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The 3 Pillars of a Higher-Performing Conversion Funnel

Are you building your marketing platform with a lopsided conversion funnel?

Whether you’re looking to build a robust demand generation program, or seeking a minimum viable marketing campaign, there are a few essential elements to include in any strategy. Without these three pillars, your conversion funnel will inevitably fall down.

So, do yourself a favor, and make sure you’ve constructed at least one of each of these key pillars:

Pillar 1: Acquisition

In any relationship, there is a beginning, or initial introduction. This “acquisition” is the mouth of your funnel. Try some of these high-impact channels to solidify the first pillar in your marketing mix:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): This is a great place to start because it’s easy to set up and start driving traffic to your site. You can quickly try out different key phrases and ad networks to see which ones drive the best engagement and conversion. Don’t forget to test both long- and short-tail keyword variations as well as both branded and non-branded phrases.
  • SEO Services: Think of Search Engine Optimization as an investment in the future of your online marketing efforts. Once you know which keywords convert (see Pay-per-click above), begin a process of investing in these assets. Just like a financial investment, if you are consistent and diligent, you will and build a keyword portfolio that will pay dividends far into the future.
  • Content Marketing: When leveraged appropriately, content marketing can be incredibly impactful—especially in B2B scenarios. As long as the services and products you are marketing truly offer an advantage over competing products, educating your customer base will only help in closing more business and driving more sales. Outside of the bare-bones corporate blog, try engaging your target market with webinars, videos, and podcasts.

Pillar 2: Nurturing

Sometimes, people will bite the first time they visit your site and go directly from Acquisition to Sale. But a lot of times, they won’t. Don’t miss out on your golden opportunity to continue the relationship, educate, and nurture your prospective customers after you’ve acquired an email address or placed a cookie on their browser:

  • Retargeting: Don’t let someone get lost and wander outside of your funnel. Keep them on track and by bringing them back to valuable content or special offers. Whether you use display retargeting or search retargeting (or both!), find a retargeting package that’s right for you in order to plug any unintended holes in your funnel. Don’t neglect this useful tool!
  • Email: Develop a true relationship over time with premium content and special offers delivered directly to your target customers’ inboxes. With the relatively low cost to execute and potential for impacting personalization, it’s no wonder email marketing still delivers one of the highest ROIs in internet marketing.

Pillar 3: Conversion

Now it’s time for you to seal the deal. Learn to leverage Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to remove barriers from, and facilitate, the buying process. Use each stage of the optimization cycle to continually refine your conversion paths. To find the results you’re looking for, you really need to have all three:

  • Test: You’ll never know if you don’t try. If you’re not currently testing, take some advice I received from Stephen Pavlovich — a true CRO expert—and start with big tests. In other words, don’t start by testing the color of your navigation bar, go big and try two very different variations. Once you’ve mastered this art, and begin to see some of the patterns in your customer base, then you can continue to refine to your hearts content.
  • Measure: Implement a reliable and, just as importantly, readable analytics system. Simply having something in place is a step in the right direction, but don’t stop short of the end zone by using your analytics package with out-of-the-box settings. Take the time to define and track the metrics that measure true business impact.
  • Repeat: Iteration is the key to success in any optimization process. Just remember: Conversion Rate Optimization is not a one-and-done deal, it’s a cycle.

There are a million ways to market a product or service, but without these three pillars, you will never realize your optimal ROI. Make sure you construct a solid foundation and regularly invest resources to ensure you’re structurally sound. When you’re confident that you have a reliable marketing base, you can build other campaigns and tactics into the mix to realize incremental, and even exponential, gains.

What are you using for your pillars? How are you building your marketing platform?

Matt Hunckler is the Director of Marketing at Slingshot SEO, where he helps enterprise and emerging brands build digital relevance.

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