The Conversion Marketing Funnel: How to Unlock More Leads, Sales & Revenue with A Personalized Sales Funnel
You know what kills a good marketing campaign dead in its tracks? A lousy conversion strategy.
The typical flow looks something like this:
- Drive people to your site
- Make the same offer to everyone
- Follow-up with emails and retargeting ads
- Convert some visitors into customers
- Rinse and repeat
But, here's the issue:
Each visitor is different—at different stages of your funnel, with different problems that keep them up at night and different levels of awareness about your solution. Meaning your one-size-fits-all strategy is leaving a lot of revenue on the table.
Enter: the conversion marketing funnel.
This is a new take on the traditional sales funnel that aims to put an end to rigid conversion strategies—helping marketers capture more leads, convert more customers, and grow LTV. In this post, I’ll cover how it works and a step-by-step guide for applying it to your website right now 😎
What is conversion marketing?
Conversion marketing is simply marketing with the intention of increasing conversions. When it comes to online marketing, this means taking someone from being a first-time website visitor into a fully-fledged customer.
Most marketers are familiar with this concept visualized as a traditional sales funnel:
It’s static. It’s rigid. And it doesn’t appreciate that every website visitor is different; therefore, the buying experience a marketing funnel creates needs to be personalized for each one.
Most marketers will agree that all this seems good in theory, yet it is tough to automate and scale in practice.
The conversion marketing funnel
The conversion marketing funnel takes the theory behind a traditional "sales funnel" and makes it actionable in the modern digital world:
Here’s what happens at each stage:
- Segment. Gather information on your visitors so you can segment them by purchase intent, buyer persona, or another way that makes sense for your business.
- Capture. Use the segmentation info to create more targeted lead capture offers that convert visitors into email and SMS leads.
- Convert. Guide the lead down a conversion path toward being a paid customer that’s personalized to suit their needs. This can include targeted product offers, trial offers, scheduling calls, and more.
- Grow. Use customer and segmentation data to increase a customer’s lifetime value by offering more engaging retention, upsell, cross-sell, and repeat purchase opportunities.
The beauty is that you don’t need to get people to move through this entire process in a single website session. With the right personalization tools at your disposal, you can pick up where each visitor left off and continue nurturing them through a personalized buying experience.
Real-life examples: The conversion marketing funnel in action
At this point, you might be thinking that, in theory, a conversion marketing funnel sounds kinda cool. But is it really worth the time to set it up for your site?
Typical conversion rates suggest an emphatic "yes."
Here’s a look at a couple of examples:
1. Undersun Fitness
Undersun Fitness is an ecommerce store selling fitness equipment and productized workout plans. But, they serve personas with a variety of different goals:
- Men’s fitness
- Women’s fitness
- Fat loss goals
- Muscle building goals
- Home workouts
- Gym workouts
- Outdoor workouts
And so on.
But Undersun doesn’t just drive traffic to its site and hopes visitors find the correct solution on their own. Instead, the home page’s primary CTA is a button to a product recommendation quiz:
At the end of the quiz, Undersun makes sure to capture an email address from the quiz taker before revealing the results—offering a discount code as an extra incentive:
And the conversion stats show how effective this prescriptive approach is, with almost 52% of viewers choosing to start the quiz and a whopping 27% completing the final step:
But the critical story here isn’t simply the lead capture success. It’s that Undersun has quickly and intentionally segmented its website traffic.
Leads are then driven down the more personalized pathway of a conversion marketing funnel—with landing pages, product pages, emails, and both off and on-site retargeting campaigns relevant to each segment.
Here’s the page I’m taken to when completing a test run of the quiz:
Notice the prescriptive nature of the hero copy and how focused it is on the specific pain points raised in the quiz answers.
There’s even a video further down the page that agitates those pain points even further, while positioning Undersun’s program as the solution:
Each set of quiz answers has a different conversion pathway—with a specific program solution and set of landing pages, videos, calls-to-action, etc.
We can’t reveal exact revenue numbers for Undersun Fitness. But with an engaged 37K Instagram following, 70K YouTube subscribers, and over 180K monthly website visitors, you should get the picture of how things are going for the company.
Lifehack.org is a leading blog in the highly competitive productivity and self-help space. But its marketing team does a fantastic job monetizing the site’s traffic through paid online courses and ecommerce products.
For starters, they segment visitors right off the bat when someone clicks the subscribe button in the main navbar.
Before showing the signup form, you select what’s most important to you right now, and the copy in the next step is specific to whichever option was selected:
This simple "segment and personalize" approach results in lead capture conversion rates for Lifehack way above your average blog:
But, the segmentation doesn't stop here.
The Lifehack team understands that website visitors have very different purchase intentions depending on which pages they visit.
- Someone reading a top-of-funnel blog post might not be ready to buy;
- Whereas someone visiting a product page or bottom-of-funnel post is much more open to getting their credit card out there and then.
So, they use this page-level targeting to segment visitors by purchase intent and show CTAs more relevant to their stage of the buyer’s journey.
In fact, Lifehack has pre-defined a range of high-intent and low-intent visitor segments. This means they can set CTAs to show on specific groups of pages:
Broad, more general blog posts are considered lower purchase intent. So, there’s a heavier focus on lead capture here:
On the other hand:
It's fair to assume people reading this post on "best energy supplements" are at least considering a supplement purchase.
So, Lifehack places the focus on embedded CTAs within the post to push people directly to the supplement store:
Taking this even further:
If you’re scrolling the courses product page, it’s safe to say you’re in the market for one of Lifehack’s high ticket course products—an even higher purchase intent!
So on this page, there’s a site message popup pushing you into a recorded webinar (which is used to sell these courses):
Again, just like Undersun Fitness, Lifehack doesn’t simply leave it here.
Complete any of these segmented CTAs, and it starts you on a specific conversion path towards being a paid customer.
Subscribe for help with staying focused, and you’ll land on a confirmation page that directs you to a solution mapped to your specific goals:
When you click the "Here’s your solution" button, you’re directed to a long-form landing page with a free or discounted paid offer.
Take them up on this offer? There’s more room for upselling and increasing the lifetime value of subscribers with those higher ticket courses:
Yes, some people may go right through this funnel in one session. But it’s more likely they’ll need nurturing over time with:
- More content
- Email campaigns
- Retargeting ads
- On-site messages and calls-to-action
All of which can be laser targeted to the visitor’s previously indicated segmentation data. Lifehack uses ConvertFlow’s Broadcast Campaigns feature to manage this large-scale CTA strategy.
Each campaign gets seriously high viewer numbers and completions, with some excellent bottom-of-funnel conversion rates for each one:
5 steps to implementing a conversion marketing funnel of your own
The easiest way to implement a conversion marketing funnel on your website is to look at it through the lens of those purchase intent segments we mentioned earlier.
Here’s what that might look like:
You can see that Low purchase intent visitors are those who:
- Are an anonymous visitor (meaning they haven’t submitted a contact form previously)
- Are visiting a general page that doesn’t give us a clear insight into their buying intent or the specific solution they’re after (e.g. home page, blog index page, non-product-related blog posts, etc.)
Each of the subsequent segments then gets a little more targeted, depending on what page someone is on and their previous site behavior.
The broad idea is to define these segments, then have relevant calls-to-action targeted at each of them. Meaning we can meet each visitor where they’re currently at in the funnel—and increase the likelihood of conversion into the next stage.
In this section, we’ll go through five steps to getting all of this set up 👇
Step 1: Build out your visitor segments
This first step involves defining what each purchase intent segment looks like within the context of your business.
- The pages/website sections that align with our different purchase intent segments
- The broad phases visitors tend to move through on their journey to becoming a paying customer (usually Anonymous >> Lead >> Customer)
Here’s a general overview as an example:
Once you’ve decided on what your segments will look like, we can use ConvertFlow’s dynamic visitor segments tool to build them out.
You should end up with four separate segments:
With each one containing your correct targeting conditions:
Doing this means you’ve pre-defined your segments. So, you won’t have to add all the targeting conditions to each individual call-to-action over and over again and can easily edit your segments from one central place.
Step 2: Create CTAs for low purchase intent visitors
Goal: Segment visitors by product or solution interest in order to make more relevant and personalized offers
Ok, we’ve got our targeting set up. Now it’s time to start creating the calls-to-action that will show to each segment.
First up, our low purchase intent visitors.
These are anonymous visitors on relatively general pages and not giving us much of a buying signal. So, the goal here is to figure out why they’re on our site and how we can best help them.
Here’s a standard survey template you can use:
Just customize the template design to align with your needs and branding. Then, when you reach the final launch step in ConvertFlow, set the targeting to show only to the relevant visitor segment created in our previous step:
Where to send visitors after interacting with a quiz or survey
To put it simply, you want to guide people towards the best solution for their problem(s).
Where exactly that is on your site is up to you—the correct answer depends on your business type, typical sales cycle, etc.
It could be that you can use a recommendation quiz and then direct people right into a product page (like in the Undersun Fitness example earlier).
On the other hand:
Companies with longer sales cycles (like in B2B SaaS, for example) may need a more "slow burn" approach. So, offering survey/quiz respondents a lead magnet personalized to their answers might work better.
You could send them straight to a URL. Show them the most appropriate next step inside the same CTA popup. Or even display a completely separate, more personalized CTA altogether.
As an example, here’s a survey we run to low purchase intent visitors on the ConvertFlow site:
Each button on this survey triggers a different overlay popup CTA.
Here’s what these look like for the "Ecommerce" and "SaaS" options:
Click through, and you arrive on a page where we offer you access to the workshop in exchange for your email address.
This has resulted in some excellent conversion and completion rates:
Just think about this for a second.
A few seconds earlier, we were dealing with a brand new site visitor that we didn’t know anything about. Within a couple of clicks, we’re showing them offers and solutions personalized to their own needs and preferences.
This is huge for conversion at this early funnel stage.
Most websites offer the same PDF download for everyone. Or try to guess what products people might buy with a ‘best sellers’ carousel on a store’s home page.
But engaging with and learning about your visitors right off the bat like this changes the game. Now you can make offers better suited to them in exchange for an email address or credit card info.
Note: We’re always experimenting with new conversion ideas, so what we write about here may not be what’s live on our site right now.
Step 3: Create CTAs for medium purchase intent visitors
Goal: Capture leads by showing offers that are targeted by solution or product interest
Like low purchase intent, our medium intent visitors are still anonymous. However, this time they’re not just visiting general parts of the site.
- Product pages
- Solution pages
- Product-related blog posts
- Product collection pages
- Other similar product and solution-focused pages and posts
So for this segment, we can go straight in with lead capture calls-to-action promoting lead magnets and webinars—think exit-intent popups, slide-in popups, site messages, etc.
Here’s a popular slide-in site message template you can use:
Again, you can easily tailor the offer and design inside ConvertFlow’s drag-and-drop builder. Just make sure to set that targeting in the final step to focus on the medium purchase intent visitor segment created in our first step.
Close.com is an excellent example of this kind of targeting in action. Head onto one of the website’s product pages, and you’ll see this scroll-point site message appear promoting a webinar:
There are two main reasons behind this being a great CTA:
- The targeting. It appears only on product pages, aligning perfectly with our medium purchase intent philosophy.
- The offer. The webinar isn’t just some top-of-funnel "sales tips" workshop; it’s pretty much a group demo of the Close product—which is perfect for people showing clear interest in the product by being on this page.
Step 4: Create CTAs for high purchase intent visitors
Goal: Convert existing leads into customers using CTAs that push people to the next step in your purchase funnel
This is where the concept of on-site retargeting starts to come to the party.
Because at this point, we’re no longer targeting anonymous website visitors. Instead, we’re explicitly targeting returning visitors we’ve already captured as leads, but haven’t yet become customers.
Think about the next step you want leads to take on the way to becoming a customer.
- Booking a demo
- Starting a free trial
- Buying a specific product
Popups and site messages are perfect for this again. But sticky bars can also be particularly useful here.
Here’s a popup template that can be used for booking a demo or consultation:
And here’s a product recommendation one that ecommerce businesses can use:
But, once again, we have plenty more options in our template library to choose from.
The absolute mission-critical key in all this, though, is to have your back-end data set up in a way that allows you to target CTAs to this group of visitors.
At a fundamental level, this means adding some kind of tag or custom field in your CRM or ESP to indicate when someone is a paying customer. But, differentiating between all the stages along the way to becoming a customer is a better option.
We’re then able to build our dynamic visitor segments (done in step one) using the data in this ActiveCampaign custom field.
As long as you have something to differentiate between leads and customers in your CRM, you should be able to build the targeting segments mentioned in this post.
Step 5: Create CTAs for very high purchase intent visitors
Goal: Grow CLTV by engaging existing customers with cross-sell, upsell, and retention offers
At this point, we’re considering people who have become actual paying customers in one way or another. This could be subscribing to your SaaS, buying a course, ordering a product—whatever it is that classifies someone as "a customer" in your business.
But, this doesn’t mean our job is done as marketers.
We still need to be thinking about:
- Repeat purchases
- Retaining customers (if you operate a subscription model)
- Expansion revenue
These are all things that can significantly impact customer lifetime value (CLTV)—and, therefore, your business as a whole. So, it makes total sense to create calls-to-action across your site dedicated to getting these customers to spend more with you.
Once again, what this looks like in practice will differ depending on the type of business you operate.
But we want to make sure we target customers who are visiting key, high-intent pages on our site–which means they’re showing some powerful buying signals.
Our targeting here might look a little something like this:
For ecommerce businesses, you might be looking more towards cross-sells and upsells (rather than price plan upgrades).
So, you could add a tag to indicate when someone has bought a specific product. Then, use the template below to recommend related best selling items in the same category:
The key is to:
- Think about the ideal action you want already paying customers to take
- Create targeted CTAs that specifically nudge them into taking this action
I know, there’s a lot contained within this post. But, taking the time to build out a conversion marketing funnel on your website can be a worthy investment—a claim evidenced through the examples mentioned throughout.
Remember, though: fundamental marketing principles still apply.
Your lead capture offers need to solve problems. Your products/services need to be enticing and valuable. You need to make use of persuasive copywriting and conversion principles. And you need to keep split testing specific offers and value propositions to find what works.
Layered on top of these fundamentals, taking a conversion marketing funnel approach can be a game-changer for most businesses.
Ready to build out a conversion marketing funnel for your website? ConvertFlow has all the tools, templates, and functionality you need—start your first campaign today with a 14-day free trial.
Michael is the Content Marketing Manager at ConvertFlow. He's been in marketing in one form or another since 2012 - first with his own fitness business, before taking charge of content at SaaS companies like Veeqo and ConvertFlow. His work has been featured in BigCommerce, G2, Klaviyo, ReferralCandy, and more.