Your Conversion Funnel: Are You Pulling Out Your Sales Game Too Early?

I’m going to start today’s post about conversion funnels with a few questions.

  • What does your conversion funnel look like? Do you know, or have you just been guessing?
  • If you’ve mapped out the marketing funnel, is it based on what you know to be true, or what you hope to be true?
  • Is it a realistic funnel?
  • And finally, are you asking for the sale before the nurture?

The Case of a Poor Conversion Funnel

We had a B2B client that was having problems getting website visitors to move down the conversion funnel and click that “contact”, or “subscribe” or “try a demo”. After reviewing the site, we found that the majority of links to the “try a demo” page and CTA were on TOFU, or Top of Funnel pages.

In other words, people were visiting the site – say, to read a blog post – and may or may not have been familiar with the company. And after reading the blog post, that may or may not have been directly associated with their product, were being offered a demo. Oddly enough, the number of conversions from those posts were less than 1%.

Why? Was there something wrong with the blog post? Did the demo form ask for too much?

No on both counts. But you can’t deny that offering a demo at the end of an unrelated blog post is a little off in the timing department.

The Marketing / Conversion Funnel

Of course, you want those who come into contact with your company to immediately jump into sales, but that’s just not how consumers work. It doesn’t matter whether they’re B2B or B2C, there’s a process, and your job is to locate that process and make it as easy as possible.

TOFU, MOFU and BOFU (Top-, Middle- and Bottom-of-funnel, respectively) follow the same journey as the age-old AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) marketing walkthrough. They line up something like this:

Awareness: TOFU | “Awareness” in AIDA

The TOFU stage is all about problem/solution research. They know they have a pain point and they’re researching how to fix it. At this level, they may never have even heard of your company. They may not know what products you sell, or services you render. In fact, they may not even know what they need.

Here’s the catch: not everybody who lands on your site at this point is going to be sales oriented. In all likelihood, they aren’t even close.  Your top-of-funnel is a very wide net and will entice many people with various user intents, all researching for different reasons.

This is not the time to step up with a sales pitch. This is the time to consider the many personas that may be coming to your site and compare them to your marketing journey.

From the place of awareness, how will you:

  • Get your brand on the radar?
  • Increase their level of awareness of your company in their research space?
  • Build trust as an authority about the topic they’re researching?
  • How will I capture their email to continue the conversation?
  • What are the steps I should take to nurture them through the marketing funnel?

Consideration: MOFU | “Interest” and “Desire” in AIDA

MOFU has two stages: top of MOFU and bottom of MOFU. At the top, they’re interested in what you have to say, but aren’t sure it’s right for them. At the bottom, they want what you’re offering, but haven’t fully decided to act.

They know what they want and consider your business as one of the possible solutions. By the time they’ve reach MOFU, your visitors have been qualified somewhat. Those in TOFU who aren’t interested in a solution or know that your solution isn’t exactly what they need, have dropped out. So your top MOFU are thinned out and more likely to move to final conversion.

Again, this is not when to step in with a full-on sales pitch. Rather, MOFU is the time for carefully nurturing these potential customers. In MOFU, you want to look at how you can take their level of consideration from “interest” to “desire”.

From the place of consideration, how will you empower them to take the next step? How will you:

  • Build out information that helps build their confidence in your abilities?
  • Further secure their trust?
  • Help them narrow down what they’re looking for and the options they have?
  • Give them what they need to answer their questions and move to the final step.

Decision: BOFU | “Action” in AIDA

By the time your visitors reach BOFU, they’re highly qualified. Of course, this is bottom of funnel, so there aren’t near as many individuals. However, that makes it much easier to develop campaigns that push them into the final sale.

If there was a time to push sales, this part of the funnel is it. You’ve narrowed down the group to those who now what proof that your solution specifically is going to solve their problems.

From the place of decision making, how will help them decide your offering is the right one? How will you:

  • Finalize their level of trust in your product/company/solution?
  • Set your brand apart from the competition?
  • Make signing with you to be the least risky option?

Closing the Deal

So now that you have a brief explanation of each section of the marketing / conversion funnel, what can you do to capitalize on it?

The biggest key is your site structure. You want to make sure that you have a clear path from your home page (the most often visited page) to each funnel stage. Then, you want to ensure the steps along the funnel are easy to follow, so you can carefully move users through the funnels. The last thing you want is for someone in BOFU to become frustrated and unsure.

Remember, we now live in a digital world where touch points happen across numerous devices and platforms. This is why it’s essential to properly lay out your marketing funnel and leave sales for the when sales is appropriate. Nurture your visitors carefully – even the ones that start and leave in TOFU. You never know when they might return as true BOFU.

Today's Author

Lacy Gray has been in the rankings of Level343 as a copywriter, marketer and behind-the-scenes optimizer for over ten years, developing skills that have been invaluable for our clients. She’s fascinated by how marketing works, and spends a great deal of time reading about the arts of marketing and optimization.

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