How-To Build A High Converting Marketing Funnel (Infographic)

Marketing experts like to talk about how to grow your business…

But very few actually have a formula for business growth.

In this guide I’ll show you step by step how to build an automated marketing funnel that you can use to maximize the growth potential of your business using a simple 7-step formula.

Let’s dive right in…

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Here’s my take on the marketing funnel formula from the infographic:

Step 1) Product/Market Fit

“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” - Marc Andreessen

Sadly, this is the part most people get wrong… and if you get this wrong, nothing else will work.

You’ll end up spending months (possibly years) building the wrong audience…

That’s why before you do anything else you need to specify your product/market fit.

fitt

To start, you need to identify a group of people who have a specific problem.

Then develop a product or service to solve their problem.

Easy right?

So how do you know if you’ve got a good fit?

Basically, if the people who do business with you keep coming back for more, you’ve got a good fit.

However, for those who want to take a more analytical approach

Sean Ellis conducted a survey of over 100 startups and found this simple question can confirm whether or not you have a good fit:

“How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?”

With three potential answers:

  1. Very disappointed
  2. Somewhat disappointed
  3. Not disappointed

 

Ellis says if at least 40% of your respondents answer “very disappointed”, then that is a strong indicator of a solid product/market fit.

So that’s great news for businesses with customers… but what if you’re just starting out?

You need to start by getting REALLY clear on the solution your business delivers so you have an extensive understanding of your product and the audience it’s for.

Check out this helpful 8-Question “Before/After” Grid developed by Digital Marketer you can use to get some clarity on your offer:

product-market-fit3

Let’s say for example you’re selling high-end vintage guitars…

Your grid might look something like this:

guitar

As you can see, this exercise can be a powerful way to zero in on your business’s unique value proposition(s) and the specific value you provide.

Now that you’ve CLEARLY defined your product/market fit, it’s time for the fun stuff

Related: The Startup Pyramid – By Sean Ellis

Related: Quora answers to How do you define Product-Market fit?

Step 2) Choose Your Traffic Source

Unfortunately, most marketers think that if they can just drive more traffic to their website they will get more customers.

But the truth is… That’s not how it works!

You can have all the traffic in the world, but if you don’t have a system in place to convert that traffic, you’ll end up with ZERO sales.

That being said, once you’ve set up the other pieces of your funnel (steps 3-7), you can start focusing on getting more targeted traffic.

Where should you get that traffic? 

Well, there’s lots of options…

Link-building-Traffic-Sources1

So what the best place to start if you have no traffic?

Pay for it.

Why pay for traffic?

Because most businesses don’t have the time or money to spend on acquiring organic traffic

Plus, with the advertising tools available today, you can target your audience based on ANYTHING from age to income to cars they own and everything in between!

Creepy? Kind of.

Good for savvy marketers? Hell yeah!

Here are some places you should start with:

  • Facebook Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • AdWords
  • YouTube Ads
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Outbrain (Content amplification network)

 

Get this…

There are even “traffic brokers” who can get your business up to $1 Million in traffic on credit if you can prove you have solid conversion rates.

Crazy right!?

Okay now let’s move on to organic traffic

One of the first things every business should do online is sign up for local directories and business listings.

Local directories are the best place to find highly targeted, local customers who are looking for what your business sells.

Plus, when your business comes up in the top results for local searchers, you’ll open a floodgate of new traffic (and customers).

dentist-yelp

For better or worse, some businesses literally live and die by reviews and rankings in directories like these

But you have nothing to worry about because your business is awesome right? :)

Here’s the best places to start:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Yahoo & Bing
  • Angie’s List
  • YellowPages
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Trip Advisor
  • City Search

 

I prefer using Moz Local to auto-submit a listing to all the major directories at one time.

map-moz

While organic traffic from your community is a great start…

If you want to expand beyond that you’ll need other people to find you online.

How?

  • Content Marketing + SEO
    • Blogging
    • Videos
    • Infographics
    • Interviews
    • Research / Original Data
    • Podcasts
  • Social Media
  • Forums / Q&A Sites
  • Blog Commenting
  • News/Media/PR

 

But it’s important to note, this kind of organic traffic isn’t necessarily free.

They cost time and money to develop.

Whether you hire an agency, keep it in-house or do it your self, it could take 6-12 months or more to acquire enough traffic to build a profitable business.

Either way, don’t spend too much time or money on these organic tactics until you’ve made some actual sales.

Whichever way you decide to acquire traffic, remember the rest of your funnel needs to be optimized to generate qualified leads from that traffic…

In order to do that, you need to first create a Lead Magnet

Related: 25 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

Related: How to Increase Your Website’s Traffic Without Any Marketing

Step 3) Offer a Lead Magnet

Back when the internet was still in it’s infancy, businesses use the classic “Subscribe To Our Newsletter” opt-in forms and collect emails.

But people quickly learned to hate spam and became wary of who they share information with online…

So where’s that leave online marketers who are trying to generate leads?

You need to give your audience something they TRULY want in the form of a “Lead Magnet.”

Basically, a Lead Magnet is any irresistible offer you can give to your customer for FREE in exchange for their contact information.

Why?

It’s highly unlikely someone is going to become a customer the first time they visit your website (or business).

That’s why converting them from a visitor to a lead is a crucial first step on the way to closing the sale.

In fact, people are 300% more likely to buy from brands who offer a lead magnet. (Source: QuickSprout)

So what makes for a good Lead Magnet?

  • Checklists/Cheat Sheets
  • Report/Guide/eBook
  • Contests
  • Discounts
  • Demos & Trials
  • Email Course
  • Quiz Survey
  • Templates
  • Toolkit/Resource List
  • Webinars

 

While the format is important, the specificity of the offer is even more important

When you offer people a highly SPECIFIC outcome and give away a small piece of your whole solution, you’ll generate highly qualified leads because you know people who opt-in to your Lead Magnet will likely be interested in your core offer.

How do you make sure your Lead Magnet is specific?

  • Make a specific promise
  • Give a specific example (case study)
  • Offer a specific shortcut
  • Answer a specific question

 

Here’s a few examples:

backlinkoSee how specific the outcome and promise are for this lead magnet?

good-lead-magnet3

Even obscure niches like survival preparedness use highly specific lead magnets.

SweepstakesExample

Giveaways relevant to your core offer work well too. But please, no more iPad giveaways…

But remember, times have changed

“Subscribe to our newsletter” isn’t going to cut it anymore.

newsletter-newsletters-pop-up-subscribe_29-30000221Yawn….

Increasing prospect opt-ins at this stage of the funnel will pay dividends at later stages

Here’s a few ways to increase opt-ins:

  • Increase traffic (paid traffic = fast traffic)
  • Increase opt-ins from traffic you have (conversion rate optimization)
  • Increase value or number of Lead Magnets

 

More leads = more sales right?!

In the next step you’ll learn how to maximize the number of new customers you get using a Tripwire…

Related: A Guide to Maximizing Lead Generation Today (Infographic)

Related: Lead Magnets: Email List Building on Steroids

Step 4) Offer a Tripwire

Ryan Deiss said it best, asking a cold lead to purchase a core product or service is like asking someone to marry you on the first date.

That’s way too big of a commitment too soon in the relationship.

It’s not going to go well…

So if you shouldn’t pitch your core offer(s) to leads, what should you pitch them?

Introduce them to a “Tripwire” offer.

A Tripwire is an irresistible, super low-ticket offer (typically between $1 and $20) that is used to convert leads into customers.

(Note: In markets selling high-ticket items, Tripwires can sell for $100-$500+)

This fundamentally changes the relationship from lead to buyer even if it’s just $1.

Here are some typical Tripwires:

  • Premium physical (want but don’t need)
  • Small but critical (need but not sexy)
  • Flash sale (limited time, limited stock, scarcity tactics)
  • Deeply discounted core product or service
  • Book/report
  • Paid webinar
  • Software or plugin
  • A la cart services

 

The goal of a Tripwire is to get as many customers as possible (not just revenue) because it’s far more likely they will do business with you again.

The best way to create a high-converting Tripwire for your business is to repackage parts of your core offer in a way that delivers value but also “teases” what else is in store if someone chooses to buy more.

Here are some real-life examples:

godaddy GoDaddy sells domains for just 99 cents.

pizza hutPizza Hut sells select items for just $5..

cards
VistaPrint sells 500 business cards for just $9.99

But what if you sell professional services like an agency, consultant or coach?

You can offer “a la carte” and “done-for-you” services at a low, fixed prices to get your foot in the door like this Google Analytics Insights service from Rich Page:

rich-page

It’s important to note that a Tripwire is NOT a coupon.

Coupons basically say: “Hey if you go out with me, we can split dinner.”

That is inherently transactional (quid pro quo) and let’s be honest…

If you’re known for offering coupons you’ll attract discount seekers and people who wait to purchase until you release new coupons.

You can avoid this by following Groupon’s lead and offer something like “$20 for $50 in our store” instead of “20% off in our store.”

Again your goal here is to maximize the number of customers you get (not just revenue) that way you can introduce those customers to your Core Offers and Profit Maximizers which is where the real money is made

Related: 5 Ways To Master Tripwire Marketing

Step 5) Offer a Core Product or Service

If you ever thought: How do I find the RIGHT customers?

Well, when someone opts-in to your Lead Magnet and Tripwire, it’s safe to say they are the RIGHT customer.

Why?

Because you’ve already had 2 successful transactions with them, it’s highly likely they are also interested in your core offers.

So let’s start with the basics:

  • Make sure the core offer is easy to understand
  • Establish trust and reduce risk with social proof – Testimonials, Case Studies, Influencer Reviews, Number of Users, etc.
  • Use explainer videos to get your point across fast
  • Directly address objections using FAQs
  • Highly visible “Contact Us” information

 

One of the best ways to sell your core offer is the “strike while the wallet is open” technique

The moment after someone buys the tripwire you offer them your core product or service. Preferably with some kind of incentive (discount, limited stock, limited availability, etc.)

So instead of sending Tripwire customers to a thank you page, you’re sending them to an upsell page (preferably with 1-click upsell technology).

jason-opt-in

Jason Swenk uses an upsell page to introduce his core offer to tripwire customers.

What you’re doing is bridging the gap by telling them they now have a piece of a much larger whole, then you offer to “upgrade” their order immediately.

So what if you’re selling high-ticket products and services that require a consultation or sales call?

Build landing pages and short email series relevant to your core offer(s) that simply asks:

“Do you want help with [desired outcome]?”

oe-core-offer

Outdoor Elegance uses this tactic to connect leads with their sales team.

dm-core-offer

Digital Marketer also does an excellent job of using this tactic.

Not only is it strait forward and right to the point, but it asks prospects point-blank if they need what you sell

That’s probably the easiest way to generate highly qualified leads.

What if you run a SaaS or software company?

Deeply discounted and/or free trial periods are Core Offers that can also act as a Tripwire.

That way when a trial is over you’ll already have their credit card on file so opting-in to the full or upgraded service is frictionless…

saas-pricing

Most people think the only way to make money is to sell their core offer(s).

But it might surprise you to know that some of the world’s most profitable brands make almost no money until they reach the next two steps

This is where the BIG money is made so stay tuned!

Related: How-To Align Marketing & Sales to Boost Revenue (Infographic)

Step 6) Offer a Profit Maximizers

Sure getting a new customer is nice, but you should want to maximize each sale and keep them coming back for more

So how do you maximize each sale?

One of my favorite ways is to create “Bundles” that package high and low margins items together.

Check this out…

Merkur sells their standalone razor for $20.49.

But if you buy a Merkur Gift Set, it also comes with a stand, brush, bowl and soap. That costs $69.34.

For those keeping track, that’s $48.85 more than a standalone razor!

bundle

You think it costs Merkur anywhere close to $48.85 for those extras?

Not a chance…

They are making a huge profit by packaging high margin items (the accessories) + low margin items (the razor) to create an appealing bundle.

Then they sell that bundle at a premium price to maximize margins.

But that’s just one example of a Profit Maximizer…

Upsells and cross-sells are also highly effective ways to to maximize each purchase.

Amazon does this better than anyone with their “Frequently Bought Together” section on EVERY single page.

Here’s an example of when you go to purchase a cocktail shaker set:

amazon

Notice the highly-relevant $11.95 and $6.95 cross-sell offers I can easily add to my cart?

You can bet a lot of people who are buying the cocktail shaker will want the muddler and strainer.

As you can see it’s a highly-effective way of maximizing each sale.

So what about increasing the average customer lifetime value (LTV)?

Brands like Massage Envy and Beach Body (makers of P90X) built their empires by selling recurring memberships

envy

Massage Envy “Wellness Plan”

beach-body

Beach Body On-Demand Memberships.

 

Memberships and subscriptions are incredibly effective tactics for maximizing your customer LTV and even creating passive income streams.

Now that you know how to maximize your profits and margins, I’m going to show you how to plug a leaky funnel

How?

You create a Return Path to bring people back who don’t opt-in the first time.

Step 7) Create a Return Path

At every stage of the funnel you’ll likely have a decent amount of people who say “No” to your offers.

But that doesn’t mean you should write them off…

You need to bring them back into your funnel by establishing strategic touch points with them around the internet.

How?

  • Retargeting Ads
  • Automated Email Series
  • Social media
  • Content Marketing
  • Exit Pop-Ups
  • and Loyalty Programs

 

Are all examples of “Return Paths” you can create to bring people back.

But none are more powerful than retargeting ads and automated email series.

Let’s start with retargeting…

So what’s retargeting and how does it work?

Basically, when someone comes to your site then leaves, you can bring them back with relevant ads that follow them around the internet.

retargeting_explian

Not many people know this, but retargeting is actually one of the most powerful ways to boost your website conversion rates because you can bring cold traffic back to Lead Magnets if they don’t opt-in.

But retargeting isn’t just for Lead Magnets.

Get this…

As I’m writing this guide I clicked over to Weather.com to see when were getting more snow in California. (I love snow)

Guess what I saw…

That Merkur kit and razor I used as an example in Step 6!

target example

Literally within a few minutes retargeting ads were asking me to come back and check out similar products.

Crazy right?

Another little know retargeting hack is to use Facebook’s ad platform and upload your prospect and customer lists to target those specific people with relevant offers.

Facebook will even create “look-a-like audiences” based on your lists’ demographics to find similar people!

facebook-custom-audience-targeting

So let’s say you have a new Tripwire offer you’d like to introduce to your email subscribers…

Simply upload your subscriber list into Facebook then start creating targeted ads regarding your new Tripwire.

So what about automated emails?

Contrary to what some might say, email is not dead.

In fact, according to research, it’s the most effective online marketing tactic.

image073

But trying to sell through email by saying “hey buy our stuff” isn’t going to work…

Instead, you should create automated series of connected emails that you can send to:

  1. Educate leads
  2. Help leads understand their problems
  3. Introduce solutions (your products)

 

Here’s one of the emails series recommended by Digital Marketer to introduce Tripwires, Core Offers and Profit Maximizers to prospects and customers:

  • Day 1/Immediate: Deliver Offer/Welcome Email
  • Day 2: Gain Email (What they will gain when they opt-in)
  • Day 3: Logic Email (Indisputable reasons to opt-in)
  • Day 4: Fear Email (Negative consequences for not opting-in)
  • Day 7: Are you still…? OR Have you… yet? Email (1st attempt)
  • Day 14: Are you still…? OR Have you… yet? Email (2nd attempt)
  • Day 21: Are you still…? OR Have you… yet? Email (3rd attempt)

 

Your goal is to strategically remind them they are stuck and show them you can get them unstuck.

There’s no right or wrong email funnel. Your funnel might have 3 emails in it, another may have 15…

It all depends on the complexity of your product, it’s cost and the amount of education prospects need before they are comfortable making a decision.

Great, now you know how to bring people back when they say “No” at any stage of your funnel.

Related: 15 Best Growth Hacking Techniques & Ideas (Infographic)

So Here’s The Truth…

If you’re reading this, you want to create a high-converting marketing funnel.

How do I know?

You wouldn’t have read this entire 3,200+ word guide…

So today I have something special for those of you who are serious about building a marketing funnel like the one from this guide: a free PDF checklist.

This checklist includes 10+ funnel optimization tips and tricks not included in this guide…

Click below to download the exclusive PDF:

FREE PDF CHECKLIST
Learn How To Build A High Converting Marketing Funnel To Maximize Business Growth Potential...

HUGE thank you to Ryan Deiss at Digital Marketer for originally sharing this powerful formula in “Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business.” I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read his article as well.

Brian Downard
bdownard@eliv8group.com

Brian Downard is the author of this blog and Co-Founder of ELIV8, a consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders grow their revenue in a digital world. Brian writes about strategy, marketing, leadership and being an entrepreneur.