Daniel Burstein

Marketing Funnel Optimization: A straight-forward guide to design your offer

July 20th, 2023

Wednesdays at 2 pm EDT we hold an AI Guild briefing. Chat with MECLABS AI if you would like to register to attend.

In the session, marketers and entrepreneurs can ask questions in the webinar chat. And we answer a few of them right here…

What is an example of a “what will you give” when you are looking to simply get them on a sales call? If you have no freemium model, is it typically a white paper?

This question came up while we were discussing the Customer-First Objective tool available to AI Guild members as they design their offer.

I hope the questioner doesn’t mind if I challenge the basis of the question. Because it gets to the very fundamental reason the Customer-First Objective tool can be helpful – no one wants to be sold, they want to be helped. If you start with helping people, if we all start there, it can help open all our minds to help more people, and in so doing, ultimately bring them towards the conversions we need for a profitable enterprise.

However, if we start with shoehorning people onto a sales call, then we are more likely to lose people who could potentially be ideal customers.

As Bill, an AI Guild member, said in the chat, “I’m wondering who actually desires a ‘sales call.’ What might actually be desirable that you can give them without pressure or obligation?”

This isn’t marketing morality, it’s a simple fact of life. And I guarantee you act the same way when you are a customer. You’re not excited to jump on a sales call. You want help so you can meet your goals and overcoming your pain points.

This gets to a fundamental challenge for why ads, landing pages, and other marketing can underperform. It isn’t necessarily that the design doesn’t pop enough, or that the wording isn’t exactly right in the body copy. It’s that the framework all that marketing is built on – the offer – just isn’t serving a potential customer.

It is really difficult for marketers and entrepreneurs to see this, though. After all, they built the thing. Or they are pouring their life energy into the company to market it. Flint McGlaughlin called while I was writing this, and he told me the following when we discussed the Customer-First Objective tool, “We’re not just trying to help people get an offer, we’re helping them face a hard truth before the marketplace does it for them, before they learn through their data cycles [of ad and landing page testing].”

If you want to build a SuperFunnel, you start with a customer-first objective. You craft a customer journey that begins with a beneficial offer to the customer. On this path, you will help them and build trust. And the ideal customer will get to the point where they want to get on a call with you.

Now this is easier said than done, of course. So here are some examples of engaging the customer earlier in their journey even if you don’t have a freemium model. Sometimes, as the questioner mentioned, it is a white paper. But it could also be:

I hope you’ll see these as realistic examples. None of these three dropped business considerations entirely out the window and took a Pollyana-ish approach to helping customers. Nor were any of these as customer-first as they could be.

But they all moved closer to helping the customer and away from only focusing on the immediate promotional objective they had. Tiny steps, tiny steps. But tiny steps in the right direction.

To help you generate your own ideas, here are 54 elements that can help you guide your buyers’ journey through the marketing funnel.

And as I said, this is hard stuff. So here is a simple thought experiment you might try to help you reframe how you approach customers.

Pretend you’re out to dinner with a dear old friend and their spouse, catching up after many years apart. When they find out what you do for a living, it turns out they want to make a purchase in your field. However, they simply cannot purchase from you because you don’t serve their region. So you can’t sell them anything.

How would you help them? What would you do? If you sell bathtub refinishing, could you put together key trips for finding the right vendor? Give them guidance on how to check the installer’s license and insurance, how to understand if the warranty has value, mistakes to avoid in project planning, etc. Not to sell them and guide them only to your company, just to help them.

If you sell website hosting services, could you build a simple, free (or low-cost) tool that pings their cellphone the moment a denial-of-service attack is detected?

What could you do to help your friends?

And then – ok, super cheeseball alert here – don’t look at all those people in your ideal customer set as potential sales calls. Look at them as human beings, fellow wanderers on the journey, that you can help just like you helped your friends.

Fair warning though – these people will not know and trust you instantly, like your friends do. So once you make this internal shift and start offering something ‘free,’ you might get very excited. And assume just because it’s free you will get a lot of takers.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but you likely won’t. Your free offering still needs a powerful value proposition. Too much to get into on that topic in this post, but feel free to read – Selling Free Content: Why Seth Godin never gives anything away for free.

Is the forum on LinkedIn? How do I find it?

You can join the MECLABS Super Funnel Research Cohort group on LinkedIn to discuss these kinds of topics. And you can join us Wednesdays at 2 pm EDT for an AI Guild briefing.

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

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