30 Jul

Get Funnel Vision to Increase Software Sales

Increase software sales with Funnel Vision

Increase software sales with Funnel Vision

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.

Jason Bedunah

27 Jul

Discover the WHO To Increase Your Software Sales

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Nail the WHO and You’ll Boost Software Sales

When you discover WHO you are targeting everything becomes much more clear. I often come across software sales pages or other marketing messages that describe WHAT problem their software solves but gives hardly an inkling of WHO it solves it for and that can make a HUGE difference.

Take this quick example: You feel like you need an energy boost because you really notice yourself fading in the afternoon meetings with your junior staff. You don’t want to drink any more coffee because that has diminishing effects and you loathe the crash. You think, “Maybe I’ll take some vitamins!”

You get to the drug store and are overwhelmed by the choices. You decide on a multi-vitamin to see if that helps and are faced with 5 choices:

  • A-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • B-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • C-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • D-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • E-Brand General Multi-Vitamin

You pick them up and have trouble distinguishing them from each other. Some brag about their quality, one of them says they’ve been in business over 50 years, another says they use state-of-the art equipment. As far as you’re concerned they look the same so you decide to grab the next-to-cheapest and be done with it.

But, before heading off to the cash register something catches your eye. You see another row of vitamins.

  • Multi-Vitamin for Active Teens
  • Multi-Vitamin for Executives
  • Multi-Vitamin for Seniors 65+
  • Multi-Vitamin for Bodybuilders

You think, “Hey, I’m an executive… but this is more expensive than the General Multi-Vitamins, why?”

You look at the bottle and see a couple of blurbs:

  • “Extra B12 For All-Day Energy”
  • “More Vitamin D to help get a good night’s sleep.”
  •  “20% more B6 to help you keep calm under pressure.”

Suddenly, the Executive bottle looks a lot better… I mean, it’s mentioned you by ‘name’ and hit on your top 3 needs! It no longer looks expensive. Now, it looks like the only sane choice.

It was specially formulated for YOU.

Any of those other General Vitamins could’ve had the same blurbs on them but they would have had MUCH less impact.

Why?

The answer lies in Context. It is not enough to know it internally. Everything in your marketing and advertising must bear it out. This is specifically for YOU.

The Context must be unmistakable. If you can swap out benefits and have it still apply to non-targets you don’t have it down yet. While the feature might be the same, the benefit, the language, the viewpoint will all be different depending on the Context, the WHO.

Now imagine the Context is Multi-Vitamin for Husbands (or Wives). There’d be a whole DIFFERENT set of statements on those bottles, wouldn’t there? Maybe something having to do with *ahem* performance?

The WHO, the Context, makes the benefits seem more real, even more believable. You suppose if it was built/designed/engineered with YOU in mind and it mentions your top concerns and benefits, why consider anything else? Any vendor who has taken the time to do that has a better shot of actually helping you. They get the nod even if they are more expensive.

Any haggling on price is an indication that the WHO is not well-established and the context-specific benefits have not been thoroughly ferreted out. Price sensitivity means they have others to compare your offering to… but when those two things are nailed and communicated properly, there is NO competition. (Price sensitivity can also be created by HOW you are selling but that is a subject for another post).

Context sets you up to get to your prospects early and educate them right into the sale. Further, by creating quality content explicitly for them you can BE FOUND instead of using expensive advertising dollars to compete for their attention along with everyone else.

Which are you more likely to download and actually read, “How Executives Can Have More Energy Throughout the Day” or “How to Have More Energy Throughout the Day?”

How to do this wrong.

I’ve seen sites that had a “Who Is This For” type section which listed all of the WHO’s the software could be used for… I won’t call them out, that’s not my style, but it is rampant.

And, it is weak. In fact, I know it to be detrimental. When they connect in the Context, they shouldn’t see “How Busy Mom’s Can Have More Energy Throughout the Day” with your formula on it.

That destroys the magic.

Is it for me? or Not? If the magic is destroyed then they’ll assume it’s not. The connection is dashed and now they know it was just a cheap marketing gimmick. You want to create a different formula for Busy Moms? Fine. If I’m a Male there should be almost no chance I ever hear of it. If I’m an Executive AND a Busy Mom I might come across it but it should look VERY different or the magic context is destroyed.

Pick your WHO and dive in. Commit! Build everything in that funnel to that WHO.

Most are too scared. They think they are leaving money on the table. On the contrary, you will be penetrating deeper, your cost of acquisition will be low and you’ll be able to charge a premium. If done right, you will have NO direct competition and it will be easy to show why the alternatives are a poor choice.

Picking your WHO makes everything easier. The best time to pick your WHO is before you even have a product.

Second best is right now.

If your software sales are lackluster. If it feels like the cost of acquisition is high. If you have to discount, engage in sales, negotiate on price or do special deals to close a sale consider that you don’t have the magical context, the WHO, nailed down.

Jason Bedunah

photo credit: Frédéric Poirot via photopin cc

25 Jul

How to Combine Surveys With Landing Page Optimization to Sell More Software

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Ever feel like creating new things to test during a landing page optimization exercise is a crap shoot?

I know I often did.

I’d hear ideas like “What if we change the button to red to give the psychological impression of ACTION!”

Someone would counter, “I think the other color to test should be blue in order to keep the brand’s color scheme consistent.”

What it told me was that once you got past the headline and subheads, most marketing people struggled to offer meaningful tests.

Test The Language of the Customer, Not The Language of Marketers Trying to Act Like Customers

But, all that was solved after I started combining the quantitative results of landing page conversion rates with the qualitative results of surveys.

By poring over surveys from customers I got all of the creative ideas to test I would ever need!

No testing red buttons versus blue buttons. Now, I could test actual phrases, angles and concepts pulled directly from customer feedback.

I switched from testing ideas from marketing people to something 10x more valuable… testing the language of the customer. Now the landing pages were talking to the customer, in the language of the customer, using their own words, phrases and angles so they GOT it and understood.

How Surveys Help Your Company Sell More Software

The result: Shortcutting the process to major improvements.

What survey? Net Promoter Score (R) is the simplest and easiest. It is only three questions (when done right) and the third question I like to ask is, “If you answered 9 or 10, what would you say to someone when recommending our service?”

This is THE most valuable question you can get answered. It will be a tremendous source of ideas, angles and language that NO MARKETER could deduce.

It can also solve mysteries. Like the one I was caught in late 2010. At that time, I was consulting with an eCommerce company that sold supplements.

They had a product that did well in their catalog and in stores but for some reason they just couldn’t get it converting well on the web. We KNEW it was converting for others so we really were in mystery about this whole thing.

I launched an NPS survey to the people who had purchased the product. Everything looked fine except a noticed a couple of comments like “too hard to read.”

Odd.

I dug deeper. The product was for older people. I had someone follow up. What exactly was hard to read. The text, the bottle, the ingredients… basically everything, he said. He had to have his wife come over and read it.

Could this solve the mystery?

Not entirely. But, it did help. We did notice a boost. And, it was enough to keep the client’s interest up until we got a few more breakthroughs.

Something as simple as normal text being too hard to read for older people depressed response. And, none of us 20 and 30 year olds would’ve caught it. Ever.

But, the survey did. It also yielded us a use for the product and a major concern that none of us would’ve ever guessed.

All those coupled together provided a huge win in the LPO exercise. It is highly unlikely we could’ve “brainstormed” or “had a creative breakthrough” to get any of them on our own.

The takeaway: Run NPS Surveys on your list of customers and use the insights gained from it to create new landing pages to test during Landing Page Optimization.

Jason Bedunah

P.S. If you want to start a dialogue you can find me at either of the properties below.

@jbedunah on Twitter
Jason Bedunah on LinkedIn

photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc