Let me the clarify at the outset: Best landing page design for me is a design that brings in results. Anything more is welcome, but nothing less. Looks don’t matter. I don’t care about anything else except for the singular reason the landing page is being built for.
The trouble with digital marketing is that there are way too many things to do and to focus on. Each digital marketing channel commands a comprehensive 4-year training period (much like it is for medicine and engineering).
Yet, there are no secrets really.
As to why you don’t get the results you seek is because it’s just that someone executes it well enough and you don’t. Also, most people just don’t get it.
I’ve already written about sales funnels and lead funnels. Since I’ve been focusing a lot on landing pages lately, I wanted to dissect, slice, and dice landing pages to at least provide a basic, must-have, you-are-a-fool-if-you-don’t-follow-through rules that landing pages are to be built with.
I mean, you don’t need experts to tell you these rules. You don’t need to pay someone a thousand dollars for something you could get from this single blog post.
You also have no more excuses to not do what you ought to do.
There’s just too many “opinions”, “whims”, and “preconceptions” doing the rounds with respect to a lot of things with digital marketing. But let’s focus on landing pages and get a few kinks ironed out, once and for all.
The Almighty Hero Section
The hero section is what your visitors see first. If you want to be very specific, it starts from left to right, and your visitors’ vision follows the “Z” pattern. Brandon Jones of TutsPlus already explained the Z pattern in great detail, and he puts it nicely, this way:
The Z-Layout is a great way to start just about any web design project because it addresses the core requirements for any effective site: branding, hierarchy, structure, and call to action. While the classic “Z-Layout” isn’t going to be the perfect solution for each and every website out there, it’s certainly a layout that’s effective enough to warrant inclusion in any web designer’s arsenal of layout ideas.
“The premise of the Z-Layout is actually pretty simple: super-impose the letter Z on the page. Place the items that you want the reader to see first along the top of the Z. The eye will naturally follow the path of the Z, so the goal is to place your “call to action” at the end”
“Attaining a better grasp of how different layouts can change user behavior is one of the central principles of creating an effective user experience”
A Landing page then looks like this:
In our case, it’s to do only “one thing” that you want visitors to do, and that’s to take action of some sort.
Instead of saying something vague like “…of some sort”, let’s cut the chase and come to the point: you only need to get your visitors’ email address.
You can do that by:
- Giving a discount (if you are into e-commerce)
- Letting users subscribe to get access to free samples (digital or physical) or even parts of your digital products (like first few chapters of your book, limited access to your membership site, first few video lessons of your online course, etc.
- Giving away a lead magnet (like a guide, an eBook, a checklist, a secret something.)
That’s it. The hero section of your landing page is built for a purpose. That purpose is to get people to signup.
To do this effectively, you’d need to ensure that you:
- Do not have anything that distracts and sits on the top of the landing page (or anywhere else)
- Have No navigation menus
- Place No social media buttons
- Place No other clickable links
- Put anything on the page that makes no sense
There are no ifs and buts here. I don’t care about what “you” want to put on the hero section.
This is all there for a reason, and that reason is to get you leads and email subscribers.
Now, let’s dig further:
Note: every single decision made for your landing pages should be based on data; not what you think is right. You get this data by letting traffic come through and by doing A/B testing
On the front of Hero section: Image or no image?
The only kind of images on your landing page (especially on the forefront of the page) have to be those that pertain to the exact thing you are giving away on your landing page
- A snapshot of the cover page of your eBook
- An Intro video that nudges your visitors to sign up
- Your own photo (if it’s done professionally, and I hope you are smiling)
If there’s no such image, don’t use any. In my case, I didn’t have any image to put up here since this a pre-launch landing page (and there’s nothing there to offer).
Background image or no background image
You have a bit of a leeway here, with the background image (unlike any images you might put on the forefront).
Again, it’s only a matter of choice, but the ground rules for the background images are as follows:
- Whether or not you should include a background image is something you can find out with A/B testing.
- If you have to use a background image, use one but add an overlay on it – don’t put a background image without an overlay (dark is good)
- Get an image from Pexels.com or Unsplash and make it as close and relevant to your business niche, the offer you are making, or your brand.
- Background videos are even better if you can get one. Again, videos work better as backgrounds or images? The answer lies in A/B testing.
I thought this hero section with people lining up makes some sense (but I have to test this).
Headings, Sub-headings, & Calls to Action
The action center, as I like to call it, has all the good stuff that actually matters: your heading, the sub-heading, and the copy.
Then, you’d have the Calls to action (which could be a form to get email subscribers to sign up or a button to have them click on – this has to go somewhere else).
Before you get anywhere near “The Action Center”, know this:
- Think about what you want to offer before you even get close to building a landing page. Just don’t.
- Keep the offer straightforward and simple. Don’t overthink it. It’s inexcusable if you take 4 weeks just to figure out what to offer.
- If you want to learn how to make offers, download this free copy of The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner [Thanks to HubSpot]
- One offer = one landing page. This rule is universal. Don’t offer people to signup to your free eBook, a sample video lesson, and also put a button there pointing to your store.
Once you get the decision about what to offer out of the way, all the copywriting rules apply here. As Joanna Wiebe writes, “cute and clever” doesn’t work as well as a simple, straightforward, and direct copy does, and only rookies write from scratch.
As Joanna Wiebe writes, “cute and clever” doesn’t work as well as a simple, straightforward, and direct copy does, and only rookies write from scratch.
Here’s an ultimate Guide to No-pain Copywriting by Joanna Wiebe
I’ll repeat myself: What’s cute and what’s not? Do funny headlines convert? This headline or that headline? This sub-heading or that one? This copy or that? This call to action or that? This offer or that offer?
The answer: A/B testing. See how some experiments led to some awesome results.
The Mid Section
See, I’ll be honest. For some landing pages, you don’t even need to get this far. For something as simple as a simple one-page PDF which happens to be a “Funnel Checklist” [I do have this as a giveaway], I don’t need mid sections and footers even.
Depending on your use case, you might just need one.
The mid section: Beyond the scroll…
If your visitors look past the hero section, it only means one thing: they need reassurance, clarity, more information, or all the three. That’s why this mid section exists on a landing page: to reassure, to provide clarity, and to provide more information (along with some other good stuff).
This is how a typical mid section looks like:
- Keep it simple but try to provide more information (since the hero section might be too direct and doesn’t usually allow for more information)
- Keep it clean. Use short blocks of content.
- Don’t over do it — this isn’t your thesis paper. I also don’t care if you are Amazon and have you more than 1,00,000,000 products.
Strike Two. Your second Opportunity
Now, because visitors did scroll past the hero section of the landing page and they did take a gander at some more information (which could also have some social proof, testimonials, product images, or more such info).it’s also a great opportunity to “try” nudging your visitor once more.
It’s also a great opportunity to “try” nudging your visitor once more.
Somewhere there (preferably another section below the main section where you provide information), put up another call to action.
See how it’s done below:
The rest of the page
There’s an ongoing debate (never dies) about long-form landing pages and short ones. I don’t care. The only “form” of
The only “form” of a page that matters to me is the one that converts and whether or not I have the opportunity to improve on those conversions.
So, if your page has to end here, let it end. If you want to, you can add bits of social proof, testimonials, or yet another call to action here.
If not, just ignore it and end the landing page with a logo.
That’s it. That’s all that should be on your landing page.
The colors, graphics, images, actual blocks on the page, the length of the page, the number of sections, and the calls to action – all of these can be different for different businesses and for different reasons.
But the only thing that can’t vary so much is the variation in “thoughts and opinions” on what is basically so simple and straightforward.
In fact, there should be no place for emotions on the part of anyone building a landing page.
It’s another thing that you should employ awesome copywriting techniques, images, graphics, colors, and everything else on your landing page to invoke emotions (for your visitors).
You can’t have opinions about a landing page, but you build pages that others should have an opinion on (and it doesn’t matter if some people don’t like the page – and they still signup – you see?).
It’s also not about looks because there are butt ugly landing pages that convert like crazy.
How is your landing page shaping up?
If you need help with landing pages, I am going to launch a dedicated service only to help build, organize, optimize, and manage your landing pages & funnels.
Signup Now to get exclusive offers and discounts for subscribers only
Quick question: Do you use Dropbox? What do you think is the secret behind the success of the behemoth?
The answer: Referral programs.
Dropbox now claims a $1B revenue run rate and is cash flow positive.
Dropbox’s affiliate program – which is a very successful program catapulting the company to stardom, bringing in more than 2.8 million invitees in the first 18 months of the company’s life. Even today, it’s estimated that 35% of all sign ups for Dropbox come from their referral program, according to Samuel Edwards of Entrepreneur
Dropbox spent very little on advertising and I don’t think there’s a major content marketing strategy behind the growth as it was for any of these companies that you and I both know about.
As on 2016, thanks to Craig Smith of Expanded Ramblings, here are a few statistics for Dropbox:
500 million users
1.2 billion files uploaded daily to Dropbox
About 3.3 billion sharing connections created
More than 100,000 new shared folders and links created every hour on Dropbox
More than 200,000 paying customers (a total of 8 million total customers)
Supports more than 20 languages
Zach Bulygo of Kissmetrics reveals how the company managed to grow as big as it did. Vikasan Veeraswamy of Referral Candy also has a detailed account of Dropbox’s successful referral program.
But then, Dropbox wasn’t the only company that benefited from a referral program done right. There was PayPal before it and there was also Airbnb.
All this, just to let you know that when you do a referral program right, you can see the potential it has.
Building a successful referral program is hard. Very hard.
But they aren’t as easy to pull off as you think it is.
Last time I checked, there were some 51 examples of referral programs that worked great, including companies like HubStaff, Paypal, and many others.
Most online businesses think that all they need is a piece of referral program software and they all good to go and be on their way to launch a successful referral program.
It’s not the case, and no one better than Ivan Kirigin can attest to that. Having worked extensively on Dropbox’s referral program. He insists on knowing three things before building your referral program:
- Do people like your product? Measure it. Hint [NPS – Net Promoter Score]
- Ask people to refer other people. Compose invite links (or use software which we’ll explore below]
- Judge. Look out for metrics. Finally, decide if you should invest or change or stop completely.
You know that companies have seen tremendous success with referral programs. You also know what to do before you start.
Let’s now explore some fantastic tools that make running a referral program easy for your business:
I’ve seen Viral loops in action (because I signed up and referred people) and it happens to be the best and most capable referral program in the entire list. Viral loops has professional referral program templates and they even made sure they listed out various campaign types that you’d probably start with, depending on your goals.
There’s a pre-launch template, a giveaway template, an e-commerce template, a template for startups, and even a “milestone referral”.
Referral Candy has been around for a while and they are most popular referral program software of this lot.
ReferralCandy seems to focus on helping you run referral programs for e-commerce stores but I don’t see why you can’t hack your way around it for absolutely anything else – like letting your eBook offer go viral or have people share your latest offer with their friends.
After you launch campaigns, ReferralCandy also has contacts, campaign performance reports, and analytics.
I’ve written about EnticeHQ earlier and while it might not be on the level of Viral Loops or Referral Candy yet (I believe Greg –the founder – is working on a “pro” version), EnticeHQ has everything you need to get started with basic campaigns (and also a WordPress plugin to boot).
If you are looking to start, like right now, without having to part with cash, I’d highly recommend EnticeHQ for two reasons:
1. Greg is an awesome guy.
2. EnticeHQ works right out of the box and is free to start with.
Referral SaaS Squatch
Referral SaaS Squatch seems to be focusing only on SaaS companies, apps, and software companies but you know what I’d say next: hack it to run any kind of a referral campaign if you choose to. The referral program software boasts of clients like TypeForm, InVision, LogMeIn, and others.
Referral SaaS Squatch gets you sophisticated campaign reporting, beautiful designs that enhance user experience, a secure rewards management console with automated detection algorithms, a way to weed out any activity that’s shady or fraudulent, and integrations.
Campaigned App, the way it works, reminds me of Workflows are setup in Drip. Using custom workflows, you can design your campaigns your way. This gives you unmatched flexibility instead locking yourself into templates. You also get a landing page feature to allow you to build a promotion page (right off the bat) which you can build with a nice WYSIWYG editor.
A mobile-friendly control panel for a referrer dashboard ensures that you have your analytics for campaigns. You can also schedule campaigns, use custom user fields, use multiple currencies (if the world is your oyster) and also have payout options (if you are giving away cash).
For the pro plan, there are absolutely no limitations (I like that).
Amplifinity focuses on driving lead generation and sales for B2B and sales-driven companies. The referral marketing software is built for businesses already on the growth trajectory.
Amplifinity directly integrates with SalesForce and allows for multiple referral marketing channels while reducing the overall effort to launch and manage such campaigns. With clients such as RingCentral and Citrix, it does have the chops.
While you are at it, Amplifinity also has a handy calculator to calculate the ROI of a Referral program
FriendBuy is an easy-to-use referral program software that also comes with widget templates that you could customize and deploy; automated reward feature (give away store credits, points, cash, or whatever), and real-time analytics.
More interestingly, FriendBuy makes use of PURLs (Personal URLs) which can be used individually by each customer wherever they want to share – including mobile messengers, instant messages, blogs, and more.
Incentivit comes with everything you need to get up and run with a referral program for your business. Some of the nifty features include a reputation builder (so you can let customers build your reputation for you), an embeddable feature using which you can put your referral program software to work on any page of your website (or landing pages), and more.
Incentivit also comes with fully-automated tracking, email notifications, enrollment notices, rewards, and reminders.
If you so wish, you can also opt to work with SMS, build custom refer-a-friend gates, and more.
I am a big fan of drag-and-drop anything simply because it saves you time and allows you to accomplish so much with nausea-inducing decision faux pas. Firecart is a simple referral marketing software that you can use to help make your customers your brand ambassadors at scale. Get well-designed referral forms using templates, make use of a powerful referral rewards engine, and more.
Firecart comes with auto-trigger rules that can trigger off a sequence of events for referrers such as the number of referrals, conversion spends, etc.
You also have the option of using website widgets, a post-purchase email workflow or put up a referral program on your Facebook business page.
NextBee promises to take your referral marketing campaigns to another level by providing you not just the tools you need but also a CRM/ERP integration and dedicated account manager. Nextbee uses the PACE (Personal, Adaptive, Controlled, and Exciting) methodology because not all businesses are built equal and hence your referral marketing campaigns won’t be the same too.
Nextbee’s customer referral program solution is built for businesses looking for easy refer-a-friend and social sharing widgets while letting you give away rewards tied to sales and subscriptions.
Talk about confidence and ForewardsApp lays it out flat: the referral program software is free for you to use up to $200 (in earnings?).
ForewardsApp again focuses on e-commerce stores and has a simple workflow to help boost your sales. Customers make a purchase, ForewardsApp sends an automatic message to your customer to let them refer their friends, then your customers are rewarded when their friends also buy.
The one thing that ReferralClix – in addition to what you saw until now is a “referral process as a service” and it’s best for businesses that don’t want to bury their already busy heads trying to just get a flying start to a referral program.
But then, if you do choose to use the referral program software as it is, you then have access to a simple setup wizard, an ability to create relevant offers and churn out campaign specific deep links to help spread the word about the exact offer you are making for your referral program.
You also get customizable pop-ups, landing pages, emails, and message templates that you can deploy easily. ReferralClix’s loyalty engine, quick e-commerce site integration, and mobile-friendly optimized software ensure that you don’t break the user experience anywhere.
Which of these referral marketing tools have you used before? Let me know if I missed any?
Look around and you’ll see most folks – business owners, agencies, individuals, bloggers, whoever – worry incessantly about possibly everything that holds no significance (as true for digital marketing as it is for life in general).
“How to get more traffic to my website?”
“How do I speed up my WordPress site?”
“What plugins should I use?”
“What do I build my website on?”
All of those are important.
Just not as important as you “making money off your business” – sooner or later.
If you are like most people, you are sweating the small stuff.
The way you run your business changes when you start focusing on gaining email subscribers.
I mean, like, radically.
What you thought was important doesn’t reign supremacy in your head anymore.
When is every subscriber equivalent to, say $5, and you manage to get subscribers on a daily or weekly basis, the way you look at your online business transforms – it’s easy to see why right?
Week 1: 52 email subscribers
Week 2: 74 email subscribers
Week 3: 56 email subscribers
Week 4: 78 email subscribers
Total: 260 email subscribers in a month.
If you assume that this is your average (and it won’t ever get better, which is impossible unless you screw up), you are looking at 3120 subscribers in a year minimum.
But wait, what’s the value of an email subscriber?
Before you get there, you’d have to understand your customers’ Lifetime Value (LTV).
According to Clay Collins of LeadPages, you’ll have to figure out the Customer LTV (Lifetime Value) for your own business.
Samuel Hulick of Drip offers a great explanation here:
“Of course, we’re going to need the dollar amount of the purchase you’re ultimately wanting people to make. If you anticipate recurring purchases (like a SaaS subscription model, for example), then you will want to multiply that number by the amount of times you think they will recur.”
He then points to a specific example:
“Since it’s unwise to assume that your customers will remain your customers forever, you need to figure out how long an average account will remain your customer. To do that, look at “churn”, which is the percentage of your subscribers who cancel their accounts over a period of time.
For example, if 4% of your subscribers cancel their accounts each month, then the average account is likely to stick around for 25 months (1/.04). If you charge $80/mo, then over the span of 25 months your customer will have paid you $2,000. That is your LTV – the value you can expect to get over time once an initial purchase has been made.”
Your customer LTV depends on your business.
Let’s just assume each subscriber is worth $5 for you. Now, if you have 3120 subscribers, they are now worth $3120 x 5 = $15,600.
With email subscribers, however, you’d need to think of it as pending transactions since
• All transactions won’t happen at once, but rather, they happen sequentially.
• You’ll have unsubscribes and new subscriptions happening all the time
• Transactions happen only when your subscribers are ready, sitting with their wallets open. You just don’t know when.
• The actual value of your email user base only compounds over time.
But that’s amazing, isn’t it?
Also note that:
• I won’t get into absolute basics of Sumo (like downloading & uploading plugins or how to setup forms).
• We’ll focus on what you’d need to do with forms and the other tools to squeeze more off your current situation.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s dig in and find out how to use Sumo for best results:
Setup Welcome Mat with A/B Testing
This thing, right here, is top priority
Of all the things you get with Sumo, it’s the welcome mat that has the potential to turn your business around big time. But guess what? It’s not the only thing that Sumo gives you. Crazy, isn’t it?
For the last 15 days that it went live, I collected 52 total subscribers. Out of these 32 were from the Welcome Mat. Go figure.
But I won’t stop there. With the limited traffic I get, I need to make the mat work really hard. So, I’ll do A/B tests on the Welcome Mat to choose a winner of the two variants A and B.
For the welcome Mat I created, these were the two variants (A & B):
Can you guess which one performed better?
The version that performed better with a statistical significance of 51.2% was the one with the man lifting weights.
Who’d have guessed?
Now, this experiment won’t end here. I’ll create a new variant to battle with the previous winner.
A few ideas could be:
• A different background Vs black
• No image Vs use an image
• Female athlete Vs the big bad male athlete?
Come back here another day and we’ll talk results.
Provide content Upgrades or Other Offers
I have a rather generic offer to invite visitors to signup for my entire library of guides, checklists, etc. I call it the resource library. This is a sitewide offer
Here’s the actual inline pop up I use:
Right off the bat, one of the best converting offers on my site has been content upgrades. If visitors are reading a blog post on WordPress, I provide them with a WordPress checklist:
Click here to see the pop-up in action
If my readers read blog posts related to sales funnels, lead funnels, or email marketing automation, they get my funnel checklist and other emails to help them with quick guides on how to build their funnels quickly.
Here’s the actual in-inline form and also a bar that you’d see on the top of the site:
Now, because visitors tend to be interested in specific aspects of digital marketing (like Facebook ads, WordPress, or Funnels) they are segmented into different workflows that I build with Drip.
After they signup, they get relevant emails written to cater to their specific interests. Later, they are given an option to choose to signup for other workflows (on other aspects of digital marketing) if they are interested.
Create Inline Click Triggers or Inline forms For Blog Posts
Sumo provides you with Click-trigger pop ups. Now, these aren’t your regular pop-ups. The pop-ups are activated only when visitors “click” – on either a link or a button – and this signals intent, interest, and willingness. Although these click trigger pop ups might not be shown as frequently as the welcome mat, they certainly convert even better (because of the intent).
For example, here’s how a click trigger pop-up compares (and converts at a juicy 15.3% compared to 2.93% that the welcome mat converts at).
Compared to click triggers, in-line forms more or less just like regular pop ups, except that they are “in-line” with your blog content. They are nested in between paragraphs. These forms also black out the background as you scroll past them. Like this:
Both click triggers and in-line forms make for great tools to help grow your list while you make relevant offers depending on what your users are reading or browsing on your website.
Use Page-specific Mats & Pop Ups
Most sumo users tend to stop with the first two opportunities (in addition to Heat maps, content analytics, and other tools within the Sumo Suite).
But you are not “most”. You are here because you want to make the best use of Sumo and spike up the conversions from all of your forms.
For that, you’d create page specific triggers. Find out the best performing (most frequented web pages) on your site and create very specific welcome mats or forms for those pages.
For instance, my click funnels post is a good performer.
Since I am offering landing pages as services, I’d want to create a welcome mat just for this page and have people signup for an offer. This is how it’d be like:
See what I am doing there?
Put Image Sharing, Highlighter, Content Analytics & HeatMaps To Work
Sumo has other tools in its kitty. While they don’t help you get email subscribers, they are built to get you more traffic. The Image sharer and the highlighter make it easy for your readers to share, well, images and your blog posts (or parts of your blog posts or individual images) on social media.
Heat maps show you where your visitors are looking on a page while they are there. It starts to make sense when one of your forms keeps popping up to the right (while visitors scroll) but your heat map tells you that no one is looking.
Finally, think of content analytics tool as your Google Analytics, but in real time, as you (the admin) look at your own blogs or pages. You’d get real-time stats on how many visitors you got to that page, and more.
Integrations with Email Marketing providers
You can only integrate with your favorite email services provider like MailChimp or Drip or GetResponse with a paid account. When you do, it’s just a matter of creating specific forms and integrating with your email provider with a few clicks.
In my case, I have multiple offers (content upgrades) and they’d need to be sent to the right workflow on Drip (my email automation tool and ESP).
When you integrate with Drip, for instance, my various workflows are listed automatically prompting me to connect the forms to one of them, as below.
As it stands, all of this has been setup and automated. That’s how kickass Sumo is.
Sumo is free for you to start with and with that, I don’t see why you should “not” start building your subscriber base now.
Without a lead funnel (more popularly known as the sales funnel), your business is a dud.
There’s nothing you’d accomplish without one. If you choose to ignore funnels, you might as well ignore any expectations you might have about making any sales, growing your email subscribers, or bringing anything fancy like marketing automation to work for your business.
Lead funnels are gold, and they work like a charm when you do it right. While it’s also called “sales funnels”, I’d rather they were called “lead generation funnels” or simple “lead funnels”.
Why, you ask?
No one buys from you the first time they land on your website. Or even the second time. Or a third time.
Your visitors need time to trust you. You have to build that trust with them. To do that, you could give away free trials, free samples, free eBooks, free checklists, content upgrades, and maybe an entire kit of resources like I do.
Because the immediate goal of your sales funnels is for you to gather leads (not sales). Your actual conversions come in later (after you nurture your leads).
You’d often need to invest in a marketing stack – a set of online tools, solutions, and services to build your lead funnel. But you could also hack things together to build sales funnels without ever investing (if you don’t want to invest in tools to save time and headaches).
Either way, you’d need funnels.
Here’s how to go about building one. We’ll start with prerequisites, main constituents of a sales funnel, how a complete funnel looks like, and a sample marketing tech stack used to build a funnel (and there are many ways you can make these sales funnels work).
Get into an Action-oriented Marketers’ Mindset
Because the term “lead Funnel” sounds fancy, too many marketers, business owners, and bloggers go to great lengths to come up with an offer. I know a business owner who couldn’t come up with an offer every after 3 years (yes, three years) and that’s ridiculous.
Then, there’s another business owner (a client) who took 8 months to come up with a 4-page special report on Social Media.
Look: don’t sweat it. Strive to provide value within your free giveaways, reports, eBooks, or content upgrades but don’t pretend like you are launching a new product. Time is precious and when you waste months and years just trying to come up with an offer, I’d only ask this:
“What’s the f*&^%$ ROI for all that time you wasted?”
Your sales funnels don’t have to be perfect; they only have to be functional. They just need to work.
You can cut, chisel, and slave away to perfection “after” the funnel is launched.
You’d only have to decide the following to make your sales funnel work:
- How do you get traffic to your landing pages?
- What offer are you making? [More below]
- Which email auto responder are you going to use?
- How do you measure your efforts?
- Do you have to take care of any integrations and basic setup needed?
You can test all your decisions, design elements, offers, colors, buttons, and your fancy theories — one after the other, as you go along.
Sales funnels: What You Need Before You Start
Hustle: Get Relevant Traffic
There are several ways to get traffic. The basics are obviously for you to blog regularly, do SEO, get on social media, let your existing email subscribers know when you publish new content, and several others.
Trust me on this: you don’t want “any” traffic. You need traffic that gravitates to your website because you can solve their problem.
You’d have to do the hustle here: publishing regularly, promoting your content on social, building links, doing guest posting, and all that jazz.
Think & Act: Make an offer
Don’t free when you read “offer” – you don’t have to sell your house for this. Here are a few very common offers most businesses make:
• Content upgrades: pick some of the best performing (or most valuable content you already have) and package it as a PDF, videos, infographics, or some other variation of your original content. Then, Give it away.
• If you are a SaaS business, give a free trial.
• Are you into training or coaching? Do you have online classes or training courses? Give a 7-day sneak peek?
Selling an eBook or an actual book? Let your visitors get first 2 chapters for free.
• Ecommerce store? Offer a discount
If you run a service or consulting business, you could have potential clients signup for appointments, book your time, or get a free 30 minutes or 1-hour free consulting call.
Take no more than an hour to think of what you’d need to give away. You can test offers later.
Build Landing Pages
The first step of the sale funnel is a landing page. One landing page for every offer you make (and this is usually relevant to your business). Don’t even bother with sales funnels without landing pages.
Landing pages are stand-alone pages that are designed with a specific goal: get visitors to signup for your offer.
The rules are as follows:
• One Landing Page per offer.
• No clickable elements on the page – no navigation menus, no other links, no social media buttons, and nothing else that distracts visitors.
• Make sure you follow conversion-centric design. Read the Unbounce Blog to learn more.
• Don’t experiment with your design skills when it comes to landing pages
• “Looks” don’t matter; only conversions do.
• Don’t fuss with the design and elements.
• Don’t hire developers to help you with landing pages. Just use tools like Unbounce, LeadPages, Wishpond, or InstaPage.
• Always build two versions of your landing page (all the landing page builder tools mentioned above provide you with A/B Testing). Here are some fantastic A/B testing experiments that you could learn from.
Typical landing pages (with two variants A & B) look like this:
Don’t like the look of the page? I don’t care about how it looks when this exact page converts at 44% overall (and that’s before we even start doing A/B testing).
Email Marketing Automation
Visitors will turn into subscribers (or leads) on your landing pages. After that, you’d need an email marketing automation system to:
• Thank your leads for signing up.
• To deliver what you promised in your offer (the coupon code? The free eBook? The checklist? Or more information regarding the offer?)
• To nurture your leads with more information using sequential automated emails (since they won’t even bother checking your first email yet. Chances are that they didn’t even act on the offer you gave them).
Mailchimp is completely free to start with and comes with automation that you’d need. If you choose to work with content upgrades, have plenty of services, or if you need advanced segmentation, you’d need to work with Converkit or Drip.
Read the comparison between MailChimp and Drip if you want to see how these email marketing automation systems differ in functionality.
Here’s how my workflows are set up on Drip (triggered by various content upgrades):
Resource Kit offer
Measure results of your sales funnel
Unless you are working with something complicated, you’d have one or two generic goals for your website. You’ll typically set them up with Google analytics.
You also have the option of using any of these analytics tools. Additionally, using Mouseflow, for instance, you can also keep a lookout for form analytics, heat maps, and other details that you can dig your head into.
Google Analytics, however, is a must. I’ll show you how I set up Analytics for my website to give you an idea. You can wing the setup process that’s in line with your business.
To measure goals in Google Analytics, you’ll need specific (but hidden) pages like “thank you” pages that only load when a certain action is taken.
Thank you page when people use contact form: /contact-thanks/
Thank you page when people signup as leads for your offer:/lead-thank-you/
Thank you page when visitors purchase something from you:/sale-thank-you/
Once you have pages like these ready, sign into Google Analytics, go to admin, and click on goals. Setup basic goals like Inbound emails from Contact form and Lead signups (this one comes from your funnel landing pages, website pages with offers, opt-in forms etc.)
Set up goals in Google Analytics for your contact form
Set up goals in Google Analytics for your leads
Check your Goals Overview in Google Analytics
You’ll find goals in your Google analytics dashboard and when you start populating some data, this is how it’ll look like:
If you use tools like Unbounce, you also get landing page level critical metrics to know how your sales funnel (at the landing page level) is working.
For the landing page variants shown above, this is how it looks like:
Now, depending on the marketing stack you are using (or not), you have the ability to test every single part of your sales funnel:
- If your funnel starts with ads pointing to landing pages, you can test ads natively, within respective platforms such as Google Adwords or Facebook Business Manager. If you need to, you can also use AdEspresso for Facebook advertising and test ads themselves.
- If you use Bloom Opt-In plugins for WordPress from Divi, A/B testing is possible with relevant results to see how your opt-in forms perform.
- If you use OptinMoster or SumoMe, both tools give you the ability to do A/B testing and you can keep an eye on the results.
Popular landing page builders like Unbounce, LeadPages, Wishpond, and InstaPage — all provide you with built-in A/B testing.
- Email Marketing automation tools such as MailChimp, Drip, and others allow you to do A/B testing for subject lines, email copy, and more.
Finally, How to Build The Sales Funnel (s)
Some parts of the funnel are external — like the ads or the links through which your visitors arrive from. Beyond that, it pretty much works like a manufacturing line is setup: different machines work to achieve something specific within your funnel.
The sales funnel could be as simple as this:
Opt-in forms — Trigger auto responder — deliver free [something] or give access to [something]
But you’d need a tool stack to help build the sales funnel quickly and efficiently. It could be as simple as this:
The choice of tools is up to you. Don’t waste time trying to rack your brains to come up with the “perfect” tool, because it isn’t there. Instead, start with what you have or what you can easily start with and take it from there.
You can always change your marketing tools (with a wee bit of admin pain).
Here’s the marketing stack I use:
Stay committed to make your sales funnels work.
You won’t make money on day 1 (and congratulations, if you do). You should be able to put up sales funnels for every offer you make. Following the nurturing sequences you build, you’ll nudge your email subscribers (or leads) to buy from you when they are ready to buy from you.
When you build sales funnels, you don’t have to depend on Google or Facebook to build your fortune — email lists with subscribers who’ve heard from you, those who like, and prospects who’ve already expressed interest in your offers are all you need.
How do your sales funnel look like?
First things first: Social Marketing is not like marketing elsewhere. If you are on social media, treat it like your chance to build your network, make an impact, provide value at scale, and make new connections easily. Social media is not for you to sell anything. Whatever you do, please don’t get your social media strategy wrong.
But then, you’d want to make social media work for you. It’d be nice if people notice your presence, have conversations with you, share your content, respond with comments, make a mental note of everything you say out there, and maybe even line up to buy from you (a tall order, but it’s alright to dream up).
Here are a few tools that are guaranteed to make an impact to the way you post updates, manage people, monitor mentions, and more on social media:
I’ve been an ardent fan of memes but I could never bring myself to use one anywhere — within blog posts, on social media, or within an email.
But I knew they were awesome, they could add a wee bit of fun, and they do help in marketing efforts. As Elizabeth Victor of BrandWatch writes, memes give you a healthy chance to capture your audiences’ attention, gain traction, and at least allow you to have fun (while letting the goodness of social media happen naturally).
A few other tools worth checking out are, here are a few more free meme tools worth considering:
Canva has a meme creation tool built in
Curated with thanks to Max Knoblauch of Mashable.
Giphy is super popular and you can literally churn out relevant gifs to go with your content, social updates, and emails. Gifs aren’t new but most of us don’t use them effectively enough.
Tereza Litsa of Clickz points out 12 reasons why you should use gifs for marketing: when you put gifs for marketing use, they act like natural magnets to get you the traction you need. They are easy to consume while being extremely popular. They are appealing, popular, easier than video, and are better than text.
In short, they just rock.
I am doing the happy dance already. See?
Gifs are moble-friendly, cross-platform ready, and make for great story-telling.
The sixty frames in a gif are equivalent to 60,000 words, according to Alex Chung, CEO and cofounder of Giphy.
Do you really need more convincing?
I’ve written about Adobe Spark earlier on Groovywebtools earlier, and it’s a terrific tool for marketers. I’ll just quote myself from my previous post here:
“… Adobe Spark lets you pour some life on usually static files you end up creating. Since most marketers are pressed for time and because doing fancy graphics and videos is just not up everyone’s capacity, Adobe spark helps you whip up some amazing creative that you could use to update social media accounts, spice up your blog posts, or even create many other content assets.
Adobe claims that you can create social graphics, web stories, and animated videos with Adobe Spark, and that’s obviously welcome.
It’s a light-weight, quick application that allows you to sync your iOS devices with your computer so that you can create your graphics whenever inspiration strikes. Titled as Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark video, you can create amazing graphics, whip up engaging web stories, and also create compelling animated videos to let you tell stories better.
Here’s a quick look at the Adobe Spark inspiration gallery that gives you a quick head start on what kind of graphics, web stories, and videos you can create. Adobe Spark also comes with beautiful typography (Adobe’s TypeKit helps here), and it also has professional themes you can tweak instead of wasting time creating stuff from scratch.”
It’s nice to let you some have some superlative engagement with your audiences without you needed to break your back to pay someone else. Votion has plenty of products to let you do some real “big brand” engagement with brackets, interactive online polls, interactive lists, “This Vs That Matchups”, Stackup Swipe to Like, Quizzes, Assessments, rich media, and Interactive ads.
Using Votion, you can use any type of media such as images, videos, graphics, and others. Enable your assets cross-device, use “challenge marketing”, and get real-time stats on how well your audiences are gobbling all the fun stuff you create.
Here’s how a Matchup looks like (for brand Zillow) – used for lead qualification.
Or maybe you want to to do a simple survey (like Salesforce did?)
Would you like to supercharge your Twitter and other social accounts? Say hello to paper.li. Several years ago, I signed up with paper.li and added a few keywords and actual URL sources from some of my favorite hero sites, and I released the monster. It’s been 4 years or so and my account still gets new followers – apart from some great visibility and traction that I’d not get otherwise.
Get yourself a free account, give it a name, add a few hashtags and keywords that your business relates to or associates itself with, and let Paper.li curate and publish content all by itself.
Scoop.it makes it easier to find and share content, encouraging you to be and making you a more active contributor. The key to making Scoop.it work, you’d need your two cents handy. Whether you share your own content or someone else’s the value of Scoop.it lies in leaving “insights” with every post you share.
When you leave your comments, you tend to frontload your thoughts and opinions with every piece of content you share on Scoop-it.
Flauntt is a simple tool designed to encourage others to promote your content through genuine online engagement. If you are on Twitter, you’d need some love for all the updates you do. I post anywhere from 12 – 26 updates every day and I know I need some love.
Flaunt encourages genuine tweets by letting users earn credits for sharing content. Think of it as good old sharing with some sort of gamification built in.
Like, you share. They share. Everyone benefits.
Once you get popular or if you see your social networks picking up lots of activity, you’d increasingly find the need to monitor mentions and conversations about your brand. You’d want to know what the world says about your brand.
Also, you should ideally be available to chip in when conversations about the problem your products or services solve happen on social.
Brand24 is the perfect tool for monitoring your brand mentions or keep track of conversations.
Learn more about Brand24 here at Groovywebtools
Curation is the next best thing you could do aside from creating your own content for your business.
While there are plenty of tools for content curation, Quuu offers hand curated content suggestions for social media. You can also submit your article to be promoted by hundreds of Quu-users (currently a free option).
The best submitters can also become Quuu-rators and promote their articles free for life
A genius tool that turns normal sharing into promotion for your site. We would call snip.ly the realization of bit.ly; it’s a call to action packed in every link you share.
For most of our clients, Snip.ly alone is responsible for a continuous stream of traffic depending on how well they use Snip.ly. For every update on social, Snip.ly accounts for a level of traffic that would have just been opportunity lost if you never used it.
Learn more about Snip.ly here at Groovywebtool
What are your favourite social marketing engagement tools? What are some of those tools that you can’t live without? Know any tools that changed the outcome of your social presence? Do let me know.