released January 26, 2021
(recorded January 24, 2021) - 1 hour, 10 minutes
INTRODUCTION TO FUNNELS
Everyone likes to talk about funnels. What you'll find is that most self proclaimed marketing experts have learned just enough about what you should do to increase your online effectiveness so they can repeat vague marketing buzz words without understanding the underlying actual actions that must be accomplished.
This is how it is with the buzzword "funnels."
In marketing, a funnel is the conceptual depiction of a liquid funnel that shows many potential customers entering at the top and only buying customers coming out the bottom.
Most of the people entering the top of the funnel are have no interest in what you offer. They entered your funnel by mistake. At the top of the funnel we can refer to these people as traffic.
Merge more traffic you have to your website, the better chance you have at gaining customers. Some marketers will also throw around the idea that you must get traffic to your website, but don't explain how to do that.
WHERE TRAFFIC COMES FROM
Most of the traffic to your site will come from search engines. In the US and most other countries that traffic comes from Google. That Google traffic grows as you add more content to your website.
Of course, content, means adding more pages to your site that have words, photos, videos, PDFs, larger product catalogs, product category pages, designer write-ups, forms, stories, or anything else that you can think of. The only stipulation on content is that is only benefits you if Google knows how to read the content.
By the way, Google can read words, but they can also read images, PDFs, and story animations.
With more content in your site Google has more reasons to match your website to the search phrases that people looks for. Therefore, more content means more traffic.
That traffic comes to the top of your funnel. The people with an interest in what you offer will continue to look around your site. That's the first step further down the funnel, and once they take that first step we can call them a "sales lead."
You'll often hear people talking about "Lead Generation" which is a fancy way to say that the first round of massive traffic has been culled down and everyone that is left is a potential lead. Greater traffic means greater Lead Generation.
WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT MEAN WHEN TALKING ABOUT FUNNELS
There are two ways to view funnels through your site. One of the ways is quite remedial and relies on hope and luck that someone will buy something from you, the other way is to strategically lead people to more information they are looking for.
HOPE & LUCK
The idea of Hope & Luck basically means that the longer someone clicks around your site, the more likely they are to buy from you, or to remember you when they are ready to buy.
Google analytics tracks the path that people take through your site. It shows the number of people who reach your home page, then click to a second page, then a third and so on. Every page of your site needs to convince people to click one more step again. Some click, but most will not click. Those non-clickers are called dropoffs.
Many marketing experts will analyze the customer traffic flow and try to figure out what is causing people to drop off. I've done this analysis many times. The process usually includes AB testing, heat mapping, and user mouse tracking.
Even though we do this analysis, the process still relies on luck that the person is interested in reading and hoping that they will not leave.
The idea of strategic leading is to convince people to create an account on your website or sign up for your email list. This is what we call "building your list" and it's the goal that marketing experts like to talk about when they talk about funnels and lists.
Every jewelry website seems to have an email newsletter signup list now. But I will bet good money that if we randomly surveyed 100 jewelers with email signups in their footer, we would find that more than half of those jewelers do nothing with these signups, and some won't even know where those signup go. Some website platforms will save all the signups in a list that you find when you log into the back end of your website, and some platforms will send you an email with the person's email signup.
There have been many times when a new jeweler signs up with us that we find out that their previous website designer slapped a newsletter signup on their site because it looked good, and everyone else was doing it. Some jewelers put it there themselves with a hope that one day they would start sending emails.
Sadly what happens more of the time is threat the jeweler doesn't know what to send in their newsletter because it wasn't part of their marketing practice before they added this feature to their website. So the concept just dies before it gets through real brainstorming.
If you want to use a newsletter signup to collect emails for your list, you must have a compelling reason for them to give you their email address. You can't just say "sign up for our newsletter" without including further description like "for event announcements and special offers." If you already have your newsletter established it will be much easier to explain what it is and why they should sign up.
A more strategic way to collect email addresses is to offer the users the options to personalize their website experience, save a wish list, and to access special areas of your website.
Website features are a much better lure than a newsletter. Additionally, creating an account would require the confirmation of their email address. Due to spam regulations, when someone signs up for your email list you are required to send the first email with the request for them to double opt-in to confirm their address and sign up. I've found that less than a quarter of the newsletter signups will confirm their address and double opt-in, which means that those newsletter signups in the footer are not really a good strategy for getting people to sign up for your emails.
There are many ways to entice people to create an account on your website and get them to opt into your email marketing campaigns, but that's a conversation for another podcast episode.
COMPARING THESE METHODS
So the Hope & Luck method of content funnels is the most common method jewelers are using right now. Basically they have a website that shows products and services and has an email signup, but they are not doing anything with the emails they collect and they do not have a formal online marketing plan that captures email addresses then follows up with them.
The Strategic method takes more time to organize the content of your website and give people reasons to sign up for more than just a newsletter. The perceived value of what they gain by signing up is more interesting than the newsletter by itself. The newsletters that you do send out will continue to entice them to come back to your website and it will remind them of the reasons they created accounts in the first place.
The cost of building and maintaining your website is the cost of the Hope & Luck method. Since you're not following up with any online marketing you are relying on the website itself to attract people to your store and to buy from your website.
The cost of the Strategic method is ongoing. Making this work correctly first requires a more interesting website that is kept up to date every day, it requires a way to manage the customer emails that you are collecting, it requires ongoing planning and creating of online marketing, and it requires a way to notify all those email accounts that something new is happening. There's no exaggeration here when we say that this needs a full time employee or an outside agency that is taking care of the marketing while working closely with you or your staff.
The Strategic method also requires the use of extra software. Unless you're using a platform that unifies your website and your online marketing, like GlitterPaw, then you're going to have a lot of extra monthly subscription costs to make the Strategic method work, which includes a CRM.
I think the most popular CRM that I see and hear talked about in the jewelry industry is HubSpot, they've even presented at the JCK show in Las Vegas a couple of times. HubSpot has a free service level and a $45/month level, but then their service jumps to $450/month.
There's also Salesforce, Zoho, Agile CRM, SugarCRM, and many others. You'd have to work with your web developer to figure out how to make all these CRMs work together, which is another expense.
I'm pointing out where you'd have extra expenses as a way to explain that online marketing is a serious business and a serious expense. These powerful tools would not exist if online marketing didn't work and if the strategic approach didn't work. Any jeweler using these systems has a clear advantage over other local jewelers who don't use the strategic approach.
As a side plug for GlitterPaw, it was built for the needs of the jeweler. While it doesn't have all the fancy bells and whistles of all of the CRMs available, it has the features that jewelers are most likely to use. HubSpot now has a website builder, but when you combine the cost of their CRM and website builder they charge more than $1,790 per month.
As we said, a marketing funnel is depicted as a regular funnel you would use for liquids. Moving down the funnel requires some type of action or indication that the person is getting to making a purchase.
These indicators include:
* If they open your email
* If they click on a link from your email
* If they returned to your website a second time
* If they returned to your website more than 2 times
* If they filled out a form to request more information
* If they filled out a form to get access to more information
Your website tracking or the CRM you used for marketing can measure these actions. The people with more recorded actions are closer to the bottom of your funnel. The question you need to ask is what will make them spend money.
How to get them to spend money all depends on what they looked at and clicked on. It's up to you, your marketing team, and your merchandising manager to create an offer for your website that will convince them to buy.
IT ALL STARTS WITH TRAFFIC
Let's jump pack to the types of traffic that could visit your website.
There are only three types of traffic to help increase lead generation and sales:
- Traffic you CONTROL
- Traffic you EARN
- Traffic you OWN
Once you understand how each type of traffic works and how it all ties together you'll be able to control your traffic or more specifically direct the right traffic to the right OFFER. When you get that working for you, you'll be able to convert more of your traffic to buyers and repeat customers.
Your one and ONLY goal is to OWN all the traffic you can. You may have heard the saying "the money is in the list". Understanding your traffic and putting a relevant, helpful offer in front of them is how you GROW your list and increase your SALES. Below, I'm going to review the three types of traffic and how you can use them to increase your leads and sales.
TRAFFIC YOU CONTROL
The next type of traffic is traffic you control. You can control traffic when you have the ability to decide where you want it to go. For example, if you are advertising on Google or Facebook or any other platform, when a user from that platform clicks on your AD you can direct them to wherever you want them to go. This could be an optimized landing page or your latest blog post or event page. More examples of ways you can control traffic may include:
• Email Ads (Solo Ads)
• Facebook Ads
• Instagram Ads
• Google Ads
• Banner Ads that you pay for on other sites.
• Ads from any other social network
Traffic that you can control can be powerful in contributing to the growth of your business but there is one 'problem' ………every time you want more of this traffic….you have to SPEND more money. That is why the best internet marketers always send traffic to a page known as a squeeze page. Once traffic reaches your squeeze page there is only ONE option: give your email address or leave. A certain percentage of traffic will leave but the cool part is that some of the people will give you their personal email address which now becomes part of traffic that you OWN
TRAFFIC YOU EARN
So the cool thing about internet marketing is that once you get going with publishing content is that eventually traffic will just show up. It will show up and you won't have any control over where they land on your website or where they go from there.
A good example of a channel of traffic that you don't control is organic traffic. Your video or blog post may have been picked up from the search engines and visitors enter your site from an indexed page or maybe it's from one of your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Other types of earned traffic is from other websites that are linking to you. Were you mentioned in a JCK article? Are you one of the Instore Cool Stores? The links you get from those articles are all earned traffic.
What should/can you do with this traffic?
Your goal should be to turn this traffic into traffic you own. The same approach you take with traffic you control, structure your website and blog in a way where it serves as a lead generation opportunity for you. Have your blog posts take the form of a 'mini' squeeze page where the top of your page the "top of the fold" entices your visitor to opt into your bait offer with their personal email address. Now they become a part of traffic you OWN.
TRAFFIC YOU OWN
Traffic you own is the BEST kind of traffic because it is traffic you get from customers, subscribers, fans and followers. These are all the people who have signed up for your email list or created accounts on your website.
You don't need to pay for them to come back to your site, all you need to do is send out an email message to get their attention again.
You can send emails whenever there's new products, a new blog post, an event announcement, or anything else you can think of.