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How To Create Your Own Search Funnel

According to Beth Hirschhorn, Chief Marketing Officer from MetLife, “search funnel is an important tool to help de-code consumer shopping habits and thought processes, which we can relate back to our online as well as offline advertising.”

As you go about your online venture, you’ve likely come across the term funnel. Well, be it marketing, search or even sales funnel – the concept is just as similar.  Just like in a real life situation, when you fill a funnel with rice, you’ll expect the top level to have the most quantity while the least pour out at the bottom. In respect to the concept in discussion; a search funnel should allow leads to pour into your funnel then get a small to medium number of converts streaming out at the bottom.

How To Create Your Own Search Funnel

Of all the tweaks and tips of making your online venture successful, the search funnel is one you can never ignore. Despite it being one of the most essential things you have to do, if you have no clear vision of how well to do it, it may have little to no influence in your online business. Just to get you on the right footing, here are some interesting stats related to inbound marketing you probably didn’t know about.

  • – Though it’s clear that most companies have not completely utilized content collateral to enable sales, according to this report – content marketing can cost 41% less than the paid searches for the larger organizations.
  • – According to content marketing institute, B2B marketers that rate their content marketing strategy to effective only locate 37% of their budget to the sector while those companies with less effective strategies allocate a mere 16%.
  • – Did you know that adopting an inbound approach doubles the average webpage conversion rates from a mere 6% to a whopping 12%?

From such stats, it’s comprehensible that content is king. And while this is the case, perfectly tailored content to improve conversion rates is impractical without a search funnel. Simply put; a search funnel will be the ultimate guide as you create valuable content.

The pressing question is; ‘How do I create an effective search funnel?’

Phase 1: Keyword Planning

Fortunately, you really don’t have to second guess on this one. Google has designed a tool popularly known as the ‘Keyword Planner’ which is highly effective in providing relevant information about specific words that you intend to use as your keywords.

It is always a good place to start if you are just beginning with little to no experience. On the other hand; if you haveyour business already set-up, then you’ll have to study the reports that show you how leads are generated through the search engine and their behavior until they convert or drop off. Here are some key reporting points you will have to consider.

Top paths – there are four reports here that show the common paths of impressions or clicks that took place until the final conversion. The reports include:-

  • – Clicks
  • – Impressions
  • – Query paths
  • – Transitions

Assists – shows the impressions and clicks that led to, but not the final conversion.

Timing – this report shows the time involved in the process until conversion including the number of touches that occurred.

First and last clicks – reports the exact keywords that ended up as first click and the last that actually converted. The type of keywords in this report are useful in providing important insights on the user’s behavior right at the beginning and final stage of the process.

The search funnel has several stages that you have to develop in a stepwise manner.

Phase 2: Top of the Funnel – (The Awareness Level)

This is the stage in your search funnel that you’ll put enough efforts in order to capture potential leads. It is the point where the lead realizes that he or she has a problem that needs an effective solution. They probably will make the purchase at the end but at this stage, they don’t know what or when they’ll buy. According to Wolfgang Digital, the average conversion rate is at around 1.4%. In essence, it is important that you ensure you attract as many potential leads as possible at this stage.

What type of content is suitable for the top of the funnel level?

To properly tailor your content for this level, you should think about the kind of search questions people will use. Your goal is to answer such queries with optimum relevance so that can rank top in SERPs. The trick is to focus on the query-based keywords and with a good keyword tool, you can easily find out relevant information about the type of questions people are asking concerning your niche. In your content, ensure that you strike a balance between the short-tail and long-tail keywords.

Phase 3: Middle of the Funnel – (The Evaluation Stage)

Visitors that have managed to move from the awareness level to this stage will have shown serious intent, and so they are extremely valuable. So how do you handle your search funnel at this stage? Simple, add a special content to your site, but this time, target different keywords and if necessary consider using a different format to present it.

At this stage, customers are searching for the best solution to their problems. They want to purchase but first they want to see the different options available and a comparison between prices and value.

To effectively create a buzz with your content, you’d want to either optimize your existing landing page to capture a wider range of phrases,or create a blog post that targets the relevant search terms. As you move closer to the bottom of the funnel, you’ll use a mixture of Keyword Planner and long-tail keyword tools to assist you pinpoint the right phrases and words to include in your content. Here are examples of things you’ll be considering:

  • – Which companies provide solutions?
  • – Which are the popular solutions?

The precise content format preferable here includes; the use of checklists, infographics, and comparison blog posts.

Phase 4: Bottom of the Funnel (Conversion Stage)

Visitors who end up at this stage of the search funnel are seriously looking to purchase from your business – at this point henceforth, they’ll need a little persuasion. You have to note that keyword tools are somewhat irrelevant as the prospects know that your business exists and would have probably visited your web page a number of times.

This is the point where your on-site search becomes a goldmine of data. At your best, try to answer the questions that concern your visitors even if it means creating new content to answer new set of questions.

Now that you have your search funnel up and running, what is next? It’s pretty clear that optimization of a funnel is never enough. Using analytics software to monitor and analyze the performance of your marketing strategies will help improve and generate more sales in the long run.

Here are some of the questions to answer as you continue to improve the performance of your funnel.

  • – At which point are potential customers breaking from your marketing strategy?
  • – Why are they dropping off?
  • – What can you do to improve your conversion rates?

The best trick is to design a website that captures and converts your leads at all stages and all that can be achieved with a technically sound website in collaboration with keyword-driven content.

To wrap it up smoothly, here are a few tips to ensure you stay on top of your game in any online business you engage yourself in-

  • – SEO Analyze your websitethe website analysis report you get from this resourceful site can be valuable when you are trying to find out errors on your website. It does include content marketing report that shows you the right content to use while blogging.
  • – Include a powerful lead generation and customer acquisition platform. Optinmonster is much loved because it involves simple, one-click integration to your email-marketing provider including all ecommerce platforms and websites.

Image: Shutterstock


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Itai Elizur is the COO at InboundJunction, a content marketing agency specializing in helping B2B and SaaS companies to increase their online visibility. Prior to joining the InboundJunction team, Itai worked as a Creative Manager at Wix and as the Director of Marketing at Infolinks. Itai specializes in helping companies develop and optimize large-scale user acquisition strategies through content, brand messaging and marketing automation. http://inboundjunction.com

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