1. Why you need a Lead Funnel
Look into your website's Google Analytics for a minute.
If you check your Audience Overview stats, an estimated guess is that 80 plus per cent of all your traffic is from “New Users". Am I right?
Now, look at the average time spent on your website… About 2-3 minutes? That’s the industry standard for a good “average time spent on a website”.
I bet your bounce rate is somewhere between 50-70%.
Driving traffic to your website through paid ads, SEO, social media is great. Yet, if you’re asking a stranger to buy or enquire with you from that standpoint, you’re only going to attract a small amount of your market.
It doesn’t matter whether they were looking for your service or product in the first place. The amount of people at this stage will be too small to build a sustainable business on.
You’re asking people to make a transaction with you within a 2-3 minute span on your website. It's acting like that 19-year-old guy in high school walking up to the pretty girl and asking her out on a date, without even knowing her.
You're asking strangers to buy on impulse, without any context.
Without any knowledge on where they are in their maturity or beliefs about your solution.
You need to show that you know your niche to get authority.
You need to show that you understand your prospects to gain their trust.
You need to listen and engage to build a relationship.
Quite simply, a product page on your website explaining how good you are isn’t enough. You only have to spend 30 seconds in your Google Analytics to understand that.
This should be your lightbulb moment right there.
Okay, I got it. What should I do?
2. Building a Lead Funnel
Building a lead funnel always starts with a solid strategy.
This prevents your funnels from “leaking” later on down the line.
Without the right preparation, acquiring customers at profit and scale is not possible.
So you have to take the time to create and review your strategy first.
Before you start building your funnel you should have a good idea of who your customers are, what your offer is, and how you’re going to sell it.
Don’t skip this part.
This is what we will cover to take you from A to Z when building an automated lead funnel:
1) Creating Deep Content
2) Lead Magnets
3) Generating Traffic
4) Build Relationships
5) Scaling and Optimization
1. Creating Deep Content
To combat the scenario I explained in the intro above there are a couple of things we need to do differently.
First of all, deep content.
I'm not talking about the company blog where you write about your new product features.
I'm talking about real, deep problem-solution-oriented content.
Creating such content is a mystery to some. And I understand, it was for me for a long time as well.
Until it clicked.
For a content piece to be effective it needs 3 ingredients.
1) One Persona
2) One Problem
3) One Message/Solution
(I'll get back to these in a bit).
For the reader to feel that your content brings them value, it needs to speak to their real thoughts, feelings, concerns and pains.
It needs to address them clearly and specifically. So that the prospect feels understood, that you really get them.
Once you do, and can present a solution, you're golden.
But it's hard, and you really need to dig deep into research and spend time in the trenches. You need to get inside the heads of your prospects.
Forget about blogging consistently, that is 2010 stuff. You need to create content that makes an impact, and it takes time. One post per 2 months is better than 10 posts a month.
All the things that marketers tell you, to blog often, show up, be top of mind – none of it matters if your content sucks.
And most content out there do suck, unfortunately. It is shallow, it overpromise and underdeliver.
It's better to have one content piece that does it right, than 10 mediocre ones.
As promised, back to the ingredients.
1.1 One Persona
It's quite simple, for something to be of value to someone it needs to solve a pain they have.
Don't try to communicate to both a marketing manager and a marketing specialist at the same time. You're going to end up somewhere in the middle, with something bland.
Pick your target, get deep into the research and deliver your wisdom with their own words.
A persona = people with overlapping problems/issues.
You need to sell to one person, you need to speak to one person.
I have an in-depth step-by-step guide on persona creation, that doesn't involve talking to real customers. Sign up for my newsletter to get it sent to you.
1.2 One Problem
Let's do an example.
One of your target audiences are Marketing Managers.
They struggle with low open rates and low engagement rates on their email blasts.
Your product solves this problem with personalized and relevant topics through segmentation.
So far, so good.
Don't ruin this by start talking about your advanced API interfaces and email deliverability features.
Talk about how persona-based headlines increase open rates with 20%. Talk about that relevant email copy increases ROI for your customers with 20%-30%. That's what's relevant for our fictional Marketing Manager with this specific problem.
1.3 One Message
This is usually where most companies struggle. They don't know on what level to communicate.
Within your content you should always have a goal of ascending the reader from one belief to another.
Your job here is to convince.
Marketing Managers may believe that marketing automation systems are too advanced or expensive.
If that is the case, then you cannot start talking about your advanced features, again.
You need to meet the customer at where they are in their understanding of the market and in their belief system.
You cannot change someone’s belief without meeting them at a belief they already have. You change a belief by starting with where they are already.
You start at a place they accept and bring in information that connects to that belief. It kind of gets approval by association.
So for this persona, you need to focus on their two main roadblocks; too advanced and too expensive.
You meet them where they are, and then you talk with them from that perspective.
Then, you meet their beliefs with proof.
1) It's not advanced, see, this freelancer uses it with great results.
2) It's not expensive, it's actually a great investment based on ROI.
You have to bring them through it, gradually. Using what they are saying. Empathizing with it, showing them a new way.
In the end you don’t solve their last problem, for instance how to implement an "advanced" email sequence, you hint at it.
Don’t give them a solution to that.
If they want the solution they have to make an investment, which takes us to Lead Magnets.
I have an in-depth step-by-step guide on persona-research, that doesn't involve talking to real customers. Sign up for my newsletter to get it sent to you.
2. Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are how you collect email addresses and continue delivering value. Establishing authority and trust is your KEY to start building a relationship.
Lead magnets can be anything. Although they are often a downloadable PDF, video, or file related to the content the prospect engaged with.
You will be fine as long as your lead magnet is actionable, valuable, and related to your customer’s solution.
A lead magnet will take your prospect one step closer to the final belief, which is "your product/service is an absolute fit for them".
But there might be more roadblocks that you need to solve along the way for them to reach this final belief.
You have now made the prospect understand that marketing automation doesn't have to be too advanced or pricey.
Now they want to know how they can use it.
In the content you created you offer them a PDF that explains step-by-step on how to set up such a system.
While they read and enjoy the PDF they downloaded from you they learn a lot and see you as someone who knows a lot about this topic.
You start to become an authority.
As a bonus, you also have their email address – it is the key to their heart (and wallet).
3. Generating Traffic
With all this time and effort put into creating your content and lead magnet, we want people to read them.
I'm a big advocate of SEO and organic social hustle, but those are supportive functions to our automated lead engine.
We will use paid social advertising – I'll tell you why in a sec.
But first, let's look at the strengths and weaknesses of each channel.
With SEO, you cannot afford to be wrong.
This is no testing ground when it comes to topics, you need to do your research and when you KNOW you will get traffic, go for it.
An affordable way to research if your topic is interesting is actually running ads for it.
Bottom line, invest in SEO when you know your personas inside-out and exactly know how to formulate your offer to make it "click" for them.
3.2 Organic Social
With organic social you're depending on that your current network is the same as your target audience.
If you have a large enough audience that matches your personas it can be a powerful tool. It takes years to build up though, so work on it at the side for now.
3.3 Paid Social
What we will focus on is paid advertising, primarily on social media platforms.
The reason for this is the adaptability and flexibility of running ads.
You can put out 10 ads with different copy and immediately see what resonates and what doesn't.
You have so many tools at your hands when it comes to targeting and messaging that it is the ideal platform for experimenting.
And it doesn't have to be expensive either, you will get some initial results for $200 that you can continue to build upon.
There is a process of structuring and optimizing social ads to get the most of the money you invest. I will go through it in detail in my newsletter, so don't forget to sign up.
4. Build Relationships
Now we get to the juicy parts.
We got the attention of our persona, they read our initial article and downloaded the lead magnet. So far a pretty standard B2B buyer journey.
However, this is where most companies fail. They think they are done now. That they only need to enlist their leads into a standard nurture stream with general templated messages. Then they spam with irrelevant and shallow content until the prospect buys from them.
They don't, they unsubscribe.
We are not going to do what others are doing.
We will send them a fixed amount of emails tailored to take them from where they are now to where they need to be when they are ready to buy from us.
Remember the belief journey? Good.
We're adding two other components to the mix now - personalization and automation.
Belief journey + personalization + automation = how you win.
Every customer that's enlisted to your email automation system is segmented based on their persona profile and current belief.
So that when you send them emails packed with value it is exactly what they want and need at the stage they are at in their journey.
You will build an experience unique to the prospect.
Naturally, some prospects are only after the content you create, not to buy from you from the start.
Others have their credit card ready and are craving for your solution.
That is how it will always be, but we are ready for that.
We have a system that makes sure each prospect gets the offers and content that suits them.
Wan't this system? I will go through it in detail in my newsletter, so don't forget to sign up.
5. Scaling & Optimization
Once the first version of the Lead Funnel is finished, it’s time to monitor and improve it as you go along.
This cannot be effectively accomplished without setting up systems for iterative experimentation.
Copy, landing pages and messaging — it must be prioritized within your company. (Read my article on B2B Conversion Rate Optimization here).
The beauty of paid ads is that it allows you to set up a growth experimentation engine that any other channel cannot compare with.
You can run different ads to different audiences to try out your messaging and product / market fit within a couple of days.
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