In this article I’m going to talk about optimizing sales funnels.
In fact, having an optimized sales funnel is one of the best ways of turning your precious website visitors into leads and then paying customers.
This blog post is for you if:
- You already know what a sales funnel is and you’re looking to get more conversions for your clients or for your own business
- You have no clue what a sales funnel is… maybe you keep hearing the term “funnel” and and finally want to get to the bottom of things
Regardless of whether you have your PhD in funnels or are a complete newb… this article is for you. I’m going to share some awesome tools to help with funnel optimization.
First let’s get really clear on what exactly a sales funnel is to begin with.
Note: If you’re looking for an easy way to create high converting lead forms for your sales funnel, then grab your free trial of GetLeadForms here »
Sales Funnels in a Nutshell
Is a sales funnel some sort of landing page builder?
Is it a widget that you add to your website?
Does it even have anything to do with websites?
Over the last few years it seems that every marketer is now using the term “sales funnel” as some catch-all phrase (probably due to the crazy success of Clickfunnels).
The problem is that the idea of the “sales funnel” has taken on a ton of different meanings. So for that reason, let’s start by getting really clear on what exactly a sales funnel is to begin with.
Let’s think about a sales funnel this way:
When it comes to converting website visitors from your website, there are a number of stages that a prospect must go through before they buy from you.
In fact, it’s pretty rare for someone to discover your website, love what you offer, and click on the buy button.
The reality is that most customers aren’t ready to buy upon discovering your brand for the first time. Instead, they go through a journey before making a new purchase or opting in for what you’re offering.
Customers spend this journey deciding what they need, if they even need it, and determining which company is best for them.
And that’s where a sales funnel comes in.
A sales funnel gives you the chance to reach your target customer at each phase of their buying journey. It helps them move to the next stepping stone towards their ultimate destination: purchasing your product or service.
Marketing experts typically split a funnel into these stages:
- Awareness: The customer prospect is aware of your business
- Interest: The prospect takes an interest in your company and product
- Consideration: The prospect considers your product and becomes a lead or is starts to read content like case studies
- Evaluation: The lead may demo or try your product, ask questions, and start to get into the sales process before making a final decision on your product
- Purchase: The lead makes the purchase
- Referral: The customer leaves reviews and refers new business if they are happy with the outcome
It’s worth noting that not all customers start at the same point in the funnel, but each stage moves the customer lead slightly closer to the result.
Get a lead through all six stages, and you’ll win yourself a new customer. To do that, read on for our best sales funnel optimization advice.
So what does a sales funnel look like in the real world?
Just talking about the stages of a sales funnel isn’t enough.
It helps to have some real life examples of how all of the sages work together with your marketing to drive prospects from awareness to conversion.
So let’s talk about sale funnel strategy, and how all of the stages work together.
In the awareness stage your blog and informational parts of your website can play a huge role in bringing people into the top of your funnel. The whole key to awareness is to attract cold traffic and to get that cold traffic to know your brand.
In fact, this exact blog post is currently being used in the awareness stage of the sales funnel.
You can create awareness with the following:
- Blog content
- Direct response
- Word of mouth
Some of my favorite channels include: Social media, display advertising, paid search, SEO, partners, referrals, cold outreach, review sites.
At this point, the prospect should have at least had one touch-point with content either on your website or somewhere else (i.e, YouTube, social media, etc).
For the interest phase this is when your top level service pages really start playing a role.
For example, if you’re marketing a B2B SaaS then funneling prospects to pages about features, use cases, and problems that your SaaS solves is a good next step.
If you’re marketing a local service such as a plumbing and HVAC company, then sending prospects to service pages about their issues is a great way to build interest. For example, if someone reads a blog post about how to keep their pipes from freezing in winter, then a good next step in the interest stage could be a service page about winterizing the plumbing in your home.
At this point, the prospect has moved beyond the top of funnel blog content and services pages to being ready to enter your sales process.
Typically, actions that you’re looking for the prospect to take include things like asking for a demo, requesting a consultation, quote, or estimate, or opting into a lead magnet. Case studies also play a big role here.
By this phase of the process your forms play a HUGE role in driving prospects from interest to consideration. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to ensure that you’re using highly optimized forms that can get you the data that you need. I recommend using GetLeadForms for all your forms. You can start a free trial here.
By the evaluation phase, the prospect is pretty low in your funnel. They may have already engaged with your sales process to some degree.
At this point, the prospect could be trialing/demoing your service, reading more case studies, and checking out review sites.
Finally, after the lead has finished evaluating your product they’re ready to make a purchase. The best sales funnels typically have a backend where the company is making multiple offers to increase your CLTV.
One of my favorite examples is the popular accounting software Quickbooks.
You can get started with their self-serve accounting software for as little at $13/mo. But they don’t stop there. After you purchase their software, they start upselling and cross-selling you on other services such as done-for-you tax preparation, audits, cleanups, and more — some of these services costing thousands of dollars per month.
It’s worth noting that when it comes to the stages of interest through purchase, this is where remarketing and your email list play a huge role.
This is because prospects will rarely go through all stages in one day. It may take multiple days, weeks or months, so you’ll need to find ways to bring prospects back into your funnel.
Finally, as you can see, different parts of your website are pretty key as someone goes through your sales funnel. So now, let’s talk about the top seven tools to help you with your sales funnel marketing strategy.
Top 7 funnel optimization tools to help you optimize your sales funnel
Investing in the right sales funnel tool is critical to maximizing your leads and revenue.
Here are the top seven tools I recommend as part of this sales funnel optimization guide. We’ll explore how they can support your funnel efforts.
If you’re looking to generate more qualified leads and boost conversions at all stages of your sales funnel then GetLeadforms is the tool for you.
GetLeadforms enables you to build high converting, interactive forms that can either be embedded right into your website or added to your site as a timed or exit popup.
When it comes to increasing conversions, it’s worth knowing that GetLeadForms is designed around the principle of micro-commitments.
Psychologically, humans find it easier to make a sequence of small, easy commitments than agree to one significant, complex decision.
Marketers have used this understanding of human behavior to interpret what drives people to buy.
Their idea is that splitting a decision into tiny, easy options for customers makes them more likely to commit to whatever you offer — in this case it’s submitting a form.
When building your database of customer leads, GetLeadForms allows you to put this principle into practice with a step-based form.
That step-based form allows customers to answer straightforward questions without ever feeling like they’ve been put on the spot or made a considerable commitment.
These small commitments have an added benefit when it comes to optimizing your sales funnel. Each step in the form can be monitored, fine-tuned, and improved.
Consider the impact of optimizing each small stage in a lead capture form instead of optimizing a single page. You’ll magnify your efforts once you add all those small changes up over your entire funnel.
You should start to see a picture of how much you can increase sales funnel conversion rates.
Using GetLeadForms to break down optimization across micro-commitments will give you a steady upswing in how your customers respond to your offers and promotions. You can start your free trial here.
Hotjar is a data and analytics tool for your website. It enables you to capture data on what your visitors are doing on your website and is a key tool when it comes to conversion funnel optimization.
Hotjar is helpful for supporting the testing process for different parts of your sales funnel. For example I love to use hotjar to understand content consumption on blog posts that are used during the awareness phase.
Mixpanel is another leading analytics tool for helping you to interpret what your customers are doing when they land on your website.
Unlike Google Analytics, Mixpanel provides a user-friendly dashboard where you can monitor all the critical data from your marketing campaigns and sales funnel.
Mixpanel allows you to take a proactive approach to your optimization efforts. That starts with defining KPIs (key performance indicators), so you have something solid and valuable to measure with your sales funnel.
KPIs for a typical sales funnel might include the conversion rate on your landing page, traffic sources for your landing pages, and click-through rates on marketing emails or messenger chatbots.
You can also look at trends in your data. That’s useful for planning future marketing campaigns or creating new sales funnels for your business.
You can use trends to get a picture of which direction your customers take and reverse-engineer a funnel that will give them what they need.
ActiveCampaign is a leading email marketing platform, more commonly known as an autoresponder. It goes beyond most email platforms by using workflow, automation, and rules to create logical paths for your customer to take.
Here is an example. A prospect lands on your website and completes a lead form for a service request or demo. Once complete, ActiveCampaign workflow kicks into action and sends that new lead an automated response to book an appointment.
That is a simplified example. But what’s important to remember is that you can create whatever workflows you need for your business to build a closer relationship with each new prospect who signs up to hear from you.
Tools such as ActiveCampaign are key to bringing people back into your sales funnel.
Clickfunnels is a landing page platform, enabling you to create dedicated opt-in and purchase pages using a drag and drop feature for your sales funnel.
The platform also has an autoresponder feature to take your funnel to the next phase of email marketing. It can link your leads with automated email sequences to nurture that new relationship.
Clickfunnels has the classic sales funnel structure to their interface. Once someone lands at the front of your funnel (typically an opt-in page) and signs up, they move to the next step of the sequence.
One of my favorite things about click-funnels is that they have mastered purchase funnel optimization. For example, the tool can be used to help convert more customers into buyers by creating a checkout page with order bumps, upsells, and downsells — all without ever needing to get a developer involved.
Leadpages is a similar product to Clickfunnels.
It offers businesses the opportunity to create multiple landing pages to promote their offers or lead magnets, which can be used during the interest and evaluation part of your sales funnel.
Lead pages can be used in multiple ways throughout the funnel. For example, you could leverage Leadpages in the evaluation stage by creating a dedicated landing page with a case study that has a big CTA to get a demo or a quote.
7. Google Ads
Last but not least is Google Ads.
No sales funnel is complete without traffic.
And the amazing thing about Google Ads is that it can be used for all parts of your sales funnel.
For example, you can capture existing search demand to generate awareness at the top of your funnel with paid search.
Then after someone reaches your website and engages with your content, you can leverage display remarketing to re-engage the visitors to move them through your sales funnel.
Final thoughts on how to optimize sales funnels
Throughout this article I discussed how to create a high converting sales funnel so you can turn your precious website visitors into leads and then paying customers.
If you don’t already have your sales funnel mapped out and know how you plan to engage prospects at each stage of your funnel, then I’d recommend starting there.
If you already do have a solid funnel in place, then the next step is to start maximizing leads and revenue with one of the tools mentioned throughout this article.