Any SaaS business depends on a steady supply of qualified leads. You need an effective conversion funnel so that your leads are nurtured during every phase of the buyer’s journey. You may think you need a higher marketing budget, a flashier sales page, or even more traffic. If you want to boost lead generation and sales, however, it’s best to first take a close look at your funnel and identify tweaks and improvements that can make a big difference.
Create Content for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
A sales or conversion funnel plays a crucial role in generating and converting leads. A funnel, when properly constructed, is simply the most efficient way for you to find and serve your customers. One of the primary characteristics of an effective funnel is alignment. Your funnel should seamlessly guide your customer from the top of your funnel to the bottom. In order to accomplish this, you need to supply your prospects with the right type of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Awareness — This is the top of the funnel stage when your prospect begins to seek a solution to a certain problem. Problem in this context is broadly defined and could also be a desire (as in “I’m hungry” or “I’m looking for something fun to do.”) For SaaS, it tends to be a little more complicated, such as “I need to make my website more secure,” or “I need to automate my marketing.” Educational content such as e-books, white papers, and videos are helpful for customers in the awareness phase.
- Consideration — At this stage, the middle of the funnel, the prospect is considering his or her options. This often comes down to comparing different brands or products. In some cases, it’s comparing two or more very similar options. In other cases, it could be different types of solutions (e.g. satellite TV vs. cable). For this stage, you’ll want to provide more detailed information and focus on how your solution differs from competitors’. Engagement such as phone calls, online chats, and webinars can help to move your prospects to the next stage.
- Decision — This is the bottom of the funnel, the conversion stage. It corresponds to the all-important closing of the sale. This is a good time to offer the prospect detailed comparisons and case studies. Special promotions such as coupons and free trials can be used as enticements.
While the sales funnel and buyer’s journey are useful models, you have to keep in mind that in the real world, businesses and customers are in a dynamic relationship that doesn’t have actual boundaries. The lesson here is to remember that each prospect is a unique individual who may not always fit neatly into the buyer’s journey template. At the same time, the template is useful for delivering information at a rate that’s useful for many people.
Additional Tips for Optimizing Your Funnel
It’s necessary to provide the right kind of content to prospects in the top, middle, and bottom of your funnel. Here are some additional guidelines for optimizing your funnels.
- Make sure your landing pages address your visitors’ needs. Whether you are driving traffic with ads or organic content, it’s essential that you directly address user intent. Your landing pages must solve whatever problem you promised to address in your ad or link or your visitors will leave feeling frustrated.
- Minimize distractions. If your pages are too busy and full of distracting elements such as large graphics, popups or multiple and confusing calls-to-action, you will confuse your prospects. Keep your message focused.
- Make your opt-in forms easy to see and simple to fill out. Asking for any information beyond name and email will cut down on your opt-ins.
- Using videos in your landing pages is one of the best ways to increase conversions. Keep videos short and concise.
- Include social proof to increase conversions. Search Engine Land reports that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Offering social proof at key points in the sales funnel, such as on your landing page, can make a big difference to your opt-ins and conversions.
- Track the right metrics. Crazy Egg recommends focusing on actionable KPIs such as conversions and customer acquisition cost (CAC) and not over-valuing vanity metrics such as traffic and page views.
Take a close look at your marketing process and see it from your customers’ perspective. They don’t care about technical points such as the buyer’s journey or how your funnel is constructed. They are simply looking for solutions to their problems. It’s your job to deliver the kind of content that educates them, answers their questions, and makes it easier for them to make an informed decision about your product or service.