A marketing funnel is an important tool to help you picture and understand the process of converting prospects into paying customers. In order to maximize your marketing funnel and improve your bottom line, your marketing and sales teams must work in tandem to nurture potential customers and guide them towards the buyer’s journey.
Before we look into pitfalls that prevent you from converting leads, let us first understand the various stages in the marketing funnel.
The prospect becomes aware of their pain points and challenges, and begins to explore potential solutions to address them. This is the stage where you try to pique your target market’s interest through valuable digital content such as thought leadership, advertising, webinars, trade shows, etc. The goal is to gather contact information (i.e. email, Linkedin account, and mobile number) so that you can try to establish a relationship with them and nurture them further down the marketing funnel.
Prospects who are actively looking for your product/service or those who realized you could potentially offer a solution to their problems will want to know more about your company, your reputation and benefits of your offerings. You can encourage them to find out more by developing targeted email campaigns, sending case studies or offering free trials.
At this stage, your prospects now realize how your business can solve their problems. This is a critical phase, the opportunity to convert a lead into a customer. Because B2B products are often more complex, product specifications sheet and detailed brochures are vital to help the prospect make a purchase decision. Although your potential client is still weighing other options, consulting other decisions makers in the management team, evaluating other competitors and considering the best price point, they will be more inclined to purchase your product if you are able to demonstrate the best value.
You have won the prospect over and he has made the decision to buy from you. Sales now takes over to help the customer push through the purchase transaction. A positive experience can lead to repeat business and possible more referrals.
AIDA has been an enduring marketing concept that has stood the test of time. However, sometimes it still doesn’t bring desired results. We look into some reasons your marketing funnel is failing to convert.
You Have a Poor Digital Strategy to Gain Awareness
If you are a B2B company stuck with traditional ways of doing business, you are missing out. In fact a recent study indicates that 62% of B2B buyers make purchasing decisions based on online content alone.
For your marketing funnel to be successful, the need to be present in platforms where your target market is looking for information is undeniable. But going at it without first understanding your audience can be overwhelming. You need to make an informed decision which digital marketing channels to use and what type of content to focus on.
A recent research on B2B decision markers’ search and purchase patterns show that 87% of respondents often discover content through search engines.
And when it comes to search engines, Google is king, presiding over 3.5 billion searches every day. If your website or blog doesn’t rank well on keywords that your target audience uses to find information about the products/services offer, then you are out of luck. This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is vital. It’s a very competitive arena and may take a while to show results but is definitely worth your effort. When you appear high on Google’s ranked pages, you instantly gain trust and credibility and it pays huge dividends in terms of brand awareness.
The same study highlights that next to Google, 85% of B2B buyers find business content through social media. Social media has become a big part of how people spend their time and how they gather information. LinkedIn is by far most the important social network when it comes to B2B.
Linkedin helps you build professional relationships with people who fit your buyer personas, allows you to develop thought leadership, and improve your reputation and credibility by participating in online communities.
Another platform you shouldn’t ignore is video. With more than 1.8 billion users, YouTube is only second to Google when it comes to the most popular website on the internet. This highlights how many people prefer watching videos. And I don’t mean just entertaining cat videos, this is also true in the realm of B2B. Because videos are more engaging than text, YouTube can help you establish your brand identity and also forge deep connections with viewers. An added bonus is that Youtube helps you boost your Google search rankings.
You Don’t Know Your Target Audience Well Enough
If you have skipped developing buyer personas to better understand your target audience, that can spell trouble for your marketing funnel. If you have a better understanding of your customers, you can vastly improve your positioning and messaging. Don’t stop at just considering demographics or job titles, dig deeper into their needs, motivations, pain points and goals within their organizations. Personas will serve you better when they are backed by data. Go out there and interview prospects or previous clients. Ask your customer service reps and your salespeople. What are they hearing from the ground? If you are targeting the wrong market, then you are simply wasting time and money on your marketing efforts.
You Fail to Articulate Your Unique Selling Proposition
Can you articulate what makes your business stand out from the competition? In a crowded market place most people are bombarded with marketing messages and sales pitches every day. If you are unsure how to nail down your USP, you can go back to your company’s mission and reason for being. Understand your business from the inside out and zero in on the main value you provide.
If you are unsure what will resonate with your target audience, A/B testing of your landing pages can be useful. Compare the clickthrough and conversion rates of two different marketing messages. To improve your marketing funnel, you must have key competitive differentiators that are clear.
You Don’t Pay Attention to Competitors
It’s a big mistake to ignore the digital tactics your competitors are employing. Competitor research should be part of your marketing strategies. Have you visited the websites of your close competitors lately? What topics do they write on their blogs? what messaging do they post on their social media accounts? How are their SEO rankings for important keywords? Are they investing in Google Adwords? What new platforms are they exploring?
Keep tabs on your rivals’ online moves and if it can give you a leg up, adjust your campaigns and strategies accordingly. This doesn’t mean replicating their marketing efforts but you may discover gaps that you can address that will help you stand out.
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