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PART 1: PIPELINE OVERVIEW
5 Minute Read
Your potential customer probably has little to no idea about your brand, what you do, or why you do it. Before you delve into your brand’s what and why story, you must first be ‘heard’ in order to tell that story.
What you say first can pave the way for a successful relationship, or it can sever your chances of landing that lead. As the saying goes “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. This is why your initial impression must present you as trustworthy, interesting and unique. Audiences don’t want to hear the same spiel they’ve heard a million times. Instead they want something that will promise results, make their lives easier and give them a great initial experience.
If you do this you will stand out and be ‘heard’.
The awareness stage is the foundation of your pipeline. Without steady efforts to attract visitors to your website, the funnel will collapse. The top of the funnel fills a need or provides a potential solution to challenges customers face. This is where consumers are doing their research, seeking education about the solutions available on the market. Captivate these prospective customers with a compelling offer and watch them flow through the pipeline.
Also, top-of-funnel marketing sets the stage for advanced customer segmentation. Marketers can test messages across varying audiences, gauge interest and use learnings to drive the persona development process and hone their audiences.
Your Attraction & Impressions
Giving your brand a voice is difficult when you only have 3 seconds to grip the audience’s attention and sway them with your brand’s charming message. our overarching goal can vary between campaigns, but the general principles when creating attraction within your message (relevantly), are:
Don’t dive too deep too fast
Focus on your clear and concise on-brand message
Differentiate your brand with a unique experience
Develop your landing page to suite the voice and copy in your AD
Use native-like AD creative to increase engagement with your content
In Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2016 report, 53 percent of the professionals surveyed assert that the root of their challenges are in generating demand at top of the funnel, not the middle or bottom of the funnel. So how exactly do the best brands do it?
When you’re ordering a drink at a fast-food restaurant, do you ask for a cola, or a Coke (sorry Pepsi)? When you cut yourself, do you look for a plastic bandage, or a Band-Aid? Or when you think of marketing agencies, you imagine Sydney Digital Marketing. Bit of a stretch? You get the idea.
These terms are known as proprietary eponyms (Wordstream), and they’re the pinnacle of brand awareness. These brands have become so synonymous with the industry product, that they have replaced the generic terms for such goods. The high profile, market leading nature of these products have made these brands the primary go-to for all customers in that market. So even though you may not be as well known as Coca Cola, it doesn’t hurt to boost your brand using Sydney Digital Marketing’s tips in the section below – straight from our MD.
The key to building your brand is to spread the word, I.e. your message regarding your products and services. It is important that you try to control as much of your online image-shaping capabilities as possible. This is the job of a good marketing team.
The sections below will introduce the case study, provide top-of-funnel necessities and show how we solved the lead problem:
The Case of Dwindling Leads
Tips and Tricks of Top of Funnel Awareness
The Leads Solution
THE CASE OF DWINDLING LEADS
When the profitable outcome stream dries up, it is important to look up and down the sales funnel to identify where the blockage has come from.
Often the problem is at the source – the top of the funnel where marketing settings are turned to autopilot.
Disinterest from potential customers due to ineffective content will affect conversions further down the pipeline – brands in this position approach Sydney Digital Marketing after they have discovered their declining sales pipeline structure. Proactive brands adopt a different strategy – they approach us before they have sales pipeline issues, to get the latest on how best to get their slice of the market pie.
Below we will take a closer look at frequent company situations and the impact of their dwindling top of sales funnel.
Cue Company A
A B2B organisation were concerned that their company’s overall sales and opportunities had hit a rough patch of unreached KPIs and a tapering stream of new customers. Sydney Digital investigated and performed a variety of tests across social, email automation, Google Analytics and third party software to identify the cause of the customer drought.
Pay Per Click campaigns were analysed to determine the rise in CPA (cost per acquisition) and decline in leads. The data revealed much.
Site visits (click-throughs) were 75% lower in September compared to January across social and organic searches, despite their company using Adwords to appear at the top of 3 search keywords.
Conversions were down 80% and Costs Per Click were up 60%.
To give clarification to the above, brand traffic was costing far more per click (Cost Per Click), while receiving less sales volume. This meant competition for the keyword increased, but there was a decline in demand for the site – bidding more would not increase demand.
Changes to the company’s website and meta description also contributed to a decrease in conversions.
We delved deeper. Organic, direct and referral traffic ad leads were also down.
Further investigation uncovered a variety of sources contributing to this decline:
Website changes impacted SEO visibility
Direct traffic was down more than 82%
Email nurture campaigns slowed and traffic from email automation was down 40%
Paid display was down 60%
The findings were astounding, with the cause of the decline pointing to an area of investment that is often overlooked: the top of the funnel was closed and the result was a decline in brand awareness and participation.
Before we reveal the solution presentd to Company A’s problems, we will discuss the tools we used to enhance their performance. Each of these marketing assests is vital to fuelling top of funnel campaigns, that generate quality leads from targeted visibility.
These tools were crucial to Company A’s rejuvenation, and as such, could greatly help you improve your brand’s future awareness.
TIPS & TRICKS OF TOP OF FUNNEL AWARENESS
The top-of-funnel stage is meant to attract new potential visitors and, ultimately, business, so the tactics deployed should centre around educating unqualified prospects. Below we will review specific tactics that can be used to fill the funnel with prospects.
The most common form of top-of-funnel content marketing is blogging. This medium, a Sydney Digital Marketing specialty, covers an array of themes, appeals to a wide range of audiences and boosts your site’s SEO. It should be the most consistent marketing initiative, and feature the right blog strategy. This content must provide value to the user. While there may be technical approaches to enhance its search engine visibility, your blog must provide content relevant to your users.
Some examples of great top-of-funnel performance tools are infographics, how-to’s and articles that contain video content. Listicles feature easily digestible information on the given topic. Infographics provide an eye-catching, shareable way to capture the audiences attention through facts & visuals. Videos provide information with an amazing engagement and retention rate.
Commitment to the blog and a solid optimisation strategy will generate free traffic to your site. However, it is advised that you don’t use this strategy alone. Promoting this material across your social accounts is a great way to boost your existing content.
Promote your content through Sydney Digital Marketing’s signature lens of creativity, across social channels with psychographic segmentation. Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn channels are a fantastic way to drive relevant, targeted visitors to your website. Engaging audiences through social sites provide ideal first impressions that can build your brand image immediately. The data you collect, from the prospect’s visit to your site, is then used later down the funnel.
Psychographic segmentation allows us to splice your audience based upon various affinities, proclivities, values, interests and lifestyles. Unlike demographics, psychographics get to the root of who we are, and what defines us. Creative development of your audience engages customers based upon who they are. This leads to the creation of personas and niches within segments that use your services.
Sydney Digital Marketing specialise at creating effective strategies within this highly-targeted medium. The direction we provide caters specifically to your brand and industry, delivering engaging, on-brand messages.
Pay Per Click Marketing
Expanding beyond the realm of social, Google AdWords is a fast alternative to the content marketing highlighted above. Drum up initial interest and generate search awareness by consistently ranking at the top of your keywords – on a budget. The most visible brands, at the top of the results, are also the first to answer the audience’s queries. An effective campaign from us, can bring your brand to the forefront of your industry, with a bold website link that instils confidence. Even if the customer doesn’t choose to click your link, they will have seen your brand at the top of the results, thus creating an effective impression.
What is more credible: self-proclaiming your greatness, or having a reputable third-party proclaim your greatness? The latter provides audiences with the right footing to make a decision, and trust your brand.
Media relations – a subset of PR – is the practice through which companies earn media coverage. Companies increase awareness of and interest in the organisation and its products or services, via broadcasted social networks. Coverage can be achieved by:
Doing something newsworthy
Commenting on an emerging, hot or topical trend or story (I.e the new Facebook Feed change)
Promoting a new product or service
Placing a contributed article or case study in an industry trade publication
Winning an award, particularly those associated with a publication
Online social media outlets promote their content to current and potential subscribers via social, email and other mediums, exposing organisations featured in the content to new audiences. Email newsletters from third party sources could attribute you as an authority and use you as a reference. This can be achieved if your product is new, unique and provides value to their subscribers.
Speaking at events – conferences and webinars are arguably even more relevant. Your ability to acquaint prospects with your company and its offerings, as well as position key executives as thought leaders on a given subject, is great publicity. Attendees are there to hear your opinion, so delivering your message with authority and clarity will boost your credibility.
This method of awareness generation is another way to get your brand heard. Influencers are a great way to boost the appeal of your products and services across a network of relevant, active audiences . The right influencers should have followers that are your target market, so pitching your product to them in an affordable and authentic way is a must. This modern word of mouth mechanism, can increase trust and authenticity for a brand. Thus, the art of influencer marketing is getting your content in front of like-minded individuals, in the hope that they will share, comment or like your post.
83% of consumers say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. 74% percent say they trust consumer opinions posted online, accroding to a 2017 report from Nielsen, on trust in advertising.
SOLVING THE CASE BY KINDLING LEADS
The aforementioned client analysis shows declining performance at the top-of-funnel, which impacted various channels throughout the sales pipeline. Their top of funnel strategy was too narrow and scarce to support a healthy stream of inquiries coming in. Thus, they were failing to build the foundation of their marketing pipeline, by not introducing themselves.
To provide the solution and fix their top of funnel processes, we devised a strategy that would involve our creative, social and copy teams. Each cog within this solution, was used to lift the brand’s presence and authority. We implemented the tactics below:
Developed quality informative & educative content (pillar content) pushed out 2X a month
Developed 6-7 supporting blog posts around this educative content
Developed Adwords campaigns with more relevant keywords & better CTAs
Pushed awareness using Facebook Live, Facebook Ads & LinkedIn Ads (relevant to Company A)
Redesigned website to enhance customer experience and create an intuitive flow
Redesigned landing pages to build lead direction and conversion
Over the last 2 months, we have boosted Company A’s social performance and online visibility. The proportion of their lead generation is now coming from Facebook & Google organic/paid search. Below is a snapshot of their awareness improvement statistics:
New Users are up 235%
Organic Search Traffic is up 600%
Bounce Rate (people arriving to website then immediately leaving) is down 40%
Conversions from Social Ads are up 11% (Green)
Average Time on Website is up 3:40 seconds
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Key Takeaways From Company A
It may seem cost-effective, from a short-term perspective, to limit spending and decrease your budget for top of funnel campaigns. This is why the first department to have its budget diminished when funds are scarce, is marketing awareness. However, doing so is detrimental to your long-term objectives, and will drive up costs per conversion, while lowering conversion rates.
Your whole marketing schema must revolve around being able to pull new customers into the funnel to process their sale.
If your top of funnel marketing doesn’t reach them, they don’t know your brand exists, and setting up the rest of your sales pipeline will be in vein.
Sydney Digital Marketing have an incredibly adept top of funnel creative team, that use enticing imagery and analytic feedback to produce desired results across industries such as automotive, food & beverage, non-profit, construction, recruitment and more.
Our sales and content teams work closely together to provide material that answers customer queries. This is one of the many ways we listen to the customer when creating our own effective lead-generation awareness campaigns.
If you’re reading this blog, and have never visited our site before, it is because you have been led here by our own awareness-level marketing.
We are experts in how the pipeline process works, and can help brands like yours build a solid foundation for your awareness camapgins.
For those of you that have been to our site before, and are now returning, welcome back. The pipeline section you have just experienced by seeing and clicking through to this post, will be covered next week in our blog topic: