If you’re looking to take your business from an idea in your head to a multimillion-dollar operation that can have a real impact on the world, it might seem odd (or too good to be true) that there’s a strategy to get you there much faster than you think. We’re talking about utilizing marketing funnel automation as a technique to steer people from browsing your website into buying your products all as part of the online experience with your site.
And if you are able to successfully automate the lead generation and sales process as much as possible, it will eliminate much of the daunting work you likely expect to go through.
We’ll go over what a marketing funnel is, what different components and steps you need to implement to make it work seamlessly for you and get you ready to try it on your own to give your company a huge opportunity to be a real player in your industry.
Let’s get started.
- What is Marketing Funnel Automation?
- Create Amazing and Useful Content
- Optimize Your Content for Organic Traffic (SEO)
- Retargeting Advertisements
- A Must-Have: Lead Magnets
- A Strong Call To Action
- Get Your Readers’ Email Addresses
- Upsell, Upsell, Upsell
- Create a Product Funnel that Makes Sense
- Now You’re Ready
What is Marketing Funnel Automation?
Marketing Funnel Automation is the strategy that helps you to generate new leads automatically. Content, lead magnets, ads, etc. work together as one to bring leads without your interference.
First off, if you’ve spent any time in the kitchen or the garage changing your oil, you’re familiar with a funnel and how it guides something, usually liquid, down from a large opening at the top down to a smaller hole at the bottom.
Think of the marketing funnel as something similar. For example, you can use the content or your website and a webinar to try to steer an online audience into buyers. You could start by offering a webinar about a topic in your industry via a registration page. For those who sign up, add a thank you page, but you’ve also given them a reason to give you their email address, which is an important point of contact for your future efforts.
Once they attend the webinar, this gives you an opportunity to either pitch them a product at the end or at least qualify them further to a sales team member, if they are interested. At the very least you could keep the webinar available so they could replay it to keep your brand at least on their mind and in their conversations with their friends and peers.
The sales funnel is a multi-step, multimodality process that essentially moves people surfing your website into customers.
You’ll use an inbound marketing technique using content like blogs, articles or even ebooks to promote your brand, and then your website functions as a marketing funnel to steer people into buying from you.
The final piece of the puzzle is the automation. The marketing automation software is designed to help you prioritize and execute your marketing tasks in a more streamlined and efficient way.
Use marketing funnel automation software
There are a lot of marketing automation softwares on the market. The idea is for you to figure out what is needed at each stage and what works best for you.
Some good examples include:
- Marketo – from individual package bundles for creating email templates to fully integrated solutions for marketing funnel automation.
- Pardot – perfect software to manage your most advanced email marketing campaigns for those data-loving marketers.
- Customer.io – data-driven email automation platform that will help you get the right email to the right customer.
- Hubspot – another fully function platform to help you through the whole process down the funnel.
- AdRoll – this platform can help with new lead prospecting with the help of advertising, email outreach, and on-site pop-up integration.
- BuzzBuilder – a software not only for sending cold emails but to guide you to the warmest leads with the help of their predictive analytics tool.
Some improve the customer relationships; others make it easy to customize your ads, while the rest are complete marketing solutions.
It’s up to you to create a list with your needs and figure out which one of these tools fulfills your requirements.
For more tools with better explanation see these 48 marketing tools to help your business succeed.
Next-up, the backbone of a marketing funnel automation – The Content.
Create Amazing and Useful Content
We talked about the inbound marketing aspect of marketing funnel automation. Creating content to attract eyeballs on the web is the first step in the process.
If you don’t have people looking, thinking and talking about your brand, the rest of the funnel and process is all irrelevant, because no one will buy from you anyway.
Quickly, you need to also realize why inbound marketing and content is becoming a much more effective way than the old outbound marketing techniques, like cold-calling and even emailing.
The most important thing to do conduct strong topic research on what is driving web traffic in your industry or market niche and then create great content around that.
For topic research, the ultimate goal is to gain a high rank on Google. A must exercise is to use the topic research platform of your choice — we use Ahrefs — and search for what your competitor’s top pages.
- Use Site Explorer section.
- Add your competitor.
- Check the top pages that come up.
Now you will find your competitor’s top pages:
- Their traffic.
- Keywords that result in this traffic.
- Content that ranks on Google.
The overall goal is to find keywords with a difficulty of 10 or less, and when you start clicking on your competitors’ posts (1) you should be able to find content that brings a lot of organic traffic; (2) it must have a low difficulty to rank on Google (has low KD); (3)
Now you can use this info to create an article where your focus keyword has a very low difficulty score, and you can reach the first page on Google with as little as one to five backlinks.
Another key piece of creating content involves thinking of yourself as an expert or a credible source. You are not trying to push your company or product on anyone, but you do have lots of insight and experience in the industry that you can share.
Now consider themes and issues you deal with as the place to start for content creation. It will give you credibility in the eyes of people browsing the web (and your market).
For example, if you’re in the transportation industry, maybe write some blog posts or even an ebook about trucking regulation issues, or the fuel cost industry or safety requirements. Do anything you can to put the issues in the broader context for people.
You can also rethink your sales process to incorporate different levels of sales and membership to allow you to serve different types of clientele based on their interest. If you’re a marketing firm with expertise on advising and selling a brand, you can break down how you offer your services whether on the front end, a monthly membership or even later on the back end. This gives you flexibility for efficiency as well.
If you are not sales-y about it, people will appreciate it.
However, you need to keep the big picture and the endgame in mind. How can this content fit into your automated strategy?
A good first step in basic automated email workflow is to send an email invitation to download your latest ebook (or white paper) to a targeted list of contacts. If they download it, then you move them on to the next part of the funnel.
Optimize Your Content for Organic Traffic (SEO)
When you have your content online, make sure you are smart about how to generate organic traffic. There are several best practices of SEO you can take to optimize your content, especially to earn the best organic traffic from search engines.
The most important things to incorporate into your content creation are keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
To use data to make sure you have the best keywords embedded in your content, you will want to install a Google Search Console.
- Then make sure you utilize its “Search Analytics” to see the best queries that route users to your content.
- Start incorporating those keyword phrases into your content and marketing funnel automation practices to capitalize on what people like about your ideas and brand.
The Google Search Console has tools that allow you to find the best keywords by rank.
On-Page Optimization Tips
For On-page Optimization, in your blogger tools and other communications (ebooks, emails, etc.):
- Make sure you are including those keywords in headlines and key paragraphs of your post.
- Also, include an image in your post with the focus keyword as the alt-tag.
- Use Google Analytics to continually track keywords to avoid getting stagnant and not staying on top of how your audience sees your brand.
You don’t want to get passed by for being complacent or a competitor will surely pass you up.
To make sure you stay ahead of the game once you have some organic traffic coming into your site, you can create retargeting advertisements. This will help you try to recapitalize on visitors to your site who did not buy anything.
The support behind the practice is:
- 71% of consumers prefer ads tailored to their interests and shopping habits.
- Consumers are twice as likely to click on an ad for unknown product or brand if it’s personalized.
First-up, Facebook retargeting ads!
How to create Facebook Re-targeting Ads?
Then you must define your specific cohorts or audiences you wish to guide further down the funnel.
Because Facebook’s pixel tracks all events that occur on your website, users in specific categories will be shown corresponding ads. It’s very cool and efficient.
The key is setting up these categories correctly using Facebook’s business manager, (1), next look at to Ads Manager (2), and last, look for Audiences (3).
Here you will set up your “custom audiences” (1).
- You will want to set up your targets (1)
- based on the number of days (2)
- they visited your company’s URL (3).
- And second, you want to arrange which visitors to exclude from this target.
- In this example, it would be the ones who didn’t use (4)
- a certain tool on your site (6)
- in this period of time (5).
You will want to exclude as many groups you can think of to keep from showing ads to people who are not interested.
Then head over (1) to the Ads Manager (2) and create an ad of your choosing.
Next, select the ad’s objective: I suggest choosing between traffic (1), engagement (2), or conversions (3).
Then, all you have to do is select the custom audience you created before.Now all you have to do is finish creating the ad and watch how your traffic converts into paying customers.
If you need more information on how to create Facebook retargeting ads – this video is a must-see.
How to create AdWords Remarketing Ads
In order create AdWords re-marketing ads, you will have to create a Google AdWords account and define who you want to show the ads to.
A good idea is to show retargeting ads to one of the following segments:
- People who visited your page
- People who signed up and left
- People who selected a product but didn’t buy
Once you have decided, head over to Google Adwords:
- Click Shared library.
- Click Audiences.
- If you’re creating a remarketing list for the first time, you’ll see several remarketing options. Under “Website visitors,” click “Set up remarketing” and complete the setup process.
- If this isn’t the first remarketing list you’ve created, click +Remarketing list and select “Website visitors” from the drop-down menu.
- Enter a descriptive remarketing list name.
- Choose a template from the “Who to add to your list” drop-down menu.
- Click +Rule to add rules and hit done.
Select the countries you want to advertise in and exclude the regions you don’t want your ads to be present in.
Set manual bidding to avoid that the costs go out of hand.
Select the keywords and add the negative queries (keywords that you don’t want your ad to rank for). Afterward, you can edit a bid for each keyword separately.
Believe it or not, the system works very well, and it’s bound to turn your traffic into paying customers. Plus, you get to work within the desired budget, and it won’t go over (+-10%) what you are willing to pay.
A Must-Have: Lead Magnets
Another key piece of executing your marketing funnel automation is to include lead magnets.
Your content should function as a lead magnet meaning it acts as an incentive or reason for a person and potential customer to give you their information to benefit you in the sales process in the present and in the future.
A good ebook, online course or a seminar can function as your lead magnet, or even a blog, video or a newsletter.
If you don’t know where to starts, this ranks the best lead magnet options.
Here are the top free tools for creating a lead magnet:
- Canva – a simple graphic design tool.
- The Stocks.im – options for stock photos, with some royalty free images.
- Piktochart – offers hundreds of templates.
- Smallpdf – the best option if you need to convert your magnet to a PDF.
- Wistia – a trackable tool for video content.
Basically, whatever tool you use, remember you must figure out how to capture customer information that will allow you to send important updates later. It can be as simple as having your customers give their email address as they visit your blog site.
Here’s a list of the best lead capture tools that will allow you to choose one that best fits your needs and budget.
A Strong Call To Action
On a related note to lead magnets, having a strong call to action, or CTA is vital as part of your overall marketing funnel automation.
Think of the CTA as a pop-up someone will encounter as they read your blog, article or video. It’s the notification that puts your lead magnet into action. or any other kind of notification about the lead magnet. It’s also best if it has some time restriction on it to urge action.
The key pieces of a strong marketing CTA:
- Make it simple. “Download the ebook.” “Register today.”
- Incorporate as a larger call to action, and make sure it is easy to understand.
- Don’t be pushy, and remain friendly.
- Be strategic about where you place it. The sidebar, the top of each page or the bottom of a post.
- Utilize smart content if you can to segment user by how new or frequent they visit.
Get Your Readers’ Email Addresses
Going along with the lead magnets and your CTA in the marketing funnel, basically, you need to get your readers’ email contact, or the whole process is pointless.
Offer something of value to them for FREE, like this ebook, an online course or even a trial membership, so that they won’t just believe you want their email for your own gain. Keep the mindset of inbound marketing that you have something to offer via your content and expertise in the marketplace. You are there to help them, and you want to get them in the door to do even better things for their lives and business.
Make sure your lead magnet ends with collecting their email address because email marketing is the heart of your marketing funnel automation.
Upsell, Upsell, Upsell
Once your lead magnet starts generating tons of email addresses for you. The goal is to create an instant bond between your expertise and experience in the market and the reading your email.
You can’t lose them with a boring first email. But if you hook them with an engaging story, the relationship can multiply quickly.
It might take 3-5 emails to get there. So be patient, and make sure you have a good process in place.
People often fail to close a sale at this stage because they try to sell something to early, basically on the first email. Then you are defeating the purpose of your inbound marketing and detailed marketing funnel strategy you have set up.
Think about continuing to develop a relationship and strong friendship with your reader. You must earn their trust by credibly proving to them that your information is more valuable and can be worth their investment and time.
One strong tactic is to help them visualize what they can do with the value you add. Don’t emphasize money, good health or even saving time. Help them realize how those things can make their lives better, by being able to travel to wonderful places, live a more quality life or even have the freedom to do more that they want.
Here’s a key tactic which is known as the Soap Opera Sequence. With this, you can manage your email communications by stage with a customer seeking to draw them in (and qualify them or weed them out along the way).
Get people to visualize a profitable endgame for them before you go hard at closing the sale.
Keep that delicate balance that you have something that will make their lives better. You are wanting to help them, not make money for yourself. Don’t even push them or tell them about your product nonstop. Keep going back to your expertise in the industry.
Create a Product Funnel that Makes Sense
Your product funnel has to be cohesive with the visual you lay out in the marketing funnel. You’ll see how far we’ve come.
Start with a free product — basically your content via a blog post, ebook, podcast or article. You want to build trust around your readers and show them that you are the credible expert in this field. If you are a weight loss guru, you need to prove to your readers that you actually know how to help people live healthier lives.
Your free materials should always be about gaining trust so that you can keep the relationship progressing toward a sale. Feel free to include discounts or coupons as a way to entice them to the end and to help you close the sale.
Then, tools that can help you once you get their info and pique their interest are things like web push notifications.
While web push notifications are extremely effective — yet often under-utilized — marketing tools, you have to make sure you are using them smartly to get the maximum payoff.
The three key ingredients for a fool-proof web push notification strategy are time, copy and the customer’s funnel journey, or segmentation.
People’s attention spans are so short, and with the web so much content is competing for people, that timing is everything.
You must find the right time to break into your customer’s day with a web push notification. Therefore, you have to know their habits.
How many times a day to people drink coffee? If so, when should you ping them with a deal on a mocha or a cappuccino?
If you are going to influence customers’ habits, your web push notification has to be something that creates urgency or gets them to act. Make your product a part of their routine.
The content of your message relies on great text, but there are key ingredients.
- An emotional touch (emojis)
- A clear call to action, or CTA.
- And, something brief – likely 120 characters.
If you make it fun and to the point, it’s more likely your CTA will be successful.
Use and A/B test your CTA button, if you have different options.
Also, put your CTA at the beginning of your message, if possible.
Last but certainly not least — really the MOST important part — is to tap into your users by market.
So few push notifications give this option, so here’s your chance at a competitive advantage.
Try to show information based on the browser’s activity and history.
Experts suggest segmenting your targets by:
- Visited pages
- Custom events and funnel
- Browser and device
Now You’re Ready
Your marketing funnel automation process likely will help you frame a strategy around something you’ve likely been trying to do with your business for years but just didn’t have the knowledge or the right tools.
Let’s quickly go through the steps again:
- Create free content, like an ebook or a blog post about your expertise.
- Send an email invitation to a targeted list of contacts (and to generate buzz via social media and elsewhere) to download your latest ebook or check out your blog.
- Wait a few days and send a follow-up email to everyone who downloaded or clicked on the content. Offer something new like a case study that relates to the topic.
- After someone downloads the content, have a notification system set up so that a sales team member check in with them and hopefully close a sale.
You are definitely ready to get started. Remember to find your niche as the expert and build that trust. If you truly believe that, the sales process will work out for you.
Let us know how it goes!
And if you need help – feel free to schedule a Free 15 minute Skype talk with me. I will teach you everything you need to know about Marketing Funnel Automation.