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How effective is your marketing funnel?

It can be tough to gauge. Your marketing funnel is supposed to be an airtight, inescapable vortex that sucks unknown visitors all the way down the hole to the final sale. But maybe you just can’t shake the feeling that it’s a lot more like a bucket full of holes; you’ll keep some of your leads in there long enough to buy, but most – even qualified leads, just kinda seem to slip away. It can start to seem less like a vortex of doom and more like you’re tossing prospects against the wall and hoping they stick.

That’s a lot of metaphors, but let's break this down a bit.

If you want to know whether or not your marketing funnel is working, you need to be tracking a few basic statistics:

  1. Traffic sourcing
  2. Call-to-action click rates
  3. Landing page submissions
  4. Email performance

Each of these is a fundamental bottleneck where your marketing funnel can be choked to death. That seriously disrupts your marketing ROI and prevents your efforts from bearing meaningful fruit. But if you aren’t measuring these KPIs, you aren’t paying attention to whether or not you’re throwing money away.

So let’s see what these mean.

Traffic sourcing

Are people actually visiting your website? And if so, where are they coming from and what are they doing? Too many people focus solely on overall traffic numbers – how many hits they’re getting – without delving into really useful information. If you’ve got a million hits a week, but they’re taking one look at your website and bouncing, well, you basically have exactly the same success as if you had no traffic whatsoever, so you need to know this.

So. Yes, look at your overall traffic, and make sure you’re converting at least 1-2% of that traffic into leads. Pay attention to where they’re coming from; are they from social media? Are they from organic search? Are they direct traffic where someone actually types your address into the URL bar? You need to nail that down, as higher or lower numbers can help suggest fruitful ways you can spend your marketing budget more effectively.

And then, once they’re there, where are they going? If you have a single page that’s consistently a top performer, why not include a CTA there to help people get over the hump and convert? If you aren’t taking advantage of these critical metrics and the opportunities they provide, you’re leaving your marketing success to chance, and cutting yourself off from an opportunity to engage with qualified leads.

Call-to-action click rates

If you’re getting tons of traffic but no conversions, let’s take a look at why. It may simply be that your calls to action aren’t doing their jobs.

You need to make sure you have calls to action peppering your website, and designed to appeal to different segments of your audience at different parts of the buyer’s journey. If the only download you’re offering is a comparison of your service with your competitors, you aren’t going to convert people who still need convincing about what it is you do, and if all you’ve got is an intro brochure, someone much closer to buying isn’t incentivized to convert. In both cases, your restrictive CTAs are bypassing potential leads.

So you want CTAs that appeal to people at all stages of the buyer’s journey, from the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, each located in an appropriate part of your website. By keeping your CTAs relevant and timely, you can dramatically improve click rates.

Landing page submissions

The next bottleneck you need to make sure you’re keeping open is your landing page submission rate. If you’ve gotten them this far, it’d really be sad if you lost them before they could actually convert. You got them to the right place, you enticed them with your CTA – so here’s where you’re supposed to finally seal the deal already and get their information. But even a little bit of friction can dramatically lower submission rates, sending them packing.

So what’s friction?

Friction is any amount of work you make them do to get them to submit. If they get here, and you don’t clearly state the value of submitting, or ask them to read to much, or ask them to fill out too many form fields, or leave any doubt in their mind about what they’ll be getting, you can expect submission rates to plummet.

So you need to watch your submission rates, and see if they’re too low – and if they are, you need to take action.

Email Open & Click Rates

Ok. So. You’ve gotten their email address! Awesome! Good for you! Let’s have a party!

And then let’s get back to work. Because if your email open and click rates aren’t good, well, you did all that work for nothing.

So let’s get down to brass tacks. You want open rates of ~20%, and click rates of ~4-5% minimum. If you’re consistently underperforming on these numbers, you’ve got a problem that needs fixing – because it means you’re turning away all those qualified leads you worked so hard to convert! Your emails are a powerful tool, but you have to use them right.

Now, there aren’t really a ton of reasons for abysmal open rates. Usually it comes down to having a subject line that isn’t really, ahem, clicking. You need to write subject lines that offer clear, actionable value to the reader; in other words, they need a reason to open your emails.

Once they’re in, it’s simply a matter of delivering on that value, and then getting them to click through for more. That’s basically how you push them down the funnel; you keep them engaged by delivering clear value that leads them closer and closer to the sale.

And if you can keep your numbers good, it’s just a matter of generating the right number of initial prospects. After that, you just let your lead nurturing and sales machines run.