5 Mistakes in Your Inbound Funnel

For years, author and human biohacker Tim Ferriss (of “The 4-Hour Work Week” fame) has touted the benefits of creating a “Not-To-Do” list. He reasons that we sometimes fill our time with things that might feel important at the moment but don’t help us achieve our broader goals. As Ferriss succinctly puts it: “What you don’t do determines what you can do.”

The same idea can apply to your inbound marketing funnel. Like people, B2B marketing funnels are extremely complex, and each is slightly different. However, based on experience, there are common mistakes to avoid if you want your funnels to run as smoothly as possible. 

Not Knowing Your Numbers

For your funnel to work optimally, you need to understand all your metrics, from the most basic numbers like clicks and views to more complex concepts like pipeline velocity. Both types can be just as important, depending on the situation and the kind of funnel you’re running. To get the best understanding of your marketing, you should have a good mix of both.

Another thing to remember about your numbers is that it’s not enough just to know them: you have to be able to identify patterns and use those patterns to make changes to the funnel. It isn’t a primary school situation where you have to memorize facts just to regurgitate them for a test. You have to link metrics to changes to your campaigns, even if they seem small.

You have to link metrics to changes to your campaigns, even if they seem small. Click To Tweet

Treating All Prospects in Your Funnel the Same

In a regular conversation, any competent digital marketer should be able to explain to you how prospects in their funnel differ from one another when they are in different stages of the buying journey. It’s a fundamental concept behind all of the best marketing funnels globally, especially in the digital realm.

Unfortunately, building, testing, and optimizing a marketing funnel to maximize results is more complex than having a basic conversation. When you add these complexities to the mix, marketers (particularly inexperienced ones) can sometimes lose their grounding in the buyer’s journey and focus on the immediate channel.

Doing this is common when companies engage in content marketing. This discipline isn’t laser-focused on converting a visitor into a customer or prospect the way others might be. With content marketing – typically in the form of blogging, organic social media, podcasting, or lectures – the aim is more to educate the reader on how to solve a problem. This goal is especially true in B2B. Enterprise software used for healthcare and legal businesses, for example, typically have a relatively long sales cycle with lots of factors and smaller sub-decisions along the way. 

We see too many marketers approach their efforts to create elements of their marketing funnel in a way that doesn’t respect the differences between prospects at different stages. The difference can be subtle – it’s as nuanced as assuming that someone knows about a specific problem in their business or has already set a budget for how much they can spend on a specific solution. Refreshing your buyer persona may prove beneficial in fixing this issue.

Not Measuring the Right Funnel Elements

You’ll often hear traffic and other social media metrics, including likes and followers, derisively referred to as “vanity metrics” by some marketers. As the term implies, these metrics might look good on a PowerPoint slide during a monthly meeting, but they do little to help the business achieve any actual goals. While there is a debate over which metrics should be considered vanity and which are effective measures of profitable activity, it’s on you as a marketer to determine which is which.

Solving this challenge often comes down to carefully examining your core marketing goals. Are they tied to revenue, a certain percentage of product growth, or something else? Make sure there is a straight line between the marketing metrics you are tracking and how they impact these goals.

If you are tracking several vanity metrics, you don’t have to stop doing that completely. HubSpot provides an excellent list of vanity metrics and some alternative numbers to track. For example, instead of looking at blog post views, they suggest considering the post’s bounce rate (the number of users who leave your website without taking any action).

Trying to Do Everything on Your Own

Like many endeavors in our personal lives, from learning an instrument to getting in better shape, it’s much easier to make a marketing funnel successful when you have some outside perspective. There are many different ways to do this – your specific methods will depend on what your company sells and the kinds of clients you want. 

Here are a few common examples that tend to be successful in our experience:

  • User testing. Running experiments with people who are already customers or prospects of your company is a great way to evaluate your marketing funnel from the other side of the table, so to speak. The caveat here is you need to ensure you test the right users – typically the people closest to your ideal buyer persona – and a large enough sample size to ensure that your tests can give you sufficient data.
  • Hiring a consultant. This approach usually involves paying a firm or individual consultant to evaluate your marketing funnel. They will observe you and your marketing team for a certain period, ask you some questions about your operations, and provide a final report that usually includes actionable recommendations to make your campaigns more successful.
  • Outsourcing. Whereas a consultant simply observes and provides their evaluation and recommendations, outsourcing is when you bring on another firm to do the work involved in building and maintaining marketing funnels. The degree to which you can successfully outsource your marketing activities and the specific ones you decide to outsource may vary depending on the funnels you use. Hiring a creative specialist, for example, gives you an outside eye into your campaigns that might help you spice up a design or piece of content in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Conclusion

While it may not seem as glamorous of an approach as spending weeks crafting a perfect plan that you can triumphantly present to your boss or client, avoiding mistakes can sometimes be more prudent to find success with your marketing funnel. As we explained in the beginning, knowing what not to do can sometimes help clear the way for you to understand what you should be doing. In a marketing technology landscape more saturated than ever before with different tactics, platforms, and tools, simplification can be a huge ally in pursuing a successful funnel.

If you’re looking for some outside assistance with your inbound marketing, FunnelEnvy could be the right solution for you. Our team has many years of experience helping marketers with every step of their funnel creation, from devising a strategy to executing it and then reviewing the results to determine what worked and didn’t. Click here to complete a short quiz and learn more about our services.

By |2022-06-02T04:20:07-07:00June 13th, 2022|The Funnel|0 Comments

How to Structure a Successful Landing Page Within a Customer Journey

There’s a lot of discourse about landing pages in the modern B2B marketing world. Everyone has their preferred styles and templates for a landing page, a site designed specifically to push visitors towards a single action.

But a lot of advice today regarding landing pages ignores an essential element of success with landing pages: understanding the customer’s intent and the customer journey. Your landing page needs to be well-crafted, but it also needs to speak to the customer where they are in their journey. In an ideal scenario, your landing page can drive conversions while also providing tangible value to help visitors meet their goals and overcome their challenges.

In other words, two landing pages can be constructed in dramatically different ways and still achieve good results. This article will provide a few tips on how to factor in your customer’s journey as you work to build your landing page.

Consider Intent

Understanding what your customer wants from your page requires you consider what comes before and after. Generally, if they are later in the journey, they need less information; earlier in the journey will likely require more enticing details. Consider the differences between a new prospect who has recently learned about your brand and a previous customer familiar with your offerings. Each has different concerns and objectives, so they’ll likely need slightly different approaches to move them through the sales funnel.

You should construct your landing pages with this idea in mind. A landing page attempting to drive sign-ups to a newsletter will look different from a landing page made to complete a sale or encourage prospects to book an appointment with a sales rep.

Intent also means staying mindful of what your customers need from you. When a prospect shows interest, some marketers make the mistake of overwhelming them. They bombard them with information requests or hoops to jump through, hoping to maximize the amount of data they can gather. After all, the more data you collect, the better you can serve both the individual and future clients like them, right?

The problem with this philosophy is that it ignores the individual prospect’s needs. Asking for too much time or information without providing sufficient value in return is an invitation for prospects to drop out of your funnel before they convert.

Provide Proof in the Right Context

How can prospects be sure you’ll provide what you say you will? Even if you do, how do they know it’ll give their desired results? These two questions are top of mind for people who haven’t done business with you before. Your landing pages are important for answering these two questions, leading to a sale or conversion. 

Think about things you could include on your page to make new prospects more confident in you. A few common examples include:

  • Video reviews are powerful because people are inherently programmed to want to respond to seeing other people speaking. Watching a person talk about the benefits of a product or service has more impact than just reading it as text.
  • Testimonials can be text-based but, as mentioned above, are best in video format. A testimonial should also include measurable data about how your offering improved the customer’s business or results.
     
  • Statistics and/or research can be important in certain fields of B2B marketing. Still, there’s a caveat: make sure it comes from a reputable source, ideally a trustworthy external organization like a university or research firm. If you plan to present your own statistics, be ready to back them up – most prospects will be inherently suspicious of data published by a company about its own offerings.

You should always calibrate the user and where they are in your marketing funnel to the specific elements of proof included on your landing page.

Find Ways to Add Extra Value

Most people are used to the idea of a landing page as a place where they complete a form to receive something in exchange. It’s one of the new standards we’ve developed after years of browsing the web and shopping online.

But what if a user reading your landing page could get more than just an opportunity to convert with a form? Your landing page could also offer them something in return. Even small efforts go a long way; try offering possible solutions for their challenges.

This compilation from the Search Engine Journal offers some great examples of this idea in practice. Check out example 8 from Persistent Systems – notice how the page includes a call-to-action button for conversion in addition to statistics, benefits, and testimonials from previous clients.

Asana’s signup page offers another great example. It’s clear that creating your account is the main focus: the page is largely blank white space, with a simple one-form field and sign-up box centered in the middle. However, you notice off to the right a list of features included with a free trial of Asana, including unlimited storage, tasks, and projects. 

Landing page journey

(Asana)

Doing this provides a great example of giving users a bit of additional value on your landing page without interrupting their journey, reducing the chance they will convert. Balancing the elements on your landing page to provide enough information to be helpful without overwhelming visitors is down to trial and error. It will take some time and experimentation to find a happy medium, and you’ll want to keep an eye on the data to make necessary tweaks that keep the page performing at an acceptable level.

Conclusion: Treat Each Page Individually

As marketers, we sometimes fall into thinking we can construct every page in the same way, as long as we address the same audience and offer the same kinds of products and services. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for any page in your funnel, particularly landing pages.

Everyone understands the basic elements of a landing page – some form, a description of the offer, and a confirmation page, so users know they’ve completed the form successfully. Fewer marketers recognize that landing pages can be a great place to nurture prospects and customers further, as long as you do so properly.

You can get more benefits than you might have previously thought from your landing pages by staying mindful of what page visitors want. Help them increase trust in your brand and its offerings by providing additional details that can reduce their professional struggles. Don’t forget to rigorously test the changes you make so that your updates and landing page structure have the data to support them – rather than conjecture.

Looking for help optimizing your landing pages and placing them within the broader context of your marketing funnel? FunnelEnvy can help. Our team has years of experience helping all types of B2B startups and tech companies that want to tighten up their marketing funnels, improve conversions, and ultimately drive more revenue from their current investment in digital marketing.

Fill out this short quiz to learn more about our pricing and schedule a time to meet with someone from the team.

By |2022-05-18T04:20:00-07:00May 30th, 2022|The Funnel|0 Comments

Using Content in Your B2B Funnel

In 2022, the importance of content in B2B marketing is well-understood. According to HubSpot’s 2021 edition of their annual marketing report, over 80% of B2B marketers actively use content marketing in their strategy.

Understanding that content works isn’t typically the big challenge for B2B marketers. The challenging part is creating the right content and serving it to prospects at the right stage in their customer journey. Many well-meaning marketers have been unsuccessful with their content marketing efforts simply because they failed to calibrate their efforts towards the right audience properly.

In this article, we’ll talk more about the importance of aligning content with your customer journey and some general tips on getting started.

Understanding User Intent Throughout the Funnel

The best thing you can do to make content successful is to make it helpful. And before you can create useful content, you have to know what kind of help site visitors are trying to find. There’s a massive difference between what might help someone who is still trying to pinpoint their exact needs and what might help someone ready to buy and shopping around for the best price.

Typically, B2B marketing content can be divided into three categories: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.

Prospects at the top of the funnel may not even be aware they have an issue. They may or may not be actively shopping for a solution to some kind of challenge in their workplace. Sharing knowledge and education is key here – a hard sell will turn off prospects at the top of the funnel since they may not even be ready to start shopping for the kind of solution you offer.

In the middle of the funnel, people are aware of an issue and are researching potential remedies but may not have settled on one particular solution. They’ve learned a bit about their challenge but still need more information. However, they are ready to start absorbing information about a solution they might purchase – whether that’s a piece of software, a service, or another type of product that fits their needs. Content still shouldn’t be overly sales-y, but it can start to point users toward a product or service that can help. One example of helpful mid-funnel content is comparing different solutions to explain features and differences.

At the bottom of the funnel, prospects are well-educated and have a strong understanding of the problems they are facing. They might even have some experience making a similar kind of purchase in the past. In this stage, the most significant concerns are regarding price and logistics – how much will they be paying, and how will the payments work? How will the installation of the product or software work? If your content can ease these logistical concerns, it will be valuable to those reading it. This kind of content is typically highly targeted to fit buyers’ needs at this stage of the journey.

What Kind of Content Should You Create?

Another more sophisticated question marketers ask about their content marketing campaigns is the ideal content they should create. There are a few classic examples in today’s B2B content marketing era:

  • Blog posts you’d regularly publish on your company website. These typically cover a handful of topics that people at the company know best, often tied into the business offering.
  • Explainer videos you publish on YouTube or a company’s website or blog. These are great for helping to break down advanced concepts into more digestible pieces.
  • Infographics combine text and graphic education in a slick visual package. They’re great for social media and are easily shareable. These factors make them great for when buyers need to send information to others within their company or share to their own feeds.

These are just a few common kinds of content. Others include podcasts, interviews, emails, and white papers. What kind is ideal for your business? There’s no right or wrong answer. The best way to find out is to create a few different types and run experiments to see which ones resonate the best with your audience. Speaking of experiments…

Support Iteration of Content Plans with Data

It’s easy to plan your content in a vacuum and make assumptions about what will work best. This is especially true of seasoned veterans of a specific industry who have spent years or even decades addressing customers’ needs. However, this strategy is often a recipe for content that doesn’t resonate with your target audience.

It may take longer, but changing one variable per experiment is the only way to truly zero in on your best type of content. Click To Tweet

A much better way to approach planning, creating, and distributing your marketing content is through testing and experimentation. If you’re starting from scratch, create three or four types of content covering different topics and see which one performs best.

Remember, the key here is to change one variable at a time to understand which factors drive results. It may take longer, but changing one variable per experiment is the only way to truly zero in on your best type of content.

Always Optimize for Value

At the end of the day, B2B marketing comes down to the amount of value you can provide for the people consuming your content and may be interested in your offer. This isn’t always the same as B2C marketing, where you can use techniques that play to people’s emotions and human desires. B2B content marketing needs to have a sharp focus on helping people achieve their professional goals.

But to do that, you must first understand those goals. In other words: if you want to master content, you first need to become a master of your target audience’s desires. Meeting these desires is the overarching goal of everything you do: every piece of content, social media post created, and email sent out to your list should be with the intent of adding value and helping your audience overcome challenges.

It’s not enough to simply produce content and push it out, hoping it will work with the desired effects. You must take the time to study the results, think about what they mean, and then work on adjusting your content plan based on your interpretation of that data. Increasing your pace of production might help, but it might also lead to a lot of spinning wheels and wasted effort by your content team.

Instead of blindly reaching around to hit what works for your audience, take a more calculated B2B content marketing approach. Match your content to user intent based on where they are in the funnel, take time to understand what they want from content and pay close attention to your analytics. Use that data to determine which kinds of content you should expand on and which kinds you may want to scrap.

If you need help with conversion rate optimization (CRO) or any other part of your B2B funnel, fill out this quick form to see how we can best help you optimize your marketing.

By |2022-02-23T09:56:43-08:00March 7th, 2022|The Funnel|0 Comments

Optimizing Campaigns & Websites by Integrating Offline Conversions into Google Analytics

Integrating offline conversions into Google Analytics can help you optimize your campaigns and website experiences. This is something that we commonly do for our customers when we’re optimizing their inbound funnels. In this post I’m going to go into some of the details about how it actually works.

So, what do I mean by offline conversions? If you’re doing demand or lead generation you’re capturing those leads onsite, typically through a form or  a chatbot. As you know that’s only a small part of the much larger funnel, most of which happens offline. Your Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Qualified Leads, opportunity stages, closed won revenue. Those are all captured offline – and can think of them as offline goal conversions.

In addition to being offline, you also have the distinction, if you’re in B2B, of having individual offline conversions, like qualified leads versus account or company level conversions, like opportunities or revenue.

demand generation funnel

This can also exist in the e-commerce world, especially if you’re in B2B. You might be selling products on your site but also have volume based quote functionality where larger buyers are initiating quotes online and the quote generation and order capture is actually taking place offline.

The biggest optimization mistake that we have seen over the years is using the wrong success metric. And if you’re only measuring online goals, clicks and leads, that can lead to inefficient spend in your paid media campaigns and wasted activity and low quality leads from your website experimentation and optimization.

A solution on the paid media side is ultimately being able to adjust your bids based on those offline conversions. And for your website, assessing the results of experiments and making decisions based on those down funnel conversions.

channel optimization

Google Analytics is often the source of this analysis and decision making. By default Google Analytics is only tracking individual onsite activity. How traffic gets to the site, the bounce rates, page views, etc. Even the goal conversions typically stop at the form completion (on-site).

Google Analytics is great at digesting paid media campaign information website activity, and linking to ad platforms like Google Ads. But the majority of your offline conversion information is happening in different systems. Marketing automation platforms, CRM, or maybe a quote and order management solution.

To solve this we need to integrate those directly into Google Analytics. By doing so we can actually see those offline conversions, like marketing, qualified leads, opportunities, revenue as goals directly in Google Analytics and even evaluate the performance of campaigns, channels, landing pages, everything else in Google Analytics by down funnel goals like closed won revenue.

Backend integration to GA

offline goals in GA 2022-02-07

So here are the main requirements to accomplish this integration:

  1. Understand the important identifiers that Google Analytics uses and store them in your backend platforms.
  2. Capture those offline conversions from those backend systems.
  3. Translating them into the identities and events that Google Analytics expects.
  4. Send  hits to Google Analytics via the offline API known as the Measurement Protocol.

full GA integration

Let’s start by understanding the identifiers that Google Analytics uses.

Here, I’m going focus on Universal Analytics. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) is still being rolled out as at the time of this post. A lot of the concepts in GA4 are very different. So we’re still very focused on Universal Analytics.

First off, Universal Analytics has a Tracking ID. This identifies the account and property that you’re going to be sending hits to. If you log into the Google Analytics interface, you’ll be able to see that Tracking ID. You can also retrieve it using JavaScript from the browser.

The second identifier that we care about is the Client ID. This identifies a device or browser. It’s automatically set by the Google Analytics script, persisted in a cookie on the browser and has a predefined structure.

GA tracking id client id

The final identifier is the User ID. This is less commonly used in these use cases. But it is important to understand because this lets you identify an individual user on the site. Unlike the prior two IDs, this is actually set by a site owner, typically post authentication, where the user might be logging in with multiple devices, to identify an individual user and as such it has no predefined structure.

Importantly, when you send offline hits to Google Analytics, you need to include the Tracking ID and either the Client ID or the User ID. So the approach that we’re going to take is to store these identifiers alongside the lead in your backend solution.

And really, there are two options here. If you only care about individual goals and you only care about the Google Analytics tracking, you can store that Google Analytics Tracking ID and Client ID directly in your backend platform.

The second option, which we use at FunnelEnvy and gives us a little bit more flexibility across different implementations and other identifiers that we have to track is to actually capture those GA identifiers, the Tracking ID and Client ID in the browser, and associate them with another Visitor ID that we set as a cookie. Then we store that single ID, that Visitor ID in the backend platform and translate it when we’re setting those hits to GA.

To actually send them to the backend platform, you can populate the IDs that you’re going to use as hidden input fields on the form. When the lead submits that form, the GA identifiers will be saved in your backend platform.

This is relatively straight forward to do in platforms like Salesforce, Marketo or HubSpot, in which you can create custom fields or properties in that backend platform. And then populate with hidden fields in the forms using JavaScript. We commonly do this using Google Tag Manager.

storing GA identifiers in backend

The second step then is capturing the offline conversions that are happening in those backend platforms. The first thing you have to do is identify the offline goals that you care about. If you’re doing demand generation, it’s typically marketing, qualified leads or sales qualified leads at an individual level.

New opportunities closed won revenue, are very common, and if you’re generating offline orders, the generation of the quote or the order itself.

The most common way that we actually capture these offline conversions is triggering a webhook from the source platform for each offline conversion. A webhook is simply an HTTP request that’s made to our system.

Again, these webhooks will have to include the Google Analytics IDs that you’re storing on the backend, or the visitor ID, if you’re taking that approach. And importantly, where you do have an amount, like an opportunity value, a closed won value, an order value, you want to include that because you’ll be able to send that as well to Google Analytics in either the event or order that you’ll be submitting.

Now you can configure webhooks very simply in a variety of these solutions. HubSpot has workflows with webhooks, Marketo natively supports webhooks. In Salesforce, you can code webhooks in Apex or use an application like the Hooked app to visually create workflows and webhooks. Now for some reason you can’t create a webhook as an alternative you can poll through the API or directly from a database.

webhook options hubspot, marketo, salesforce

Once you’ve captured the offline conversions, you’re going toto translate those into the format and the identities that Google Analytics understands. If you’re storing the Google Analytics Tracking ID and Client ID directly in the backend, and you only care about those individual goal conversions, that you don’t really need to do any identity translation. The identity is encapsulated within that Tracking ID and Client ID.

If, however, you are storing the visitor ID then you’ll translate that into the relevant Google Analytics IDs. And if you are tracking account level goals, like opportunities, deals, or revenue at an account level, then you’re going to need to translate your account to all of the contacts that you have available. To do this you’re probably going to need to pull some kind of account to contact mapping from your CRM.

The following diagram illustrates this. For an individual goal, like MQL, you can web hook that directly from the CRM into Google Analytics. Just get the Tracking ID and Client ID and send that on a one-to-one basis to Google Analytics. But if you are sending an account level goal, there’s another step involved of pulling the account to contact or individual mapping, then translating account identifiers into contact IDs, and then into Google Analytics Tracking IDs so that you can send those offline hits to Google Analytics.

individual vs account goals

What you’re really going to want to do is identify all of those offline conversions and then map those to the types of hits that you’ll be sending to Google Analytics through the Measurement Protocol. You’ll want to identify the type, whether that’s account or individual.

Typically for demand generation type of scenarios we use events as the hit type whereas for e-commerce we use orders. As part of this mapping you can identify the relevant fields in those hits and make sure you’re accounting for all of them, including the value, which can be either an actual value coming from the offline conversion or predicted value if you can do that.

map offline conversions

The final step is actually sending those hits to Google Analytics. So for this again, we’re going to use the Google Analytics Measurement Protocol. This is an offline API to be able to send hits directly to the GA servers over HTTP. Now Google Analytics includes a pretty helpful tool that allows you to build and test those offline Measurement Protocol hits.

measurement protocol hit builder examples

So here you can see an example of an event and the event structure that’s sent to Google Analytics. As well as an enhanced e-commerce purchase example that you might use for an offline e-commerce order.

If you are sending event hits, then you’ll want to create a goal of type event so that the goal is triggered on the offline event hit that you’re sending to GA. And if you are sending an event value along with that measurement protocol hit, you’ll want to set the goal value as the event value.

GA goal setup

Unfortunately the measurement protocol has been abused over the years by bots. In the view settings Google Analytics has the ability to block bots. We’ve seen that if you leave the IP address blank, and don’t set an IP address on that Measurement Protocol hit you’re more likely to get that traffic blocked as bot traffic. So we typically recommend setting the IP address of the hit to the same visitor IP that initiated the prior session (that submitted the form), and send that along with your Measurement Protocol hit.

The other thing that you can do that’s really helpful is set a custom dimension along with those measurement protocol hits. One example is to send the buyer stage. So if the visitor is an MQL, if they have an active opportunity, send that as along as a dimension to Google Analytics so you can further segment that traffic and understand what they’re doing on site.

And then finally you can backdate hits, but only up to four hours reliably using the queue time parameter. What that practically means is you can’t expect to send hits days or weeks in the past, you need to be pretty on top of it and this process needs to be running relatively frequently because you can really only backdate those hits by four hours.

I want to spend a little bit of time talking about attribution. By default, the measurement protocol hits that are going to be sent are, will attributed to the direct channel in a new session. The default reporting in Google Analytics uses the last click non-direct attribution model for reporting.

Practically, what that means is that when that conversion comes over offline from the Measurement Protocol, it’s going to be in a new session. But the conversion will actually be attributed to the prior non-direct channel.

So to visualize this that let’s say we have a visitor coming along, hitting the site, viewing a few pages and then submitting a form, and that visitor came in from a paid search ad. When we send over the offline conversion, that’s going to generate a new session which by default it will be attributed to the direct channel. So the conversion is actually going to be attributed to the prior session’s (paid search).

offline conversion attribution in GA

I want to wrap this up with some final thoughts. To be able to track these offline conversions and associate them to marketing campaigns, as well as website experience, you don’t need an entirely new tech stack. You can use Google Analytics in the same way that you have. You just have to integrate the data into it.

As I mentioned the number one mistake that we see when doing optimization of any kind is picking the wrong success metric. And without measuring these meaningful outcomes, optimization experimentation, things like segmentation and personalization are really just vanity exercises.

With these offline conversions, however, you can optimize your bidding through your ad platform, for example, by linking Google Analytics and Google Ads and triggering goal conversions that occur from offline events. And you can optimize your experiences, most importantly, your offers and your form experiences that are most likely to have an impact on those down funnel KPIs.

Finally, if you do have a long sales cycle and a relatively low volume of revenue conversions, you can take this a step further. You can actually take a more frequent, upstream conversion and use a predictive model to predict revenue and optimize faster. As we see from the table below, more frequent conversions (a higher number of conversions in a certain time period), in Google Ads will actually allow the algorithm to optimize faster. So sending along a predicted revenue value with your MQLs can allow that algorithm to optimize traffic much faster, while those down-funnel actual closed won revenue conversions are coming in.

google ads impact of conversion volume

By |2022-02-07T15:05:30-08:00February 7th, 2022|Analytics, The Funnel, B2B|0 Comments

Optimizing the Account Based Revenue Funnel

Transcript

Let’s assume that you’re targeting B2B companies and you built out your account list. And if you have a heavy ABM strategy, those accounts probably represent the vast majority of your potential revenue. So how do you go about converting that opportunity into conversations and qualified pipeline? Generally it all boils down to some combination of inbound and outbound funnels; but what if you’re not getting them to convert?

Just because you’re doing ABM doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll magically alleviate the common B2B funnel problems, such as low conversion rates, qualified pipeline, high customer acquisition costs and low quality leads.

When you’re facing this, it’s very easy to be critical of the factors that are under your control, like messaging, campaigns or list building. But it’s also very often the case that there are factors outside of your control. Most notably buyer behavior. It’s relatively well known that the buyer journey in B2B is long, especially for net new customers. And it’s only getting longer.

long buyer journey

There are a lot of frameworks that try to describe buyer behavior, and they all look something like this.

buying stages

This is what we and the experts out there think buyers are doing when they’re going through a purchase decision.

I think that’s a somewhat limited view. Let’s zoom out a little bit to understand our buyers over a longer period of time, not just when they happen to be looking for products or services. The reality is that outside of this relatively short buying window, they’re not thinking about you at all. In fact, they’re likely doing other stuff like executing projects, managing their teams, or, after they’ve actually made a purchase decision, implementing the solutions that they selected with no immediate need to find another one.

If you think about this in terms of actual purchase intent of the buyer, it’s usually quite low for anything that has a significant price tag associated with it.

buying window

Usually we only see it shift dramatically within that buying window. This doesn’t mean that you completely ignore accounts that are outside of the buying window, but it does suggest that you’re more likely to see buying motions within it when they have higher purchase intent.

Of course, an important point here is that unlike account selection, campaigns offers purchase intent is largely outside of your control. It starts when buyers become aware of a problem or solution and it progresses from there. So your goal is to engage them in a conversation as early in that process as possible.

What’s the value of the purchase intent within the buying window? Let’s do some funnel math to solve for it. The expected value of an account at any point in time can be modeled as the revenue expected from that account, either on an LTV or annual contract value basis multiplied by the probability of conversion at that point in time.

From our experience the probability of conversion to opportunity is largely determined by the customer’s purchase intent and the offer that you put in front of them. What if you could allocate more budget and therefore create higher impact offers to those high in 10 accounts that are within the buying window?

expected value and targeting

There are several ways to model this, but here’s one approach. In it we assume some percentage of the total accounts that you’re targeting are in the buying window at any point in time, that you have a fixed budget for acquisition and you’ve established an average cost to generate an opportunity from your accounts.

high intent targeting model

If you’re distributing that budget evenly across all of your target accounts, irrespective of their intent (known as the spray and pray model), then you have less total budget available for those high in 10 accounts. If however, you’re able to focus and optimize, so that 80% of your budget is focused on the high intent accounts and 20% on the rest, then you’re able to actually generate eight times more opportunities from accounts that are in that buying window because of the higher spend.

Of course this assumes that there’s a correlation between the budget you can spend per account and the conversion rate, which in this case is a sales conversation. Now, typically that involves higher touch and more expensive plays like high touch outreach, personalization, increased PPC bids or direct mail.

conversion rate optimized

But if you are confident that you can generate more conversions at high intent accounts by focusing your budget and spend, the next step is being able to identify when an account starts showing intent. To understand this, we can think about all the various activities buyers go through when they go through your purchase stages. That could be everything from internal activities, like recruiting and fundraising and coming to your website, engaging with your content ads and outbound campaigns and actually filling out forms and piloting solutions.

buying signals

All of these are signals that can be captured and tracked by different sources from third parties to analytics and marketing automation platforms. And although intent data is often discussed as something you buy exclusively from a third party, recognize that most of these are first party data sources often siloed away. General intent is useful, but it’s actually more important to establish an intent for your specific product or service.

signal sources

Our recommendation is before you run out and buy expensive third party intent data, make sure you’re fully taking advantage of your first party data sources that can help you try and triangulate buyer intent. The final point here is even if we’re running ABM campaigns, the traditional conversion points, when a customer fills out a form on your website or schedules meeting from an outbound campaign, can be way too late in the journey. Any sales rep is going to tell you that the earlier they can engage that account, who’s entering the buying window, the better they can control the conversation. And if you don’t do that, your competitors sure will.

So if we’re not waiting for prospects to fill out forms, how do we identify them? Well, your website is probably your most important source of intelligence and you own it. Knowing who’s coming to it, how they got there and what content they’re consuming can tell you a lot about their purchase intent. So one way you can identify so-called anonymous visitors before they fill out a form is through what we call reverse IP.

Let’s walk through how it works. Every website visitor coming to your site requests pages from the site, and with that sends their IP address. That’s the key. Now various services, including AccountMatch by FunnelEnvy can turn that IP address into an account record. And that account record contains various firmographic attributes like the company website, industry number of employees, revenue ranges, and potentially even the technologies that they’re using.

reverse ip with account match

AccountMatch isn’t the only solution out there. There are plenty of other services that also provide the same capability. The important point is that record can be pushed back to your webpage and also to various analytics tools, your CRMs, Zapier or anyone else that needs to go. So again, account match determines firmographic or account level attributes based on that visitor’s IP address. Here’s a couple of things you should know about them. First off, as I mentioned, they work for anonymous visitors, and don’t rely on someone filling out a form on your site.

They will not match a hundred percent of traffic. Match rates typically vary around 10 to 30%. It can vary significantly based on the nature of the traffic coming to your site. The good news is that for larger organizations with known IP blocks, you tend to see much higher, effective match rates. That’s good because most of the time in our high value target accounts, tend to be comprised of larger organizations. Finally, some of the providers tend to be better at real time responses and it allows for not just intelligence, but also targeting and personalization on your website.

So one of our goals then is to be able to quantify the intent of any account by generating an intent score for each of those accounts. This obviously starts with our target account list or our TAL, which includes within it, the expected revenue for each account. To score these, what we need to be able to do is factor in the various different buying signals we reviewed on the earlier slide. We can model all of these as events, each of which has a source, a type and a score value associated with it.

event types

As you can see a source like the website can have different event types, with different scores associated with them. For example, filling out a blog page generally indicates less intent than viewing a pricing page or filling out a form. Similarly, you can model out all the various different types of events from multiple sources that are relevant to your buying journey. As far as the scores themselves, you can start by taking educated guess at them, using your analytics and attribution models as well as your intuition to guide you. If you do have submission volume, you can also take predictive machine learning, one to one approaches to generate scores as well. Once you are capturing events from your sources and you can tie them back to accounts, you sum those over a period of time to get an overall view and then normalize those across accounts to get a relative account score from zero to one.

To actually integrate those events and set things up correctly, you’ll need a database of some kind in the middle. This can be a traditional relational database, a customer data platform, or even your CRM if it’s flexible enough to accommodate this. You’re going to start by feeding it your TAM spreadsheet, which includes your accounts and expected revenue or a fit score. And then we’ll start integrating your website data. For this, we usually sync that reverse IP data as account data into Google analytics, and then send the relevant events over to the database. And then depending on your event sources, you can integrate all of them from outbound to your ads, third party data and your marketing automation platform into the same database. Finally, from that, you’d be able to run the queries, generate an account, prioritize report, showing both fit expected revenue as well as intent.

data architecture

What do we actually get from this report? So we take our expected revenue from our target account list and multiply that by the intent score from the events that we came up with, to arrive at a present day expected value. That is the value in today based on all of the events and the intent that that account is shown. If you establish a customer acquisition cost ratio target, maybe a third of the ACV, or if you can come up with one, then you can establish a present day budget that you can expand for each account for acquisition.

expected value and budget

So this is what that report could look like. Now, instead of a list of accounts that you spray and pray against you have. So what do we get from this report? Well, if we take our expected revenue from our account list and multiply that by the intent score, that score from zero to one, we can arrive at a present day, expected value per account.

accounts prioritized by value and budget

That’s the value of each account in the present day based on the behaviors and the intent that they’re showing. If you established a customer acquisition cost ratio target (or if you can come up with one) then you can establish a present day budget that you can spend for acquisition per account. So this is what that report could look like. So now instead of a list of accounts that you spray and pray against, you actually have a prioritized list that has both expected value and the budget that you can use to focus your SDRs and other high cost plays at your most valuable accounts, which means the one that have both high value and are demonstrating higher intent to purchase. So sort descending by budget or expected value and prioritize accordingly.

So with that only give us some takeaways. Account based revenue funnel optimization is largely an exercise in intent based prioritization. You want to adjust your goals for low intent, inbound and outbound impression. So if an account is not showing intent, you may not want to sell them right away. Instead, you may want to build brand awareness, positioning and use it as a vehicle to evaluate intent through content. For this to work, you obviously have to be able to develop higher touch plays, both outbound and inbound to take advantage of that increased budget. But don’t silo your channels, recognize that outbound, inbound impressions whether ads, your website or outbound on emails are all an impression that can be counted towards the overall intent score. And finally, you might come up with one score, but certainly you’re going to need to be able to test, measure and iterate on the model over time.

By |2021-09-29T22:47:42-07:00September 29th, 2021|Digital Marketing, The Funnel, B2B|0 Comments

Customer Journey Analytics Optimizes Demand Generation Marketing

To do it successfully, you need visibility into every step of your customers’ journeys and the means to track and analyze their data to understand what motivates them now and in the future. But how do you do that? Fortunately, customer journey analytics provides valuable insights into your visitors’ behavioral patterns and preferences throughout their entire customer journey. These insights allow you to create enhanced customer experiences that motivate visitors to reach the endpoint in your sales funnel.

What exactly is customer journey analytics, and how can you use it to optimize your lead generation marketing strategies? Let’s find out.

What Is Customer Journey Analytics?

As the name suggests, customer journey analytics is an application that explicitly analyzes customer journeys. This application involves tracking and analyzing the way your customers use various channels to interact with your brand. It analyzes all channels — used currently and in the future — that your customers touch directly.

These channels could include:

  • Channels with human interaction, such as call centers
  • Two-way interaction channels, such as display advertising
  • Channels that are fully automated, such as mobile devices or websites
  • Third-party operated channels, such as independent retail stores
  • Channels that offer live customer assistance, such as joint site navigation or live chat

Why Do I Need Customer Journey Analytics?

Even as customers’ journeys have grown increasingly complex, today’s customers expect their business interactions with your brand — across multiple channels — to be on par with CX leaders such as Amazon and Google. If your customers’ journeys aren’t seamless every step of the way, they will become dissatisfied and quickly move on to a competitor. Conversely, studies show that positive customer experiences drive revenue growth.

Studies also show that investment in customer feedback management isn’t enough to improve your CX levels. This failure is attributed to the fact that feedback is generally only requested at points along the journey. Unfortunately, this means that only some of the customer journey is captured, misrepresenting your customers’ overall experiences.

This incomplete data reduces your ability to gain a complete picture and accurate insights into your marketing strategy performance. It also leaves you at a disadvantage for enhancing customers’ experiences and tying customer experiences to tangible business outcomes.

Customer journey analytics is the bridge between your customers’ behaviors and your business outcomes. A customer journey analytics program enables your business to track, measure and improve customer experiences across several touchpoints and time periods, encompassing the entire customer journey.

Leveraging customer journey analytics enables demand generation marketing leaders to answer complex questions, such as:

  1. What causes our customers’ behaviors?
  2. What past interactions or journeys have our customers undertaken that led them here?
  3. What paths do our customers take on their journeys?
  4. What are the most likely outcomes for each customer or journey?
  5. How will these journeys and outcomes impact our business outcomes?
  6. What are our customers’ goals?
  7. How do their goals align with our business goals?
  8. How do we add value for each customer and enhance their customer experience?

What Are the Benefits of Customer Journey Analytics?

Customer journey analytics is a vital ingredient in an effective customer journey management program. It is the piece that analyzes comprehensive data and generates actionable insights. The insights gained from this type of customer management program are valuable for both customers and businesses alike. Here’s how.

Optimized Customer Experiences

The insights gained through effective analyses of your customers’ journeys enable you to optimize each step along the way for a seamless overall experience.

Ongoing Measurable Performance Results

In addition, ongoing analytics allow you to continuously measure demand generation marketing initiatives’ performance across multiple channels and define the appropriate KPIs to measure each journey.

Data Analyses From Numerous Channels and Timeframes

When you look at customers’ journeys across several channels and timeframes, authentic pain points become evident. Identifying these pain points enables you to take action and positively impact your customers’ journeys.

How Can I Optimize Customer Journey Analytics?

Customer journey analytics is typically optimized by leaders in customer service, analytics, marketing and CX. These leaders adopt customer journey analytics platforms to improve their demand generation marketing strategies and performance measurement capabilities.

These teams optimize customer journey analytics to:

  • Amass customer journey data
  • Resolve multi-channel customer identities
  • Analyze innumerable interactions throughout countless cross-channel journeys
  • Identify CX pain points and their root causes
  • Verify potential customer journey enhancements
  • Quantify CX investments’ ROI

Customer Journey Mapping vs. Customer Journey Analytics

As a demand generation marketer, you may already implement customer journey mapping and feel that it provides the same insights as customer journey analytics. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While journey mapping focuses on qualitative insights, customer journey analytics is more quantitative and incorporates a much larger scope.

Static Snapshots vs. Continuous Detail

Journey mapping provides only static snapshots of some of your customers’ journeys and lacks the required detail to represent the multitude of your customers and their unique behaviors.

Static vs. Time-Based Data

Customer journey analytics is driven by time-based data, allowing you to see how customers’ journeys change over time. The ability to continuously measure complex multi-channel customer journeys and touchpoints along journeys help marketers predict customer journey successes.

Trial and Error vs. Real-Time Testing

Without visibility to up-to-date data on each interaction along the customer journey, businesses are left to experiment with new enhancements on the entire customer journey. Not only does this potentially waste time and resources, it means marketers will be waiting for aggregated results that don’t pinpoint where the issues are.

Customer journey analytics provides marketers with the visibility to see how customers respond to improvements along several touchpoints and time periods. In addition, this application enables marketers to test and track the success of customer experience interaction improvements in real-time.

Powered by machine learning and AI, customer journey analytics enables marketers to identify pain points along the entire customer journey that negatively impact CX. These insights allow data-driven businesses to prioritize opportunities for customer journey optimization and drive revenue growth.

Revenue attribution: Everything You Need to Know to Ramp Up Your Marketing ROI

Revenue is a top priority for any business, no matter how big, no matter how small. It’s fundamental: without money coming in, you’ll have nothing to cover overheads or invest back into the company. 

We all know that a hard-working sales team is key for bringing in new business and increasing revenue. But revenue is increasingly a priority for marketing teams too. 

Many marketers turn to ROI (return on investment) to determine the profitability of a promotional campaign. In fact, more than 40% of marketers claim their main priority in 2021 is to “better measure the ROI of [their] demand generation initiatives”. 

It makes sense: effective marketing should achieve a healthy return on investment (ROI) and generate new revenue. A portion of this can then be invested back into marketing campaigns to keep bringing in more money, and so on. It’s a cycle of profitability that can help businesses grow and grow. 

And revenue attribution can help you create more effective, successful marketing campaigns. But what does it mean and involve? 

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about revenue attribution and how it relates to improving marketing ROI. 

What is revenue attribution? 

Revenue attribution (also known as marketing attribution) is a reporting process that involves matching revenue brought in, to a specific marketing output. 

For example, you might utilize revenue attribution techniques to monitor the impact that a particular piece of thought leadership content made on sales within two months of its publication. Or you may prefer to track the effect that a new series of videos made on revenue over a shorter or longer period. 

Businesses have more channels — and more opportunities — to reach consumers than ever with targeted marketing campaigns. But it’s unbelievably competitive and marketing teams must take advantage of real creativity to make an impact, especially in the most crowded sectors or niches. 

Employing revenue attribution techniques empowers marketers to hone in on their most effective work and understand how they can keep refining their techniques over time. 

Why is revenue attribution important and how can it help?

Revenue attribution is crucial for marketing teams who want to gain a clear insight into their strategies’ value and learn how they affect customer engagement. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of data available online to help marketers build an accurate overview of campaign performance and ROI. 

Identifying how specific campaigns and strategies have been received by audiences (target and/or general) enables you to make more informed, calculated decisions on future campaigns. 

You’ll have a tighter grasp on what works, what doesn’t, and what elements should be combined to cultivate the most impactful marketing campaigns. You’ll be able to capture more leads, close more sales, and improve ROI thanks to continued analysis. 

Another key benefit is that revenue attribution helps businesses (particularly those in their infancy or experiencing financial challenges) get more out of their marketing spends while still streamlining their budget. 

Essentially, it can make your money go further. You’re not throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks — you’re basing your decisions on provable facts. 

You can jettison those marketing techniques and campaigns that fail to bring in satisfactory ROI. All resources usually dedicated to those will be put to better use on more effective options instead. 

How can you use a revenue attribution model to measure and ramp up your marketing ROI?

We understand what revenue attribution is and why it matters. But how do you put a revenue attribution model to work and start improving your marketing ROI?

While it can appear complicated for newcomers, and more than a little daunting, it will seem far simpler when we take a deeper look. In this section, we’ll cover how to use this model to both track and measure ROI — and improve it. 

What types of revenue and marketing attribution models are available?

First-touch attribution 

The first-touch (or first-click) attribution is one of two single-source models (along with last-touch attribution, below). 

In this model, the first channel with which a converted user engages receives all credit for generating revenue. This could be an in-depth whitepaper, a blog post, a video, or any other piece of marketing content that captures the lead’s interest enough to drive a conversion. 

For example, around half of marketers describe webinars as the top-of-the-funnel format generating the most high-quality leads. 

While a spectacular piece of content can be enough to push users towards a sale, the first-touch model may have a blindspot — a failure to take other interactions following this first one into consideration.

As a result, you may not have an accurate insight into how effective other channels are in swaying users’ decisions. 

Last-touch attribution 

Last-touch (or last-click) attribution is regarded as another easy model. Why? Because it involves looking at the final touchpoint before the sale is completed, which is usually simple to find.

The last touch could be something as straightforward as a well-researched sales call or a webinar that whets the lead’s appetite and inspires them to commit to a purchase. 

However, the last-touch attribution model may overlook previous interactions with a user. These could include a visit to your website or hearing an ad for your business on a podcast. And, again, this could cause you to overlook the value of other channels 

Multi-source attribution

As you can probably assume, the multi-source (or multi-touch) attribution model focuses on all channels that lead to a conversion. Multiple touchpoints will be attributed instead of just one. 

Still, while the multi-source attribution model is more of a holistic approach to measuring marketing success, there’s a crucial factor to consider: it doesn’t provide an accurate reflection of a specific touchpoint’s actual contribution to a conversion. It could lead to a false representation of certain channels’ role in the customer journey. 

Six multi-source attribution models are available:

  • Linear: This is the easier model to implement, providing all touchpoints with the same weight, though it can be hard to determine which were most important (as mentioned above). 
  • Time decay: Touchpoints will be separated by bigger and bigger gaps in long sales cycles. With the time decay model, you’ll apply greater credit to those in the later stages than those in the earlier period. They might not have been as valuable to the eventual outcome, and in particularly long sales cycles, the buyer might have totally forgotten about their initial interactions with your business anyway. 
  • U-shaped: A U-shaped revenue attribution model applies the credit to two main touchpoints, with fixed percentages. These are the initial touchpoint and the last, as well as any between those points. The first and last touchpoint receive 40% of the credit each. The 20% remaining is split between those touchpoints taking place in between. 
  • W-shaped: A W-shaped model is similar to the one above, but it adds an extra touchpoint: when a prospect is converted into a lead. So, this covers the first touchpoint, the last touchpoint, and the occurrence falling somewhere between them. These receive 30% of the credit each, while the remaining 10% is shared among other touchpoints that may be detected between them. 
  • Full path: The majority of the credit is assigned to the key steps in the customer journey and the rest goes to those touchpoints between. Unlike the other models explored so far, this includes follow-up chats between the customer and the sales team. 
  • Custom: Teams can come up with their own weighting shares according to the channels used, customer behaviors, etc. For example, you may decide that a user who subscribed to your newsletter should have more weight than someone who clicked on an ad. 

Weighted multi-source attribution 

Weighted multi-source attribution involves accounting for every interaction during the sales cycle and assigning weight to the most important touchpoints. This model can lead to the most reliable views of a customer’s journey. 

However, it’s one of the most challenging to put into effect, as weight must be applied to a potentially large number of touchpoints. 

Why is it so important for marketing and sales teams to work in partnership?

Traditionally, businesses tend to keep sales and marketing activities separate. They consider marketing teams’ role to create leads and sales teams’ to transform them into paying customers. That’s simple enough to understand — but it could be a big mistake. 

Why? 

Because overhauling and refining your marketing to achieve an increase in leads won’t guarantee a rise in high-quality leads. 

Yes, marketing teams can drive clicks and interest, but a large proportion of leads could be of a lower quality than expected. 

The aim should be to bring in leads more likely to evolve into conversions, based on carefully targeted marketing with specific demographics in mind. 

By uniting your marketing and sales teams, you can start to develop a clearer understanding of which marketing efforts bring in the most valuable leads and, ultimately, conversions. Those that consistently generate the weakest leads and harm ROI should be replaced. 

What are the key benefits of using these revenue and marketing attribution models?

Here are five key benefits of using revenue and marketing attribution models:

  • Improved ROI
    Effective revenue attribution provides businesses with an accurate insight into how much return they gain on their marketing investments. Over time, you can start to cultivate a better awareness of those techniques and strategies that engage your target audience best.

    And you’ll keep reaching the right people with the most appealing messaging. This will increase the number of conversions you can expect to achieve and, eventually, the ROI you earn.

  • Save money on ineffective marketing
    Attribution models reveal the most important touchpoints throughout sales cycles and show how marketing money is best invested. Fewer funds will be wasted on dead-end marketing.

    That may free up money to channel into better marketing or other areas of your business, including sales or post-purchase support.

  • Hone your audience targeting
    Audience targeting is one of the top methods through which advertisers increase demand. And studying attribution data reveals which types of content, messaging, and channels engage your ideal customers best.

    Marketing teams can keep sharpening their material to consistently engage your target demographic(s) and minimize the risk of missteps.

  • Learn how to make products or services better
    Marketers can get a better understanding of target customers through attribution data analysis.

    Over time, this can open your eyes to ways in which you can improve products or services to suit your audience better. For example, the response to a blog post covering specific software features could inspire future releases.

The power of Revenue Funnel Optimization 

Hopefully, you’re now in a place where you can see the key benefits of revenue and marketing attribution to your business. But, one of the most important aspects of attribution strategy is acting on attribution insights. And, that’s where we come in…

We’ve designed our Revenue Funnel Optimization strategy so you can get the most out of your revenue insights. 

FunnelEnvy enables you to generate revenue insights by updating analytics to measure the complete end-to-end customer journey. You can pinpoint the most valuable funnels, offers, and other factors that drive revenue. 

Revenue funnels comprise strategy sets focused on maximizing your website’s revenue generation through targeting the most effective offers to the priority buyer segments in your top conversion funnels. 

Funnels can also be personalized by the user’s stage in the customer journey to maximize revenue further. You also can run campaigns and experiments on your most important funnels. Use direct response best practices to optimize offers, messaging, and more. 

With Revenue Funnel Optimization, your decisions are driven by data and genuine insights into the buyer journey. 

You’ll make stronger choices for your marketing and sales teams — and your business as a whole — by studying the facts. 

Many companies are already achieving success with Revenue Funnel Optimization, with up to 250% growth in revenue and a 10x increase in Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

Want to try Revenue Funnel Optimization? Start using FunnelEnvy and drive real revenue growth for your business! 

By |2021-06-04T00:02:29-07:00June 2nd, 2021|Uncategorized, Conversion Rate Optimization, Digital Marketing, The Funnel, Strategy, B2B|Comments Off on Revenue attribution: Everything You Need to Know to Ramp Up Your Marketing ROI

Maximize Site Revenue with Multi-Step Forms

Transcript

Hi, everyone. My name is James Niehaus from FunnelEnvy. Today I want to talk to you about multi-step forms, why our clients love them, and how they can maximize your side revenues.

So why our clients love them because.

  • They work. We typically can see 20, 30 – 50% improvement in form conversions, so meaningful results.
  • We can often enhance and compliment your existing ABM and personalization programs. So it really adds to the value.
  • It works great on form but also works pretty well across most of your site. We’ll talk about some examples of that in this presentation.

But how do you make such user-friendly forms?

We all hate forums. Whether it’s a mortgage form, a tax form, or a B2B lead form, right? So the industry recognizes this. And some industries have actually adapted and evolved.

So, leading the way, mortgage. So, now we complete a mortgage application online. It’s going to be an interactive multi-step experience. Same thing with taxes, an interactive multi-step experience, to guide you down the path.

Multi-step forms for B2B

B2C loves multi-step, whether it’s to guide people down a better path, or especially on lead gen, to help convert at higher rates. But B2B is slow to adopt. So we still typically see static forms on B2B, typically because of operational hurdles. It’s just easier to embed a form. But, if you’re willing to make the effort and like our clients, past and present, and see examples of their multi-step experiences, you can see firsthand that all we’re doing here is taking their simple static forms, breaking them up into multiple steps, making it easier to digest, asking easy and 10 questions at the beginning to get them started. And in the end, it improves engagement and significantly improves conversion rates.

Key Results

So things we’ve seen from some past and current clients are significant lifts. These are not small lifts. These are significant lifts that can really maximize and change your funnels for maximizing revenue.

multi step form results

And some key things to keep in mind with multi-step forms, we want to make it easy. So if you think about doing it for yourself, think about in your funnel, what are easy and 10 questions to ask to get them started? Also, you want to make sure you ask a couple of questions, so you want to get the ball rolling, create that momentum, and get them committed to completing that conversion process with and completing the rest of the form. So here you don’t want to ask for first name, last name, email, to get started, you typically want to ask for, how large is your team? What is your role? What is your product interest? But things that are more intent-focused so they can get started without hitting hurdles.

And again, these were great with your advanced programs like personalization and ABM. So on the left, you see an example where we personalizing the rest of the form experience based on the answers on step one. Or on the right, think about maybe we skip the form, based on their being part of a target account. So based on their company name on the email, you can show them, say, a scheduler instead of say, of the rest of the form, or maybe attempt to a Drift Bot. But the idea here is based on their inputs or based on their industry company size, or even if they’re part of your target account, you can personalize from experience that step experience, or even give them different routes and experiences to better convert them.

And like I mentioned, it works great on forms, it also works really well across the site. So we’ve run this on home pages, on product pages and solution pages, and pricing pages. And typically what we see, is significant improvement engagement, and also uptakes and conversion rate.

So we definitely recommend you explore this, try this out on your site, and check, see whatever it works for you on your forms and beyond.

3 Takeaways with Multi-Step Forms

  1. They work. And can often generate a 30-50% lift in form conversions.
  2. They can enhance your ABM and personalization programs
  3. The technique is effective across the site, not just on forms.

If you are as excited as we are about getting started with multi-step forms, visit our blog funnelenvy.com/blog, jump into our quiz and see if you’re a good fit to work with us today.

Up Next

Learn Muti-step interactive experiences (going beyond the form)

Multi-Step Interactive Forms Advanced Use Cases(ABM/Personalization)

Hey everyone. My name is James Niehaus, and today I’m going to walk through some advanced use cases for multi-step interactive forms. Specifically, where it can help you with ABM and personalization on your website. And this is actually part two to an initial video I did around introducing everyone to interactive forms, why we love them so much, why they’re pretty effective for our clients, and how you can get started with them as well. So this is kind of part two of that series. All right, let’s jump right into it.

So we’ll cover here the following things.

  • A quick recap on multi-step interactive forms
  • Why they work
  • Why they are ideal for your ABM and Personalization programs
  • 5 ways multi-step forms can enhance your ABM and Personalization programs

All we’re doing here is taking your longer static forms on your website, breaking them up into steps, making them interactive, and leading with intent questions that get them to raise their hand and express who they are and what they want to do. So this has converted really well for our clients. As you see here, these are some examples of actual lifts we’ve seen with form conversions on forms that get started and talk to sales and get demos.

Full Recap of Multi-Step Interactive Forms

Before we jump into those, just a quick recap of why we think it works well, and what some best practices are.

So always lead within 10 questions if possible. So what’s in it for them, who they are, what they’re looking for. As opposed to starting with, “What’s your first and last name, your email, or your phone number?” Right? We want to make it easy for them to get started and engage. Secondly, we want to ask a couple of those 10 questions initially, before we show them the rest of the form, because we wanted them to, one, commit, get some easy answers out of the way, and get momentum towards completing their task. So we found that this is definitely a sweet spot to kind of maximize conversions on a multi-step experience. And then lastly, just really set proper expectations. How many steps are involved, and what happens after you submit the form? Just so they right context about time and what’s going to happen next. All makes sense hopefully? Good.

Examples of Multi-Step Form Flows

multistep form examples

Some best practices of multi-step interactive forms

Results we’ve seen from multi-step interactive forms

multi step form results

So let’s jump right into why multi-step forms are ideal for targeting and segmentation. Hopefully, it’s pretty obvious, but in these experiences, and in those first couple of questions where we ask for either profile or intent questions, we’re getting valuable information that they want to share to better customize their experience or get better information from us.  So we want to use that information to provide, one, them a better experience, but also ideally personalize based on who they are and their company. So that’s what ABM and personalization are all about. Personalizing based on who they are and the company they’re from. Based on what you know about them and based on what you hopefully want to achieve with them in partnership.

1. Use their answers to assign them to a segment

Use their answers to better assign them segments for analytics and campaigns. That seems pretty obvious. More importantly, use those answers to personalize the rest of that form experience. So as they provide you information about them, provide feedback that you can support their needs, you can provide specific information about their product interest. But use that moment to actually provide reinforcement for what they’re looking for. Also, you can actually potentially use that information to route them to a different funnel or experience. So the whole idea is that not everyone should be treated the same. Your higher value prospects may be given a shortcut to talk with sales. Maybe the less valuable users may be given more of a self-service route. But use their answers and their profile to route them in the most appropriate place to maximize your limited resources, but also provide them the more appropriate experience.

What’s even more compelling and potentially more exciting is the idea that we actually change the experiences based on who they are and what company they’re from. Now, rather than simply have one form for everyone, the idea here is that we take their answers or their inputs, and based on our business strategy we may serve them a different next step. So an example on the right, you see here based on the email and company domain, based on whether that matches a target account or not, they either can skip the form and go right to the scheduler. Or if they’re maybe not our targeted account, they would get a regular traditional form.

Here are some examples of getting their answers and then assigning them to a segment

2. Use their answers to personalize the rest of the form

Customize the remaining questions, messaging, and visuals to reinforce the benefits of their selection. By using these answers to personalize the rest of the actual form experience. So if they express certain product interest or indicate they’re from a smaller enterprise, you want to reinforce that you are the right business for them, that here are the benefits of that product, or maybe here are the reasons why you’re great for SMB or enterprise, or for this industry, or for this type of role, technical or maybe marketing focused.

You see an example, a very simple example where, on a contact us form, we just simply asked for their product interest in step one, and we then personalize the rest of the form based on that answer. So this is where you can use that information at the moment to reinforce the benefits of your business, your offering, your expertise, in a way that’s going to reinforce based on who they are and what their intent is. We’ve done this with a couple of clients and we’ve seen pretty nice positive upticks in conversion rates from this simple concept.

3. Use their answers to route them to a different funnel

If you identify a top target you can:

  • Skip form
  • Shorten form
  • Change questions
  • Trigger Drift/Chat

4. Target and personalize in future sessions/other channels 

We can target and personalize not just at that moment, but also in future sessions, in other channels. We don’t have to stop at the form. So that’s by the information we know about them, use it wherever and whenever you see them again. And then lastly, target. Over time you actually can create different questions based on their profile. So if you have certain key segments that come to your site, you can potentially target them ahead of time and actually serve them with a different actual form experience. A little more advanced, but again, as you’re committing to this strategy, you’ll see more and more ways to use it to your advantage.

    5. Target intent questions based on their profile

    The idea here is, don’t let go of the information after they complete that form. What you want to do is repeat that message, reinforced that information, and follow up interactions, whether it be a session to the site, whether it be another channel like email or display, retargeting perhaps. But the whole idea here is you’re getting valuable information at the moment from an engaged user. Use it for your advantage. Okay. So that would mean if they express certain product interests. When they come back, maybe that homepage here will change to show that product, sort of that category affinity type technique. Or based on their role, reinforce the use cases for their role. Or based on their industry, show again, case studies for their industry, for their size, or any other ideas. An example on the right you see here, where we’re targeting the homepage here all based on their different stages they’re in that we identify in the process.

    And then lastly, the idea here is … and over time, as you refine the strategy, this will become its own strategy. So much as you have with, say, your Marketo email programs, you have different nurture sequences. Or in Drift, you may have different Drift playbooks. The idea here is, over time, you recognize that you have certain key target accounts, segments, and ICPs that you’ll want to route through different form experiences. So rather than having one interactive form for everyone, you may eventually end up where you have different forms for your top segments and groups. So I don’t recommend doing this day one, but as you evolve the strategy, actually see what works, what doesn’t work, you’re going to see natural segments that perform better, or might need more guidance or handholding. This is where the strategy, once it starts getting those double-digit improvements, these are natural ways to further enhance and refine the program. And again, this is going to only make your personalization and ABM programs more targeted, because you’re targeting based on those same attributes that you care about and you want to personalize for.

    So the quick takeaways here.

    Multi-step forms. great conversion tactic. And we recommend you do this on your site today. But we think it works even better, as you’ve hopefully seen here when you combine it with your ABM personalization strategies.

    5 ways to get started:

    1. Segment by their answers they provide you
    2. Customize a form based on those answers for a better conversion rate and better experiences.
    3. Route them by their answers
    4. Target them in return sessions/other channels by their answers
    5. As you get more advanced and more mature in this strategy, start building different forms for your top use cases and your top segments.

    Learn More on Multi-Step Experiences

    Go to our website, funnelenvy.com/blog, and you’ll be able to check out the content and hopefully enjoy this and other content that’s similar. And with that said, thank you for your time. If you have questions, just drop me an email. And if you want to see our own interactive quiz, you can hit our website. And that quiz will actually help you evaluate whether you’re the right fit for working with us. So check it out and hopefully we can talk soon. With that, take care.

    Introduction to Multi-Step Interactive Forms

    Transcript

    Hey everyone. My name is James Niehaus. And today in this video, I’m going to walk you through what are multi-step interactive forms. So at FunnelEnvy, we use this all the time with our clients, and we’ve seen some great wins. And we thought today we would actually share with you what we’ve learned from those efforts, and hopefully encourage you to do the same on your side.

    1. What are multi-step interactive forms?
    2. Results we’ve been seeing with our clients.
    3. Some best practices we’ve learned from doing this with our clients.
    4. Some techniques and lessons learned that you can use and adapt to make it easier for you to get started.
      Keeptruckin Multi-Step

    We all hate forms. Right? So whether it’s a mortgage application or whether it’s a tax form, it’s something we prefer not to do. And the providers know this, and that’s why it’s very hard for you today to complete a mortgage application online without going through a multi-step experience as we see here. Or as we all know with taxes, TurboTax and others have made that the standard experience, step-by-step guided questions.

    That is Why We All Prefer This…

    multi step forms

    Why? It’s common sense.

    • It’s less intimidating, easier to get started. Even though we know there are more fields,
    • it’s an easier way to start and get the process going.
    • We feel less perceived commitment.
    • And lastly and most importantly, ideally we do it right, as an end-user we think we’re being guided down a better path, which will, as we know, save us time and give us better results.

    So there are all positives and why we’ve seen this kind of being the prominent way, at least in B2C, where complex forms are being presented. So they’ve been doing this for like 15, 20 years. LendingTree is one of the pioneers of this. They found out early on that, in a competitive space, this gave them an advantage. Can provide you a better user experience, make it easier for you to fill out a form, and become a lead. And now, fast forward to today, you really can’t complete a mortgage lead or auto insurance quote without going through some similar experience. So it is now the standard for B2C.

    But for B2B, unfortunately, it still seems to be the 1990s, where it’s still no static forms, no interactivity, and it’s pretty much the standard for most of the industry. This is unfortunate, but it’s slowly changing. So if you see here, there are some examples out there.

    So like Drift and Intercom and others like them who provide us chatbots. That’s helping. So if you can get [inaudible 00:03:02] one of their bots, you can usually get a nice playbook experience of decision tree experiences. So it’s a good start, but as we all know, the majority of website visitors still want to interact with your website, not a chatbot.

    interactive form experience of the industry

    And we’ve seen some people provide multi-step forms, like Salesforce here with their trials. It’s a good start, but there’s obviously more that can be done. But for B2B, there are some additional hurdles that are typical of most of our clients. So for example, if you’re in the B2B space, typically you’re going to have one of these four vendors.

    form embedded vendors

    And they’re providing your email, your forms, your landing pages, and your workflow. So they make it really easy to by things like let’s copy and paste our embedded form, put it on your website, or we’ll host your landing page, and you’re done. That’s pretty easy. But of course, the default experience is a single, static form.

    A second hurdle we often see is that you do need web developer resources to do this. Most DemandGen teams are resource-constrained. And don’t have access to a developer for the 2-3 days required to implement

    And the third hurdle is, it’s not a priority. Typically the website is not the focus, it’s about getting traffic to the website. So they’re chasing the latest AdTech and Martech to make it easier to target, intent, ABM, and get more people to the site. So I figured this is what people are most interested in hearing about, which is: what are the actual results?

    So these numbers are actually real numbers we’ve had with recent clients in the past year running multi-step interactive forms on their site. So again, these are meaningful lifts on forms like demos and pricing and get started forms. So your core sales forms. So that’s a huge win for many of our clients. And for the most part, for the majority of our clients we tried this on, it’s worked. Typically double-digits or higher. I think, and only one example I can recall, we ran this where it didn’t necessarily win across the board, but it’s still won for the returning segment for around 20 plus percent. So even if we don’t get a clear win across the board, we still see important lifts for key segments. So this is why we want to stress that we think this is probably the most viable tech tactic you can apply to your website to really maximize your revenue and your pipeline for the website.

    multi step form results

    And here’s some just examples of the actual client experiences.

    So as you see here, again, simple, straightforward experiences that make it easier for their visitors to start and complete a form experience.

    And with that said, let’s talk about some of the best practices we’ve seen working with our clients in this area. Now, the first thing you want to consider is, if at all possible, you want to lead this experience, that first question or two, with intent questions. Right? So you want to ask them things that they care about first before you ask them for their name and their email. Right? You want to get them excited and want them to get started and make it easy for them to get started. So intent questions, how large is your organization? What industry are you in? What features do you care about? What’s your role? What are some of your integrations?

    The second learning is you want to create momentum. So we want to ideally provide two or three questions that get that intent ball rolling. So here’s an example from one of our clients. But again, the whole goal here is you want to make it easier for them to get started, you want to create that momentum so that they feel committed to the process. So therefore it’s easier for them to convert and complete that final piece of the form that’s going to be the personal information that we need to collect to run the business.

    Now the third piece I’m going to call out also is it’s good to also set the proper expectations. So when you provide that form, that multi-step experience, call out the number of steps involved. And when possible, call out what you plan to do with that information. So you can help them make a better choice. Is this going to be passed by your sales team to make a more effective quote or a demo or discovery session? But let them know that this information is not going to be dropped to the floor, it’s going to be used to help provide them a better outcome or experience, which is what they want. That guided treatment. Now, those are some simple best practices. And hopefully, they make sense.

    Lessons learned along the way from doing this with our clients.

    • Pick the right form. Ideally, where the outcome could vary based on their inputs:
      -Best working forms -pricing, get started, talk to sales, choosing the right demo or trial, ROI calculators.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if the question(s) aligns with user intent. like about your team size, about your feature of interest. It will be easier for them to get started.
    • It will work for more than just forms. Now that’s a broader topic, so I’m going to save that for another video, that you can access on our site shortly after this one. But those are some lessons learned

    How to Get Started

    • Identify the right form
    • Figure out the design first
    • Work with a web development resource to build the interactive form (typically a few days to a week effort)
    • If you are adding fields work with your marketing automation team to capture the new fields
    • Run the experience as a test and remember to look at performance by your top segments
    • Run 1-2 iterations over time to fine-tune the question sequence, visuals, or layout
    • Expand to other forms on your site.

    Don’t overlook this, but you want to expand this to other forms on your site in other areas. So again, I’ll have more about this topic in another video about where else can this work for you on your website. But that’s hopefully enough to have you get started. And then with that said, as I mentioned, come back to the website, I’ll be posting a couple of other videos about, one, how this can be used in other places beyond the form.

    Learn More on Multi-Step Experiences

    Here are the two more articles to learn about multi-step interactive forms

    Go to our website, funnelenvy.com/blog, and you’ll be able to check out the content and hopefully enjoy this and other content that’s similar. And with that said, thank you for your time. If you have questions, just drop me an email. And if you want to see our own interactive quiz, you can hit our website. And that quiz will actually help you evaluate whether you’re the right fit for working with us. So check it out and hopefully we can talk soon. With that, take care.

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