I’m often asked why small businesses should consider marketing automation, lead nurturing, and tools like ORBTR when they are already engage in activities like Search Engine Optimization and social media. I would never suggest that SEO, social media and other traffic generating tactics are unimportant. But in a lot of ways, nurturing and on-site content optimization are more important — and the reason has to do with a fundamental misunderstanding of how the online sales funnel really works.
The above graphic shows the traditional view of the sales funnel, interpreted by many small business people to their websites and online marketing as follows:
A group of people come to my website and a few fall out the bottom as leads. A few of those will be converted to paying clients. So if I want more clients, I need to increase traffic to my website. If more people come through my site more leads will come out the bottom.
Simple math tells us that this approach is incorrect.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that your website attracts 1000 visitors per month and that you convert .5% of all visitors into leads and 25% of leads into sales. Those numbers would yield about 5 leads per month and likely one closed sale. Increasing site traffic by 50% (a LARGE jump!) based on those numbers, you’re still only pulling 7-8 leads per month and 1-2 closed deals — essentially a zero gain.
And even logically, this approach doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
In a post I wrote last month, I compared the instinct that drives business owners to build traffic at this point to giving a presentation at a conference in front of all your best prospects but being more concerned about all the people milling around in the lobby than the ones sitting in the room actively listening to you. In the conference example, providing an excellent experience for the people in the room NOW is going to be a more profitable endeavor than trying to raise your voice loud enough that the people outside might hear.
The same principle holds true for your website and sales process: providing an excellent experience for the people who are here NOW will yield more ROI than worrying about the people who are not.
So let’s try our math again, this time with a 1.5% conversion rate on the website and increasing our close rate to 40%. Now 1000 visitors yields up to 15 leads and 6 sales per month. And at that point, if we manage a 50% increase in traffic, we’re looking at 22-23 leads per month and 9 closed deals — a HUGE increase.
In planning any sales and marketing process, never forget that the money is at the BOTTOM of the funnel, not the top.