The CEO leaned forward in his chair. Our food hadn’t even arrived and we were already deep into conversation.
“I don’t understand.” he said. “I’ve given them everything they’ve asked for… money, tools, people. Instead of results, I just get excuses.”
I’ve been in these types of conversations countless times over the last ten years and, especially, since Google’s updates wreaked havoc on many.
And, I know what often came next. A blood bath. Budget cuts. Marketing people getting axed. But, the problem wasn’t the people or the budget or the tools. It was something else.
The waiter, sensing a deep conversation in progress, lightly set our food down on the table attempting not to disturb us.
“Ok,” I said. “I’ve taken a look at everything and your best chance doesn’t lie in Google SEO or adwords or an increased budget or anything along those lines.”
He looked at me, still perplexed, but was listening intently so I continued, “The internet has shifted on us again in the last few years. When you started this business in 2008 you could buy Adwords clicks for about a dollar or less. Now, you’re paying between $3 and $6. It’s no longer profitable to treat strangers as almost-buyers.”
He swallowed and put down his fork, “Ok, but if we don’t buy clicks and fix this SEO situation how in the world are we going to get growth?”
“We have to shift your focus to the WHO… and instead of marketing to a problem which ANYONE could have we have to focus on the people who have those problems. I know it sounds like splitting hairs but it makes a HUGE difference.”
The CEO looked even more confused. “This is your big idea? We already do that. On our website we have the customer personas. Nine of them, in fact. The case studies and testimonials are grouped by the personas, too”
I knew I had to tread lightly here (sometimes I have a tendency to be too blunt… even for Executives).
“Right. But, the fact that they are all there together basically says, ‘Our general solution also applies to you.’”
He gulped down some water and gave me a worried look, “We can’t afford to serve just one group. Besides, our offerings DO work for all those personas.”
“I got that. But, the problem here is NOT that you serve all those personas. It’s that they see the persona, think you have a special solution specifically for them but then get stuffed into the same funnel as everyone else. Context is everything.”
The CEO’s facial expression softened a little bit but he still looked slightly perplexed. I continued, “The funnel is designed specifically for WHO and needs to evolve given feedback from the WHO. If you are making changes on a general funnel one change that could INCREASE conversions for one persona could DECREASE them for another.”
The CEO leaned forward, he already looked a little more relieved, “So, we build unique funnels for each major persona?”
“Yes!” I said enthusiastically. But, I had to tell him it is just a little more complicated than that, “You’ll need unique content and social media for each one as well.”
Get Funnel Vision
We’re now in the process of building out these funnels and, while it does take some time and upfront investment in specific content, it doesn’t require a major investment – especially if you consider the payoff.
The upfront content, aka ‘Lead Magnets’, need to be geared specifically and ONLY for the personas (the WHO). The Lead Magnet brings them into the persona specific funnel which drives them to a specific goal: Trial Offer, Lead Form, A Sale, a Phone Call, etc.
With this setup, optimization of the funnel can provide huge gains because any insights you gain and test on the funnel have the best chance of applying to a significant percentage of the people in the funnel! This isn’t true of a general funnel.
If you don’t do it this way your optimization process will be confusing and essentially grasping at straws. Analysts will look at pages and essentially GUESS what to test and see only moderate increases in conversion.
But, if you connect and focus on personas and build specific content and funnels for them then their feedback, specific problems and benefits provide more than enough ideas and insights to create truly meaningful tests. Those tests can turn into a real boost in sales.
If you think some Funnel Vision could help increase your software sales reach out to me.