Every SEM specialist has undoubtedly used the term “customer funnel” before (and if you haven’t, maybe it’s time to hang up your hat). Annoyingly though, very few marketing blogs, at least from the ones I’ve seen, ever discuss real strategies and tactics that you can use to move your website visitors from one stage of the funnel to the next.
So here is the dead easy approach I like to take, and it works every time.
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have proper tracking in place. The big four will be: Google Analytics Pixel, Google Ads Remarketing Pixel, Facebook Pixel, and Bing UET code. Of course, for any additional advertising platforms you might be using (linkedin, twitter, reddit, ect) you will want to have the proper tracking installed as well.
All of these codes can be setup quite easily using Google Tag Manager, which is my preferred method for most tag implementation. Simply add each tag into the proper GTM container for your domain and set the trigger to fire on ‘all pages’ (unless you have specific pages where you do not want this, in which case you can add url exclusions). Now all you need to do is hit publish and you are good to go! It really is that easy.
Step 2: Once the code is installed, the next step is creating audience lists. This is done out of the marketing platform you are using.
Since instructions for this are platform specific, you can refer to these links here:
Now for an example. Let’s say that we are managing a PPC account for a large cosmetic dentistry practice in Los Angeles. This is an industry vertical with an extremely high CPC, so having a solid customer funnel is more critical than ever. But how do we begin?
First we will use our FSO skills, which means figure shit out. Because most pro marketers should be able to figure out what the customer flow is without having to bombard the busy client with too many questions. I’m by no means saying that asking questions is wrong, but make an effort to try and figure out as much as you can first, then ask the client to confirm or provide more details on specific aspects.
How do we go about this? You start by visiting the client’s top traffic URLs and take notes of everything you see. What does the page communicate? Is there a form on the landing page? What happens when you submit your information? Try to think like a potential customer, and follow the flow all the way to the very end. Write down any difficulties you encounter or questions that come into mind along the way.
Once you have gone all the way through to the purchase confirmation page and made detailed notes it is time to do a bit of digging into the client’s Google Analytics account to see if we can find any additional insights.
The first thing I would do is click on the Behavior drop down and select All Pages. This will give me a quick, high-level overview of what URLs are currently serving the most traffic.
Sorting by unique pageviews, the customer flow becomes very obvious. In this case, visitors hit the landing page first. At that point they either drop off or go on to submit the contact form, and some directly book an appointment online.
We can easily use this information to start creating our audience lists and using them to convert users down the funnel.
Audience List 1 (top of funnel): All landing page visitors who did not move to the next step of the funnel. In other words, people who visited the website and the left without taking any meaningful action. This will be the largest, but lowest performing of our audience lists in terms of ROAS. By saying this, I do not mean in any way that the quality of this audience is poor (they have still shown interest by visiting your website), I am simply stating that the quality of the list is not as good as people further down the funnel.
This audience list could easily be created using the following logic: URL contains ‘/landing/’ but does not contain ‘/thank-you-submit’ and does not contain ‘/appointments/’.
Audience List 2 (middle of funnel): The next audience list will be visitors who submitted the contact form but did not book an appointment online. These people might just need an extra nudge. A good strategy here would be to send them to a new landing page that has frequently asked questions. I would also remove the contact form on this page (these people already have contacted you) and only feature a prominent CTA for online booking. To do this I would create an audience rule such as: URL contains ‘/thank-you-submit’ but does not contain ‘/appointments/’. You also should be using different ad copy (Google, Bing, Facebook) that uniquely addresses this audience.
Audience List 3 (bottom of funnel): The last list I would create would be visitors who went to the online booking page but never completed booking their online appointment. This will be our highest performing audience in the funnel because they are almost ready to convert and just need a little extra push. This can be done with something like URL contains ‘/book-online’ and does not contain ‘/booking-confirmation’. You could try several tactics for this audience.
a) Adopt strategy similar to ‘audience list 2’ where you send users to a faq page with a prominent CTA to book online. This would actually be sending users back one step in the funnel, but is still a good option in this case. These people didn’t book for a reason the first time, and maybe adressing their concerns might be the extra push needed.
b) Sending them back to the initial online booking page they left the first time.
c) Sending them to a revised online booking page with less forms (ex, 3 fields instead of 6).
d) Sending them to a special offer booking page where they get an incentive if they book today.
There are really many different strategies you could try for this audience so it is important to always be testing.
Audience List 4 (previous purchasers) – This list is ultimately the most valuable, and a great strategy is to cross-sell additional products to these users, especially if you have tracking set up in a way that you can identify which products were purchased. For example, let’s say the dentist practice has product ids attached to all of their booking confirmations. So if a person booked an appointment for teeth whitening they might hit a confirmation url like ‘booking-confirmation.html?service=whitening’.
With this information, you could create an audience list from people who visited URL contains ‘booking-confirmation.html?service=whitening’ and send them ads for other cosmetic dentistry, or products you sell related to teeth whitening like a paste that helps maintain the results. You get the idea. Not all accounts have this level of tracking, so sometimes you need to just group the audience together as one big list and this can work too.
Step 3: I can’t stress enough that you really need to show different ads and landing pages to people in different parts of the funnel. Don’t just send them back to the page they started from (lots of marketers do this, and it can still work) because then you aren’t really moving them down the funnel at all, but just taking them back to where they left off.
You are also going to want to make absolutely certain that you are bidding higher for your most valuable traffic (purchasers and cart abandoners) compared to people on the lower end of the funnel like website visitors who did not take any action.
And that is the very basic idea on how to drive your customers from one stage of the marketing funnel to the next. Please reach out if you have any questions, and good luck!