Leads are the backbone of any online business.
But how do you optimize your lead-gen funnel so that you generate more high-quality leads with the same amount of time and/or money?
That’s what we’re talking about in this guide.
Because optimization can have a massive impact on your business.
“We recently were able to achieve a 59% conversion rate on an E-book funnel with a 25% SMS optin on the thank you page. This resulted in a cost per lead of $3 vs $10+ and a 3x higher return on ad spend.”
How do you do something like that?
Let’s dive in!
Step 1. Set Realistic Expectations
The first step to any optimization process is to set realistic expectations.
You’re an entrepreneur or a marketer… so it’s likely that your baseline expectations for what’s possible are often a little (a lot?) optimistic.
That’s a good thing.
But it can also be a bad thing.
Because optimizing a funnel isn’t as simple as just changing some stuff and seeing how it does — especially if you’re looking to create systems and processes for optimizing your funnels over the long-term.
So start by setting realistic expectations…
- How much time does your team have to dedicate to testing and optimization?
- How many tests do you want to run per month?
These questions will largely be determined by the number of people on your team.
If you have a team dedicated to testing and optimizing, you’ll be able to do more. Build processes and systems for testing that keep the ball rolling.
If you’re a one-man show, be careful not to spend so much time on optimizing and testing that you’re neglecting more important tasks for your business.
Either way, before you try to optimize, make sure you’ve got realistic expectations.
Step 2. Collect Critical Data
Knowledge is power.
And optimizing your sales funnel requires a good bit of knowledge.
You shouldn’t just start testing stuff, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best.
You should know what you’re going to test, why you’re going to test it, and the results you’re hoping to achieve.
After you set realistic expectations, then it’s time to collect critical data.
Look at each part of your lead-gen funnel and identify the following metrics…
- Conversion Rate — This is the percentage of people who convert at each step of your lead-generation funnel. You can look at the click-through rate on your advertisements, the conversion rate of your entire funnel, or the conversion rate for specific pages of your lead-gen funnel.
- Unsubscribe Rate — This is the percentage of people who unsubscribe from your email list with every email you send. The goal is to be under 0.5%. If you’re quite a bit higher than that, then there might be something wrong with your lead quality or your email marketing practices.
- Spam Complaint Rate — If a lot of people are reporting your emails as spam, that indicates that you’re either generating low-quality leads or your email marketing practices are shady.
- Cost Per Lead — This is a big one. How much does each lead cost you? Lower is better, but the amount you’re willing to spend will depend on how much money you make off an average customer.
- Drop-Off Points — This is one of the most important metrics to look at. Where within your sales funnel are people dropping off? Are they not even clicking on your ads? Are they dropping off on the landing page? Or maybe they’re dropping off somewhere else? When we’re talking about conversion rate, the drop-off point is the place that needs to be optimized.
- Lead-To-Customer Conversion Rate — How many leads are you turning into customers within, say, a one month period? The end-goal, after all, isn’t to generate leads… but to make sales. This metric is indicative of the quality of leads that you’re generating (as well as the quality of your primary sales funnels).
Once you’ve got those metrics, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to optimize.
Step 3. Gather Scrollmaps and Clickmaps
Scrollmaps and clickmaps of your pages will give you a general idea of how people are engaging with your funnel.
Scrollmaps show you where people are scrolling to on a single page and where they’re not scrolling to (i.e. where they start to lose interest). This is particularly useful for long sales pages.
Clickmaps will show you where people do and don’t click.
But why do we recommend utilizing scrollmaps and clickmaps before creating a hypothesis and running a test?
Because these are going to give you a better idea of why something isn’t working.
Maybe, for instance, you find that people aren’t scrolling below the fold and they’re not clicking on the CTA — they’re just leaving. That probably means you need better content above the fold.
Or maybe you find that most people aren’t scrolling far enough to see your most compelling testimonials… so you might try to move those up.
Optimization is all about identifying weak points and making them stronger.
Scrollmaps and clickmaps will help you understand how people are engaging with your sales funnels and give you an idea for which sections need to be optimized.
Step 4. Create Hypothesis
Now it’s time to use your marketing expertise and make a decision about what you’re going to optimize and how you’re going to try and optimize it.
First, figure out if you’re focussing on quality or quantity.
If your lead-to-customer conversion rate is low and if your unsubscribe rate is high, then there’s a decent chance that your funnel is generating low-quality leads.
Possible causes of that include…
- Irrelevant Offer — This means that your lead-gen offer is attracting the wrong people. There should be crystal-clear alignment between your lead-gen offer and your primary offers.
- Poor Primary Sales Funnel — Maybe you’re generating high-quality leads but those people aren’t turning into customers because your primary sales funnel is ineffective. In that case, your lead-gen funnel is fine. Go fix your primary funnel.
- Shady Marketing — Sometimes, a high unsubscribe rate or spam complaint rate means that people view your marketing practices as shady. Try being more honest and transparent.
Assuming that your lead quality is good, then it’s always a good thing to try and increase the quantity of leads that you’re generating. That means increasing conversion rates and decreasing cost-per-lead.
Possible causes of low lead quantity include…
- Uninteresting Offer — If your offer isn’t super compelling to your target market, then people aren’t going to become leads. Offer them something awesome.
- Poor Sales Copy — Sales copy is an artform. And crafting compelling sales copy is sometimes quite difficult. Look at what your competitors are doing.
- Lack of Urgency — People are procrastinators. If you’re not giving people a reason to take action right now, then they’re likely not going to.
Once you’ve identified whether you’re going to try and improve lead quality or quantity, start looking at what your competitors are doing with their lead-gen sales funnels.
(We call this funnel hacking)
Go through your competitor’s sales funnels and take notes…
- What is their lead-gen offer?
- What are they doing that you’re not doing?
- How do they convince people to take action?
- How do they create urgency or scarcity?
- How do they catch people’s attention in their ads?
If it’s working for them, it might work for you, too.
After a bit of researching and brainstorming, you should have a few ideas for what to do to improve your lead-gen funnel.
Choose the best idea and create your test!
Step 5. Create A/B Test
Technically speaking, creating an A/B test is really easy — you can even do it right inside of your ClickFunnels account.
But before you do that, there are a few things you should keep in mind to preserve the integrity of your test and ensure that you get high-quality results.
First of all, set a goal.
What result are you trying to achieve with the change? You should know which metric you’re trying to improve and what a winner or loser will look like at the end of the test.
Speaking of determining winners and losers, here are a few things to keep in mind…
- Statistical Significance — It’d be easy to think that after a few hundred visits, you’ll be able to announce a winner… but that probably isn’t the case. You’ll need to make sure that your results are statistically significant before you make a final call. Here’s a calculator from Neil Patel that you can use to find out.
- Random Variables — To avoid unclear results, make sure that all other variables (except for the change you made) stay as consistent as possible. If you’re changing something on the landing page, for instance, then the rest of the sales funnel should stay the same. Otherwise you’re going to get confusing results that are impossible to read.
Also, set a budget and a time-line for the test.
How much money are you willing to spend on this test before you call it quits (in the all-too-common case that you get inconclusive results)? How much time are you willing to give it?
Those are questions you should have clear answers to.
Once you do, create your test and launch it!
Step 6. Give it Time
If you’re going to get results that mean something, then it’s going to take a bit of time (unless you have a big budget and are driving a lot of traffic every day).
So be patient.
Don’t announce a winner or loser when it’s still too early to call.
But also don’t go over your predetermined budget or timeline… even if the results are inconclusive. We run a lot of split tests here at ClickFunnels and you’d be surprised at how often that happens.
Give it time, accept the results for what they are, and stop the test when you intended to stop the test.
Step 7. Keep Testing
That’s the process.
Some of your tests will turn up exciting results. You’ll learn a new trick for increasing the conversion rate or the quality of leads that your lead-gen funnel is driving.
Other tests won’t be very exciting…
They’ll turn up inconclusive results that you can’t reliably pull any meaningful information from.
It’s all part of the process.
The important thing is that you keep testing, you keep learning, and you keep optimizing.
The more you do, the more you’ll improve the quantity and quality of your lead-gen efforts.
Final Thoughts on Lead Generation Optimization
Optimization has its benefits.
Higher conversion rates. Better lead quality. A more successful business.
To make it happen, follow the above 7 steps — set realistic expectations, collect critical data, gather heat maps and visitor recordings, create a hypothesis, A/B test, be patient, and keep testing.
The more you optimize, the better you’ll get at optimizing.
And the more successful your lead-gen efforts will be because of it.