One of the main concepts to understand for any business of any size and for any industry is your sales funnel. This funnel basically describes the process for your customers from the initial contact with your brand (this could be online, in store, through an advertisement etc), through to possible purchase/conversion. You’ll notice that the funnel gets smaller at each level, and this is because you will always have drop-offs; people who interact with the brand but do not continue their journey. The key with a sales funnel is to understand which point of the sales funnel is struggling, how you can influence each level, and how you can track changes to measure success.
The basic components of the sales funnel is illustrated below:
- Awareness – when the customer becomes aware of the existence of a product, service or brand
- Interest – when the customer actively expresses interest in the product group
- Desire – when the customer realises a need and aspires to a particular brand or product
- Action – when the customer takes action towards purchasing the product or service
Whilst for most businesses “action” (essentially the purchase) is the desired stage, all stages of the sales funnel are very important. This is because, at any given time, your target market can be at any stage in the sales funnel. Each customer fulfils their journey in a different way, and it’s our job to help your customers move along the funnel towards a purchase (or conversion) for your brand.
Why is Top of the Funnel Awareness important?
Conversions. That’s what every business wants, right? Whether it be a sale, a lead or anything in between – the goal of any business is to convert a person into a paying customer. Conversions are the last stage of the funnel. This means for a person to convert, they have to filter down through every other stage of the funnel – awareness, interest and decision, before they convert into a paying customer.
Keeping it easy to understand, let’s assume you only have a website (no physical store). You know that 5% of customers who visit your website convert into sales. This means that if you had 100 people visit your website, you’d make 5 sales. Whereas if you had 10,000 people visit your website, you’d make 500 sales. Now obviously there’s a few variables in this example, but all things equal, this shows that if you could increase your awareness from 100 to 10,000 people per month, you’d be making a lot more sales! That’s why top of funnel awareness is so important. You need to keep encouraging new visitors to meet your brand, so that you have the opportunity to move them through your sales funnel.
So how do you know if you’re tracking well in the awareness segment of the sales funnel or if you need to make some improvements?
To understand how you are tracking, we need to work out what exactly we are trying to track. Awareness can be analysed by looking at new user traffic, ad impressions, social reach, search result impressions and EDM open rates.
- Web Traffic (New users and search result impressions)
- Are you getting new visitors to your site? The more new users will mean your marketing efforts have reached people that have never visited your site (top of the funnel visitors).
- Don’t just look at driving new visitors to the site, make sure they’re quality traffic. For example, are the new users bounce rate high?
- For organic traffic, you can also look at search result impressions to see whether your SEO efforts have increased exposure.
- Advertising Traffic (Ad impressions and reach)
- If you’re running Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn ads or any other digital platform. You will most likely be provided with metrics such as ad impression, ad reach or even ad impression share. These metrics allow you to see whether your ads have reached new people. The higher the impression and reach will mean the more your ads were exposed.
- EDM Traffic (Email opens and bounce rates)
- Email opens will be able to reveal how many people your email marketing campaign has reached. According to Campaign Monitor, the average open rate for EDMs are 17.92%
- When targeting cold audiences for a top of the funnel email campaign it is always a good idea to also check the bounce rate to make sure your email list provides quality traffic.
- Organic Social Traffic (social reach and click-throughs)
- Social post views (reach) and engagement metrics (click-throughs) can reveal how many people have seen or engaged with your social media marketing content. Using social media metrics can reveal new users, audience growth rate and retention rate.
Growing Top of Funnel Awareness
So how are your awareness metrics looking? Whether you need improvement or are tracking well in awareness metrics, there is always room for growth! Driving growth in awareness and traffic to your site can be done in many ways:
Search Engine Optimisation
Whilst Search engine optimisation does require continuous effort and can take a while before yielding results, it is a long term solution that has many benefits for a business’ website. One being increase exposure to customers with intent. As it takes time to see results, it also takes competitors a lot more effort to outrank you. With continuous effort, search engine optimisation can drive a large amount of free organic traffic to your site.
The main focus in search engine optimisation is to improve the domain authority. The higher your authority, the more likely you are to earn a higher search engine ranking. To do this we look at things like site speed, high-quality content and target keywords, web design and mobile phone friendliness.
Some SEO strategies that directly affect the top of the funnel awareness:
- Expand reach organically by ranking for more keywords. Doing so can lead to your website appearing more in search results which will increase search result impressions. Ways to increase the number of keywords you’re ranking for is through expanding content on your website this can be blogs, content clusters etc.
- On top of the ranking for more keywords, look for top of funnel keywords that show that the user is still searching and has not decided on a brand. For example, users searching for “best insurance company in Australia” will most likely be higher in the funnel than users searching for “compare insurance quotes tool”.
Unlike SEO, paid search can push your website to the forefront of intent filled prospects. Although in highly competitive markets this may take some time, PPC is a powerful tool that can be used to amplify your brand and your message.
To optimise a PPC campaign to continuously achieve amazing results and show steady growth you need to be expanding your ad impressions. The best way to expand the impression and keep quality high is to look for LSI keywords. LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are words and phrases with a high degree of correlation to your target topic.
For example, if you’re a defence lawyer targeting “criminal defence lawyers”, an LSI keyword you can look at also targeting can be “defence attorney”. Although they are two different words, different prospects will search for different things even though they may be looking for the same results.
Whether it’s to prospects actively searching for your service/product or to expose your brand to prospects that might need your service/product down the road paid social is a great way to increase exposure. As paid social is similar to a modern billboard you can appear in front of prospects and become top of mind for as less as 2 cents.
If you’re a business who has experienced an initial spike in conversions but no longer see any growth, then that might mean you’re not targeting enough new prospects. Unlike SEO and PPC, paid social can result in audience fatigue (overexposure) which means it’s important to always be targeting new prospects. Using lookalike audiences and building custom audiences from competitor research can create top of funnel awareness.
Creating lead magnets on your website to capture leads will allow you to grow your email list with top of the funnel prospects. By expanding your email list you can potentially capture new prospects to target with paid social, remarketing display and email outreach.
Don’t just rely on returning customers. If you feel like your business is stagnant and you’re not experiencing a steady growth then you might be neglecting your top of the funnel brand awareness. If you’re ready to grow your business and reach more prospects then contact us today!