Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs a Conversion Funnel (and How It Works)

Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs a Conversion Funnel (and How It Works)

Ever used a funnel while baking? 

That cone-shaped thingamajig may seem excessive when you’re just pouring some liquids from one container to another, but it plays an important role. 

A funnel directs things where you want them to go, and not somewhere else (like all over the counter, or the floor, or your sweater). Funnels guide flow. 

A conversion funnel is the same idea but applied to your marketing strategy.  Conversion funnels help you lead consumers through the buying journey, to make sure they land exactly where you want them to. Of course, the end goal is to convert them. (Or, you know, it should be.)

The conversion funnel isn’t only for purchases or physical products, though. The “transaction” at the end of the funnel could be someone subscribing to your newsletter, signing a petition, joining your Facebook group, scheduling a tour, or making a donation. 

When you implement and optimize your conversion funnel, you’ll experience a boost in lead generation, conversion rates, and profits. So, how do you build a well-defined, optimized funnel to capture leads, nurture them, and get ’em to convert?

Let’s dive in.

What Is a Conversion Funnel?

A conversion funnel (which is sometimes called a “sales funnel” or “marketing funnel”) is a step-by-step process that helps you visualize your prospects’ buying journey, so you can lead them towards making a purchase. 

A well-optimized conversion funnel isn’t a one-off attempt to guide a user from one place to another. It’s a holistic approach that strategically ties your marketing and sales activities into one streamlined system for the audience to move through. 

At each stage of the funnel, there’s content serving as guideposts for how the audience can move forward: blog posts, landing pages, videos, emails, infographics, social ads, PPC campaigns, and more.  – Read more

Why You Might Want to Be More Negative in Your Marketing

Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

Of course you have. We all have.

Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and then have to be cheery? Like, interact in social media? Write an engaging blog post? Put together a lovable email marketing campaign?

Ugh. Those are the times you wish you could shut out the world, or at least channel a little of your inner snark. Well, the good news is you can do that once in a while, and your marketing results may even thank you for it! Sometimes, it’s good to embrace a little bit of the negative. (Trust me — this will all make sense in a second.)

So, here we go … if you ever wake up wanting to shut out the world, here’s how you can take it out (positively!) in your marketing.

What is negative marketing?

Negative marketing is a tactic that traditionally taps into negative emotions — such as fear, irritation, anger, or sadness — in order to elicit a response from the consumer, often in favor of what a brand offers or against what a brand opposes or competes with.

Keep in mind, however, that negative marketing shouldn’t be deployed simply because you want to be cranky. Instead, it should be implemented strategically with one (or more) of these goals in mind: 

  • Empathizing with customer struggles 
  • Differentiating your brand with that of competitors, especially those who may not be willing to take a stand or acknowledge certain truths in the industry
  • Cutting through the noise of “neutral” messaging that might not be resonating

If you’re successful, the end result causes you to stick in your audience’s mind, which gives you the bandwidth to prove your brand as a superior alternative.

How to Be Negative in Your Marketing

So how do you implement this tactic successfully? Here are some opportunities to be “more negative” in your marketing.

1. Create negative, or exclusionary, personas.

Let’s start with something a little bit easier to swallow than just being a total grumpy pants: exclusionary personas. Exclusionary personas, sometimes also referred to as negative personas, are kind of like the opposite of buyer personas — they’re the personas of the people you do not want to target in your marketing. – Read more

10+ Buzzwords to Banish From Your Content Marketing Vocabulary

My Post (10).pngLike nails on a chalkboard, they elicit a bad reaction every time you read and hear them.

Unfortunately, you see and hear them a lot – that’s one of the reasons you cringe. (Me? I get so irritated that I mentally edit to get rid of the utterances.)

They are the buzzwords used by content marketers. They are overused, misused, poorly used, and just generally irritating.

“Buzzwords are like weeds: They’re just flowers that are in the wrong place,” says Doug Kessler, co-founder, Velocity.

Buzzwords are like weeds: They’re flowers in the wrong place, says @dougkessler via @CMIContent. #CMWorld

To kill the weeds and promote flowery growth (not flowery words), we asked Content Marketing World 2020 speakers for their top candidates for buzzword banishment – and their replacements, if necessary. (To learn what words and phrases they do like to use, check out their sessions for the online October event.)

And in honor of CMWorld’s 10th anniversary, we’re sharing 10 (well, sorta) nominees. (Don’t see the ones you want to ship out? Add them in the comments.)

1. Unprecedented

Yes, it is true, but we are all so tired of reading it. Write that sentence if you must, then delete it and use the next sentence as your lead. – Adele Revella, CEO, Buyer Persona Institute 

2. Smarketing

Go on and take the extra second to say “sales and marketing.” Smarketing is just smarmy. – Viveka von Rosen, chief visibility officer, Vengreso

3. Low-hanging fruit (and snackable content)

Just say easy, quick.  And really, shouldn’t all content – regardless of its length, be easy (snackable) to consume?  – Cathy McKnight, vice president strategy and consulting, The Content Advisory

Get rid of the food jargon: low-hanging fruit and snackable #content, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. #CMWorld

4. Leveraging

Just use a different verb like “help” that’s more human. – Adam Morgan, executive creative director, Adobe

5. Growth hacking

It is a buzzword for marketing that implies temporary, false growth. It’s just marketing. – Rachel Mann, digital engagement supervisor, American Fidelity Assurance Company

“Growth hacking” is a buzzword for marketing that implies temporary, false growth. It’s just #marketing, says @rachelizmann via @CMIContent. #CMWorld

6. Going viral

I’ve long advocated banishing “going viral” from our marketing vocabulary and our business goals. And if RIGHT NOW isn’t the time to stop using the phrase, I really don’t know when will be. – Erika Heald, founder, Erika Heald Marketing Consulting

7. Empathy

I’m so glad we’ve acknowledged our audiences are humans with feelings, but let’s collectively pledge to move past this using this word as shorthand for manipulating emotions to get clicks. I think “useful,” “meaningful,” and “enjoyable” are all better guiding words for brands. – Jennifer Jordan, vice president and head of content (US), Babbel

Replace “empathy” with useful, meaningful or enjoyable, says @jenastelli via @CMIContent. #CMWorld

8. Digital transformation

Digital is always transforming. Even for an organization that thinks they have it all figured out, something may come along tomorrow and disrupt their whole process. Digital transformation has too many variables and ways to be defined. Instead, let’s talk about our ongoing journey. This connotes an ongoing process, not just a one-off point in time that will happen and then be over. – Andi Robinson, global digital content leader, Corteva Agriscience

I still don’t know what it is. And I’m sure that those who talk about it have different definitions from others. Or, they just say the buzzword to sound like they’re on the leading edge. Instead of an alternative, I propose we stop using the term entirely and simply refer to more specific things that make up digital transformation today. – Dennis Shiao, marketing consultant, Attention Retention LLCRead more