Marketing Funnels 101 (AKA Why You Need Your Own Website)
Recently I have been having a lot of conversations with the marketing community within Hive, especially around the need for your own front end website rather than relying on your Peakd/Ecency/Leo etc blog.
One of the major reasons you need your own website, outside of the vital branding aspects, is to have the ability to create landing pages and funnels.
Hive is meant more for communal, Reddit-style posting rather than for personal or business website creation so there is no built-in way to create pages or effectively measure the effectiveness of your content outside of voting and the minimal view stats.
Blog Posts Versus Landing Pages and Funnels
If you are not familiar with these terms, a landing page is a page where you send a visitor to, where you direct people after clicking. Usually, on that page you will describe a free or paid offer. For example, if you have a free ebook then you would create a page that speaks to the need and benefits of that free ebook, and you would include a download button or email sign-up form.
A special kind of landing page is a sales page, it is the same deal except that page would take you to a buy now or add to cart sequence.
Embedding forms, having code, sophisticated formatting, it is all outside the scope of our existing Hive blogging tools, as it should be.
These special non-article pages don't have a shelf-life, they are not like blog posts that will be ranked in reverse chronological order, and we especially need a more minimal layout, to control the navigational elements and to not distract the visitor from their mission.
A blog post is a great way to send someone to your landing page, but it would not be very good as a landing page.
When you put together a sequence of pages and actions, that becomes a funnel. Funnels funnel attention toward a goal or outcome.
Let's take the example of a straightforward email signup incentive. We will offer a free ebook in return for the visitor entering in their email address.
At the top of the funnel, we have our various traffic sources, from articles talking about our topic all the way through to advertising, social media, and email newsletters.
When the prospect clicks through they are taken to our landing page. On this page we will have a captivating headline, and then all the reasons why they would want to enter their email address and get our free resource.
Not all of the people who read the page will take that action, but that is ok and expected. Many of them will, especially because they have two choices, take the action or don't. This is why we need to be able to control the layout of this page, and why they are often called "Squeeze Pages".
If we had used a regular page or article, there would be so many other options to take them away from the path we want them to follow, plus we would not be able to add our email form right in the page itself using our email service standard embed code.
Those who do successfully add their email subscription will be sent a welcome email and also will be taken to our success or download page.
Once you have this flow set up, your job is to keep putting people into the top of the funnel with more articles, more promotions, more social sharing, but there are also various optimizations you can do.
The percentage of people who see your messages and then click through to your landing page is your Click Through Rate, or CTR. Increasing your CTR % puts more people onto your page, so you can work on how you describe your offer, where you show your offer, and the text on your call to action links.
Next is the page itself, you can optimize your headline, your layout, the graphics, the benefits, add testimonials, and so on to increase your Conversion Rate - the percentage of people who go on to fill out your form.
On the success page, you will provide instructions for what to do next and how to get access to the freebie, but you don't have to leave things there.
The success page could include an "up-sell", where instead of just the free ebook or whatever, perhaps you offer a low-cost package of the ebook plus videos?
Rather than a single "Here is your download" email, you can create a sequence of emails that goes out on a cadence, that builds up to a larger purchase.
This turns your free funnel into one that pays you, and once you know you can start making money from the funnel then you know you can afford to pay for advertising to get even more people into the funnel!
A great way to do lots of testing of what will improve or hurt your results is called A/B testing, and again that is not something you can do with a basic Hive frontend or any of the other available custom front-end solutions because they are aimed at bloggers, not businesses and marketers.
Hopefully now you can see the potential in how given the right tools, you can take what you are already doing - posting articles - and build a real personal brand and profitable business by just adding some extra elements.