Have you heard of elephant toothpaste?
No, no, it’s not made up, I promise.
And I know you’re probably wondering how funnels and conversion boosts could possibly relate to that…
You see, elephant toothpaste is a science experiment. The kind of experiment that middle school teachers show their students.
And what makes it so fun to watch is the spectacle of it… how just a few tiny ingredients mixed together can make such a huge splash.
Teachers pour just half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into a flask (*The heads of the middle schoolers perk up a bit*).
Then in goes about a tablespoon of regular old dish soap (*The class is still skeptical*).
The teacher smiles, takes a small step back, and puts on his safety goggles (*Each kid’s eyes are practically popping out of their head in anticipation*).
Then slowly, carefully, the teacher drops in a small container of liquid and…
The flask erupts with foam, sending puffy tubes of white snaking high into the air as the class bursts into cheers.
That liquid in that small container was potassium iodide.
And in this experiment, it’s what’s known as a catalyst—an element that speeds up a chemical reaction.
It’s a tiny change that can lead to an enormous difference.
And like elephant toothpaste, making just a few little tweaks to your sales funnel can lead to huge jumps in conversions. If you know what changes to make that is.
Today, that’s exactly what you’ll learn from this article. Teensy little changes you can make to your sales funnel that can net some seriously mammoth jumps in conversions.
So, let’s get to it!
Obvious & Not-So-Obvious Reasons to Optimize Your Funnel
Before we jump into the small optimizations that can lead to some pretty big wins, let’s take a sec to answer this question…
Why should you optimize your funnel?
Sounds dumb, right?
Of course the goal behind optimizing your sales funnel is to get more conversions.
More leads. More sales. More more out of your funnel.
But optimization isn’t always just about the “more more.” And in fact, there are a few other reasons to optimize that you may not realize.
- Your Goal is ULTRA-Qualified Leads – Just because you have more traffic coming into your funnel and even booking a call doesn’t mean that you’re getting what you want. Because some of the time, qualification is more important than quantity. That’s especially true with high-ticket funnels where a single sale can be worth thousands. So it may pay off to optimize your funnel for qualified leads rather than more leads.
- You Need Optimization Maintenance – Sadly, even the most expertly-crafted sales funnels won’t be able to maintain the same conversions forever. It could be the changing copywriting norms. Or the shifting of technology. Or maybe just the slowing of the market. No matter what the cause is, your conversion rates are bound to drop at some point if you don’t touch your funnel after it’s built. Regular optimization, then, is a downright necessity for not just giving your conversion rates a boost, but even keeping them stable.
- You Aren’t Always After the Sale – Finally, the sale itself isn’t always the end goal of a funnel. Weird, huh? Some are meant to create long-term relationships. Others are meant for hiring. And others are focused on education, promoting an event, or building your personal brand. Funnels are meant to guide your audience to a goal, not just a transfer of money. And with that in mind, the funnel optimization techniques of, say, a church may be far different than those of an online Hello Kitty retailer. So why optimize? Well, it depends on the business…
Funnel Optimization Basics: a Quick List
Now, before you can start optimizing your funnel to suit your goal, you’ve got to have a few basic tools and functionality in place first.
For seasoned digital marketers and online retailers, this section might be a bit of a no-brainer. But even still, be sure to go through the quick list below to make sure you’re completely covered anyway.
- Website Analytics – If you’ve got a sales funnel up and running, step #1 is making sure you have an analytics platform set up to track it. Why? Because what gets tracked gets done. Only after measuring your funnel’s performance can you start to see where it needs improvement. Or where leads are leaking out. Or where you’re bringing in the wrong kind of customers. All of it starts with tracking your funnel’s metrics. There are tons of options out there but setting up a Google Analytics dashboard is always a great place to start.
- Email Marketing – Email marketing is a core component of any successful funnel. It’s the easiest way to speak directly to your prospects on your own terms. And it’s a powerful tool for building a relationship with your audience. Most sales funnels incorporate email marketing into their process at some point but the highest converting ones make it standard. Just be sure you’re building a quality email list rather than just a long one.
- Marketing Automation – Automation is at the heart of a sales funnel. Without it, shovelling your prospects from one piece of content to the next, sending out emails on your own, and segmenting your audiences… well it’d just be too exhausting. Marketing automation platforms do all that tiresome work for you instead. And surprisingly, they’re not as expensive as most people think.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool – A CRM is a way to keep track of your customers or prospects so you can get them to your end goal even quicker. For instance, a CRM can tell you what type of content on your website someone has already engaged with so you can get a sense of how ready they are to buy. They can also keep track of your email subscribers, score leads on how qualified they are, and send them relevant content to keep them heading down your funnel. Our favorite at AutoGrow is ActiveCampaign (plus, it’s an email marketing and marketing automation platform too!).
- A/B Testing – Finally, one of the most important parts of any sales funnel optimization effort is the ability to run A/B testing. A/B testing lets you put two variations of an element head to head to see which gets you closer to the desired result. For example, a call-to-action button right now could be light blue. With A/B testing, you can test whether an orange call-to-action button would actually bring in better results. When done right, A/B testing can turn up some pretty impressive results. And in fact, it’s what’s helped us discover the optimization tweaks I’m about to share with you. But A/B testing can also be tricky and time-consuming. Which is what makes this article so amazing… we’ve done all the hard work for you!
Alright, now that the basics are covered, let’s get into what you’re all here for: the optimization tweaks you can do in as little as one afternoon!
Funnel Optimization Tweak #1: Create Better CTAs (3 Proven Techniques)
First and foremost, let’s begin with what is arguably the most important element of any and every sales funnel…
For as much autonomy and independent thought that people are capable of, most of us are more lemming than man (or woman).
We trudge around day after day following paths that others expect us to follow. Thinking the things that others expect us to think.
And to make matters worse, most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing so. Sure, we go through the process of weighing pros and cons in our mind in order to come to rational decisions. But in fact, a lot of the time the decision’s already been made by our subconscious long ago.
It’s the driving force behind the old marketing adage, “People buy on emotion and justify with logic.”
And that is why you need to make your CTA as visible, clear, and magnetic as possible.
Because the perfect customer will be able to figure out how to get in touch with you or the next steps that they need to follow. But for everyone else (me included), you simply have to spell it out for them. And if you don’t, your funnel may be leaking leads.
Let’s take a look at 3 CTA examples from the 311 case studies in our Proven Sales Conversion Pack.
Example #1: Add the word “Free” onto the CTA button (even if it’s already in the headline).
Conversion rate increase: 131.22%
Example #2: Add specific value points to your CTA form.
Conversion rate increase: 83.75%
Example #3: Make your CTA really stand out visually. Green is the go-to color since it’s the easiest to see but it may also connect with your audience on a subconscious level (what color is money anyway?).
Conversion rate increase: 86.91%
So there you have it! Be sure to make those CTAs stand out so your audience knows exactly what they should be doing. And when you attach value in the copy too, it’ll make your CTAs downright irresistible.
Funnel Optimization Tweak #2: Reframe Your Lead Magnet
Maybe you saw this one in Matt’s (founder of AutoGrow) video above. But even if you did, it’s worth repeating.
Reframing your lead magnet is an especially simple yet powerful way to give your conversion rate a kick in the pants in no time at all.
Here’s the gist of it.
So as you probably already know, a lead magnet is a core asset for a sales funnel. A lot of the time, it’s the very first step that actually brings your prospects in. You offer a low-commitment item of value for free, and prospects tell you a little bit about themselves in order to get their hands on it.
Most funnels use this technique to first gain access to an email address that you can later use to nurture that lead into a customer.
But since it’s also usually one of the only entry points, a lead magnet with low conversions can cause a serious bottleneck for the rest of the funnel.
Solution? Try reframing it as another kind of lead magnet.
It’s easier than it sounds, I promise.
You see, one of the 7 Laws of Funnel Physics is the Law of Alignment. When prospects move through your funnel and their expectations are met at every step of the way, your funnel’s well aligned. And that leads to better conversions.
But in that same way, your lead magnet has to align with the unique preferences of the customer themselves. And that means offering the right kind of lead magnet for them can make it all the more clickable.
So let’s say your current lead magnet offer is a checklist. Experiment with positioning it as a guide. Or your whitepaper as an eBook.
In most cases, making the switch is as simple as adding in a few new bullet points, popping in a header or two, or removing a particularly dense chunk of text.
And then A/B test the new version against the old one. You may be surprised at how awesome the results are.
Funnel Optimization Tweak #3: Add Some Humanity to Your Funnel
Let’s try one with a bit more of the “human element.”
People love people. Well, not always. And after just barely making it through the Thanksgiving season in one piece (family dinners, ugh), I can understand that on at least some level.
So rather, people love to know that they’re working with people rather than some giant faceless capitalism machine.
It’s the human element. And it sells.
Now, one way you can add a bit of the human element to your sales funnel is by injecting some personality into the copy. Throw in a colloquialism or two. Use humor. Pepper your pages with vivid imagery, alliteration, and symbolic language.
But we’re talking about optimization techniques you can pull off in an afternoon here. So depending on how much of a wordsmith you are, that might take a bit longer.
So instead, try this… add pictures of real-life people to your website.
Humans respond to the faces of others. In fact, a good chunk of our brain is dedicated specifically to recognizing barely perceptible changes in the faces of others.
And when you pop a happy face onto your landing page, it can lead to serious conversion jumps. That goes double for when the person on your page is actually doing something human too (running on a road or holding a baby).
Case in point: check out this tiny change that boosted conversions by 66%!
Look at that. Children really do make all the difference, huh?
So, if you don’t have any smiling faces on your website, find some headshots of past clients on LinkedIn and throw them onto your website. It’ll only take a sec, I promise.
And if you can get pics that show these people for the living, breathing humans they really are, then all the better.
Funnel Optimization Tweak #4: Offer a Second Version of Your Lead Magnet
This is the second tweak coming from Matt. And like the last tweak, it deals specifically with one of the most important parts of any funnel: the lead magnet.
Except instead of focusing on the Law of Alignment, this one hits on the Law of Range.
This law states that no matter what it is you’re selling (mug koozies, consultation services, or even luxury yachts), people love options.
Different customization options, additional (or fewer) services, tiered package offerings—people like to choose from a range (eh?) of products rather than be stuck with only one option.
Bam—Law of Range.
One exceedingly simple optimization technique you can use in your sales funnel, then, is giving your visitors more options on how to consume your lead magnet.
You’re checking out a service for, say, an instant funnel marketing team. And as you’re clicking around, you keep seeing an offer for a free guide to sales funnels on the sidebar. “Interesting,” you think. But unfortunately, your time is super limited thanks to your 1.5 hour commute each way.
So you don’t click.
Now, normally that’d be the end of it. Maybe a concentrated string of nurturing emails could get you to opt-in over time. But for most, making an initial evaluation of something sets a foundation that’s difficult if not impossible to tear up (i.e., you probably won’t ever change your mind).
And so, you move the cursor up to that X on the window so you can start your day. But suddenly, an exit pop-up window appears.
It looks like that free guide is available in audio format too! You could even listen to the whole thing on your way to work!
Click. Opt-in. Value. And now you’re a customer for life.
See how that works? It’s practically the same product but offering it lets you appeal to a much wider audience.
And all you have to do is record yourself reading through the original lead magnet. That’s an hour or two of your afternoon. Tops.
So give it a try. You might be surprised by the results.
Funnel Optimization Tweak #5: Add More Form Fields
This one is bound to be a bit of a surprise for a lot of you.
Add more form fields.
What? Why? How?
Counterintuitive as it may seem, increasing the number of form fields on your opt-in can actually boost your conversions.
For example, one info product actually saw a 120% jump in conversions just by adding fields for a first name and an email address.
Check it out below.
So, why does this work again? Well, the theory is that adding more form fields actually increases the perceived value of the product. If it requires a little more commitment to get, then it’s got to be worth it, right?
That being said, you certainly don’t want to overdo it. Because adding too many form fields (one of the most common conversion-hitting mistakes) can lead to the opposite effect.
While more form fields can do wonders for helping you segment your audience and increasing the perceived value of whatever they’re opting into, they can also be daunting. Overwhelming. And imply an uncomfortable level of commitment.
When it comes to lead magnets especially (reasonable value for minimal commitment), you definitely don’t want to come on too strong. Otherwise, no one will click. And that means no one will get sucked into your funnel.
So there you have it!
5 easy-peasy optimization techniques you can use to boost your conversions.
- Create better ctas
- Reframe your lead magnet
- Add some humanity to your funnel
- Offer a second version of your lead magnet
- Add more form fields
Plus, each is so simple, you can pull them off in just a single afternoon. You could even do them today!
And if your audience responds to the changes you make, you could be seeing some massive improvements in your sales funnel performance in no time flat.
Remember: the smallest tweaks can lead to the biggest changes.
Just look at elephant toothpaste.
What kinds of optimization techniques have you seen great results with in your funnel? Which of these have worked the best for you? And what middle-school science experiments were your favorite?
Let us know in the comments below.
And as always…
Keep funnelin’, stay focused.