The Seven Best Practices for Building a Lead Gen Funnel

The Seven Best Practices for Building a Lead Gen Funnel

Carl Taylor | August 24, 2020

Without leads, your business can’t thrive. Find out how to build a lead generation funnel that results in a flood of prospects coming to you.

What do you think about the people who visit your website? Do you assume that most of them are ready to buy from you?

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Kissmetrics, a testing and analytics company, looked into this. They conducted a survey and found that a shocking 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy.

This doesn’t mean that they’ll never buy from you…

It simply means that they need more nurturing before they’re sure that you’re right for them.

This is where your lead generation funnel comes into play. Your funnel is a representation of the journey your customers go on before they’re ready to buy what you’re selling. Prospects pour into the funnel at the top, and then go through different stages with your business. At each stage, some prospects drop out, while others grow to like and trust you more.

At the end of the funnel, you have qualified prospects who really want to work with your business.

Having a strong lead funnel means that you catch more leads that would otherwise move away from you. And yet, a Salesforce survey tells us that 68% of companies don’t have a funnel!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the same survey reveals that, on average, 79% of leads don’t turn into sales.

It’s time for you to buck that trend.

With a great lead funnel, you bring more prospects into your business. This ultimately means that you make more sales, which means you have the revenue you need to scale.

In this article, we dig into the best practices you need to follow when creating your lead gen funnel.

The Seven Best Practices for Building a Lead Gen Funnel

Best Practice #1 – Understand the Stages of the Funnel

As mentioned, a lead generation funnel takes your potential customers through the stages of a journey. Typically, there are three stages to consider here.

Stage #1 – Top of Funnel

At this stage, the prospect is making their first contact with your business. They’ve become aware of who you are and want to learn more. In most cases, you won’t be speaking directly to the prospect at this stage. Instead, their awareness comes from discovering an article you’ve written or a social post you’ve shared.

So, the prospect knows who you are. But right now, they’re at risk of being among that 96% of people who visit your website and never come back. Your task is to move the prospect through to Stage #2 of the funnel.

Stage #2 – Middle of Funnel

At this stage, the prospect starts engaging more directly with your business. They want to know more about the problems you solve and the results you can achieve.

Your task here is to nurture the prospect. Share case studies of clients who have achieved success with your help. Offer whitepapers and ebooks to show the prospect that you understand their challenges and can offer a solution.

This type of content builds trust, which further engages the prospect. Eventually, they’ll move into the final stage of the funnel.

Stage #3 – Bottom of the Funnel

Now, the prospect likes and trusts you. They’re fully engaged with your message and believe that you’re the person to help them.

This is the time to make your offer.

You must understand these stages to ensure that you don’t make your offer too early. Trying to sell a service to a prospect who’s in Stage #1 could lead to them dropping out of the funnel. They may see you as too pushy and disengage.

Conversely, failing to make a timely offer to somebody who’s in Stage #3 could lead to the assumption that you have nothing to offer. Again, the prospect drops out of the funnel and moves on to someone else.


Best Practice #2 – Identify Your Ideal Prospects

Your goal with your lead funnel is to attract clients you want to work with. Many business owners make the mistake of trying to attract everybody that they can. Then they end up having to sift through a lot of bad leads. And while they’re doing that, they’re not paying attention to the good leads, which could lead to some good leads disengaging.

Your ideal client is the client who offers everything that your business wants. They have a problem that you can solve, and their personality aligns with your goals.

How do you figure out what this person looks like?

Examine your current customers. Focus on the ones you enjoy working with and who generate the most revenue for your business. They can act as the blueprint from which you’ll build your ideal prospect persona.

Once you have that persona, you’ll know who to target with the content contained in your lead generation funnel.


Best Practice #3 – Focus on Lead Quality

Related to the previous point, we have lead quality.

You don’t want to have your marketing and sales teams wasting time sifting through bad leads. While this seems like a simple concept, in practice it’s often difficult to determine lead quality. For example, your marketing team may believe that somebody who downloads a report is a good lead. However, your sales team may not consider somebody a good lead until they’re ready to make a buying decision.

The key here is to figure out what a good lead looks like for your business.

Once you have that definition, make sure that everybody in the business agrees with it. This ensures your entire team gets behind the search for a certain type of lead.


Best Practice #4 – Map Out the Prospect’s Journey

The stages of a typical lead funnel offer some insight into the journey that your prospect goes on. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for the prospect to stay on that journey.

This is where your content comes into play. Develop a roadmap for the content that you’ll deliver at specific stages of the journey.

At the early stages, your content will revolve around helping the prospect identify a need. It will discuss key challenges in your niche and help the prospect see why they might need your service.

With the need established, the next stage of the journey is all about providing more information. Remember that the prospect isn’t engaged with you yet. They’re just aware of you and the problems that you solve. Now, they want to gather more information about the problem and its potential solutions. Point the prospect to informational content to show them that you know what you’re talking about.

Next, the prospect will start looking at alternatives. Your goal at this stage of the journey is to offer materials that allow for positive comparisons. Your content should show what makes you different and how you get amazing results for your clients. Stack the deck here, and the competition can’t measure up when the prospect compares their businesses to yours.

The final stage of the journey revolves around making your offer. The prospect is ready to buy – and you need to figure out how to present your offer in an attractive way.

That’s a typical customer journey map. Your map may vary depending on the needs of your prospects. But the key here is that you have content ready for each stage of the journey, so that you keep prospects moving through your funnel.


Best Practice #5 – Build Great Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is a piece of content that you offer in exchange for a prospect’s details.

You use lead magnets when the prospect is in the middle of your funnel. It’s at this stage that you want to start engaging them directly, likely via email.

A great lead magnet has the following attributes:

  • It solves a problem that your prospect has.
  • The content leads to a result, which shows the prospect that you can help them.
  • The content is presented in a way that the prospect can understand.
  • It reduces the risk that the prospect takes on.

That last point is particularly important.

Every prospect measures up the risk of working with you against the reward that they might get if they do. The goal here is to make the reward so enticing that it outweighs the risk. This is what your lead magnet needs to do. It should offer an amazing result, in exchange for the relatively risk-free action of sharing their email details.

Best Practice #6 – Create Great Landing Pages

You could have the best lead magnet in the world…and it won’t matter if your landing page isn’t up to the prospect’s standard.

There are several elements that a great landing page needs to contain. We go into detail on that in another article, so here they are in short:

  • An attractive headline that identifies a key pain point and is relevant to what the prospect wants
  • Social proof that demonstrates your ability to create a result for others
  • High-quality imagery
  • A lead capture form that’s easy to fill out
  • The ability to share the page with others
  • Simple calls to action that make the next step clear

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone when designing your landing page. The Automation Agency team specialises in creating attractive pages that get results. Send your task to our Concierge Service and we’ll get to work.

Best Practice #7 – Find the Most Effective Way to Drive Traffic to Your Funnel

This is where you’ll need to engage in some testing. There are many ways to push traffic towards or through your funnel. These include:

  • Organic social content
  • Posts that you share on your blog
  • Videos
  • Paid advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads
  • Email campaigns
  • Guest posts on influencer’s websites

Some of these tactics will prove more effective than others in driving traffic to your funnel. Your task is to experiment with them to see which work best. Figure that out and then focus on building that particular type of content.

While Automation Agency can’t help with all of these techniques directly, we can offer plenty of supporting services. For example, our design team can create attractive images for use in blog posts and ads. We can also help you create automated email campaigns. To find out more, send a task to the Concierge Service.

The Seven Best Practices for Building a Lead Gen Funnel


Do You Have a Lead Gen Funnel?

If you don’t, you’re likely losing potential clients without even realising it!

The seven best practices that we’ve shared here will help you to create a powerful funnel that attracts more leads. But perhaps you need a little extra help?

That’s where Automation Agency comes in.

Beyond the tasks we’ve already mentioned in the article, we also offer a lead generation funnel building service. We bring together our team of designers, developers, and marketing specialists to create funnels that get results.

Do you want to leverage our expert team?

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you to design a lead generation funnel that gets results. And if you need more convincing that we’re a good fit for you, talk to our Right Fit Chatbot!

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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