What to do when your marketing funnel is clogged

In Content Distribution by Andrew Gouty

Take a look at the performance reports of your last marketing campaign. Do you see the vast amount of prospects that see your marketing materials? How many of those prospects completely consumed those materials? Finally, how many of them did you ever hear from again?

If that last number is zero (or close to it) and you’re scratching your head about what’s going on here, this is the article for you.

The economics and efficiencies (or lack of efficiency) of converting prospects can be mind-boggling. How is it that I can have thousands of people on my website, and yet less than a dozen of them are actually qualified to purchase my offering?

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It might be frustrating to learn that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Admittedly, that number can drive the best of us crazy. At times it can feel like we’re just spinning our wheels in the off chance we catch the attention of the right consumer in that 21%. But most of this phenomenon comes down to the way the marketing game is played.

Generally speaking, marketing casts its net wide, and then slowly combs and sifts through those that were captured. We narrow our results down to identify individuals likely to make a purchase, and redirect our communication efforts toward them. But what’s truly infuriating is learning how many lost opportunities are due to lack of follow-up and lead nurturing.

So how do you drive that number down? Marketing automation and lead nurturing is a nice idea, here are some ideas to make sure prospects aren’t needlessly falling out of touch with you.

1) Segment, segment, segment

Repeat after me: relevance is the key to success. That means that even if your prospects are viewing your offering, it doesn’t make a lick of difference if that offering doesn’t mean anything to them.

Let’s say you’re a pet supply company. If you have a customer in the top of the funnel and they subscribe to your newsletter, your first instinct may be to bombard them with all sorts of sales and coupons in an attempt to draw them into your store. But if the only pet they own is a dog, your coupons for cat food and fish tanks are unnecessary static interfering with the clarity of your conversation.

A great approach to staying relevant with the disparate members of your prospective audience is to consider segmentation. Think about creating different Personas that represent several types of prospects that are (or should be) interested in your offering. For the pet supply company, these may be as simple as Dog Owner, Cat Owner and Fish Owner. Each should be treated separately, and be served only offers relevant to their interests. Suddenly you’re connecting a lot better, and offering a tailored experience to help them move down the funnel.

2) Define the buyer’s journey

Seeing content from your own perspective is only one half of the equation. Now’s your chance to prove you know your audience, and understand the phases they went through before they became customers.

Reference the lifecycle stages of the buyer’s journey:
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For each phase, identify the roadblocks your prospect is facing before they move to the next step. What questions does someone have in the Awareness phase that you must answer before they will begin consideration? What objections do they have that may be preventing someone who intends to purchase from actually doing so? Brainstorming these questions, and the responses to them, can help you expedite your prospect’s journey through the funnel.

3) Divide and conquer

Time to raid the pantries. You’re likely sitting on a treasure trove of existing content, but not all of it is suitable to disperse to each prospect. Individuals at different stages of the buyer’s journey should be treated individually.

Take stock of what content you have available, and divide it out for each stage of the buyer’s journey. A free trial might be a bit overkill to attract awareness, but it could be a great show of quality to move someone from Consideration to help them reach their Decision.

Focus on the stages where you’re struggling to see movement. If Consideration is a sticking point for your prospects, schedule some content creation hours to address the shortcoming. The investment will be well worth your time.

4) Keep score

Breakups are tough, but sometimes “It’s not you, it’s me” isn’t a fair assessment of the situation. There’s no shame in realizing that not all prospects are made of the right stuff to become customers, but your job is to clearly define why that is.

Lead scoring allows you to keep score of the health of your marketing funnel at each stage. To score your leads, it might not be a bad idea to survey them to determine their BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe) score.

Someone whose Timeline isn’t immediately actionable might not be ready to be approached, while another who doesn’t even have the budget to become a customer might not be a fit at all. Assess each prospect’s BANT score, and let your sales team know who’s worth speaking to at this stage.

Armed with this information, you can better assess your funnel and become more informed about the individuals within it, as well as how to move them along the process. The majority of leads may never convert to sales, but with these processes you can easier identify those who are a perfect fit to become your customer.