Wouldn't it be great if your marketing strategy worked in a total vacuum? By that, I mean marketing strategies would be so much more simple if one action led to one direct conversion.
But if you’ve been trying to figure out how to improve funnel conversion rates for longer than a minute, then you know it’s never this easy.
In reality, your marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts that you need to navigate in order to increase conversions. Take email marketing, for example. You can build an amazing email campaign, but even that requires at least three or four parts to be successful: high open rates, high click-through rates, and then some kind of a landing page that brings customers to another call to action as well.
One problem that many marketers face is that they don’t completely understand how all of these pieces work together to maximize their conversion rates.
That's why, in today's post, I'm going to teach you three ways that you can identify holes in your conversion funnel.
But before we get there, there's one key concept that you need to understand when it comes to keeping detailed track of your conversions. It's something that we've covered in a previous post, but it's worth bringing up again here.
If you’ve visited our Martech Hub in the past, then you're probably already familiar with a post that we released on the difference between KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics.
And if you haven't had the chance to check out that article yet, you can do so here.
This is the cornerstone principle of making sure that you're getting as many conversions as possible from your marketing strategy. So it's worth covering the basic difference between KPIs and metrics before we identify where things are going off the rails.
Simply put, KPIs are metrics with a specific and concrete goal in mind. Metrics, on the other hand, are a neutral piece of data that are neither good nor bad.
So, let's say you're trying to get as many people to a landing page from an email campaign. As you look at the analytics report from your email service provider on how your campaign is performing, you see that your initial email has an open rate of 17%. And out of all the people who open that email, 4.3% of the people actually clicked through to your landing page.
The metrics 17% (for your open rate) and 4.3% (for your click-through rate) are simply neutral pieces of data. They tell you the number of people who took a certain action, but in isolation those numbers really don't mean anything.
It’s only when you put those metrics behind the backdrop of a concrete goal that you get a KPI. If you say that your goal is to have a 21% open rate, and a 5.2% click-through rate, you can now make it more accurate judgement about what those metrics mean.
In other words, without a clear goal of what a campaign success or failure is and means to you, you'll never be able to identify any holes in your conversion rates.
It would be like trying to take a long road trip without having a final destination in mind. You'll end up wandering around looking at the sites without knowing exactly what you're looking for.
This may be the way that you like to travel, but it’s obviously not going to get you positive results in business.
The reason that this is important to understand now is because we're going to look at three different ways that you can find holes in your conversion funnel. When we use the term holes, we simply mean areas that could be improved to bring you more conversions. If you don't have any KPIs, it’s impossible to assess what’s working and what’s not working in your marketing strategy.
With that in mind, let's look at our three methods for identifying holes in your conversion funnel.
If you came to this post looking for the “magic pill” that will automatically fix your conversion problems, I hate to disappoint.
The fact is that getting higher conversions will always come down to having reliable marketing reports that include your strategy’s concrete KPIs.
It’s not the sexiest way of looking at it, but it’s the truth.
The difference between the methods listed below is simply how easy or hard you will make it to interpret the data you receive. Time and again, I’ve seen marketers leave tons of conversions on the table because they’re self-diagnosed “creative types,” not analytical.
So after a few months of dealing with spreadsheets from Google Analytics, they tend to lose the motivation required to optimize conversion rates. Then they go back to creating campaigns based on what their gut feels, rather than what the data says.
Our first method of creating a reliable and user-friendly marketing report tries to avoid this.
Anytime that you're looking for whether or not a section of your marketing strategy is getting you the conversions you want, you need data. That's not to say there isn't a certain level of creativity in marketing.
Of course there is.
But even creativity needs to be measured in terms of practical success in reaching your businesses goals.
The first method to identify holes in your conversion funnels is building one marketing report that you can send yourself on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that has all of your KPIs in one place.
It means breaking down how all of your different platforms are working together like social media, email, landing pages, product pages, and so on, to make sure that each individual piece is functioning the way that it should.
That usually means combining KPIs from different sources such as:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Email service providers like MailChimp
And, well... you get the point.
With Metrics Watch, you're able to create a marketing report that consolidates all of that data in one convenient place. That means you can send your team or clients all the information they need directly in their email inbox. They can then look at each piece of their marketing strategy to see what is performing well and what needs improvement.
Just like the doctor takes your weight and blood pressure for routine “check ups,” you can keep your finger on the pulse of your marketing strategy to keep it running at optimal performance.
The cool thing about Metrics Watch is how easy it is to customize in a way that makes your KPIs more visual. You can add bar graphs, charts, have color-coded data boxes that show increases or decreases in the data you’re looking for.
You can also try out Metrics Watch totally free, no credit card required. Just sign up for your free account, and you can build out some test reports for 2 weeks.
The next method of finding holes in your conversion funnel is actually the problem that Metrics Watch set out to solve in the first place. Marketers still do use this method every day, and it works just fine.
But it's a bit more of a pain.
This involves manually gathering all of the data that you need from different platforms and putting your KPIs in a spreadsheet. Then you have your team look at each individual part of the marketing strategy and figure out which piece of your system is working and what's not.
Honestly, this is usually done when you have one of two things at your disposal:
- A team of marketers who each take ownership of a specific part of your conversion funnel
- A low paid intern who doesn't mind doing the grunt work of tracking and compiling all the data each week
That last one is more of a joke, but it does happen more often than you might think.
When teams decide to manually throw together all of their KPIs in one place, there's usually a team-wide spreadsheet somewhere in the mix.
That means you'll have people who are working on social media fill in the KPIs from their department. And then you'll have the bloggers fill in their conversion goals on the same sheet. Then you'll have the copywriters add metrics from the email marketing service or sitewide traffic and conversion rates… and so on.
Depending on the team, this can get messy when some departments let the task slip their mind or people just get sloppy with their data entry.
Like everything in life, the more moving pieces you have in any one system, the more likely it is that that system will break down.
That said, this is certainly an option for identifying the holes in your conversion funnel and, honestly, I still see marketers doing it all the time. Many pull it off quite successfully.
Again, this was the driving factor behind why I built Metrics Watch in the first place. To me, pulling together all your KPIs from 4-5 separate platforms seems inefficient, tedious, and time-consuming, though I understand why some companies would be hesitant to change the systems they already have in place.
Again, there's simply no magic pill that can both identify and fix your conversion rates automatically. The goal is to figure out what works best for you, your team, and/or your clients.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is making sure you reliably have the data you need in a way that you can easily understand. How you compile that data is more of a personal preference than anything else.
In the last message, I made a joke about having a low paid intern take care of building these reports. It was said somewhat in tongue-in-cheek, though I've seen it happen frequently.
What other companies are more prone to do, depending on their budget, is outsource these marketing reports. By that, I mean they hire someone to build marketing reports for them and send it to their inbox on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Then they can open up their email and either head to a third party website to access their reports dashboard, or get a single PDF, Google Sheet, or CSV with all the consolidated information at their fingertips.
Both options tend to have their own set of complications.
If you have someone else compile your report and send them via PDF or a Google Spreadsheet, for example, you need to have a certain level of organization on your part to pull it off.
This is especially true if you’re a marketing agency sending reports to different clients. The last thing you want is to mix up your file attachments and send Company A’s marketing report to Company B. Or send February’s marketing report in July.
Again, these sound like silly examples until it’s your job to send 15 reports to 15 different clients on Monday morning before you’ve had your coffee.
And using a 3rd-party site’s marketing report dashboard is fine, but it still requires you to manage sub-accounts for your team or your clients. Like we said earlier in this article, the more steps you add to any system, the more likely it is to breakdown.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again:
When it comes to business, knowledge isn’t just power. It’s profits.
That’s why the only way to truly identify weaknesses in your conversion rates is to have all the knowledge you can at your fingertips. You need to map out how each part of your marketing plan works from start to finish, determine what your goals are for each of these steps, and then frequently track the results to optimize the entire system.
Since there are so many moving parts to keep track of, you want to make sure that whatever method you use makes it easy to pull up and interpret the data you’re looking for.
With Metrics Watch, you can compile one marketing report to be sent automatically to your inbox on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. There are no PDFs, file attachments, or spreadsheets. There are no sub-accounts, password management problems, or middlemen between you and the data.
Instead, you get all the KPIs you need, right in your email inbox, so you can find and fix the problems in your conversion funnel.