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The Art and Science of Filling a Sales Funnel With More Leads

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Nate Nead


One of the biggest mistakes I see young or inexperienced entrepreneurs make is having no defined sales process. More specifically, there’s no funnel in place for walking people from awareness to purchase. This is highly problematic and typically holds a business back from achieving any level of noteworthy success. 

In this article, I want to show you some of the art and science behind how you can architect a sales funnel and, ultimately, fill it with more leads who become qualified prospects and, eventually, morph into customers. If that sounds good, keep reading.

A Breakdown of the Basic Sales Funnel

There are plenty of different creative acronyms and funnel illustrations out there, but it’s easiest to think about your funnel in three main stages:

  • Leads (Top of the Funnel)
  • Prospects (Middle of the Funnel)
  • Customers (Bottom of the Funnel)

The goal, obviously, is to turn leads into prospects and prospects into customers. But in order to do that, you have to understand the emotional state of each prospect in each stage. 

When a lead is in the top of the funnel, the goal is to move them from awareness to interest. That’s it. You’re not trying to make a sale.

Once a lead becomes interested, they become a prospect. At this point, they slide into the middle of the funnel where they actively evaluate options. Your objective is to engage them and show them why your solutions are a good fit for their problem, pain, or desire.

Finally, when a prospect is engaged enough, they become a customer. This is the bottom of the funnel. The objective is to nurture, satisfy, and cultivate loyalty.

Entire courses have been developed about architecting sales funnels, but that’s not the goal of this article. The purpose of this article is to show you how to fill your funnel with more leads. In other words, how do you fill the top of the funnel and make people aware of your business and products? (Because if you can do that, you have a good chance of eventually turning a percentage of these leads into prospects who become paying customers.) 

Powerful Ways to Fill Your Funnel With Leads

When it comes to filling your funnel with leads, there are thousands of different tactics you can use. I want to discuss what I believe are some of the easiest and most effective in 2022 and beyond. Let’s take a look:

Write Guest Blog Content

Depending on how you approach this first strategy, it can take some time. However, it’s almost always worth it. 

The idea behind guest blogging is simple: Write content for someone else’s blog and get exposure with their audience. (As an added bonus, you also pick up some SEO “juice” in the form of backlinks to your own domain.)

In order to be successful with guest blogging, you have to do your research and be persistent. For starters, look for blogs that have a high domain authority and possess a site readership/audience that overlaps with your own audience. In other words, if you’re selling fitness coaching services, you want blogs that are focused on healthy eating, natural medicine, weight loss, and positive self-image. However, you probably don’t want to guest blog on someone else’s fitness coaching blog. (Or, rather, they won’t let you.) There should be some overlap, but it should not be a direct competitor.

When writing guest blog content, it’s important to have bylines and/or include links back to your website. This helps you gain maximum exposure. 

Does guest blogging seem too time-consuming? Thankfully, you don’t have to do guest blogging and link building on your own.

There are content writing services that will do all of this on your behalf.

Develop Sticky Lead Magnets

Generally speaking, the easiest way to add a lead into your funnel is to gather their contact information. This typically means their name and email address. But here’s the deal: People don’t just hand this information out for free. They expect something in return. And this is where lead magnets come into play.

A lead magnet is a free piece of content that you give away in exchange for a lead’s email address. It’s typically something like a PDF, report, eBook, checklist, video, or demo. When creating lead magnets, you want them to be sticky. In other words, you want your ideal customer to feel like they can’t say no.

Lead magnets are usually delivered as part of a simple opt-in process. You drive traffic from a source to a landing page. On this landing page, the lead is shown a simple one-or-two-field opt-in. They input their information and automatically receive the resource. On the back end, you send them an automated drip email sequence that sells them on your products and services.

Use Quizzes

One of the most popular lead generation methods involves the use of quizzes. However, most marketers are missing out on this option because they incorrectly think it’s too complex. (Hint: It’s not.)

As ConvertFlow.com explains, “The right quiz can grab someone’s attention and keep them highly engaged. Not only that, but it gives marketers a chance to listen to people’s problems and prescribe a particular product or piece of content as a solution—all on autopilot.”

When we use the term “quizzes,” we’re not talking about a test you took in high school. We’re talking about Buzzfeed-style quizzes that are fun and engaging. Popular ones include:

  • Which character/person are you?
  • What’s your personality?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • How proficient are you?
  • Which solution is right for you?

Obviously, the precise quiz name and question types are highly dependent on your brand, audience, and conversion goals. However, this gives you an idea of which approaches work.

Be a Guest on Podcasts

Podcast hosts are always looking for good guests. Yet most business owners aren’t willing to go through the effort of reaching out and looking for opportunities. That makes this a sneaky powerful way to generate hungry leads. 

Guest podcasting is a lot like guest blogging. The same audience rules apply. The key here is to negotiate with the podcast host on the front end to make sure you’re able to include a call-to-action during your interview.

The best way to do this is by sending listeners to a targeted landing page and giving them a free resource that was discussed on the podcast in exchange for their email address. The great thing about this is that you can create custom tracking codes for each podcast you’re on. This will show you how many leads come from each podcast (so that you know which ones to return to in the future).

Form Joint Ventures

Perhaps you’re seeing somewhat of a theme here. One of the best ways to fill your own funnel is by tapping into someone else’s funnel in a completely ethical way by adding value to their audience. Joint ventures are another way to do this.

With joint ventures, you find other entrepreneurs and business owners and partner with them to create a joint product, project, or partnership where you both bring valuable resources to the table. In this case, they might bring the leads and you might bring the content or value. 

Online events are a great example of this. You can host a free masterclass, live webinar, or virtual summit. Your joint venture partner (or partners) brings the registrations, while you create the actual teaching and set up the back end. Online courses are another example.

Give Your Sales Funnel a Boost

If you want to elevate your sales funnel, increase sales, and build a self-sustaining business that continues to grow over time, you need to fill your funnel with more leads – and more qualified leads at that! Hopefully, this article has inspired you with a few ideas. You don’t need to use them all, however. I’d recommend picking one and implementing it this week. Then, once you feel like you’ve mastered that strategy, choose another (and so on). When combined together, these techniques can have a compounding result at the top of your funnel, which results in exponential increases in revenue at the bottom of the funnel.

 

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO & Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and software development. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, capital procurement, technology and marketing solutions for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.

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How to Find a Professional Design Team

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Low-Cost Business Ideas for 2022


A business that wants to grow and scale will need a design team. According to Firstsiteguide, 70% of small-to-mid-sized enterprises invest more in their digital presence. As companies began to move online, the demand for user-friendly software to attract large numbers of customers has increased.

If existing enterprises require designers to create a website or application, startups also hire specialists to develop a product design. Software is essential for sales and recognition, so managers carefully approach personnel selection. If you’re looking for an experienced design team and want to know how to choose the best one, check out the tips for finding the perfect candidates.

When to Look for Designers

The online market is constantly improving, and with new digital features, customers are no longer willing to collaborate on the old model. To avoid losing your clients, you should keep up with innovations: update a legacy interface, introduce new communication ways and think about a payment system. Rapid adaptation gives the company a guarantee of maintaining sales and image.

Selling software needs a convenient and simple design, but only some entrepreneurs decide to improve it. To determine if it’s time to involve a designer in the project, analyze your situation:

  • you do not have a selling website design or your product design;
  • you are constantly selling your product or service using the software;
  • you are not satisfied with your design quality at the moment;
  • your potential users are not willing to interact with the content;
  • your product design is different from the design of the application.

If you are familiar with these issues, your business needs an experienced team of designers who will analyze the product and create a modern structure for productive work with clients and partners.

Types of Design Teams

Before starting the search for specialists, managers decide on cooperation options. There are two types of employees: in-house and outsourced. Each has its pros and cons, making a choice more difficult.

In-house Designers

In-house specialists are full-time employees engaged only in the company’s project. They are fully involved in internal workflows and communicate closely with the team. In-house designers understand the product they work with, its values, and its philosophy. It is much easier for the manager to control the result of such an employee and set new tasks at no additional cost.

In-house designers are well-versed only in a particular industry, so tasks from other niches can cause them difficulty. Also, constant work on one project can lead an employee to burnout and dismissal. The primary in-house designer disadvantage is the expense of sickness and vacation pay. While outsourcing teams only budget for working hours, a full-time employee also counts on vacation pay.

Outsourcing Team

The outsourcing team is specialists who come to the company for a specific project or task. They help businesses free up time for more important things or help with tasks businesses can’t handle. Each outsourcing specialist offers a wide range of knowledge as they constantly interact with different niches.

A significant advantage of companies providing outsourcing or outstaff services is strict personnel selection. They choose only experienced employees and introduce them to the modern features of the digital environment. Outsourced teams do not require payment in the event of an employee’s illness or vacation. If one of the employees falls ill or is unsuitable for your project, they replace them with another in a short time.

The main disadvantage of outsourcing is the price. You need to pay for each hour of work of each specialist, reducing the quality of cost control. Also, you will be unable to assign additional tasks to an outsourced designer in other areas, which sometimes burdens internal processes. Outsourcing workers cannot be trained for themselves, as they come to your company for a certain period and work only on the agreed tasks.

Signs of a Professional Design Team

Meeting future colleagues for the first time can take time to determine their competence fully. Since candidates want to make a good impression, they will highlight their good qualities while glossing over their flaws. Catch the details to avoid falling for this trick and make the right decision.

Creative Portfolio

The portfolio of a professional design team should impress every beholder. And this does not apply to individual works but to the entire portfolio. When selecting candidates, check the quality of each design rather than picking only the best.

To understand your compatibility with potential employees, find a project similar to yours in their examples. If the design team already has experience in your industry, they know how to interact with your audience and hook them for a successful sale. Experienced specialists will tell you about your niche’s design features, what design details they can add to software development, and which ones you should avoid.

Teamwork Ability

If you are hiring an outsourcing team for a project or using an outstaff, you need to determine how these people will interact with your full-time employees. Since designers communicate closely with developers and project managers, they will have to find a common language to understand and support each other. At the interview, ask your future designers about their attitude to working in a team with employees from different departments.

Organizational Skills

The outsourcing design team is fully responsible for the work specified in the contract. The project implementation is a long, complex process, but the specialist must adhere to the designated deadlines. The ability to self-organize and write a clear action plan to avoid going over budget is an important criterion when selecting web designers.

A person’s design skills, as well as managerial skills, play a significant role in the successful completion of a project. Experienced workers will competently build an action plan, and you will be calm about the timing of work completion.

Continuous Improvement

One of the vital signs of a good specialist in any field is the desire to grow and develop. Progress does not stand still, and the digital environment offers new solutions for IT engineers. Since any leader wants to make gradual progress in their product, they will opt for a designer who wants to learn something new and implement it into current projects.

An experienced worker will make changes to avoid confusing the client and let them get used to the latest software version. Thanks to the constant improvement of the user experience, the business will not only scale but also increase sales.

Where to Find a Professional Design Team

Finding a reliable outsourcing development team is a manager’s first and most challenging task. Many entrepreneurs need help finding professionals with extensive experience in their industry and how to make sure that they are experts.

The best way to search quickly is word of mouth. Ask for recommendations from your friends or colleagues who will tell you the right decision. You can also search the Internet yourself. The most popular sites for designers are Clutch, Dribbble, and Behance. These resources provide complete information about the company, customer reviews, ratings, and examples of work. Having found an attractive offer, you can read reviews about the design team on third-party resources and conclude.

Hiring employees is a responsible job that must be approached with caution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn as much as you can about designers’ expertise. Hiring the right people can build a successful business and achieve your goals faster than your competitors.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Elina Nazarova

Chief Marketing Officer of Powercode

Elina is accountable for digital strategy development and implementation. She is certified in business and startups development and has more than 5 years of experience in content writing and management. Her core belief is that well-designed digital transformation is able to lead any business to success.

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No Cookies? Retention.com Helps Provide Privacy-First Actionable Data

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Brad Anderson


The ongoing struggle over safe data management continues to heat up. Third-party cookies have had a bad rap for years, and while their future for providing actionable data remains murky, it doesn’t look good.

This leaves businesses scrambling to look for new, more ethical ways to collect and utilize customer data. This is especially the case in an information-first environment that has no intention of reducing the importance of analytics going forward.

Retention.com is a revolutionary e-commerce retention marketing solutions provider that has been sounding the alarm on the demise of third-party cookies for a while now. In response, the innovative brand has developed industry-leading identity resolution technology. This offers timely aid to companies looking for alternative customer data management solutions.

Retention.com has created a unique, user-friendly approach to first-party actionable data. Before considering its impact, though, let’s start with the major issue facing marketers at the moment: the slow but steady death of third-party cookies.

The Delayed (But Inevitable) Doom of Third-Party Cookies

Digital marketing has always relied on cookies. This browser-based form of tracking analyzes basic user behaviors, from dwell time and frequency of site visits to past purchases.

Sometimes brands gather this information directly from a consumer for internal use. Often, though, it’s collected by others and utilized across various other websites without consent — something called third-party cookies.

Third-party cookies are an unpopular form of data collection.

In fact, they’re not just unpopular. They’re unsafe, which is why Google has announced it will phase them out in the name of greater data protection and consumer security. However, the search engine giant has delayed this deprecation process to 2024 (as of the time of this writing).

Even with the delay, the removal of third-party cookies still poses very real concerns for e-commerce businesses. Any company that doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed by the shift when it does finally take place needs to find an alternative to third-party data now.

The Struggle to Capture Actionable Data from Customers

For those who lean on third-party data to market and engage with consumers, the impending doom of third-party cookies is a monumental concern.

Even for those who don’t tap the unsavory data source, it still leaves them with the challenge of capturing customer data first-hand — something referred to as first-party data. Brands can glean first-party data through various tools like surveys and sign-up forms, but these are only effective up to a certain point.

For instance, consider a customer who visits an e-commerce site from their desktop computer. The visitor ignores a request to sign up for their newsletter. They start looking at products and then leave without making a purchase.

They could be at any point in the sales journey. Perhaps they are discovering information on a sales page, adding items to their cart, or even looking for a promotional code. Regardless, if they leave before clicking that all-important “complete purchase” button, they disappear into the ether. They leave no possible way of following up.

To make matters worse, they might hop back onto the site later from their phone, and the company wouldn’t even know that it’s them. The visitor would have to start the purchase process all over again, too, making the likelihood of completing the activity that much lower.

All of this can be resolved with actionable data.

When a brand has basic customer data, it can reserve its clients’ past activity. It then catalogs their preferences and streamlines future purchases. With third-party data on the way out and a cookieless future ahead, though, companies must find effective ways to collect first-party data if they want to boost ROI.

That’s where Retention.com comes into the picture.

Retention.com Streamlines First-Party Data Collection

Retention.com has developed a solution to first-party data collection in the form of its identity resolution software, Reclaim. This addresses a key area of underperforming ROI that the e-commerce retention marketing solutions provider refers to as “abandonment revenue.”

The definition of the term is in the name. When potential customers abandon a sales funnel, they leave unrealized revenue behind. When a company doesn’t have its website visitors’ personal information, it can’t follow up or provide personalized interactions.

Reclaim boosts abandonment revenue as much as 10 times over. The software does this by quickly and effectively tying unidentified customers to first-party cookies. This turns anonymous e-commerce site users into bonafide, real-world individuals.

The ability to identify who is on a site can have a dramatic effect on engagement (and consequentially ROI) by triggering different activities, such as cart abandonment emails and SMS flows. This leads to more browsing and greater dwell time.

One of the key factors of Retention.com’s revolutionary marketing software is its ease of use. Reclaim doesn’t require days of setup and integration. It takes hours to implement the code and proliferate it across an e-commerce site. This creates a quick-and-easy, set-it-and-forget-it solution that businesses can use to start tapping into their abandonment revenue streams. The software is even designed to scale along with businesses as they grow.

No Cookies, No Problem

As third-party cookies continue to die a slow death, every e-commerce business faces the prospect of a dramatic change to the status quo. The question is, which enterprises will be able to find creative solutions to help them operate in a cookieless environment?

Retention.com offers a simple, effective way to outsource the issue of first-party data collection. Its Reclaim software takes less than a day to implement and integrates with countless e-commerce applications.

This fast application leads to near-immediate results in the form of boosted abandonment revenue. Customers begin receiving SMS and email communications through ethical first-party cookie connections that offer personalized messages and encourage results-oriented engagement.

To top it off, the service is affordable, and customers only pay for incremental performance. Retention.com even offers its “Flow Insurance” as a 100% guaranteed refund if clients don’t see their abandonment flow revenue improve.

From the ease of use to its impressive impact, Retention.com’s software solutions are showing e-commerce companies that it’s perfectly possible to not just survive but thrive in a cookieless world.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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What is Metaverse and How is it Changing AR/VR World?

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vr-augmented-reality


VR augmented reality has already been a mainstay of science fiction. The idea has been the subject of numerous works of fiction and popular media, but we are finally at the point where it can become a reality.

It’s safe to say that the Metaverse has been the subject of several discussions and arguments. While some see it as the future of technology, others dismiss it as nothing more than a fad. The reality is that the Metaverse is here to stay, and its effects on everything from our mental health to our ability to do our jobs will be profound.

The Metaverse: what is it?

The term “metaverse” refers to a network of socially-connected 3D virtual worlds. It’s defined as a simulated online setting that uses VR augmented reality, blockchain, and social media concepts to create environments that seem very much like the actual world but allow for more nuanced human participation.

Everything can be found there, from sports to conventions to retail therapy. Putting on a headset and logging into the virtual reality portal is the only way into Metaverse.

Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Meta (formerly known as Facebook), estimates that it will take five to 10 years for the core features of the Facebook metaverse to become standard.

On the other hand, the Metaverse is growing at an astounding rate.

Even though not everyone has access to them, ultra-fast broadband connections, virtual reality headsets, and always-on online worlds are now a reality.

Now we will examine the two most distinguishing features of a Metaverse platform:

Interactivity

The Metaverse tech would combine elements of vr augmented reality. Space and time in a Metaverse app should feel roughly equivalent to real life.

Visual, aural, and kinetic interaction modalities are all possible in the real world. Similar digital collaborative opportunities are anticipated from a Metaverse platform.

Interoperable

One of the requirements for a successful Metaverse software is that it can function on multiple Metaverse systems (s).

Creating applications for the Metaverse hints at a wide range of untested technology possibilities.

The developers, whether newcomers to the Metaverse or established figures with deep roots, might create either restrictive or flexible features.

Furthermore, there is an abundance of resources that can be used to bring this envisioned future into being. Unreal Engine, Unity, Amazon Sumerian, Blender, and Maya are just a few examples of such development environments.

Learn more about the practical applications of the Metaverse and the benefits it provides by looking at examples from other industries.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the Metaverse technology market could be worth $2.5 trillion by 2030, up from a projected $800 billion in 2025.

The sector is getting the outside stimulation and attention it needs to change both vr augmented reality technology and the future. Let’s look at some pioneering initiatives that have led to the development of Metaverse tools.

For example, the Metaverse Rules contain the following:

Only one Metaverse exists. All people should have access to the Metaverse.

The Metaverse exists beyond everyone’s control. The Metaverse must be accessible most of the time.

Most importantly, the Metaverse doesn’t care about your hardware. Both the internet and networks are part of the Metaverse.

When you put on your VR headset, you enter a virtual reality (VR) environment called the Metaverse.

It has enormous potential in many areas, including retail, business, and the workplace. In the Metaverse, real and virtual worlds are fused using tools like VR augmented reality (AR), describing a vision of a linked 3D digital global (AR).

Virtual worlds like Decentraland and online gaming platforms, like The Sandbox, are only two examples of existing metaverses. Participation in the Metaverse is growing at an unprecedented rate in the game industry.

According to Participation in the Metaverse is growing at an unprecedented rate in the game industry according to 65 % of the global population has participated in media extravagance, such as viewing a television show, movie, or premiere within a video game or working together to create a live concert.

Who Uses the Metaverse the Most?

Sixty-nine percent of humans have engaged in social activity, meeting new people, attending a group gathering, or visiting a virtual world while playing a game.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of people on Earth have engaged in some form of financial activity within the Metaverse. This can include the purchase of virtual goods, the purchase of virtual money, the purchase of digital goods from digital markets, or the purchase or sale of other gamers.

Augmented Reality (AR) in the Virtual World

Market leaders like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are betting big on the potential of the “embodied internet” that is the Metaverse. It’s either a virtual reality experience or something that can be brought into your life (via AR).

The popularity of virtual worlds is on the rise, but the actual Metaverse may be the future wave regarding augmented reality.

The most natural way to supply digital content to the human perceptual system is to incorporate it directly into our physical surroundings.

How Does Your Brain Make a Unified Representation to You?

Your brain creates a unified representation of the arena based on information gleaned from your senses of sight, hearing, touch, and movement.

As long as virtual factors are powerfully recognized in your environment in terms of space and time, this is possible with augmented reality, even with reasonably poor visual constancy.

Now that our ability to judge distance (or intensity perception) is refined, it is not hard to believe this.

Augmented reality will inevitably become the norm. It may replace smartphones and computers as the dominant interface to digital content, and it will undoubtedly eclipse virtual reality as the primary doorway to the Metaverse.

Augmented reality may give us superpowers, allowing us to change our surroundings with a finger or an eye.

VR Augmented Reality in the Metaverse

Customers can now bridge the gap between their digital and physical worlds by entering the Metaverse thanks to virtual reality.

We will be able to explore new locations and make reports more accessible to more people by using virtual versions of people, objects, and landscapes.

In a nutshell, it’s an alternate reality where you can do all sorts of things like go to class, work, a concert, or shop without ever leaving your house. Virtual reality allows users to experience events, shop, and learn about new opportunities. Augmented and mixed reality, on the other hand, will open hitherto unimaginable possibilities for enhancing the physical world around us.

There are already add-ons to the XR landscape, such as haptic commenting tools, that will allow us to feel the handshakes and embraces of our contacts no matter where we are physically located.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Siva Subrahmanyam

SEO Analyst at PlugXR

A SEO Analyst at PlugXR, I manage the company’s search engine optimization strategy

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