The middle of the funnel often goes forgotten at even the smartest companies. Well, not today.
In this blog post, we’ll be going over why it’s paramount that you optimise the middle of your funnel. If you’ve always focused on the top of your funnel (as most marketers do), then hopefully this post will help you think deeper.
We’ll share examples and strategies so you can get a clear picture of how the middle of your funnel should look. Then we’ll move on to the metrics that will help you measure and optimise the middle of your funnel over time.
We make our own analytics tool that can help you to track these metrics and implement the changes you need to optimise your funnel. It’s simple to use, tells exactly what you need to know – and it’s free!
Why it’s time to prioritise the middle of your funnel
Did you know that 79% of marketing leads are never converted into sales?
Improving the middle of your funnel can greatly reduce that number. For companies where customers self-serve (ecommerce, lower-priced SaaS subscriptions), the middle of the funnel is usually handled by marketing. This is the bridge between the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel. Seems obvious, but the bridge gets broken a lot.
Why the top of your funnel gets all the attention
At the top of the funnel, there’s social media, blogging, podcasting and other forms of content – all created with the intention of building brand awareness and bringing more ideal customers into our web.
We attract customers with a variety of intent and awareness levels. Whether they’re just getting started looking for a solution, or don’t know that such a solution even exists yet, we want to bring them into the top of our funnel either way, so long as they match our ideal customer.
It’s time to build a bridge to the bottom of your funnel
Then at the bottom of the funnel we focus on conversions and sales. But without the bridge to the bottom of the funnel, the best potential customers stay at the top, checking out social media content, reading your blog, and then navigating away.
Not building that bridge, to begin with, is a really common problem. There will be social media marketers focused on content promotion. There will be CRO geeks testing landing pages. But what about the in-between? What about bringing more potential customers to those bottom-of-funnel actions? How do we do that?
It’s time to start focusing on the middle of the funnel and capturing more of that hard-earned top-of-funnel traffic.
Determining your best-fit mid-funnel channel
At every company, the best mid-funnel channels will be different. But there’s one channel that consistently dominates the middle of the funnel: email marketing.
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90% of consumers check their email at least once every day. Building a strong email list can serve as the foundation for the middle of your funnel. At the top, you’ll be attracting people into that list. In the middle, you nurture them. At the bottom, you’ll be sending them promotions and offers.
For nearly every business, email marketing is the perfect mid-funnel channel.
There are other related channels as well.
- Content marketing – such as these templates from Hubspot
- Digital advertising – like retargeting ads
- Side project marketing – such as this book from BombBomb
If you don’t have the middle of your funnel up and running, you can absolutely default on email marketing.
You can also take stock of what is working well in the top of your funnel and in the bottom of your funnel and consider how you’ll connect these two.
Middle of funnel examples
Let’s see how various types of businesses are bridging the gap in their funnel.
With many entrepreneurs and consultants, email courses are a popular way to build up their email list and bring more traffic from the top of their funnel (typically blogs and social media) lower down.
In this example from The Selling Family, a husband-wife duo that teach people how to sell on Amazon, they’re giving away a free 7-day email course to bring more people into their funnel.
Webinars are a great way to build out the middle of your funnel, especially if you’re a consultant, course creator, or a B2B technology provider.
In certain industries like health, fitness, wellness, and beauty, webinars can even work for B2C audiences. This example is for a webinar training teaching email marketing.
Ebooks, templates & guides
In B2B, ebooks, templates, and other forms of downloadable guides are everywhere. And for good reason.
These pieces of content are intended to be of high value for the reader so that they’re irresistible to the ideal customer avatar. They perform best when they valuable enough to charge for, and yet they’re free. They should save the reader time and/or money, like the above ebook templates from Hubspot.
Ongoing email nurturing
When you add more ideal prospects to your email list, you need to commit to building rapport with them. A surefire way to fail at the middle of the funnel is to go straight from the free content to dozens of promotions. When people feel that they’re being sold to continuously with no value add and no relationship building, they will quickly unsubscribe. That’s why the best funnels include plenty of nurturing content.
The free option that you offered to get them on your list (the webinar or ebook) likely solved a problem that they were experiencing. What else can you solve for them? How else can you help? The answers to those questions will help you build out a great nurturing sequence that establishes trust and builds the relationship so that when it comes time to make your bottom-of-the-funnel offer, the prospect has gone from warm to hot.
Mid funnel advertising
Advertising can play a big role in the middle of your funnel. While some companies still struggle to see ROI from top-of-funnel advertising, nearly every company with a great offer or product can get ROI from spending on ads in the middle of the funnel. That’s because of retargeting. You’re not spending your money on brand new people. You spend on those who are already aware of your brand and have clicked on a certain landing page.
IgnitionOne ad for an ebook
IgnitionOne, a customer intelligence platform, uses LinkedIn ads to bring more leads into the middle of their funnel with an eBook download.
Outreach ad for a webinar on cold calling
Outreach.io, a platform for managing sales prospecting across channels, offers a webinar to move more prospects from being aware of the product to being ready to buy it.
A Shopify ad for a playbook
Shopify, the ecommerce platform that even your mom has heard of, has a playbook that promises ecommerce success to the reader. After download, the nurture sequence educates prospects on more ecomm tips and trends and the value of the Shopify solution.
A Sales Navigator ad for a demo
An on-demand demo is perfect for the middle of the funnel. Sales Navigator isn’t asking for 1:1 on time, or going straight for the sale. Instead, they’re delivering valuable content that’s easy to consume, again moving from awareness deeper down the funnel.
Middle of the funnel metrics to track and improve
In the push to create more blog content and social media content, it can be so easy to neglect the middle of the funnel. Similarly, when you’re testing new headlines and images for your landing pages, it can be easy to forget that you’re not strategically driving traffic to those pages and instead are wishing and hoping that top of funnel traffic will magically find their way there.
Now’s the time to get the middle of the funnel up and running. Once you’ve done that, you need to evaluate the following metrics.
Optin page conversion rates
For your webinars, ebooks and other options, what are your conversion rates? If you’re dealing with low leads, optimising conversions on these mid-funnel pages can be of higher value to the business than optimizing your sales pages or homepage.
How many active subscribers do you have?
When you’re really ready to optimize the middle of your funnel, you should review this number weekly. When there are spikes in the number of weekly subscribers, determine what factors helped increase that number. When there are dips, try to understand why. Was less spent on content promotion? Did new pieces of content have lower organic reach?
You can also review your numbers of un-subscribers weekly. Unsubscribes are bound to happen. Far more informative than industry standards are your own benchmarks. For every email sent, you’ll establish an average number of unsubs. If that number is higher or lower for a given email, figure out why.
Email open rates and click through rates
When you’re nurturing the leads in the middle of your funnel, you’ll want to review which emails get the most opens and click-throughs and which get the worst. Discover trends in your top performers and low performers, than make edits to your sequences accordingly. This is especially important for automated sequences. You can’t “set it and forget it.”
Email responses from subscribers
Here’s a middle of the funnel metric that is rarely tracked. Whenever you send emails, you likely get replies, right? Whether a compliment, a complaint, or something support related, you’re bound to get replies.
What’s your average number for each email? What is the nature of the replies? Replies should be seen as a good thing, not a nuisance. It’s an opportunity to engage with prospects and learn more about what they like and don’t like.
Ad cost and click-through rates
Beyond the foundation of email for mid-funnel marketing, there are of course all of your retargeting metrics. For retargeting ads across a variety of platforms, you should pay lower amounts per click and enjoy higher click-through rates.
So make sure to benchmark your mid-funnel ads appropriately and optimize them with higher expectations than the ads that reach brand new prospects.
Think about the middle of your funnel as the bridge
Think of the middle of your funnel like a bridge. Build it strategically, and you’ll help bring more prospects to the bottom of your funnel every day. Ignore it, and you’ll have a long line of potential customers that never make it past the threshold.
GoSquared helps thousands of businesses get closer to their customers – at every stage of the funnel. Learn more about the GoSquared platform.