeping an eye out for new ways to drive conversions, probably.

To market effectively, it’s important to ease into relationships and build them over time, and sales funnels can help us do this. In this guide, I’m going to show you how to create a conversion-driven Facebook sales funnel in just five steps so that you can build better relationships with your prospects and start getting better results.1. Match your campaigns to your audiences

People go to Facebook to peruse, share, and engage with their friends and family members— they are most likely not looking to shop. As advertisers and business owners, we want to drive high volumes of conversions quickly. That’s not always the obtainable reality, especially when it comes to targeting colder audiences. We have to start with an introductory point, then nurture these prospective customers by moving them down the funnel.

As you begin strategizing, break your audiences apart by classifying them as cold, warm, and hot. Cold audiences have low buying intent, as they may not be familiar with your brand and have not had any interactions with you yet. Familiarity and trust need to first be established. As you have more touch points with these users, they will become warmer as they move down your sales funnel towards conversion.

Get our free method used to double our sales to 100% here

Facebook does a nice job visualizing the funnel for us by offering a breakout of three main groups of campaign objectives and their sub-groups in Ads Manager:

Use these campaign objective segments to help you assess where your audiences are in the sales funnel and what campaign type may be most appropriate in terms of objective and costs.

One reason we advise against testing conversion goal campaigns with cold audiences is that they are expensive and unlikely to convert. Awareness campaigns are the lowest cost—as you move down the list above, campaigns tend to get more expensive, given the value and intent of the prospect.2. Rethink conversion campaigns

In addition to conversion campaigns being higher in cost, there is an algorithmic explanation as to why we typically advise against starting off with these campaigns to clients.

When selecting a campaign objective, choose one that you can easily accomplish in order to please Facebook’s algorithm. Provide the system with enough data to optimize and to find success with. One highly important factor that some aren’t aware of is that Facebook recommends that you acquire 50 goal completions per campaign per week for optimal campaign objective results. Before, it was set to 50 goal completions per ad set per week, but with the shift in account structure and enforcement of Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) coming this fall, this too, has changed to the campaign level.

If you are able to accomplish this goal completion amount, the system will then optimize more effectively since it has more data to work with and will also reward you with lower costs. For example, if you were to target a cold audience with a conversion campaign and you aren’t able to hit those 50 conversions per week, then you will find yourself unnecessarily paying more and Facebook will not be sure what kind of people it needs to serve your ads to for maximum conversions. In this scenario, begin with an awareness or traffic campaigns for colder audiences and work your way down the funnel.3. Audit your content

Now that we better understand how to segment our audiences in relation to campaign objectives through the funnel, let’s talk content.

What content do you have and need to fill the funnel? Do a content audit to see what you have that would resonate with the various audience segments. For colder audiences, use or develop content that would make for effective introductory content to your brand for your awareness campaigns. What we’ve seen work well in the past for awareness campaigns is a brief brand story video.

As users get warmer, test out a traffic campaign to drive people to your website. This could be either to your blog to share some educational, entertaining, informative, and helpful content or to a lead generation landing page with some type of collateral on it, such as an ebook download. If you can get users to your site sooner to tag them with the Facebook Pixel, you can then have more users for your remarketing campaign targeting buckets. While you’re at it, don’t be shy and add in some lead generation or shopping opportunities here as we’ve often seen success in driving conversions through traffic campaigns and for a lower cost than conversion campaigns.

Once your audience is considered hot, make the final push to complete that sale. Test pre-existing ads or develop new content here that showcases certain features of your product or service that you have not yet done so, real customer reviews, or any specials you may have running as an extra incentive to convert. If sales aren’t a part of your business strategy, worry not, as you don’t have to necessarily lower the cost of your products and services, though, it can help. Often times, free shipping will do the trick if you are able to offer that.

In today’s online shopping landscape, consumers have been conditioned by Amazon to expect free shipping and one thing we’ve seen work very well, particularly for our ecommerce clients is that if you can, offer free shipping as it will help conversion rates.

Using time sensitive or limited quantity remaining content helps entice users to make a purchase, as well.

Video content in remarketing campaigns can also be very effective in completing a conversion as they assist in leaving less room to the imagination about your products and services compared to their static image counterparts. This can help better manage expectations for your prospects, as they can easily see how your products and services work.4. Try alternative money-saving methods

Since you’ve already reconsidered your conversion campaigns and have your content ready to go, it’s time to talk alternative strategies. Here are a few additional campaign types that you can use to save money while building relationships with your prospects.Traffic campaigns

As aforementioned, we often use traffic campaigns instead of conversion for smaller accounts as they are able to complete the 50 events per week and at a lower cost. Conversion campaigns don’t always work well for every account, so see what works best for you in relation to your budget and goals.

With these campaigns, we send warm audiences directly to product landing pages with a strong call to action to shop. Instead of optimizing for link clicks, set your ad set to optimize for landing page views, as those users will be more likely to allow the page to fully load and they will view the content within, thus, increasing your chances to convert.Add to cart

Do you find yourself struggling to drive purchase conversions? Take a step back and test out optimizing your conversion campaign for “add to cart” instead. Campaigns with this goal can usually result in more data for Facebook to optimize with and, ultimately, lead to more conversions.Messenger ads

While these were lower volume for us, the costs still justified the means in acquiring lead conversions. For one of our clients, Indow Windows, we have seen success in driving conversions through Messenger ads that also came in much below our CPL goals to website visitors that have not yet converted.

With these ads, users click to send us a message and we had three canned responses that offer a free quote to acquire the lead, our FAQ page, or to directly contact us as the third and last option. With the call to action for our goal being first, naturally, users selected that and converted.5. Use cross-funnel calls to action

Through the various phases of the Facebook funnel, your calls to action should also evolve. With top of funnel audience targeting, test using a call to action button such as “Learn More” during this introductory or awareness phase with your colder audiences.

As your audiences become warmer and they head towards the bottom of the funnel, test out other relevant calls to action that are applicable for the content and goal.

If your hot audience has not yet converted, “Shop Now” tends to be effective. This audience has had time to learn about you—perhaps they’ve done some shopping and comparing on other channels around the web, so this is your chance to get them to commit and convert through a remarketing ad on Facebook or Instagram.

All of the current available options can be viewed below.Feed your Facebook sales funnel

Now that we’re familiar with the basics of building and utilizing a Facebook sales funnel, start feeding yours with colder relevant audiences by using cost-effective and objective-appropriate campaigns, compelling content, and compatible calls to action.

As your audiences move down the funnel, adjust your content and goals until you accomplish your ultimate goal for conversions. After all, slow and steady more often than not wins with social media advertising campaigns. Savor the relationship build with people on Facebook and enjoy the fruits of your labor as you acquire higher conversion volumes at a lower cost!

How Conversica Uses AI To Move Customers Along The Marketing Funnel

Since artificial intelligence (AI) is not a general-purpose technology but one that automates and makes more intelligent individual tasks, successful AI companies need to pick what task they are going to address, and make sure they handle it well. That’s the approach taken by Conversica, which has focused on conversational AI for advancing marketing and sales discussions among companies and their customers.

Conversica has been at this for a while, having been founded by Ben Brigham as in 2007. Brigham, who is still head of innovation and a board member for Conversica, claims that it was the world’s first AI-based sales assistant, which seems plausible given the founding date. AutoFerret ferreted out sales leads for car dealers, but now Conversica works with 1500 different companies across a wide variety of industries.

Alex Terry, Conversica’s CEO since 2015, told me that the primary idea behind the company’s offerings is to move customers along the marketing, sales, or retention funnel using natural language processing (NLP)-based conversations. The technology also incorporates a robotic process automation (RPA) capability.Get more Tips and Tricks here

How Conversica Helps

Converting leads into sales, Brigham’s original idea, is still Conversica’s primary focus. The company’s AI assistant automatically contacts, engages, qualifies, and verifies the lead’s contact information, and then usually hands off qualified leads to a human salesperson. The conversations are all done over email or SMS in a human-like way.

Conversica now has three different types of AI assistants:Sales and marketing—for lead engagement, either tailored for specific industries (e.g., car dealers, university admissions) or generic;Memberships—to convert and retain members of nonprofits or health and wellness organizations;Customer success—to monitor and ensure product/service usage among companies that are already customers.

Each assistant has its own knowledge graph (taxonomy of terms used in the conversations) and classification of customer intents. Conversica has identified about a thousand different customer intents thus far; some are commonly used, and some are pretty rare.More details on here

If a company “hires” one of Conversica’s assistants—which, according to Terry, requires very little customization–it comes with a variety of “skills.” The most commonly-used skills are “engage demand,” “activate unresponsive demand,” or “reactivate dormant demand.” Some companies also want skills related to event reach-out or winning back former customers. The company bringing on the assistant gives it a name (a human one—customers may not realize that they are conversing with a machine), a title, an email address, a password, and connections to the company’s CRM and marketing automation systems.

Alex Terry told me that it is common for Conversica’s customers to assign lower-quality leads to the AI assistant. They feel that humans are often good at following up on the highest quality leads, but it’s not cost effective to pursue lower-quality ones. Many of the company’s customers, he says, ignored B or C leads before Conversica. In general, he says, the sales and marketing assistant can increase the percentage of leads leading to sales meetings by 5%. Conversica says its AI assistants have reached out to 100 million people, engaged 24 million people and identified 10 million leads for its customers.

I wondered whether Conversica is leading to reductions in human marketing or sales personnel, but Terry said that doesn’t happen. Salespeople—particularly entry-level ones—are often concerned about that, but Terry notes that 80% of his customers say they have increased the size of their sales teams after implementing Conversica. More qualified leads require more salespeople to close them.

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Conversica at Snowflake Computing

One customer that has successfully implemented Conversica’s offerings is Snowflake Computing, a fast-growing provider of data warehouse capabilities in the cloud. The company has raised almost a billion dollars in venture financing, and it has more than doubled its valuation (to $3.5 billion) in nine months.

A company like Snowflake has no shortage of sales leads. Denise Persson, the Chief Marketing Officer, said there are roughly 100,000 new leads per quarter. Leads that come in are automatically scored by the Sales Development organization, and leads that are considered relatively unlikely to convert to sales are given to the Conversica AI assistant. Named account or higher-quality leads go to the field sales force or to the Inside Sales organization, respectively.

Snowflake has a philosophy of “no lead left behind,” and Conversica helps make it possible, Persson said. The goal is to get potential customers to do a live demo, and then to set up a phone call with an inside sales person. Persson says that no salespeople should be forced to prospect for leads; they should be highly focused on the right opportunities.

Persson confirmed Terry’s statement that Snowflake could use Conversica “pretty much out of the box,” with only some minor customization of messages to fit the industry and product being sold. There have been no negative reports about Conversica from either customers (who generally think they are being contacted by a person, not a machine) or employees. Given Snowflake’s very rapid growth, there have clearly been no complaints about Conversica replacing employees. Persson commented, “We are hiring at a very rapid rate. The most important thing we can do is to keep their productivity high, and Conversica helps us do that in sales and marketing.”

Snowflake classifies different types of leads according to their level of interest, the source, and whether or not there has been previous contact with the company. Conversica-handled leads cross all types. Only one type of leads (a small category with only 25 leads) led to no sales opportunities created; among the other types, between 9% and 71% of leads across different types led to sales opportunities with inside or field salespeople.

Sales/Marketing FunnelGetty

The type of AI that Conversica represents doesn’t claim to be smart about everything, or to work with every organizational process. Rather, it’s smart about moving customer leads down the marketing funnel and converting them into sales. It doesn’t claim to replace humans, but rather to do tasks like prospecting lower-quality leads that humans don’t want to do. It doesn’t claim to transform the organizations or strategies of its customers—only to make them more money.

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