How to optimize your conversions with funnel marketing
The marketing funnel (or conversion tunnel) is an important part of your digital strategy.
Get used to the fact that at least 90% of the leads that make up your market have no intention of buying anything from you. In fact, a good part of them are not even aware that there is a need that your solution can solve.
(Just to clarify, it would be a misnomer to imply that 10% of your market is ready to sign up at any time. It is an order of magnitude, but the real numbers, although impossible to calculate, are usually much lower).
But then, what to do? You have two options:
👉 Move on from 95% of your audience to focus on the 5% that would, theoretically, have a chance to convert? (And deprive yourself of the 95% who might, one day, do the same)
👉 “Educating” the market with lots of content in hopes of making them aware of their problem? (And deprive yourself of the 5% with the intent to purchase right now.)
This article was written in partnership with Scalezia. Scalezia assists startups, scales-up but also SMEs in implementing the latest “growth” methods to create sustainable growth and internalize these skills, in order to make the company autonomous in the long term. They also offer a huge range of free content, covering all the important aspects of acquisition, but also content creation, product market fit research and many other topics that are essential to grow a business. To access the courses, just click here (you won’t regret it).
The anatomy of a marketing funnel
Whether you’re a Growth, Marketer or Sales person, this is a crucial model for defining the nature, scope and audience of your acquisition actions. Visualize your conversion path as a funnel, where the lead goes down, until they become a customer, then an ambassador.
There are hundreds of different funnels, so much so that each business has its own funnel. Nevertheless, we can identify 3 key stages that are found in each of them:
- The top-of-the-funnel (or TOFU), which refers to the portion of an audience that has only partial knowledge of the business and its value proposition. This condition can be coupled with a lack of knowledge of their own needs. This is referred to as “cold leads”.
- The middle of the funnel (or MOFU), which designates an audience that is increasingly interested in the business and its value proposition. This state is characterized by the completion of one or more actions that lead to a more advanced relationship (positive response to a prospecting email, download of a lead magnet, request for contact…). These are called “lukewarm leads”.
- The bottom of the funnel (or BOFU), which designates hot prospects, i.e. leads ready to buy with whom a need has been clearly identified and with whom collaboration opportunities are being studied.
The transition from one stage to the next is determined by the completion of a specific action by the lead, which characterizes a growing interest. This is called the conversion objective.
Each component of your funnel must lead your audience to the next conversion objective, up to the act of buying. You heard right: each step of the funnel is full of opportunities and must be considered as a growth lever in its own right.
The relevance of these growth levers in a given context will vary according to the business. Some will play the efficiency card, trying to have the most linear funnel possible. This is the favored approach by many infopreneurs, who focus their efforts on the most targeted audience possible.
They most often call it “sales tunnels“. Others will play the awareness card, maximizing volumes at the top of the funnel. This is the case, for example, with Ahrefs or Hubspot, whose content strategies are recognized as among the most powerful. Another thing to note: a company is not captive to a single funnel.
Several funnels can coexist depending on the issues, the product catalog and the target market(s).
The right strategy and tools for an effective acquisition funnel
Thus, different approaches will be favored:
New TOFU leads will be worked through content sharing, to educate them and create a first qualitative interaction. A qualitative and correctly executed content strategy is therefore crucial. It is what will give visibility, legitimacy and authority to your brand.
In a more linear approach, targeted customer acquisition campaigns (Ads, outreach, Account-Based Marketing, Event-based Marketing, etc.) are preferred.
MOFU leads will be worked on through a more personalized approach and more focused on the issue. This is called lead nurturing. It aims to provide a continuous and relevant flow of qualitative information to the prospect in order to accompany them as they progress down the funnel. In other words, it accompanies them in their decision-making process. A multitude of tools and practices can be useful.
Retargeting (Facebook Ads) or remarketing (Google Ads) are two particularly powerful tools to warm up a lukewarm audience and bring them into an optimized conversion path. Email marketing, with sequences optimized for conversion and tools such as Convertkit, Sendinblue or Active Campaign, can also be very effective. Going even further into automation, Marketing Automation solutions such as Hubspot or Plezi can similarly be of great help.
However, these solutions require a large database of content to be effective. The use of targeted Landing Pages (with tools such as Webflow, Landn or Dorik), written with conversion in mind, are also very useful to convert a lukewarm lead into a prospect.
BOFU leads will receive more intensive targeting, with more frequent interactions so as to optimize conversion. This depends on the business philosophy of your company. If your company is sales-based, i.e. if salespeople are responsible for the final sale, the objective at this stage is to generate appointments with them.
Qualification tools such as Typeform or Jotform, and appointment setting tools such as Calendly or YouCanBookMe are good options to automate the work as much as possible. Also, a direct prospecting action (by email, phone or LinkedIn) on leads identified as hot can be very effective.
If your company is product-based or marketing-based, i.e. conversion must be done through the use of your product or content, without individual human intervention, you will have to work on your copywriting and your product in order to raise objections and reassure your prospects as much possible in order to generate a conversion.
Visualize your marketing funnel
The first step in any work on your funnel is to put it down on ‘paper’. This marketing approach will allow you to visualize its components, their interactions, optimization points and new opportunities. The best tool to do this is Funnelytics. The tool allows you to model your conversion path, step by step. For example, here is our own conversion funnel at Scalezia:
To the right is the BOFU. At this stage, Sales takes over to qualify, advise and support the warm leads, i.e. leads that have filled out a form and/or made a phone appointment.
Once you have mapped your funnel, all you need to do is calculate the conversion rates from one step to the next in order to identify the flows. The objective: to identify possible losses.
A good conversion rate from TOFU to BOFU is around 5% to 15%. However, this rate may vary from one business to another. So handle these figures with care. Being fully aware of these figures will allow you to manage your flows according to your objectives.
For example, if you know that a TOFU audience of 1000 will ultimately generate 75 BOFU leads (7.5% conversions), you will know that you need 4000 TOFU leads to generate 300 BOFU leads.
Conclusion on the conversion funnel
In Funnel Marketing, as in any other practice, you need to understand the basics:
- A good knowledge of your market and your audience
- A focus on iteration and testing to continuously optimize
- Quality content, focused on value and relevance.
Nevertheless, remember that the simpler, the better. The objective of a funnel marketing is not to be the most comprehensive, but rather the most effective. So try to correctly put in place each brick, optimizing the process as much as possible, before implementing new ones.