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Marketing Automation Platforms – Which One To Use And Why?

Sending the right email at the right time can mean the difference between rags and riches.

Unfortunately with the increase in globalisation and the evolution of online business this has become harder with a lot of businesses serving customers across multiple time zones.

So how can you be sure that every email is delivered at the ideal time to your new subscriber no matter if their living in San Francisco, Hong Kong or Siberia?

With the help of a little tool called marketing automation of course.

Chances are, you’ve possibly already heard of it? Think of it like traditional email marketing but with the ability to know exactly what actions your subscriber (or customer) has taken so that it can engage with them through personalised email based upon that action all while you’re out spending time with your family or sitting in on an important meeting.

Sounds to good to be true right? Wrong!

Infact, marketing automation has been around for a number of years now but continues to advance at a rapid rate due to the advances in technology and internet access throughout the globe, ensuring you never miss an opportunity to convert a subscriber into a customer again.

So with this in mind, we thought we’d provide you with a breakdown of the best marketing automation platforms including the pros and cons of each one as well as our verdict on which marketing automation platform to use to use within your business and why?

Ready, let’s get into it!

Things to Consider When Choosing a Marketing Automation Platform

Before deploying any marketing channel, strategy or tool it’s always important to consider what you are looking to achieve out of it? To help you out with this decision making process, we’ve included some common questions that may come to mind:

  • What processes are you trying to automate and why?
  • How are you looking to use marketing automation?
  • How can I align my emails with my buyers journey?
  • What objectives do I want to achieve using this strategy?

Now that you’ve got these questions mapped out it’s time to decide on which platform you should use to deploy this strategy within your business.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered for this step too.

Which Marketing Automation Platforms Should I Consider Using

As with any SaaS platform available on the market, there is no shortage of options available on the market when it comes to marketing automation platforms but we’re going to cover some of the industry leaders as well as a few of our preferred platforms to help make it easier for you.

While all of these platforms will do the job, each of them vary in terms of key features, pricing and who their intended user base as these are important depending upon what time of online business you are looking to start or are currently running.

  • ActiveCampaign
  • MailerLite
  • Drip
  • SendInBlue
  • HubSpot
  • ConvertKit

So with our contenders lined up, let’s dig into each one in detail and determine which is the best marketing automation platform you should use within your business and why.

ActiveCampaign

First up in our marketing automation platform showdown is ActiveCampaign. Originally starting out as a consulting firm before transitioning to a SaaS platform that has now become one of the leaders within their industry, ActiveCampaign remains true to its original foundations by providing a solution that allows businesses of any size to run effective marketing campaigns with a strong focus on small businesses which still remains true to this day with over 70,000 small businesses using the platform everyday.

Overview

Where ActiveCampaign favours strongly is its focus on providing an all in one solution allowing you to communicate effectively through email and sms while keeping everything inside of an easy to navigate CRM so you can keep track of each engagement.

They also win points by allowing you to build out advanced automations that track just about any action a visitor, subscriber or customer takes within your website so that you can reach out to them at exactly the right moment to ensure each and every communication is within context to where the person is within your buyers journey.

Key Features

  • Ability to create and send emails based upon specific goals (broadcast, triggered, targeted, auto response and scheduled) emails
  • Ability to create highly targeted and relevant automations 
  • Fully integrated CRM and pipeline management features with iOS app support
  • Built in SMS and website messaging features for cross channel communication

Pricing

ActiveCampaigns fairs quiet favourably when it comes to pricing with options available to suit both big and small businesses. Unlike most other options that may require you to use multiple platforms for contacting and managing your leads and customers their platform incorporates everything to provide one easy to use solution.

While their plans do allow for multiple users within each tier, their pricing does however change based upon how many contacts you have.

The below pricing includes up 500 contacts

  • Lite – $15 per month/$9 per month (billed annually)
  • Plus – $70 per month/$49 per month (billed annually)
  • Professional – $159 month/$129 per month (billed annually)
  • Enterprise – $279 month/$229 per month (billed annually)

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution with a strong focus on automation while keeping things simple you can’t go past ActiveCampaign in terms of features and pricing. Unlike other platforms that have been known to abandon low pricing tiered clients when they start to scale ActiveCampaign remains true to small business meaning you won’t be shown the door when you least expect it which can be a nightmare for any business vested within a platform.

MailerLite

Next up in our contenders for best marketing automation platform is MailerLite. Some may call it your typical rags to riches as within their first year of business they only generated €1,652 revenue proving not all companies make it to internet stardom overnight.

Today, they help over 600,000 businesses, startups and freelancers around the world to connect with their subscribers delivering over 1 billion emails every month and comprise of a team speaking 12 languages so chances are you’ll feel right at home.

Overview

What I love about MailerLite is that they have remained true to their roots by providing an affordable solution that anyone can make use of when starting out with pricing starting at $0 until you reach your first 1,000 subscribers with affordable pricing options no matter how big or small your list becomes.

They also an industry leader when it comes to customer support by offering 24/7 live support with an average response time of less than 5 minutes meaning they’re on hand when you need them most (no matter where you run your business from).

Key Features

  • Integrated landing page and pop-up builder allowing you to build conversion optimised campaigns all from within one centralised platform
  • An ever growing list of integrations enabling you to connect it with other platforms
  • Easy to use drag and drop email builder with pre-built templates
  • Ability to split test email variables including design, headings and more

Pricing

MailerLite not only provides an easy to use platform but helps you save across the board by allowing you to create landing pages and pop-ups within their platform which results in less tools and less overheads which is important for any business when starting out.

While their free plan does come within some limitations it will more than likely provide you with everything you need to get up and running, however, their paid plans start at $10 and include every single feature which is rare to see within most SaaS offerings.

  • 1 to 1,000 Subscribers – $0 per month  (with limitations)
  • 1 to 1,000 Subscribers – $10 per month/$84 per year
  • 1,001 to 2,500 Subscribers – $15 per month/$126 per year
  • 2,501 to 5,000 Subscribers – $30 per month/$252 per year
  • 5,001 to 10,000 Subscribers – $50 per month/$420 per year

Conclusion

MailerLite is an ideal choice if your just starting out as they not only offer one of the most affordable options on the marketing, they also save you having to pay for a landing page builder and pop-up builder which don’t always come cheap.

By also providing an all-in-one solution you’re able to save time having to learn how to setup and use multiple platforms and time is money as they say. Well played guys!

Drip

Next up in our list is a company that up until recently was a crowd favourite and possibly even the undisputed leader when it comes to marketing automation, Drip.

Chances are, if you’ve been in the market for a marketing automation platform or looking to switch you would have probably stumbled upon a lot of negative press relating to Drip recently.

We’re not going to lie, in some ways they pissed off a lot of long time customers within recent months with deliverability issues, a drop in customer support standards and not to mention a massive price change right on christmas/new years resulting in a lot of businesses having to make drastic changes while on holidays. Uh oh!

But bare with us here, as we still think they provide a product well worth considering and we’re going to explain why we think they still deserve a spot on this list now.

Overview

If you’re not aware of the history behind these changes, let us sum it up for you in a nutshell.

Originally founded in 2013 they quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the best platforms in terms of features, price and customer service. Next thing you know, Drip was acquired by landing page builder leader LeadPages and everyone was thrilled.

Unfortunately, this is where the problems mentioned above began and people go frustrated and started looking for alternatives as Drip wasn’t cutting it for them.

Now while this has had some impact on their street cred, their platform is still one of the best on the market with a stack of features you simply won’t get with other platforms.

Still not convinced? Let’s have a look at them in more detail below

Key Features

  • Detailed insights into customer data allowing you to get a full overview of each and every action a user takes through use of tags, custom fields and customer behaviour
  • Advanced personalised features ensuring your send the right email at exactly the right time using segmentation, behaviour based actions and personalised content
  • Ability to integrate with other marketing channels for cross channel marketing
  • Advanced optimisation of campaigns through use of revenue attribution, split test, and detailed insight dashboards for every subscriber and campaign

Pricing

While they no longer cater towards business owners starting out with zero capital they do still offer a 14 day free trial to get you up and running so it’s important that you have considered all of your options and made a firm decision before investing your time into Drip.

And while some may still argue that their lowest tier pricing of $49 for 2,500 subscribers is expensive it’s not the most expensive option out there and you should always consider quality over quantity when it comes to subscribers.

  • Basic– $49 per month/$490 per year(Up to 2,500 subscribers)
  • Plus – $122 per month/$1220 per year (Up to 5,000 subscribers)
  • Enterprise – from $184 month/$1840 per year (5,001+ subscribers)

Conclusion

If you’re a seasoned marketer or looking to create advanced automations then you can’t go past Drip in our opinion, however, if you just finding your feet or can’t afford to pay $49 per month we would recommend you consider exploring other platforms and come back to Drip once you’ve got an understanding of the benefits it can bring to your business.

You may also want to consider exploring some of the video training, pre-built templates or even schedule a free demo with Drip directly to see it in action.

SendInBlue

An often overlooked contender in the marketing automation platforms is SendInBlue and while at times it simply comes down to the fact there are a lot of options on the market we think SendInBlue deserves its spot amongst the big players within the industry.

Not only nail it in terms of their branding they also have been around long enough to earn their fair share of loyal users and have crafted a full stack solution that can be used in many ways as an all in one marketing solution for your business.

Overview

Founded over 10 years ago they now boast over 80,000 customers across 160 countries and deliver 100 million emails every day for their customers.

Where they win points also in our showdown is by offering everything the budding business owner needs all inside of one easy to use dashboard. From email marketing to sms marketing, chat, segmentation, marketing automation, crm, landing pages, signup forms and even a Facebook Ads builder they have everything on offer for a very reasonable fee.

And while many sceptics argue that a tool that does everything isn’t generally good at anything we beg to differ on this occasion.

Key Features

  • Ability to build multi channel campaigns all within one platform that can be deployed via email marketing, sms marketing and chat
  • Create highly personalised marketing campaigns based upon specific actions taken by the website visitor through advanced segmentation
  • Convert visitors into strangers using through use of their landing page builder, sign up form and crm functionality without having to switch between multiple platforms
  • Detailed analytics including open rate, click through rate, heatmaps and a/b test results so that you can measure and optimise every campaign

Pricing

Another area they fair favourably in is their pricing, unlike most platforms that charge based upon how many contacts you have SendInBlue focuses on upon features instead and even then their top tier with all features starts at $66 per month… hot damn!

They do however cap based upon the number of emails per month but even then, their limits are extremely generous so it’s very unlikely you would reach these limits.

  • Free – $0 per month (300 emails per day)
  • Lite – $25 per month/$300 per year (40,000 emails per month)
  • Essential – from $39 month/$374.40 per year (60,000 emails per month)
  • Premium – from $66 month/$633.60 per year (120,000 emails per month)
  • Enterprise – customised pricing only

Conclusion

If you’re looking for to get bang for your buck you can’t go past SendInBlue as a full stack solution that saves you time and money and lets you manage everything from one dashboard. 

Our only negative point that could be said about this platform is that their CRM does not feature a deals pipeline which may be essential for some businesses but this is nothing can be managed through the use of one of their natively supported CRM plugins or just about any CRM platform on the market with the help of Zapier.

Feel free to explore their extensive offering of features in more detail here or if you prefer to see it in action you can sign up for a free account and try it out for yourself (no credit card required).

HubSpot

We’re now down to the final two in our marketing automation battle and the next contender stepping into the ring is probably one of the most well known brands within the marketing world.

Founded in 2006, Hubspot has grown at incredible rates through the use of their inbound marketing methodology, certification programs for both marketers and agencies and multiple conferences they hold annually to lure companies, marketers and agencies alike into the world of HubSpot and it’s core beliefs around marketing.   

But does any of these actually help you and your business in the end? Well, let’s take a look more in terms of how they stack up when lined up against out other contenders.

Overview

HubSpot has also opted for an all in one solution rather to keep everything within one place which is always a good idea if you are looking to manage everything in ease and while they do offer a reasonable tool stack including a CRM, lead capture forms, pop-up forms and email marketing all for free this is just a handful of features you need for true marketing automation.

What’s the catch? If you actually require the marketing automation component that’s going to set you back a tidy $800 per month, billed annually as well as a $3,000 onboarding fee.

That’s a total of $12,600 per year UPFRONT!

Now, the numbers don’t lie and we’re not here to badmouth anyone here, we’re just present all of the leading options and laying the cards out on the table for you to see for yourself.

And if the numbers are anything to go by, the numbers don’t lie. Their revenue grew from $255,000 in 2007 to $15 million in 2010 so clearly they have a loyal allegiance of customers. 

In terms of features you get for this price, you get the whole kit caboodle including marketing automation, smart content personalisation, blog and content creation tools, seo and content strategy, social media tools, landing pages, split testing and a whole bunch of nifty tracking analytic reporting tools but I guess you’d expect that and if you’re shelling out $10k+.

Key Features

  • All in one solution to create entirely integrated marketing campaigns using marketing automation, landing pages and lead capture forms
  • Professional onboarding with HubSpot or a partner agency
  • Create track and manage deals using their inbuilt CRM and sales pipeline
  • Advanced reporting and analytics with the ability to create split tests based on results

Pricing

Now, we’ve already broken down the fees involved in HubSpot above so we’re not  going to go into too much detail here but there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to committing to a platform like this and while it is a great solution for many businesses it may not be for you.

We thought however we’d include both their free and paid offerings though below as their free platform does have a lot to offer and also plays nicely with some of the other mentioned platforms within this list when integrating them together.

  • Free Marketing Tools – $0 per month
  • Marketing Hub– $9,600 per year (billed annually) + $3,000 onboarding fee 

Conclusion

So the only question you’re probably wondering is why on earth would I pay $12,600 upfront per year with no guaranteed return on investment?

Well, at the end of the day you’re buying into more than just the software. You’re committing to a long term strategy to grow your business through both organic and paid growth all done from within one integrated platform with ongoing support and guidance.

This does not actually mean you’re buying a marketing team who’s going to run the show for you while you sit back and collect the rewards, HubSpot and inbound marketing require long term commitment and the aid a certified inbound marketer or agency who knows how to get the most of the platform and can help you work towards your goals.

If however you’re a small business, don’t have an in-house marketing team, or simply aren’t at a stage where you can invest $12,000+ into a long term strategy HubSpot is NOT for you. 

ConvertKit

Last but not least in our search for the best marketing automation platform is a platform that is renowned for their customer service, providing free migration services from their competitors.

ConvertKit is a crowd favourite amongst many online creators (bloggers, authors, podcasters, designers) having been founded by a former freelance web designer turned content creator himself so who better to understand the needs and wants of this audience?

Not only this, they are places a strong emphasis on standing by their core values and has set themselves some pretty big milestones within their overall mission to help online creators make a living from doing work you love (isn’t that everyone’s dream?).

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at ConvertKit in more detail in terms of featured so you can see if its a right fit for you and your business.

Overview

ConvertKit was built with online creators in mind so naturally they have remained true to this by providing a stack of featured that are suited towards this market however, most of these features can be deployed across varied business models.

Now, this isn’t to say it can’t be used within traditional businesses but depending upon your specific requirements it may not be able to meet all your needs and sorry to burst your bubble here but very rarely will any software do this.

Key Features

  • Easy to create embedded opt-in forms with advanced reporting so that you can keep track of growth and understand your visitors and subscribers
  • Ability to create advanced email marketing automations so that you can send the right email at the right time keeping your subscribers engaged
  • Manage all your subscribers using their well designed dashboard
  • Growing collection of integrations making it easy to connect with other platforms

Pricing

ConvertKit doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to pricing claiming “ConvertKit will be the best money you’ve ever spent to grow your audience” and it’s easy to see why by offering affordable plans which include all features no matter which tier your choose.

  • 0 to 1k subscribers– $29 month/$25 per month (billed annually)
  • 1k to 3k subscribers– $49 month/$41 per month (billed annually)
  • 3k to 5k subscribers – $79 month/$66 per month (billed annually)
  • 5k+ subscribers – from $99 month/83 per month (billed annually)

Conclusion

While ConvertKit does cater towards a more niche market, we simply couldn’t resist including them in our list of contenders for marketing automation platforms. With a great back story, core values and a clear mission that remain true to this day, affordable pricing and amazing customer support what more could you ask for from a marketing platform?

They also provide free product demos to help you get a full understanding of how their platform works so that you can make any informed decision before making the final call.

And the winner is…

Now that we have weighed up all the options and you have an overview of each one, you’re probably waiting for us to pick the winner? Well, this comes down to your individual needs as no business is the same, however, here’s our picks on which one to use and recommend.

ActiveCampaign – Great all in one solution for those looking to integrate their marketing and sales due to their inbuilt CRM and deals management features.

Drip – When it comes to building out advanced automations, you can’t go past Drip and it’s what we use in house to keep our subscribers up to date and share our latest insights.

SendInBlue – Ideal for those just starting out or those who are looking to combine their marketing all in one place due to its landing page builder and pop up forms.

And there you have it, a comprehensive comparison of the leading marketing automation platforms on the market and which one you should use within your business.

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6 Facebook Ad Strategies That Actually Work (and How to Use Them)

2.32 billion!

That’s the number of active users currently using Facebook today.

Can you imagine what impact being able to advertise to this many people could have on your business?

And while Facebook has copped a lot of bad press recently they are making improvements to their platform in terms of privacy for both its users and those who advertise on it.

However, with the rise in popularity Facebook is not becoming more and more competitive meaning that the price for Facebook Ads may not be the same forever making NOW the best time to start advertising your business on Facebook.

And whether your currently running Facebook ads, have tried Facebook ads in the past or are entirely new to the idea here are a few important rules to consider though when it comes to advertising to ensure that you get a profitable return on your investment which are:

  1. Always start with a clear objective in mind
  2. Determine exactly who you want to target in as much detail as possible
  3. Set a minimum and maximum budget you’re prepared to invest

With this in mind, here are 6 proven Facebook strategies that actually work that you can start testing within your business today.

Split test based upon audience

Having data from over 2 billion active users, Facebook has been able to refine its targeting options to the point that it is now a well oiled machine allowing the user countless ways for people to target their ideal customers on Facebook.

Unfortunately, it’s often a misused feature and people target multiple audiences within the say ad making it hard for you to accurately track how one audience performs vs another.

We have seen massive performance differences using this strategy with particular audiences generating leads are over 50% less than other audiences.

How to do it

When creating a new campaign inside of Facebook Business Manager, select ‘Create split test’ at the bottom of the campaign setup wizard and then select continue.

Facebook will recommend you start with a budget as indicated to them to achieve a score above its estimated test power minimum, we’ve seen results with much smaller budgets but we suggest at least $10 to $20 per day depending upon how many audiences you want to target.

It may also ask you to define which variable you would like to test, in this case we will be testing Audience. Once you have done this click Continue to move on to the next step.

You will now see two ad sets within the Facebook Ad Campaign Wizard. Depending upon your target audience and what you want to test you can create additional ad sets although we recommend 5 to 10 to get started.

Next we will start defining each audience within the ad set, you can either create a new audience or use an existing saved audience.

Variables you can test include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviours

We recommend only changing one variable within each audience so that it is easier to identify which variable it is that has an impact on your ad performance.

Once you have done this you are now ready to continue creating your ad campaign as normal.

Retarget visitors of a specific page

Given the amount of distractions that are available today the likelihood of converting a visitor on your website on the first visit is very slim.

They may have came across your company through a paid ad or a search result, had a browse around and then next thing you know they receive a phone call or a coworker walks into their office and they’re gone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Thankfully, with Facebook’s advanced re-targeting options you can target a visitor based upon actions they take within your website including which pages they visited.

How we do it

Once you have opened up Ads Manager inside of Facebook Business Manager navigate to Audiences located under the assets category in the main drop down menu.

Next, click on create audience and select website traffic inside of sources category.

While targeting all website visitors can be a good idea, you may be targeting a lot of people that possible landed on your website by mistake or don’t have any intent on actually buying your product or service which means you are throwing money down the drain.

A better way to target users is by selecting the People who visited specific web pages as you can create targeted ads based upon this to lure them back.

Let’s say someone checked out your pricing page but didn’t actually sign up for a free trial or complete your contact form.

We can target them by first segmenting visitors to your pricing page and then using the further refine by feature exclude people who visited your conversion page.

You can then create a targeted ad with an incentivised offer to encourage them to come back to your website and complete the desired goal you want them to take.

You can also try to identify what was holding them back by creating an ad that encourages them to contact your sales team if they have any questions about signing up.

While you are limiting your audience by doing this, you are targeting a much more defined audience meaning that they are more likely to convert as they showed genuine interest in your brand product or service by visiting a specific page.

Create a lookalike audience

Another powerful and often forgotten about targeting option inside of Facebook Ads is the ability to create a lookalike audience based upon your existing customers.

There are a number of ways you can do this including

  • Website traffic
  • Customer files
  • App activity
  • Offline activity
  • Video viewers
  • Instagram page visitors
  • Lead form submissions
  • Event attendees
  • Facebook page visitors
  • And more

For this example we’ll be using customer file

How we do it

Once you have opened up Ads Manager inside of Facebook Business Manager navigate to Audiences located under the assets category in the main drop down menu.

Next, click on create audience and select lookalike audience.

Using the Create new source option select Custom audience and then select Customer file from the new popup window. Depending upon how much data you have on your existing customers you can select whether you want to target based upon their lifetime value but for this guide we’ll be using a file that doesn’t include LTV.

Next you’ll be asked to create a data file for your Custom Audience.

You will need to have this data available in CSV or TXT format and determine what data you will be importing. Generally speaking, importing just the email address is enough for Facebook to start doing its thing and finding people with attributes to your existing customers.

You can also build a lookalike audience based upon other metrics including visitors and leads so remember it’s always important to start with a clear goal in mind what objective you are looking to achieve from this audience.

The last thing to do is to name your audience. Facebook will then get to work and create your lookalike audience based upon the data you have imported and you will then be able to target these audiences using new or existing ads.

Collect leads directly inside of Facebook

Whether you’re a new business just starting out or an existing business, putting together a full marketing strategy and setting up all the required pages and tools can take time and require years of experience to ensure its done correctly.

Thankfully with Facebook Ads new Lead Generation campaign option you create ads that include a simple form your potential customers can complete directly inside of Facebook without the need for landing pages, marketing automation or developers.

And while this isn’t going to replace all of those fancy marketing systems and strategies overnight it does give more power to those who may not have the time, knowledge or budget to do all that when all they really want is to be able to generate leads for their business.

Another important thing to take into consideration is depending upon your business model there is a lot more that goes into converting a lead into an actual paying customer that a Facebook Lead Form can’t do but it provides you with an easy method for capturing their details without them having to leave Facebook to do so.

So let’s get right into it

How we do it

Before we get started its important to identify what you are going to offer your potential lead in exchange for them entering their details.

A general rule of thumb is that it needs to be a high value, incentive based offer that presents little to no friction and is easy for the lead to get value from.

Some examples include

  • Free guides
  • Free product trials
  • Free consultations
  • Free samples

Jumping back into the Ads Manager Feature within Facebook Business manager we’re going to select Create to start building a new campaign. Next we’ll be selecting Lead Generation from the campaign objectives menu and then select Continue.

Once we have defined our target audience we will now move on to the stage where you create your ad and lead form. It’s important to remember you select a call to action that is in line with them actually completing the form and that your ad clearly explains they will be completing a form in order to receive the offer to stand the best chance of converting them.

Next, we will be using the Instant Form Feature to Create a New Form for your audience to complete.

We’ll start by giving your form a name so that you can easily identify it later.

Next, we’ll need to define your form type based upon the goal you are looking to achieve when visitors complete the form. It’s important to collect relevant contact details so that you can follow up with the lead and qualify them based upon their data but don’t overdo it and ask for too much information as chances are this is the first time they are hearing about your brand.

Next, we’ll need to create an Into, add any relevant questions you to ask when they complete the form and also include a link to your privacy policy.

Finally, you’ll need to complete the Thank You screen which will provide the lead with details on any relevant next steps they need to take.

You can also choose to redirect visitors to your website, include a direct link to the offer if it is a digital product or include a link for them to call you directly after.

Once you’ve completed these steps click Save Form at the top right of the popup window and continue creating your ad and hit publish.

And there you have it, a simple no-fuss method for generating leads without the need for any complicated marketing platforms or excessive budgets.

Now all that’s left is for you to follow up and convert them into customers.

Use emojis in Facebook Ad copy

Another little known secret that isn’t obvious when creating your Facebook Ad is the fact that you can add emojis to your ad copy. This method alone has been proven to have massive impact on ad performance rates and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s important to not overdo it and ensure that your align the use of emojis to match your brands overall image to avoid sending your audience the wrong impression about your brand.

So how exactly do you do it? Let’s take a look

How we do it

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, the Facebook Ad Campaign Creator doesn’t natively support adding emojis directly from inside of the ad creative builder so we’ll need to source these from an external source.

A great option for this is Emojipedia or this free collection as featured here.

Once you have copied the emoji to your clipboard your free to return the Facebook Ad Campaign Creator and add it to the desired section of your ad.

Areas you can include emojis are:

  • Text
  • Headline
  • News Feed Link Description

If you’re unsure how best to use them have a look at how some of the major brands are doing it to ensure you aren’t overdoing it.

Once you’ve added your desired emojis you’re free to continue publishing your ad as normal.

Spy on your competition

Have you ever wondered what ads your competitor is currently running on Facebook? Well, wonder no more. Due to Facebook’s recent data security and privacy mishaps they were required to provide more transparency into what ads a company is running on Facebook meaning anyone and everyone can see exactly which ads a company is currently running.

Unfortunately, this only shows current ads so if your competitor had a kick ass ad that finished you won’t be able to see them so be sure to check in regularly on their ads.

And if you want to go one step further, Fill Your Funel is a free Chrome extension which allows you to capture any ad you desire and stores it in a folder for easy reference (even after the ad has finished).

How we do it

To see what ads your competitors are currently running on Facebook simply navigate to their Facebook Page and click on Info and Ads and voila! You can also filter based upon specific countries to see how your competitor targets different countries.

Happy spying!

Conclusion

And there we go, 6 proven Facebook Ad strategies that you can use within your new or existing campaigns that actually work and will help you in getting a better return on your Facebook Ads.

Just remember, it’s important not to overdo it and ensure you always follow the 3 golden rules of Facebook Ads outlined above for maximum results.

Feel free to start testing these proven Facebook Ad strategies and let us know how you get on!

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6 Conversion Optimisation Tools That Every Business Should Be Using (And Why)

For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. Whether it’s through paid ads, search engine optimisation or content, you work hard to attract targeted traffic to your website. So why undo that hard work by not having your website optimised to convert those hard earned visitors into paying customers?

But with new strategies and tools popping up faster than fast food restaurants, how do you stay on top of it all? Well, we’ve put together a list of our favourite conversion optimisation tools that every business should be using and why.

And rather than just giving you a bunch of new tools that you’ve never heard of I’m going to break each tool down and explain when and why you should be using each tool so that you have a clear understanding of how it will help you to solve a challenge within your business.

Sounds good? Well, let’s get started

Google Analytics

Used for understand how visitors use your website

Price – $0

The first tool I’ll be sharing with you today is pretty much essential to anyone running a business with an online presence. Having a website without Google Analytics is like running a retail shop without switching the lights or opening the doors as you’ll be pretty much running blind.

And while Google Analytics wasn’t actually founded by Google, through the use of their internet empire it has lead it to become the all seeing eye when you want to understand how visitors find your website and what they actually do on it.

From what pages they visit to where a converting customer comes from and how long they spend reading a particular page. Google Analytics knows everything.

When to use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is extremely easy to setup and should be installed from day one of you launching your website and while understanding some of the data requires some knowledge within marketing sticking to the basic metrics will give you a surefire understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes of your website.

These metrics are:

  • How many new vs existing visitors are you attracting?
  • Where your website visitors is coming from?
  • Which pages do visitors spend the most time one?
  • Which pages receive the highest exit rate?
  • Which traffic sources generate the most conversions?

Master the art of knowing and improving these 5 metrics and you’ll be well on the way to building a profitable online business in no time.

LeadPages

For creating high converting landing pages and websites

Price – $37 to $321 per month

Still using the same old website from when you launched 20 years ago? STOP!

While the success of your business depends greatly upon what your actually selling and who you’re selling it to one of the most damaging things you can do for your brand’s reputation in modern business is having a website that looks like it was built before the dot com boom.

And hear me out here, this isn’t some sales spin to make you invest in some overpriced website that you can’t afford. That’s not what we’re about here at Refunnel.

Creating a professional, modern online presence for your brand isn’t actually that complicated and while we recommend staying clear of website builds such as Wix that generally end up costing you in the long run there are solutions out there that work great and one of those is LeadPages.

When to use LeadPages

LeadPages was built with marketing in mind. So unlike building a website in Wix that soon becomes another dark whole of the internet, LeadPages has a collection of proven, conversion optimised templates so that you can have a modern website that actually does your brand justice that you’re proud to have your company logo on.

And while there is a monthly ongoing fee, it’s still a much more affordable option than hiring a design agency to build it for you when you’re on a tight budget.

LeadPages is also an essential tool when running paid ads as it allows you direct visitors to a page with one clear goal in mind rather than sending them to your primary website.

So I guess you’re probably thinking, What do we need you guys for? Well, there is a lot more that goes into a fully executed marketing strategy than meets the eye and pushing a button vs knowing which button to push can make or break you but by using LeadPages you’ll be able to rid your brand on that outdated website in no time at all without it costing a small fortune.

Calendly

For streamlining meeting scheduling.

Price – $0 to $12 per month

If you run a service-based business, chances are you need to set up meetings with potential customers in order for them to build trust within your brand and answer any nagging questions they may have about your product or service before they buy from you.

You could do it the old fashioned way of having a contact form that they complete which requires manual back and forth communication to setup a suitable time ime and confirm their preferred contact method or you could get with the times and make the whole process a lot easier for everyone but using Calendly which makes booking meetings as easy as 1,2,3.

When to use Calendly

Calendly allows you to create predefined event types based upon how you meet with potential customers (time, date, location, preferred communication method) and then displays you or your team’s availability while even accounting for time zone differences.

Once the meeting is scheduled Calendly will automatically follow up with your new potential customers via email and/or SMS to ensure they don’t miss your moment to shine.

It’s like having you very own personal assistant for less than $10 a month.

ConvertFlow

For capturing visitors contact details

Price – $0 to $299 per month

There’s been a lot of talk recently that email marketing is dead and frankly this can’t be further from the truth.

Sure, chatbots are the latest craze and while they have stolen some of the attention away from email marketing just like email marketing did to letterbox drops and the yellow pages email marketing (if executed in the right way) is still as powerful as any other modern day craze.

Helping you make that happen is ConvertFlow!

ConvertFlow offers a full suite platform for creating forms, pop ups, landing pages, stick bars, surveys and more,ensuring you stand the best chance of capturing each and every visitors contact details so you can nurture them from internet drifter to your biggest fan.

When to use ConvertFlow

Let’s say you have a new blog post fresh off the press and want to turn its readers into subscribers, or maybe you intince leaving visitor to give up their highly guarded email address in exchange for a free content offer? We’ll ConvertFlow will help you do exactly this.

Using its easy drag and drop editor, you can create unique lead capture forms that can be displayed across your entire site or on a specific page. Once you’ve captured their details you can redirect them to a custom thank you page, provide them with a link to download the file directly or even tie it in with your email marketing platform for easy followup.

Just remember to overdo it though, make sure that always start with a clear objective in mind and configure each form so that it doesn’t provide an overkill for your visitors user experience.

ProveSource

For increasing social proof for your brand

Price – $0 to $49 per month

Next up in our bag of magic tricks for skyrocketing your conversion rate is ProveSrc.

What is ProveSrc you ask? Well let’s say you want to indicate to visitors just how much your brand is loved within your industry. Well, ProveSrc lets you do exactly that by allowing you to show popup notifications indicating how many visitors are currently browsing your site, how many people claimed a specific offer or even made a purchase within a specific period.

This not only shows others how well received your brand is but also builds trust within your brand through the use of real social proof based upon how others use your website.

When to use ProveSrce

While ProveSrc is free to get started we recommend only using it once you’re hitting numbers you’re proud to be showing off. While some visitors is better than nothing, if you’re only getting 5 visitors a day it’s not enough to start bragging about it.

If you are just starting out, you can always create display rules so that notifications are only displayed once a minimum number is being reached.

Another thing to bear in mind is you don’t want to bombard your visitors with 20 different call to actions so ensure that you only display these notifications where it’s needed otherwise you’ll be losing traffic left right and centre.

Continually

For responding to visitors questions 24/7

Price – $0 to $129+ per month

Last but not least on our list of conversion optimisation tools that every business should be using list is a tool that will help you respond to your website visitors questions 24/7 without having to hire a sales team that spans the globe.

Continually lets you create a conversational chatbot that guides your website visitors to their desired page and can even help them schedule a product demo or pre-qualify whether fit for your product or service.

When to use Continually

While automation can help you improve areas within your business it’s important to remember that being able to convert a stranger into a customer doesn’t happen overnight and it may still require you to jump in and answer questions your bot can’t answer or provide your visitors with the finishing touch that makes your brand stand out from the rest.

This does however come in handy for small and growing teams who may not have the capacity to respond to every website visitors question or help guide visitors when its outside of your office hours so that you can pick up right where your newest team member left off.

Conclusion and next steps

And there we have it, 6 conversion optimisation tools to help you get a better return on your marketing efforts. With this in mind, it’s important to remember, that conversion optimisation is a game of trial and error and one tool that worked for one business may not work for you.

Be sure to consider what you are actually looking to achieve by using each tool before you apply it within your marketing strategy and be sure to only implement one at a time otherwise you may find yourself having no idea which chance it was that actually got you the results you were looking for.

Happy testing!

what-is-a-sales-funnel

How to Build a High Converting Sales Funnel For Your Business (That Actually Works!)

Running a successful business is all about solving problems for people in a way that no one else can. Consider how Google arrived on the scene to blow once mighty search engines like Yahoo and Ask Jeeves out of the water.

The world’s favourite search engine’s instant and lasting popularity is solidly based on it giving people the information they needed in a way they wanted it. Other search engines clearly overlooked this at their peril; the rest is history.

Solving problems is what any successful business does well. Irrespective if you’re selling used cars at affordable prices or want to be the next Uber, you’re in the business of solving problems and when you do it right, you’re GUARANTEED TO HAVE A CONSISTENT SUPPLY OF PAYING CUSTOMERS.

So, the obvious question is: how do today’s businesses demonstrate their ability to solve problems for their customers? How do you break through the marketing clutter to have your value proposition stand out from the rest?

The short answer is through a sales funnel not only connects with your ideal customer at each stage within their buying journey but one nurtures through that journey until they are ready to spend their money on your product or service.

The obvious next question then would be, “How on earth do I do that?” Well, that requires the long answer, so keep reading and we’ll tell you exactly how that’s done.

Now before we get started, building a sales funnel ACTUALLY works is no easy feat and it isn’t done in 5 minutes, that means this guide is going require your full commitment and execution till the end for it to work.

Here is a breakdown of what we will be covering:

  1. Connecting with your ideal customer online
  2. Creating your value-based sales funnel
  3. Build your landing pages with LeadPages
  4. Automating your sales funnel with Drip
  5. Attracting high quality leads with Facebook Ads

This guide is designed to provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step framework that you can follow from start to finish and while you can apply individual parts to your existing strategy we recommend applying the full strategy for best results.

Still sounds like something you’re interested in? Let’s dive in then!

Understanding the Importance of a Sales Funnel Within My Business

If you’re new to the world of online marketing and business you may have never heard of the phrase “sales funnel” so let us start by answering some questions on what is a sales funnel and why is it crital to your business.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is the prime weapon in any business’ arsenal when it comes to generating a steady supply of paying customers. So what is it? Well, an official-sounding definition of a sales funnel would go something like this:

“A sales funnel is the buying process companies build to get their customers to buy from them.”

Why Is a Sales Funnel Important?

Sales funnels have always been important. The thing is that they’ve changed a helluva lot since the days of Excel sheets and cold calls. Today’s sales funnels are practically 100% digital because the internet came along and made it possible for any business to get online and advertise their goods and services.

That may sound like a bummer but it’ not because that means you can nail this digital thing if you know how to do it right and that’s exactly what you’re doing now, so let’s keep going.

But, Will a Sales Funnel Work For My Business?

Having worked for a variety of online businesses, and having owned marketing agencies in the past, I can tell you that a sales funnel can work wonders for any business provided it’s executed the right way.

With that said, this particular strategy I am sharing with you is tailored towards businesses within service-based industries that match the following conditions:

  1. You sell a tangible service that provides more value than it costs
  2. Your average lifetime value of a single customer is at least $500
  3. You can provide something of high value up-front for little to no cost
  4. You have a sales cycle of 10 to 60 days from awareness to conversion
  5. You must be willing to invest a small budget on paid ads or have a high amount of organic traffic already visiting your site.

If your business matches this criteria, great. If not, we recommend researching more on sales funnel specific to your industry first as the tools we use can be applied to any online business.

What tools will we be using?

There is no shortage of martech available today. This is both a blessing and a curse in that it gives you boatloads of choices to choose from but also creates a massive amount of confusion when it comes to making the right decision for your business.

It’s all good though; we’re going to be using tried and tested platforms we use on the daily here at Refunnel. These are tools we trust to help us build solid sales funnels for ourselves and our customers so you we’re pretty good at them and soon you will be too!

The goal is to get you going with the least amount of effort and see results in the shortest space of time. To do this, make sure you sign up and use the following tools to start building your very own sales funnel as soon as possible. We’ll discuss what these are about in detail in a later section.

  • Answer the Public – Free
  • Google Keyword Planner – Free
  • LeadPages – Free for 14 days then $37 per month
  • Drip – Free for 14 days then $49 per month up to 2,500 subscribers
  • Facebook Ads – $300+ budget for Ad Spend per moth

While there are cheaper and even free options available on the market to some of the tools we recommended we have tried our fare share of them and find these to be the easiest to setup and work great together and if used correctly can easily generate a positive return on investment in no time.

We’re now going to share our step-by-step process we use to build profitable conversion optimised sales funnels that have proven to generate leads, prospects and customers for our clients and ourselves.

It’s important to remember that building a high-converting sales funnel continuous refinement so you won’t see results overnight but we can guarantee using this strategy will set you miles ahead of your competition.

Hot to Build Your Sales Funnel

Below is our exact 5 step process we use building high converting sales funnels for us and our clients, we’ve also included additional resources and guides if you wish to lean more about a particular stage.

Step 1 – Connecting With Your Ideal Customer Online

One of the most important elements that will determine whether or not you’re successful in marketing your business is your ability to connect with your ideal customer.

Pitching to an audience with no requirement for your product or service is arguably the worst marketing investment you can make and that’s why a targeted sales funnel is so critical to securing high value leads for your business.

And how do you do that..?

To capture the attention of your ideal buyer(s) you need to dig deep and uncover their pain points in a very relatable way. Think about how your service solves the problems your ideal buyer(s) are facing within their business or personal life and you’re on track to building a super-targeted sales funnel that’s guaranteed to get you great leads.

This applies to any service-based business model. In fact, the bigger the problem, the more likely they are able to pay for what you are offering!

To capture the largest possible audience you need to be thinking about the entire buyer’s journey. Make sure you know these stages because they’re important. They’re usually broken down into the following sequential categories:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Conversion

The most successful brands are those that are able to market to their ideal customer at every stage. This lets them capture the largest market share.

Let’s look at each of these stages in more detail and determine how you can do the same for your business. For now, we’re going to be just focusing on the awareness stage of your funnel and I’ll show you how to market to the remaining stages in the next part of this guide.

Building Awareness

The awareness stage is the moment your precious customer discovers your brand or service for the first time. It’s that first “Hello” and also the second your sales funnel gets all revved up. That first meeting is almost guaranteed to happen online these days because 90% of people today look for a product or service by using, you guessed it… Google.

You’re probably well aware of the fact that Google is basically built around keywords and that way people use them to find stuff. So that means we’ve got to have a quick chat about keywords.

A word about keywords

Let’s start by listing 10 to 15 keywords that relate to your service and the solution it provides. Try to be specific but also avoid using short keywords as they are harder to rank for. I know that’s a tough ask but try to think about the things that makes your business unique.

You could use your location as a differentiator when thinking about keywords, for example. Amending a highly contested keyword to your local town name can give your search rankings a real differentiator.

Another thing, you want to think about words that relate not just to the service you provide but also the solution that you’re offering and the results your customer will see from it.

Using Answer the Public for Initial Keyword Research

Okay, so for the first step to nailing keywords we’re going to be using a free tool called Answer the Public This online tool gives you a really cool visual mind map of the most common phrases people use when looking for stuff on Google….okay, okay… Bing and Yahoo also.

Each keyword is broken down into specific categories including questions, prepositions and comparisons and shows related keywords and search phrases people use most commonly when using a specific keyword. It’s really cool and the old guy on the website looks like a lekker dude.

For this quick walkthrough we’ll use “accounting services” as an example keyword so you can see first hand how this tool generates results for a particular keyword.

Pretty near right?

Feel free to use as many of the results you get because we’ll be using this when creating your lead magnets. More about that later.

Now that we have our keywords, search phrases and questions mapped out, it’s time to determine which are the most popular in terms of search volume on a monthly basis. We do this to figure out which keywords you’re most likely to get traction on.

To do this we’ll be using Google Ads Keyword Tool and while we won’t be looking to advertise on the Google Ads platform yet, it’s clear that Google is the undisputed king of search engines.

You’ll need a Google Ads account to do this; if you don’t, your can set up your Google Ads account in no time.

I’ll be waiting here when you’ve set it up.

To open the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool navigate to Tools and then Keyword Planner.

For now, we’ll be using the get search volue and forecases feature on the right hand side.

Once you are ready start by entering all of the keywords you came up with earlier.

And there you have it, a detailed month on month breakdown of the most popular keywords and search phrases that your audience is using to find your service or brand.

As you can see, to even stand a chance of bidding on the top keywords you would need to invest a small fortune to even stand a chance of ranking on the first page of Google but thankfully we’re here to show you how to attract high-quality clients without the high price tag. Sounds good?

Now you want to focus on specific keywords but make sure they have a reasonable amount of search volume otherwise you may not generate the results you were expecting. Make sure you complete this activity for all of the keywords before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2 – Creating a Value-Based Sales Funnel

Now that we know exactly what keywords, search phrases and questions our target audience is searching for we want to use this as collateral for creating our super targeted sales funnel.

First up, we’ll be creating a high-value lead magnet which will create interest in your overall service offering while helping your customer solve a problem in his or her business. The real kicker is that they’ll get this awesome piece of content from you for free and it will give them tons of value while they’re at it!

We’ll keep the accounting business example going and pretend to attract small business clients to our fake accounting business. Just don’t tell anyone it’s fake, okay. We could get into real shit.

This is where those keywords and phrases you got off Ask The Public are going to be very useful. A lead magnet isn’t a lead magnet if it doesn’t answer a pressing question your customer has. So for our fake accounting business a good example would look something like:

  • 5 ways to …
  • How to …
  • Improving my business cash flow by …

Here’s an example we’ll be using for this guide:

While the guide we’ll be providing is a digital version, we’ve created a 3D mockup to grab the attention of the visitor.

As you can see by the titles choices, this lead magnet is going to blow the socks off any buyer persona looking for ways to improve their in-house accounting.

Now, think about your actual business for a second and how you would use keywords to create really useful lead magnets that will make leads perceive your business as a real problem solver.

Here’s a quick lead magnet checklist to be sure you nail it:

  • Slap it behind a landing page (more about landing page later)
  • Keep it short, VERY informative and make readers feel they got real value from it
  • Make it about a very specific problem that your customers have and share their pain
  • Think about something that makes the content evergreen
  • Get a designer for branding and visual communications

Build Consideration

Now that you have created a high value asset which your potential customer (lead) has downloaded they are aware of your brands existence and how your services can potentially help them but for the moment, all you have done is establish authority and trust within your brand now it’s time to start nurturing them into a qualified prospect so that you know which leads stand the best chance of becoming a new customer.

To do this, we will need to create a more high value asset that relates directly to your service offering, its entirely up to you whether you choose to provide this for free or for a small monetary value (no more than $50 to $100), however, its best to ensure your funnel works before doing this as it creates resistance when people are required to pay for a company they have only just meet so you may also want to consider offering it at no charge to begin while still indicating the value of what you’re offering.

For this part, we’ll use another real-life example by providing them with a complementary cash flow analysis

Other examples that work well include:

  • Free trials
  • Free demos
  • Free consultations
  • Buyers guides

Now is where you go more in-depth about your brand and service offering, how it can solve problems they face within their business most importantly how much value it creates. You should still include upfront value before asking for the sale by answering some of the most common questions they may have about your service

Once you have answered these questions it’s time to establish direct social proof in your brand and service. This can be done through use of existing case studies, testimonials and reviews so that your potential customer now has real life examples of your brands results.

This is the stage where you are asking the lead to genuinely consider choosing your brand and services for their business or themselves so be sure to cover everything you feel is relevant and be sure not to skimp on details or the design as this is where it matters most.

Once this is done it’s now time to move into the next stage of your sales funnel and the most critical one of them all, the conversion.

Converting Your Prospect

You’ve now done most of the ground work that’s required in finding and connecting with your ideal customer as well as establishing trust and authority within your brand through your high-value lead magnets and now it’s time to convert your prospect into a customer.

Depending upon your sales process, you will need to determine how your conversion and onboarding process is managed. You should aim to remove as much friction from the process as possible this includes trying to:

  • Using a web based contract and invoicing platform
  • Being easily contactable throughout the process
  • Supporting online payment platforms via credit card

Don’t over complicate the process by asking for too much information but ensure you get what you require to avoid having to ask the customer later.

And there you have it, you have successfully created all of the required assets for building your value-based sales funnel and mapped out each of the required steps for turning your sales process into an automated customer generating machine.

Step 3 – Building Your Landing Pages with LeadPages

Now we know what are the problems and solutions your ideal customers are searching for and how we’re going to market to them, it’s time to build our landing pages which will act as the first point of contact when they come across your brand when conducting their research online.

If you’re new to this whole online marketing thing, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a landing page and a traditional website is?

Well, a landing page is like a traditional web page, but, with all navigation and external links removed, allowing for your visitor to only take one specific action.  Your landing page should capture your audience attention easily, provide them with a clear call to action and present little to no resistance when it comes time for them to enter their details.

On average, landing pages convert 20-40% more than a traditional website. Can you imagine what  40% more leads would do for your business?

Let’s find out.

Setting Up LeadPages

To set up your Leadpages account, we’ll be using the standard plan which is free for the first 14 days then $37 per month and includes everything you’ll need to get started.

While there are discounts available for Annual and 2-Year tier pricing, we are trying to keep your investment to a minimum while starting out. You can always upgrade during or after your free trial period has finished.

Designing Your landing Pages

For this guide, we will be creating a total of 3 landing pages:

  • A Lead Magnet Landing Page
  • A Introductory Landing Page
  • A Primary Offering Landing Page

Depending upon how adventurous you are, you can start by selecting one of the Leadpages pre-built templates and customise it to match your brand and style or build your very own landing page from scratch using their powerful drag & drop page builder.

If you are new to design, start with one of Leadpages pre-built templates as they have been created with conversion rates in mind by Leadpages own design time. For this particular guide, we’ll be using one of their templates build specifically for lead magnets.

Creating Your Lead Magnet Landing Page

This landing page will be used to attract first-time visitors into your funnel and encourage them to enter their email address in exchange for receiving the free lead magnet that you created earlier.

You may want to ask for their first name as well so that you can personalise the next stages of your marketing funnel but it’s entirely up to you.

Don’t focus on making it 100% perfect as there is always room for improvement based upon data you will collect later on.

Here is is how your final landing page should look:

Creating Your Introductory Offer Landing Page

Next, we’ll be creating your introductory landing page which will be promoted to those who have completed your lead magnet landing page. This landing page will be promoted within your drip email marketing campaign and via your Facebook Ads retargeting campaign.

For this particular landing page, you may want to request more than their first name and email address so that you can begin building a profile on their business to ensure that they are the right fit for your service, however, in most cases they will use their business email address and you will be able to conduct research from there.

For this landing page, we’ll be using another one of their pre-designed templates, however, choosing from the consultation templates.

Here’s an example of how your end page should look:

Creating Your Primary Offering Page

Depending upon how long you have been in business and when you launched your website you may also want to consider creating a primary offering page to either replace your existing website if it is dated to ensure your branding remains consistent or act as your temporary website while you’re building your main website.

This page should include the following:

  • An overview of your brand
  • An overview of your key team members
  • An overview of services you provide
  • Any relevant testimonials
  • Links to your lead magnet and introductory offer

All of this can fit within page and Leadpages also has “Minisite” templates to support this:

We recommend using the Consultation Mini-Site template if you are a service-based business. Remember, your website should provide maximum value upfront and talk about the outcomes your ideal customer gets when working with you so be sure to keep your messaging consistent.

Pro-Tip: Creating Your Thank You Pages

You may want to consider creating a thank you page which visitors are redirected to after completing each landing page, there are a number of benefits of doing this including being able to accurately track the source of your new leads and provide an instant upsell path.

Publishing Your Landing Pages

So we’ve now outlined all of the landing pages required for building your high converting sales funnel, however, before you can launch your new funnel we need to publish your landing pages to your preferred domain and automate your sales funnel with Drip.

Step 4 – Automated Your Sales Funnel with Drip

Chances are, if you own or are just starting a business you know that email is one of the highest converting forms of marketing out there. However, building individual campaigns, knowing what email to send and when can be a challenge even for the most experienced of marketers.

Not anymore, say hello drip email automation!

With drip email automation you can create an automated email workflow that nurtures leads through the buyer’s journey based upon each subscribers individual actions, while allowing you to test and refine each stage of your funnel until it’s a well-oiled machine.

Setting up Drip

Your first step to creating your automated email workflow is setting up your account with Drip, for this step we’ll be using the basic plan which is free for your first two weeks and then $49 per month for up to 2,500 subscribers includes everything you need to get you up and running.

Upon signing up you will first be asked to enter some basic details including your domain URL as well as a username and password. Next, you will need to complete a quick questionnaire regarding your business and how you will be using Drip.

Finally, you will need to enter your credit card details, however, you will only be charged once you have been a customer for 2 weeks.

Build your first automated workflow

For this step, we’ll be using a 6-part automated workflow. While drip campaigns can vary in terms of when and how often emails are sent, this campaign will be delivered across 10 days after the visitor completes your lead magnet landing page form.

Depending upon how long your buyers journey is from visitor to subscriber to buyer you may want to adjust this to match your business.

Your email nurturing workflow will consist of the following sequences that will be drip emailed to your subscriber at the times you choose:

Email 1 – Thank You

Delivery – Instant

Thank the subscriber for taking the time to complete the lead magnet form and provide a short yet personal introduction of who you are. If you are providing a content based offer, it may be a good idea to include the link in the email for easy reference, otherwise, if your product is delivered via manual fulfillment, include detailed instructions on how they will receive their lead magnet. You may even want to include an open question with the aim of starting a conversation with a subscriber such as ‘’What are you looking to get out of …?’’

Email 2 – The Value Adder

Delivery – Day 3

It’s time to build on your previous offer and provide more value that makes a beneficial impact on their business. This can be an add on relevant to the first email or something within the similar context that will help them without investing a large amount of time.

Email 3 – Engagement

Delivery – Day 5

Now is the moment where you can engage the subscriber with an introductory offer. Remember, you are now asking your subscriber to make a monetary investment so your introductory offer has to WOW them in order for them to hand over their money.

For this step, you will need to include a link to your Introductory Offer Landing Page.

Email 4 – Social Proof

Delivery – Day 7

If your subscriber has yet to take action, it’s time to use social proof to get them across the line, this can be in the form of case studies, testimonials or success stories. Remember, you need to provide them with as much proof as possible that their investment is going to be worthwhile.

For this step, you will need to include a link to your Introductory Offer Landing Page.

Email 5 – Win Back

Delivery – Day 10

It’s your final roll of the dice. They’ve made it this far and still haven’t taken you up on your offer BUT they still want you in their inbox. This is where you are going to have to prove to your subscriber that what you’re pedaling is going to benefit them long term.

For this step, you will need to include a link to your Introductory Landing Page.

Email 6 – Qualified Prospect

Delivery – Instant

You’ve done it, they are now a converted lead! Be sure to congratulate them on taking the next step and provide them with an overview of what to expect. Ensure your follow-up is efficient and professional so that you can be on-hand to help them through the next steps and get them from a converted lead to a loyal customer.

Bonus: We have created a template you can install directly into your Drip account using the following link, however, we recommend creating the workflow yourself if you have time as it will allow you to get a better understanding of the platform.

Connecting Drip with Your Leadpages account

All that’s left now is for your to connect Drip with your Leadpages landing pages so that new leads are automatically pushed through to Drip as soon as they complete a form within your landing page.

Step 5 – Attracting High Quality Leads with Facebook Ads

This is the moment where you start to get your brand name out there and working to attract leads, prospects and ultimately, customers!

With over 2 billion users and growing, Facebook is now becoming one of the most powerful and while it was traditionally seen as a social media network the ability to advertise on the platform no matter what your industry has evolved over the years and if done right it can pay dividends.

You may be thinking, Isn’t Facebook a social media platform?

The answer is yes, however, most people have adapted to seeing paid ads on Facebook and for now, you won’t be selling anything for the moment. You’ll be providing high value lead magnet in exchange for an email address and we’ll be creating a campaign with the objective of getting landing page views so you will only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Let’s find out what it can do for your business to boost your sales!

Creating Your Ideal Customer Profile

For this stage we will be using the Facebook Ads platform to attract traffic to your new landing page with the objective of converting them. You will need to know exactly who your target audience is and how to find them, so for this you will need to create your ideal buyer profile which will allow you to identify who your ideal customer profile is including

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Demographics

You may have more than one so feel free to complete as many as you want, however, for this part we will begin with targeting just one profile to ensure your data remains accurate.

Calculating your Facebook Ad ROI

It’s now time to calculate how much you are going to have to spend to acquire a customer using Facebook Ads, this is a critical step so we need to use accurate data to ensure that you get the best possible results from your ad spend.

First we’ll need to determine your historical monthly website metrics:

  • Website Visitors
  • Website Leads
  • New Customers
  • Total Revenue

This will help us to identify the following:

  • Cost per visitor
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per customer
  • Average revenue per customer

To do this, you can review your existing data in Google Analytics if it has been correctly configured otherwise if you are a new business or you cannot obtain this information here are some industry averages that you can base your campaign off.

  • Visitor to lead – 10% to 40%
  • Lead to Prospect – 5% to 10%
  • Prospect to Customer – 10% to 20%

Remember, these are both high and low averages and if you’re new to marketing it may take some time to reach these metrics so only invest what you can afford to ensure you don’t overspend.

Depending upon your location we recommend starting with a budget of $10 to $20 a day to get your offer out there and start collecting data.

Setting Up Your Facebook Ads Account

To best setup and manage your Facebook Ads you will need a Facebook Business account which can be created using your existing Facebook account or a new one related to your business.

Once this is all setup you’re now ready to start creating your ads.

Step 2 – Creating Your Ads

Navigate to Ads Manager and click the Create button, a new window will appear asking you to select your campaign objective for which we will be chosing Conversions.

Next, we’ll be defining your audience based upon ideal ideal customer profile you created earlier. We recommend using the create multiple new ad sets feature as you will be able to see how you ad performs baseed upon different audiences.

You will also need to configure your Facebook Pixel so that you can accurately track the return on ad spend and see which ads perform best.

Finally, it’s time to create your ad.

Try to keep your ad copy short and engaging as the objective is to get them to your site as easily as possible and then let your landing page do the rest.

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to test as many ideas as you can until you’ve determined what gets your leads clicking and converting – no idea is too crazy!

Now hit Confirm and voila! You’ve now launched your first Facebook Ads campaign. All that’s left to do is to review, test and improve your campaigns to get the maximum ROI possible.

Good luck!

Conclusion and Next Steps

And there you have it, a high-level breakdown of how we build a profitable customer generating sales funnel for service-based business that you can use within your business (steal! ;-))

Now, the only question that remains is how you use it to build your very own customer generating sales funnel for your service based business?

  1. You apply our free guide in-house and brag about the results.
  2. You claim your free strategy session to receive a tailored growth plan and roadmap even better results.
  3. You were blown away by our experience but prefer to leave to Team Refunnel to build a customised sales funnel within 30 days.
freshsales

How to Choose the Right CRM For Your Business – CRM Comparison 2019

Whether you’re a one man band or an up and coming small business going faster than a speeding ticket, one of the most important backbones of any successful business is the ability to track down and store information on your leads. Chances are, when you first looked into getting a CRM you were probably overwhelmed by the options available on the market so stuck to an, at-first, simple spreadsheet that’s now snowballed into a giant morass of email addresses, phone numbers, formulas and broken macros — that sound about right?

Mate, it’s time to ditch the Monday morning coloumnoscopies and get a CRM.

Beyond not having mind numbing spreadsheets to deal with, CRMs provide you with critical data that shows you exactly what actions your leads are taking so you can reach out to them at the right moment and convert them easier than what you can say “Cat in a hat!”

Thankfully, with advancements in technology you can do exactly that to ensure your sales pipeline is hitting the right notes and resonating with your precious leads.

Thing is, with CRM platforms popping up faster than mushrooms in horse shit, how can you be sure you’re making the right decision for the long term growth of your business? Well, it just so happens that I always keep a spreadsheet (wink wink) of personal CRM favourites of mine handy just in cease I’m in hearing distance of someone going, “These #$@*&^ macros are driving me up the @%#^@ wall up again!!”

Ready? Here’s my list of favourite CRMs for 2018.

Freshsales

Right, we’ll kick off with the new kid on the block. Freshsales came about in 2016 and hasn’t stopped innovating since. Where Freshsales tries to be different is they think beyond just providing a CRM platform that works with other sales tools like your trusty email, phone calling, or event tracking. The folks over at Freshsales try to provide you with a holistic sales platform that gives you everything you need to manage your lead generation and sales campaigns with precision. How good are they at it? Let’s see.

Overview

Freshsales came about from an internal need for a robust platform that broke the rules of traditional CRMs. The Freshsales team wanted a solution that spoke to the challenges they experienced everyday, so built a platform that allowed them to manage all their day-to-day activities like email outreach and call tracking. But they took it further than that and ended up building a solution that takes care of a wide scope of daily sales activities without the need to endlessly switch between different tools.

Since it came on the scene back in 2016, I must say the Freshsales platform has continued to evolve and is a tool I like to use. It’s become a trusted name within the CRM space by building out a host of solutions that sales teams love. There’s that and it’s got a great price tag — double threat!
Usability
Freshsales brings new life to the CRM space with a well thought-out user experience and interface that’s not too bad on the eye. You can easily navigate between your leads, contacts, accounts and deals using the navigation tools that aren’t tough to get accustomed to. You’ll start managing your growing database like a pro within a few days and the customer support ain’t bad if you get stuck.

Key Features

  • Allows you to send outbound email campaigns directly within the platform
  • Allows you to make calls directly within the platform
  • AI-based lead scoring based on a lead’s individual activities

Pricing

Freshsales takes every business situation into account and comes up with a full range of pricing options. Their Sprout Plan provides you with a limited free forever account while still offering all the essential features you need to get started. It also offers additional features used by growing sales teams, all of which are available on a free 30-day trial.

  • Sprout – $0 free forever plan
  • Blossom – $19 per user, per month/$12 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Garden – $35 per user, per month/$35 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Estate – $65 per user, per month/$49 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Forest – $99 per user, per month/$79 per user, per month (billed annually)

Salesforce

Next cab off the rank is Salesforce. Established in 1999 in a rented apartment, Salesforce has grown to become the biggest name in the CRM game. It’s a platform that provides big sales teams with all of the bells and whistles they could ask for and is known for building and acquiring other tools and APIs that all fit within the Salesforce product family offering.

Overview

With its wealth of industry experience, size and market standing, Salesforce has been able to build out a robust product offering. However, like most other humungus platforms on the market you do end up with a steeper learning curve and more screens to flip through. Depending on your preference for simplicity, it may get a bit dizzying, but this is subjective criticism, to be honest. Apart from it being a tad intimidating, the panapoly of apps, integrations and features pack a punch but will require a dedicated…ahem… sales force, to master.

Salesforce also provides features that aren’t necessarily required within the garden variety CRM. For those starting out, the platform can be more complex than needed, resulting in sales teams having to complete training or learn about features they may not end up using.

Usability

Salesforce is a CRM platform for high-adrenaline sales teams that maurade their markets like wolf packs. However, with so much terrain to navigate, it gets a little complicated for the smaller teams who are looking to get off to a less intimidating first-time venture into the world of CRM platforms. The upside about Salesforce? There are as many as there are APIs and powerful features.

Obviously, if you’re on the savvy side of technology and can flip between screens like a Russian gymnast on a pommel horse and you need more than the usual tools, Salesforce is the CRM for you. If your team is growing and you typically manage massive amounts of leads, need hyper segmentation, mobility, and integrations are a must-have, then Salesforce should be your poison of choice.

Key Features

  • Native integration with a whole bunch of other products in the Salesforce family
  • Robust sales reporting and deep data analytics features
  • Features can be added and removed to suit individual needs

Pricing

Unlike Freshsales, Salesforce’s pricing plans cater more towards the established business and enterprise organisations. While they do offer a free trial and an entry-level plan, it doesn’t come in as favourably as Freshsales and other platforms at $25 per user, per month (billed annually). Now, this doesn’t essentially make Salesforce a bad choice for the budget conscious startup, but it does mean you have to be confident that it’s the right platform for you before committing as it will be a little tough to switch to another platform, should you choose to do so.

  • Lightning Essentials – $25 per user(up to 5 users) per month (billed annually)
  • Lightning Professional – $75 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Lightning Enterprise – $150 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Lightning Unlimited – $300 per user, per month (billed annually)

Pipedrive

Pipedrive’s mission is simple: to help you close deals faster. With its well thought-out design and feature stack it’s good at doing exactly that. Their platform helps sales teams to focus on the most important aspects of their jobs and allows them to be more productive and profitable. This means less researching, looking for lead data scattered all over the office and getting on with closing deals.

Overview

Pipedrive doesn’t skimp on offering small-to-medium businesses a value-based platform. It gives you all the basic tools — and them some — to nurture and convert leads at the press of a button. With an easy-to-use pipeline management feature, built-in email sending and receiving, the ability to add relevant activities and advanced reporting, Pipedrive is a CRM I really like and think it’s definitely worth a test drive for those looking to up the ante on their lead generation game plan.

Usability

Pipedrive likes to keep things simple while still offering all the features sales reps need to stay on top of their game. They provide a clean, easy to use interface that’s controlled by one central navigation bar located at the top of the main dashboard. From there you can move between each feature as required to keep your pipeline pumping.

Key Features

  • Activity reminders and mobile notifications to ensure everything is up to date
  • Send and receive emails from directly within the platform
  • Provides one of the top rated CRM apps for iOS and Android

Pricing

While Pipedrive doesn’t offer a freemium version, their prices come in much more reasonable than Salesforce, which is great if you’re just getting started. Their Silver Tier Plan starts at $15 per user, per month and includes everything you need to get started. If you’re after some of the more advanced apps you’ll need to upgrade to the Gold Plan which is still a very reasonable $29 per user, per month, all of which are available on a free trial to get you started.

  • Silver – $15 per user, per month/$12.50 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Gold – $29 per user, per month/$24.20 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Platinum – $75 per user, per month/$62.50 per user, per month (billed annually)

Insightly

There’s nothing unsightly about Insightly, in fact, it’s a pretty decent CRM platform with a few aspects about it that make it unique and value packed for sales teams who want to get a contextual view of their leads. Insightly connects all all your leads’ peripheral data such as external partnerships, hierarchies that influence buying decisions, turnovers and more to bring each individual buying process into sharp focus.

Overview

Okay so the thing I dig most about Insightly is that it allows me to segment and categorise leads pretty easily. The platform is fairly straightforward on the surface but has a broad enough range of features to give you a decent toolset that includes a visible sales pipeline and workflow tools that automate much of the heavy lifting associated with lead research, qualification and complex buyer processes.

Usability

Like I said, Insightly has a large enough range of features without it being intimidating to the first time CRM user. It makes getting off the ground easy and you quickly learn the feature-set as you get your teeth sunk into it. It’s got some nice integrations to give it more versatility so you can use most of your existing tech with Insightly. It also offers CRM solutions to the larger organisation without letting the small guy feel left out.

Key Features

  • View and manage organisational hierarchies, partnerships with rich user data
  • Automated lead capture and distribution ensures each lead is delivered to the right rep
  • Automate repetitive tasks and manage schedules with task milestone dates

Pricing

Insightly was built on the foundation that every business needs a good CRM, even if they can’t afford one. So, in 2009 they launched the world’s first free CRM. Unfortunately, giving something away for free isn’t essentially an ideal business model so they have since had to expand into paid plans to keep the lights on at the Insightly office. However, their original free plan remains intact and is worth checking out if you’re browsing anyway.

  • Free – $0 per month (limited to 2 users)
  • Plus – $29 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Professional – $49 per user, per month (billed annually)
  • Enterprise – $99 per user, per month (billed annually)

Hubspot

Now here’s a platform that needs little introduction, however, no list of marketing tools would be complete without a mention of the Hubspot. The kings and queens of inbound marketing are well-known for their knack for cracking the, at times very aloof, buyer persona and helping brands build bulletproof content marketing strategies. I’m a proud Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketer myself and must say that I’ve learnt a lot from these clever folks over the years. Okay so what’s the deal with their CRM?

Overview

The first thing I want to mention about the Hubspot CRM is that it’s 100% totally free, forever. That’s according to Hubspot so it’s got to be true. The CRM itself is what you’d expect from Hubspot with a broad range of features and tools built to make life easy for busy sales teams. The CRM integrates nicely with the Hubspot sales and other platforms which opens up a whole new world when you start connecting to them.

Usability

If you know Hubspot you’ll have no hassles getting to know the CRM’s interface. The folks at Hubspot HQ are serial information sharers so there’s always help available in the form of tutorials, blogs and handy FAQs. Now, the thing with the Hubspot platform is that they’re not naive enough to give you a complete CRM for free so expect to see a feature or benefit missing here or there as a means to get you onboarded to the full, honeymoon, luxury, VIP, deluxe suite of applications. And because Hubspot is such a darn good platform you can expect to fork out some serious moolah when it comes to taking the plunge and signing up for the full suite or other paid-for products and services.

Key Features

  • User friendly deals page lets you manage your pipeline with total visibility
  • Log sales activities of leads across social media, email and calls
  • Detailed lead overview page allows you to easily view your leads information

Pricing

Hubspot has opted for a completely freemium CRM pricing model. While most would call it a sneaky marketing trick, the CRM itself is a pretty reliable, feature packed piece of work that works like a charm. Nice work, Hubspot!

  • Free – $0 per month (forever)

Conclusion

And there you have it, a detailed breakdown of the leading CRM’s available on the market at the moment. Now, it’s over to you to make a decision which is best for your needs. Take these babies for a test drive and kick that Excel sheet to the damn curb once and for all.

Remember, every business is different so be sure to make a decision that’s going to support your needs and not just for the short term. Your CRM is the backbone that supports your entire sales team and gives you the automation and flexibility you need to be a kickass sales pro, instead of burning daylight trying to make sense of convoluted, booby trap-laden spreadsheets — that shit’s so 1995 anyways.

Why we recommend and use Freshsales

We use Freshsales as our chosen CRM for both ourselves and our clients as it works well with other platforms that we use within our marketing campaigns. Matched with a modern, clean UX and jam packed with features that enable you to go beyond traditional CRM platforms, we simply dig Freshsales. Now, we’re not saying you should too, but that’s the platform we’ve become most comfortable with and we’ve got the leads and customers to show for it.

Go on and get your CRM testing off the ground and see which works the most ideally for you. Your business might have its own unique proclivities and demands that some of the other CRMs we mentioned have that Freshsales doesn’t quite match. But whatever you do, tear up that damn spreadsheet, Mr. Gorbachev!

I’m out…(…drops mic and walks away…)

Done-For-You Marketing Automation Process - Implementation- Refunnel

How to Chose the Right Landing Page Builder For Your Business

In a world that demands attention from a constantly growing collection of communication channels, getting your target audience to notice your brand for even the shortest of time can be a challenge. And when you do, it’s important that you capture their undivided attention.

Traditional websites unfortunately don’t allow for this. With so many options and pages it’s easy for your website visitors to start browsing only to forget what brought them to it in the first place. Before you know it, they’re gone in the blink of an eye. That’s why many marketers turn to landing pages to get their message across and ensure it’s delivered in a format that’s both distraction-free and designed to convert.

Predictably, there’s no shortage of landing page tools available on the market. One major frustration for marketers today is the sheer volume of builders, apps and tools they need to navigate to find just the right one – which leaves the question… “Which landing page builder is right for my business?”

In this article we’re going to compare the leading landing page builders available on the market and break down what makes them the most suitable in our opinion. Based upon your needs, you should be able to spot the platform that suits your specific desired outcomes most ideally.

Let’s get started…

Leadpages

Leadpages was founded in 2012 and has been re-inventing the way marketers and business owners build landing pages ever since. With an easy-to-use interface that allows you to create eye-catching designs that your visitors will love, Leadpages has aesthetics and user-friendliness down to a tee. All it takes is a couple of drags, drops and clicks and you’ll have a landing page that is designed for conversions in no time at all.

Overview

Where Leadpages stands out from its competitors is with its host of built-in features that lets you go beyond just designing landing pages. It also allows you collect payments directly inside of your landing page and create instant Facebook Ads to start driving traffic as soon as you publish your new landing page. It’s really handy that you can do all of this without having to flick between multiple open software screens.

While Leadpages is the most budget-friendly solution on the market, that doesn’t mean they’ve skimped on features or customer service and they also providing an endless amount of free educational content. Become a master landing page builder with the courses, webinars and guides included on the platform and ensure you get the most out of, not only your landing pages, but the entire platform.

Usability

Ask any non-tech savvy business owner and they’ll tell you one of the biggest pain points in trying to market their business is not being able to use the tools that are available to do so. Leadpages bucks this trend by providing its users with a easy-to-use drag and drop page builder that anyone can learn in a short space of time. Say goodbye to hiring in-house developers or paying for expensive website redesigns that take months to build and offer very little ROI.

Templates

Chances are, you’re not a designer and that’s OK. After all, what’s the point in buying a dog and barking yourself? Leadpages takes the guesswork out of planning, building and designing a landing page that gets results through a collection of tried and tested landing page templates. It’s as easy as choosing the one you want, adding it to your account and then customising the content and styling to match your brand and offer. All templates are designed to fit laptop, tablet and mobile screen sizes so you can build your landing page to match any of a growing plethora of devices out there.

Integrations

When adding any platform to your marketing toolkit it’s important to make sure that it will work in harmony with your existing platforms. The last thing you want is something that is going to cost you more time in implementation than what it earns you in revenue. Thankfully, Leadpages takes this into consideration and provides integrations with a host of popular platforms including:

  • Analytics – Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Javascript Analytics Platform
  • CRM – Infusionsoft – Salesforce
  • Digital Advertising – Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Other Advertising Platforms
  • Ecommerce – Shopify
  • Email – ActiveCampaign, AWeber, Constant Contact, Convert Kit, Drip, Emma, Get Response, iContact, MailChimp
  • Live Chat – chat.io, LiveChat
  • Marketing Automation – Zapier, HubSpot, Marketo, Ontraport
  • Payments – Stripe, PayPal
  • Scheduling – Acuity, Calendly, Timetrade
  • Social Media – Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Webinar – GoToWebinar, WebinarJam
  • Website – Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, WordPress

They also provide integration with Zapier allowing you to share your landing page data with over 1000+ apps using Zapier’s industry leading data automation app.

Key Features

  • Allows you to create opt-in boxes and collect payments
  • Allows you to create and publish Facebook Ads campaigns inside of their platform
  • Provides in-depth analytics and easy to understand campaign results

Pricing

Leadpages offers one of the most affordable solutions on the market and is equipped with everything you need to get started. They also offer large discounts when you opt for a 1 or 2 year subscription in advance, however, I recommend you test it extensively beforehand. While some of the advanced features aren’t available in the standard plan, their pro plan comes in at the same price or less than the entry level plans of Instapage and Ubounce, making it the clear winner in terms of pricing.

  • Standard – $37 per month/$25 per month (billed annually)
  • Pro – $79 per month/$48 per month (billed annually)
  • Advanced – $199 per month (billed annually)

Instapage

Instapage is a crowd favourite for digital marketers, agencies and large enterprise alike. Also founded in 2012, they have remained one of the leaders in providing an all-encompassing solution that is designed to help businesses maximise conversions and create personalised website experiences at scale without the need to build out entire websites.

Overview

Instapage positions itself well as the go-to solution for companies running Google AdWords campaigns and catering to agencies with multiple clients. They do this by allowing you to create multiple sub-accounts for your clients within a single account. It also has a host of built-in features that allow teams to collaborate, gather feedback and share landing page designs internally or externally during the design progress so everyone is on the same page when it comes to launching the next big idea.

All plans include advanced testing features that are not seen in Leadpages’ lower tier plan, including the ability to split test, view visitor behaviour using their built-in heat mapping feature and create dynamic text which personalises the user-experience based on keywords, search intents or their demographic ensuring you deliver the right message, every time.

Usability

Gone are the days of the clunky website builders that leave you second-guessing as to how your website would display on different devices. Instapage delivers a user-friendly, yet powerful page builder that makes it easy to launch clean, conversion-optimised landing pages your audience won’t be able to say no to.

Some of their core features include the ability to create InstaBlocks that can be deployed to multiple landing pages as many times as you need them. It also gives your team advanced design functionality to ensure your web pages are designed with pixel precision each and every time.

Templates

Instapage offers one of the largest collections of pre-built templates with over 200 conversion-tested templates catering to practically every industry imaginable. Whether you’re looking for ebook downloads, webinar registrations, app installs or qualified sales leads, Instapage has it all.

Integrations

No landing page builder is complete without the ability to support your favourite platforms. Instapage gives you peace of mind by providing native integrations for the biggest marketing tools on the market as well as supporting integration with Zapier.

  • Advertising – Google Adwords, Facebook Ads
  • Analytics – Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Heap, KISSmetrics
  • Call Tracking – DialogTech, Retreaver
  • CRM – Salesforce, Zoho, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign
  • Email Marketing – Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, Mad Mimi, E-goi, ConvertKit
  • Exit Intent & Pop-Ups – OptiMonk, OptinMonster, Sumo
  • Live Chat – Intercom, Olark, Zendesk
  • Marketing Automation – Marketo, HubSpot, Autopilot, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign
  • Other – Zapier, Webhooks, WordPress, Drupal, TypeKit, Google Fonts, Bigstock
  • Webinar – GoToWebinar

Key Features

  • Allows for collaboration and instant feedback during the design process
  • Allows you to review create advanced split tests and collect heat map data
  • Ability to create multiple sub-accounts inside of one account

Pricing

While Leadpages does offer more bang for your buck, Instapage is by no means expensive when you consider their extensive range of pre-built templates and host of features that are designed to have your website up and running in days, not weeks like with the traditional approach to building websites.

  • Core – $79 per month/$69 per month (billed annually)
  • Optimizer – $129 per month/$99 per month (billed annually)
  • Team & Agency – $229 per month/$179 per month (billed annually)
  • Enterprise – Customized

Unbounce

Last but not least is Unbounce. Some call it the industry veteran as it was founded in 2009 (3 years before it’s largest competitors). Started by a team of 6 with a mission to educate, connect and empower marketing teams and agencies to grow their businesses, Unbounce has some really great features and many swear by it (including their 14,000+ customers).

Overview

Dubbed the platform you’ll never outgrow, Unbounce focuses on delivering an unrivaled design experience without the need for developers. It also allows you to create and deploy targeted, customisable pop-ups based on targeting rules and a range of other built-in preferences to ensure your message is delivered at the perfect time.

However, great design needs accurate data to back it up and Unbounce offers a metric for each and every critical dataset so you can optimise your campaigns based on real data. This helps to ensure you’re capturing your audience’s attention while providing your business with the highest chance for converting visitors into leads and leads into customers.

Usability

Unbounce has used its experience to create a well thought-out, feature-packed and powerful platform that doesn’t require a degree in design or development to operate. In fact, Unbounce probably delivers the most advanced page builder but manages to keep it user-friendly. Their platform also provides a step-by-step tutorial to show you around when you’re getting started.

Templates

Just like its competitors, Unbounce understands that not everyone knows what elements make up a high converting landing page BUT they help you take the guesswork out of it by providing 125+ handcrafted templates built by their in-house design team, thus making your life much easier. All you have to do is find one that matches your brand, style, what you’re peddling and make some minor changes and you’re ready to launch. Pretty easy right?

Integrations

Unbounce doesn’t shy away or take any shortcuts when it comes to making sure their platform works with just about every well known tool on the market, don’t believe us? Just take a look at the native integrations list below. Just in case the missed one, it also integrates with Zapier so your covered with (just about) every tool you can imagine.

  • Utilities – Digest by Zapier, Excel, Google Sheets, MySQL, Parolu, Picatic, Podio, Qualaroo, Thankster, UberFlip, Webhooks by Zapier, WordPress, Zoho Creator
  • CRM – Agile CRM, Automational, Base, Bizible, Capsule CRM, Close.io, Follow Up Boss, Hatchbuck, HubSpot, Hubspot CRM, Infusionsoft, LeadSquared, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, OnePageCRM, Outleads, Pipedrive, Pipeline Deals, Salesforce, Solve CRM, speak2leads, Stream, SugarCRM, Zapier, Zoho CRM
  • Chat – 123 Contact Form, LiveChat, Slack
  • Social – Facebook
  • Email – Active Campaign, AWeber, Benchmark, Betasend, BriteVerify, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Droppler, Email by Zapier, Emma, Freshmail, GetResponse, Gmail, MailChimp, MailerLite, Mailgun, Mandrill, MarketVolt, PepiPost, Rare.io, ReachMail, SendGrid, SharpSpring, Vero, Woodpecker.co
  • Marketing Automation – ActiveDEMAND, Autopilot, Comindware Project (Delio), Drip, E-goi, Jumplead, Kick-Tipp, LeadsRX, Marketo, Pardot, RocketResponder, Vision6
  • Customer Support – Groove, Intercom, Olark, Zendesk
  • Call-Tracking – CallHub, Callingly, CallRail, Myphoner, Twilio
  • Education – eFront Pro
    Analytics – Crazy Egg, Formisimo, FullStory, Geckoboard, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Kissmetrics, Mouse Flow, SwiftType
  • Webinar – GoToWebinar
    Optimisation/Testing – Hotjar, Optimal Workshop, UsabilityHub, UserTesting, VWO

Key Features

  • Provides a powerful design editor that doesn’t require a degree to operate
  • Integrates with just about every popular marketing tool on the market
  • Allows you to create highly targeted campaigns based upon user engagement

Pricing

While Unbounce is the more expensive of the 3 platforms, the pricing is reflective of the features which are included in each of the plans as they are look to cater towards established businesses, enterprise and agencies, however, their essential plan is offers similar features to that of the second tier plans for Leadpages and Instapage.

  • Essential – $99 per month/$79 per month (billed annually)
  • Premium – $199 per month/$159 per month (billed annually)
  • Enterprise – $499 per month/$399 per month (billed annually)

Conclusion

And there you have it. A comprehensive review of the best landing page builders. Understandably, you might still be a tad unsure about who takes the honours as, “The best landing page builder available on the market”. After completing our analysis, we’ve determined that they all offer a similar level of quality, features, usability and sufficient range of options and flexibility. While some have slight advantages, each makes up for “shortcomings” with its own unique take on building landing pages that pop, convert and close.

Here’s another quick recap of these 3 great landing page builders:

Leadpages – Ideal for startups and businesses with small marketing budgets that are looking to launch new campaigns or products while generating qualified leads.

Instapage – Ideal for startups and businesses who are looking to deploy landing pages fast and have experience in split testing as well as advanced marketing strategies.

Unbounce – Great for established businesses, enterprises, marketing agencies and those looking for a high-end solution that have experience in digital marketing.

We use and recommend Leadpages and find it to be a more affordable option and it integrates well with tools we use within our business and that of our clients. However, we recommend you take time to try each of these great builders out yourself and make a decision that aligns best with your business goals, marketing budget and technical knowledge.

5 Sales Funnel Mistakes Your Business Is Making and How to Fix Them

5 Sales Funnel Mistakes Your Business Is Making (and How To Fix Them)

They may have changed a lot over the last few dizzyingly digital years, but sales funnels are still central to how companies find and engage new leads. For many sales and marketing teams, the advent of new technologies have both helped and hindered the hunt for the perfect prospect to varying degrees.

And it’s quite understandable that the onslaught of new customer touch points like social media, mobile technology, ecommerce and an ever-expanding app universe can make it difficult to navigate once less complex conversion paths. But don’t despair, sales funnels are still really just about people having conversations, so don’t let all that digital mumbo jumbo make you run for the hills just yet.

Instead, let’s take a few steps back, kick the tyres of your current strategy and see how we can iron out some kinks. Shall we?

Is Your Sales Funnel Visible Enough?

A single view of your customer is the most crucial aspect to building an effective sales funnel. Yet, no sales team can claim to have a rock solid view of their prospects if they’re still relying on loads of spreadsheets, scattered databases and diary notes – yes, some folks still use those. Centralising your lead data should be your first port of call when testing your sales funnel for leaks.

Research by Google shows that successful marketers are breaking away from the pack by placing a big focus on integrating all their data points for a holistic view of the people of who make up their markets. Further, new CRM systems are giving companies a variety of ways to connect their sales and marketing data to get them closer to their ideal prospects.

One I’m particularly impressed with is Freshsales. I’ve been working with the platform for a while now and what I like is the way it allows me track and measure practically every engagement I have with all of my leads. Based on each prospect’s experience I’m able to track and customise conversion paths and build super-personalised experiences for every lead from within the platform.

Whatever your choice of CRM, if it still involves spreadsheets with mad-crazy formulas just to get you a hopeful handshake, you’re burning precious daylight. Make sure you check out a few CRMs on the market that’ll help you kick those pleather diaries to the curb.

Our Recommended Solution: Freshsales
Cost: $19 per month

Screw the features! Sell the solution!

Whether it’s having to fix a pesky leak in the roof or integrating their business data into the cloud, leads are people with problems and that’s why they’ve ended up on your website. Keep this in mind with every email, blog post, landing page and piece of web copy you produce.

Many brands still forget this central pillar to good copywriting and instead give in to the urge to tell the world about what a great, personable and quirky brand they are.

Some even take time to introduce the Creative Director’s cat with funny photos and all on their About Us page. Don’t be that brand. Be the brand who cares about helping its customers solve their problems. Make sure you keep your customer in mind with every sentence you write and use your copy to connect with their pain points and passions.

The best copywriters build illustrious careers on fine-tuning their ability to tap into what motivates people. They do this so they can come up with copy that persuades people to stop, look and take the right steps to becoming paying customers.

Make a little time to review your content collateral and look at it through the eyes of the people who buy your products/services. If you notice a digression into how wonderful it is to work for a company that serves free breakfast every Thursday, banish that stuff to the community page where it belongs. I’m sure your CD’s cat is as cuddly as cotton wool, but that stuff doesn’t sell products, capiche?

Starting with your buyer persona is a great way to get under the skin of your ideal customer and crafting copy that speaks to his/her needs. We’ve put together a Buyer Persona Worksheet that will help you and your team get a good insight into your customers and what makes em tick. Use it, it’s yours. No charge.

Directing paid traffic to your website

Whether you’re sending your very first introductory email to a new lead, are posting a blog or you’re tweeting about that new infographic you’re so proud of, every aspect of your funnel is intended to convert leads down the buyer’s journey. In the case of the landing page, that action becomes far more defined and focused.

This is because unlike any other page on your website, a landing page hones in on getting your lead to take a certain action in exchange for something of value. Landing pages are unique in that they are action-oriented. Whether it be to download your snazzy new infographic, contact you for more information or subscribe to your upcoming webinar, once they’ve completed their engagement with your page, both you and your lead walk away with something of value.

In the perfect outcome, you’ll end up with new insights and information about them and they’ll have something (an eBook, infographic, membership….anything of value) they feel will be of help them solve that pesky problem I mentioned earlier. So who do you have to kill to get a good landing page up in no time? No one, thankfully.

The folks over at Leadpages are doing a smashing job at building subtle, yet highly action-oriented landing pages that do one thing: convert. I like using Leadpages because they’ve mastered the art of converting leads with their pages, the software’s easy integration with platforms like Facebook, Google and a host of ecommerce and other marketing platforms.

My Recommended Solution: Leadpages
Cost: $37 per month

Not following up on your hard earned leads

It still amazes that so many sales “pros” still overlook the all-important follow up in favour of chasing after new leads. I mean, after all the effort you’ve put into getting their contact details, stalking their online profiles and assessing whether they’re a good fit, why would you choose to fall off the map after just one or two outreaches?

If giving up early on your leads is out of fear of being pesky and pissing someone off then you’re in the wrong business. People are busy, get over yourself!

Following up on your hardwon leads is absolutely crucial to getting your sales funnel to produce any results. Also, don’t make the mistake of confusing a ton of new leads for sales panacea and neglecting all-important follow up. Don’t believe me? Here are a few stats that’ll help you see what I mean.

  • Only 2% of sales occur in the first two meetings.
  • Nearly half of sales people hate prospecting, which means many give up early.
  • Nurtured leads result in 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads.
  • 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups before closing a deal.
  • Nearly half of sales people give up after the first “No”.

As you can see, follow-up apathy by sales people not only results in major leaks in sales funnels, but they also create opportunities for persistent sales forces to make big wins. Now, keep in mind that there’s a big difference between persistence and peskiness, but that’s a topic for an entirely different article. The point is to prioritise follow ups strategically and use that new CRM I convinced you to buy to contextualise follow ups with your leads.

Sending Manual Emails Like It’s 1995

If you’re seasoned digital marketer like myself, you are probably aware that email marketing is still the king of marketing. Once a subscriber says “Yes!” to handing over their email address, they have gained trust in your brand and what your peddling. However, reaching out to each and every subscriber manually to try and convert them from a subscriber to a loyal customer is like trying to run a marathon, up a snow capped mountain barefoot.

Thankfully, with drip automated email platforms popping up left, right and centre you don’t have to. These intuitive platforms allow you to build advanced workflows that send emails to each of your subscribers after they have completed a specific action on your website.

Want to send a subscriber a thank you email after they purchase your latest project, drip automated email platforms can do that. Want to send a remind 2 days after they visit your website and don’t complete a purchase? Not a problem!

You can even build streamlined multi-step email workflows that will engage, nurture and segment subscribers that automatically nurture leads from subscribers into customers and customers into brand advocates that display data such as open rate, click throughs and conversions so that you can optimise each stage for increased performance.

Whether you’re just starting out or your looking to re-engage with existing subscribers there are a number of platforms out there that can cater towards your needs so be sure to compare each of their features to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck but not hampering your business as your subscribers list grows.

We use and recommend Drip due to it’s advanced segmentation and tagging rules however, there are a number of others out there that are worth looking into including ActiveCampaign, Campaign Monitor and ConvertKit which vary in features depending upon your specific needs.

My Recommend Solution: Drip
Cost: $0 per month (100 subscribers)

And there we have it, 5 easy to implement solutions to mistakes that could be costing your business more time than money. So, what are you waiting for? Set aside a few hours out of your week to start implementing these and let us know how it improves your sales process or why not schedule a free sales funnel analysis with us and we’ll provide you with actionable ways to improve your website conversion rates as well.