In my last post in this series, How To Create An Effective Online Marketing Funnel, I explained that knowing your ideal prospect well is the prerequisite to marketing. So while you are tweaking those prospect personas, let’s look at the next steps.

Step 2: Create an online asset that clearly demonstrates the power of your solution

Now that you have the attention of your ideal prospect, you need to encourage them to become a customer. S/he might not be ready for your main offer, but you can make it easy to learn more about what you offer without asking them to invest a lot of time or money. What can they do?

Content Strategy

  • Attend a webinar
  • Access an expert interview
  • Go through a tutorial
  • Read a whitepaper
  • Attend (or download) a product or service demo
  • Evaluate competitive comparisons
  • Access a buyer’s guide
  • Review case studies
  • Watch transformational customer stories
  • Browse reviews and ratings
  • Use ROI calculators
  • Download research reports
  • Take advantage of a free trial
  • Buy an e-book

These assets are attractive to the prospect who is trying to make the best decision about the problem s/he is trying to solve. For information about different types of online assets, check out:

Offer access at an easy-to-buy price to further qualify a prospect.

At this stage, your goal is to winsomely demonstrate how your product/service can work for your ideal prospect by showing how it overcomes their problem. Whichever asset you use, be sure to include a transformational story from one of your clients that also answers some of the common objections. Make the biggest benefit crystal clear to show your prospect the result you can give them.

Wowed Cowboy

We provide numerous assets like this for Otis (one of our ideal prospect personas). One is a website evaluation signup, which includes our qualifications, snippets from previous website evaluations, testimonials from clients, description of deliverables, a brief case study, an easy-to-start price and our money-back guarantee – most of the things Otis likes to have before making a decision. Of course with Otis, there are always unpredictable questions 🙂

It’s likely that you already have a few online assets, so promoting them regularly to your ideal prospect is the key to getting new lead opportunities; you’ll find a great way to do this in part 1.

Step 3: Create the offer

Now that your prospect’s curiosity is piqued at the credible demonstration that your solution will solve their problem, it’s time to let them know that they can have it! Here you’ll want to explain your offer, what it will do for them and what it will mean to them personally or professionally.

Conversion Optimization

At this point in the funnel, you have a captive audience whose attention to detail is at an all-time high: some are nervous about buying, some are critical, while others bought emotionally during the demonstration and just want to know how to get your solution NOW!

Your offer needs to be crystal clear and in full alignment with everything that has been presented so far – one misstep here could cause your prospect to go cold and exit.

This is where money is made or lost. For prospects sitting on the fence, you will want to incorporate offer strategies and mental triggers that influence prospects to buy and build trust at critical decision moments.

Mental Triggers (from Ernie Jones):
Social proof: When people aren’t sure what to do, they look at what others are doing.

Pride: Don’t tell me how nice it will look to me; tell me how envious my neighbors will be.

Scarcity: Scarcity makes people want to have something, even if they weren’t previously interested in it.

Tell them what to do: It’s amazing how many people neglect this. They present their offer and forget to tell the customer exactly what they need to do next.

Limit choices: The more choices your buyer has, the more likely s/he is to make no choice at all. Focus on one thing, and provide one offer.

Strategic baselines: Whatever price a person sees first becomes their baseline. Too often, folks want to start with the lowest price and go higher so that the customer isn’t “turned off” by the high price. This is backwards.

Here’s more information about using mental triggers.

Offer Strategies (from Chris Haddad): chris-haddad
Easy, simple, done for you: What can you offer to reassure they will have awesome results even if they’re lazy?

Remove all risk: I want customers to feel like they’re ripping me off by giving me their money. For example, what money-back guarantee and/or bonus can you provide that is outside the norm?

Promise specific results: The more specific and focused you are in your promise, the more rabid your market becomes.

Ask for the sale: Put your prospect on the spot, like asking a girl to dance. Confidence is sexy and it makes money.

And here we are now at the bottom of the funnel where you now have a new customer!

Step 4: Add value to your customer (the back end)

At this point on the other side of the funnel, you want to take your customer to their goal as quickly and easily as possible. Don’t simply satisfy your customer, “wow” them; make them want to reciprocate the positive experience with a favorable rating, review and/or referral. This builds up your reputation for producing proven results one customer at a time.

Reputation Management

Customer reviews, testimonials and referrals are rocket fuel for marketing on every level! So plan out your customer testimonial process to ensure you are reaching out to your customers during their “satisfaction zone.”

Don’t neglect this step! Without it, future prospects might not feel warm enough to buy from you. Plus, the feedback you get from customers (both negative and positive) will make you aware of improvement opportunities.

What’s the next step for my customer?

Can you identify customer problems you can solve? What additional products/services/skills/training do you have that can add value to your customer?

These are questions to consider in the back end of the marketing funnel to build a long-term, profitable relationship with your customer.

What about those prospects who exited the funnel before purchasing?
Remarket to prospects based on their level of engagement and start with those who exited at the very last step in the funnel, then work your way back up the funnel.

If you have a 40% conversion rate from prospects who enter the very last step in the funnel, 60% of them are highly engaged prospects who did not buy from you, but backed out at the last step. Your remarketing process and CRM system must reengage them, learn what went wrong and entice them back into the funnel when they are ready.

Always maintain a high level of engagement with your remarketing campaign; it can be automated as long as the system understands what messages each prospect gets based on their last level of engagement and disengagement.
online marketing funnel

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Tom Shivers
Tom Shivers

I'm a ecommerce SEO consultant and President of Capture Commerce. I've managed digital marketing campaigns for scores of clients since 2000 and found that every business is unique with its own challenges and opportunities. When I see that I have contributed to the success of a business by helping them grow, it makes me feel awesome! That’s the coolest thing and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do this.