By Heather Schallert As we step into a new year and a new decade, we are also stepping into a new definition of normal. Smartphones have changed the landscape of the internet. Everyone is walking around with mini computers in their hands, making getting information in...
Optimizing Campaigns for Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel
How Marketers Can Optimize Their Campaigns for Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel
How excited would you be if you could double, or even triple, the amount of traffic to your site? What if you could consistently convert a strong percentage of those leads to sales? When it comes to digital marketing funnels, it’s about quality, not quantity. You could have one million page views a month on your site, but if only 100 of those converted to sales, that’s an issue.
When you’re spending money on PPC and paid advertisements, you need to know what’s happening and why. And then, you optimize for the best results. The trick to a successful digital marketing funnel is in the optimization of the campaigns involved in each of the five stages. The campaigns you’re running are like the bait on the hook. You want the bait to be unique, attractive, familiar, relatable, and beneficial. Generating high quality leads, and then converting those leads to customers is the #1 focus of the digital marketing funnel.
IgniteVisibility defines a digital marketing sales funnel as, “a step-by-step process involving some combination of advertising, blogging, social media outreach, email campaigns, conversion rate optimization (CRO), search engine optimization (SEO), retargeting, copywriting, SMS marketing, split-testing, and/or a variety of other possible strategies.”
Is your head spinning? Don’t worry. If you’re a “launch and pray” marketer with no idea of what’s working or why, it’s time to get serious and intentional about the campaigns in your digital marketing funnel. On the other hand, it’s easy to get lost in a black hole of optimization while you let campaigns run that will bleed your budget dry.
While there’s no one answer for everyone, there are ways you can optimize the campaigns of your digital marketing funnel without just throwing spaghetti at the wall or money out the window.
With the digital landscape and consumer behavior changing rapidly, staying on top of it all can feel overwhelming or pointless. But when you can get really clear on how to optimize a campaign, you’ll begin to see the light at the end of the digital marketing funnel as sales roll in and customer loyalty rises.
This article has all you need to know about how you can optimize your campaigns for each stage of the digital marketing funnel.
How to Optimize Campaigns for Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel
First, it’s important to understand where your traffic is coming from, who is coming to your site, why they were attracted to the brand in the first place, and what they’re taking action on. Digital marketing funnels surely do run themselves once set up correctly, but getting there can be quite a feat if you don’t know how to optimize as you go, or who you’re targeting.
In the world of marketing, conversion is everything. And conversions are increased through optimization. Continuous optimization will allow you to constantly look at analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not working. This will typically be done through Google Analytics, but can also be done in Facebook if you’re running paid ads there.
Ad campaigns can also be a big spend when you’re guessing at what will work. Sure, it takes some trial and error, but once you test more, you’ll know more. The key is doing tons of research before hitting the publish button on an ad. The digital marketing funnel will also benefit because it will be optimized from the beginning. Saving everyone time and money is a main concern in any marketing strategy, and that especially applies to digital marketing funnels. When you’re educated and strategic from the beginning, while also being open to making changes based on performance, you’ll succeed every time.
Have you ever seen an ad and thought “What is this for and who are they trying to appeal to?” That’s an example of an ad, and potentially the start of a digital marketing funnel, that isn’t going to perform well or appeal to the right people. And with the incredible influx of ads online now, it’s ever more important to have an optimized campaign at the very start. Amazon Advertising is changing the game for products and ecommerce, and the same strategic intentionality can be applied to any campaign.
Starting with who you’re targeting will allow you to optimize your messaging, CTA (call to action) and funnel prospective customers into your funnel with ease. You want your target audience to feel like they are being helped by what you’re offering, and be compelled to take action.
Set the campaign up with individual strategies for age, demographics, interests, behaviors, or any other target criteria you are using. If you don’t know what these are, then back all the way up and conduct a customer profile, or persona, to determine, with supreme accuracy, who your audience is. This information is absolutely vital to an optimized digital marketing funnel.
A persona is a deep dive into the different “avatars” or customer profiles. Essentially, it gives you a structured look at their goals in trying your product, the features and content that matters most to them, and the messaging that will appeal to them.
To build loose personas, you can create identities for all the different people who would be attracted to the brand. These are broad descriptions that don’t necessarily involve demographic information or personal data, but rather a high-level view of who they are, what their pain points are, what other brands they shop, and why they need your product or service.
In every campaign, you want to solve a problem for your customer. Even if you’re selling bikinis, there’s a problem that can be solved for someone. Drilling down on the problem and coming at advertising with a solution is the first step to optimizing your digital marketing funnel.
Your targeting strategies will be specific to each audience category allowing for each parameter to be tracked individually. From there, you can optimize the performance of your campaigns. Sometimes even just a small tweak can make a huge difference in campaign performance and conversion. These are called micro-optimizations and can be used on everything from your website to paid advertisements across all channels.
This is the foundation for good marketing and will set the tone for a successful digital marketing funnel.
When working with clients, make sure the targeting strategies are in-line with the campaign brief so you ensure you’re focusing on what’s important to them.
While this might sound like a no-brainer, it’s important to derive insights from qualitative market research and the consumers you intend to target. Once you’ve determined your target audience, the next step is advertising research. If you feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and never know why something is working or flopping, or if you’re starting from scratch on a new campaign, it’s time to do some advertising research and get a clear perspective on things.
Kit Smith of Brandwatch stated, “The aim of advertising research is to understand your customers and their motivations better so that you can produce better ads that demonstrate why your product meets their needs. Once you have an understanding of the people you are targeting, an analysis of the campaign will tell you how successful the campaign was, and help you to iterate your campaigns to continually improve results.”
Running multiple versions of the same campaign at once can be a bit pricey, but it will also give the fastest and most comprehensive insight.
Before you begin a campaign conduct research to lay the foundation. Do this across these channels for the most comprehensive look at your market segments:
- Online customer survey
- Online prospective survey
- Google Analytics
- Keyword research
- Customer reviews
- Q&A research
- Competitor analysis
- Social media analytics and engagement
Once the campaign is complete, you can conduct a review of the performance. This whole process will give you super specific and clear data about what’s working and what’s not. These are your advertising insights.
So you’re running your campaign and now it’s time to look at your ad spend and your performance in real time. Once you start an ad campaign, it’s important to all it to run for at least two weeks before making any changes. Pause the ones that are less effective and focus spend on the 2-3 which have the greatest success.
Tracking consumer action via an ad campaign is key to implementing these optimizations into your digital marketing funnel. There are many moving parts in a campaign, and being able to translate them all will allow you to make adjustments as needed and apply those changes moving forward.
Each component of your campaign will give insight. If you’re running a campaign with five different creatives, separate each out and look at the performance as individuals rather than the whole.
When running multiple versions of the same campaign, you’ll want to have different creatives, different CTAs, slightly different copy, and different targeting. When you notice one thing is working, see if it works on a different version after two weeks and keep implementing these changes to optimize next.
The insight will also influence the digital marketing funnel and will, in effect, create a highly optimized and high performing funnel that gets quality results. Statistics are everything and you’ll not only be able to watch the ad performance in real time, but you’ll also gain valuable information about the audience, the product/service, the performance of the website you’re directing people to, and what actions they take once there.
Only analyzing the ads is half the solution. The website is also an important piece of the puzzle and needs to be looked at in real time as well. If you notice bounce rates are high or people are adding to the cart but not going all the way through check out, that’s the time to dig deeper and get into the why of these abandons.
The end goal is to know exactly what your audience responds to and why. You can then take that advertising insight to the next stage in the marketing funnel.
At this stage in your campaign, it’s time to optimize. The two week window has passed and now you have enough data and insight to make impactful changes.
The process of optimization can include:
- Higher bidding or allocating more budgets towards the campaigns that generate higher engagement
- Pausing the under-performing ads
- Bidding higher at the most active hour of the day that is providing maximum engagement
- Changing creatives
- Changing CTAs
- Adding different offers or a lead magnet
- Asking the audience to take action on something free to increase traffic
- Increasing spend towards the best performing audience strategies (gender/age/interests)
- Revising the persona as action is taken on certain campaigns
- Optimize spend on a daily basis until the campaign ends
Statistically, you should have the data to make changes like these. Consulting with a marketing firm for an outsider’s perspective is also always a good idea if you’re feeling stuck. There is great benefit to stepping away from something in order to change your perspective and look at things analytically. When you’ve been closely watching campaigns for two weeks, you can begin to get tunnel vision on your digital marketing funnel and lose sight.
Once you’ve made the necessary changes and paused the under-performing campaigns, then your digital marketing funnel is ready to roll. The campaigns that make up each of the five stages of a digital marketing funnel are like the bones. Without that strong and stable structure, anything that comes after the fact won’t have enough to work with.
Analyze as you go and don’t ever stop making small adjustments to optimize. If something works for a while but then stops working, let it go and make a change.
The 5 Stages of a Digital Marketing Funnel
The digital marketing funnel is a very specific process to take prospects to loyal customers. The campaigns you choose to run through this funnel are just as vital as the funnel itself. Here are the 5 stages of a digital marketing funnel to follow:
At the top of a digital marketing funnel, you have potential leads. This first stage is when a lead becomes aware of your product or service and has it on their radar. Fostering familiarity is key and there are many ways this can be done:
- Content marketing
- Social Media
- Organic Searches
- Paid advertisements
When you successfully leverage the demand in your area of expertise, you can begin to establish your brand at the forefront of your industry. By establishing your brand as an authority, people (leads) will begin to think of your brand as the “go to” in your industry. Be direct.
As a potential lead moves from awareness to consideration, there is more of a desire to explore your brand and they ways it can benefit them. This is also when you can gain information on what they are looking for and how you can provide that if it aligns. This is the time to give as much information as possible through videos, FAQs, sharing customer reviews and testimonials, and getting into the heart of the company. Make it easy for them to imagine how a purchase with your company could add value to their lives.
Boom! This is the point of purchase. You have converted a lead into a customer. This is the time to remove all potential obstacles, to show the true benefit of the product or service and to get the customer to complete check out. They are likely at a 90% chance of making a purchase, but could still have some questions of concerns. At each point in the process from shop to check out, there needs to be a high attention to detail to ensure the process is user friendly, there aren’t any hang ups, and that they are aware your brand is the best and only option for them.
Loyalty is NOT guaranteed after a sale. You’ve got to work for it. Keep in contact, send them suggestions and offers, make social media fun and interactive, and make them feel valued and important. You’ll have all their information after the sale, so use it wisely.
You want your customers to be fans and to recommend your brand to their networks. When a customer loves the product, feels seen by the brand (and not just a number), and feels included in the culture of the brand, that is a recipe for advocacy. Think of the advocacy and brand loyalty Apple has.
When constructing campaigns and a digital marketing funnel, bringing in professionals is advised to get the most out of the digital advertising platform. At Pico Digital, we can provide seasoned advice, case studies, perspective and certified ad experience. Based on your business and product offering, we will build out a completely customized digital strategy that pairs your Amazon efforts with other advertising channels to create incremental performance gains.