Stop selling your products and services in your digital marketing funnel.
I know that sounds crazy because after all product and service sales keep the doors open. But switching your sales strategy away from your product will put more Benjamins into your bank account.
Many people think buyers begin with a shopping list of products, services and features. That’s a misconception.
The journey starts with a need or a problem. So buyers are shopping for a SOLUTION to their aging body. Or they need a shoe that will make their DESIRE to rock climb like a superstar a reality.
Read on to learn how to increase sales by selling your solution before you sell your product or service. First, I’ll review the stages people go through when buying. Then I’ll share a case study that proves solution selling increases conversions.
5-Stage Digital Marketing Funnel That Moves Prospects From a Need to
Hell Yeah I Want That
Legendary direct-response copywriter Eugene Schwartz mapped out his sales funnels according to these 5 stages of a buyer’s awareness. He made millions using this formula.
1. Completely Unaware: prospect doesn’t yet know a problem or need exists.
2. Problem/Need Aware: prospect has a problem or a need but doesn’t know that there’s a solution.
3. Solution Aware: prospect knows a solution exists but doesn’t know that your product provides it.
4. Product Aware: prospect knows about your product but isn’t sure it’s the right fit. This is when you communicate features and product specs.
5. Most Aware: prospect knows your product and only needs to know the details of the offer.
Typical digital marketing funnels use blog posts, social media, SEO or online ads to find prospects in the unaware or problem/need-aware stage.
Then visitors are sent to a website or sales landing page. Most of these web pages are informational—full of features and fact sheets.
This strategy skips communicating the solutions a brand provides. It’s trying to move prospects to the product-aware stage before they are ready.
And this is when all hell breaks loose.
Typically, informational web pages are exit ramps.
Visitors leave the funnel because they don’t know what the product can do for them.
It’s important to communicate features and facts. But you have to do that after your prospects understand how your product will make their life better.
Selling your solution before you sell your product works because it’s in sync with how people are psychologically wired:
Decisions Are Rarely Made Rationally
Informational web pages speak to the rational mind which is where you probably think decisions are made. But that’s seldom the case. Our emotions drive our decisions which is why the solution-aware stage is so dang important. It speaks to people’s emotions.
A McComb University research study, Tale of 2 Chickens proves that decision-making is an emotional process.
In the study, researchers Raghunathan and Huang showed participants 2 photos. One was a pretty, natural, plump chicken. The other was a thin and sickly genetically engineered chicken.
The researchers told half of the participants that the natural chicken was healthy but less tasty than the genetically engineered chicken which wasn’t as healthy but delicious.
The other half of the study group was told the opposite.
Which chicken do you prefer?
Both groups preferred the better-looking chicken. But here’s the kicker. Justifications for their choice were DIFFERENT.
The first group said the pretty lady won because they valued health above taste. The second group declared her a winner because taste was more important.
Neither group justified their choice based on how they felt about the chicken’s looks. They explained their emotional decision with a rational reason.
The researchers concluded that comparative features are essential. But mostly as justification AFTER a buyer makes a decision based on an emotional response.¹
Shifting to Solution Selling Increased Conversions by 50%
A supplement company’s product-focused page was suffering from a low conversion rate. Informational headlines neglected the audience’s emotional mind. Feature-overloaded copy probably wasn’t appealing to buyers looking for a solution to health problems.
Conversion specialist WiderFunnel helped the company revamp to a benefit-and-solution focused page and…
The new headline kicks off the page with a solution. The story that follows talks about the positive outcomes of the supplement – feeling young and full of vigor. These emotionally-charged benefits motivated more prospects to buy.
How to Leverage a Conversion-Killer Habit to Keep Prospects in Your Funnel
WiderFunnel took a potentially problematic habit and worked it to Sytropin’s advantage. That habit is skimming.
79% of visitors scan web pages, looking for words and sentences of interest to them. Eye-tracking studies show visitors skip from headline to headline as they move down a web page.
A big bold headline is a perfect place to highlight a solution or benefit because that’s what interests visitors. WiderFunnel used that conversion copywriting strategy on their revised page.
Syncing your headlines with the needs of your audience will motivate them to read what follows. It keeps them in your funnel.
How to Create a Headline That Pulls Visitors Deeper into Your Funnel
This product description has an informational headline while the solution remains buried in the product description.
The problem with this all-to-common e-commerce strategy is people in the solution-aware stage will blow right by the backpack. They don’t have a good reason to check it out.
Moving the solution to the headline will motivate more prospects to read the product details.
A Digital Marketing Funnel Fully Powered to Sell
Bravo to Moja Gear which has every stage of their digital sales funnel humming at full speed. They begin by connecting with people in the need-aware stage on Google. They get sales by moving visitors from solution aware to most aware on their website.
The headline on Google includes my search phrase (need) “rock climbing gear.” What’s even better is the headline offers buying guides as a solution to help people find gear at low prices. The free guides motivate people to click through to the web page.
The landing page moves visitors from the solution stage to the product-aware stage.
- The headline matches the copy in the search engine listing. This message match orients visitors and reassures them that they are in the right place.
- They state the problem – “Rock climbing is complex but buying it shouldn’t be.”
- Then they offer a solution – “Moja Gear’s gear guides aim to simplify the buying process by sharing a scrutinized selection of the best products.”
- They fulfill their promise with a list of product guides.
Clicking on Best Climbing Shoes brought me to this buyer’s resource page.
- Moja adds value by offering plenty of resources that make finding the right shoe easy.
- They move prospects to the product-aware stage when they review their recommended shoes.
- Every recommended shoe has links to pages where visitors can buy (most-aware stage).
I pointed out the message match because it ensures prospects don’t leave at a transition point in the funnel. When the messages don’t match the transition becomes an exit ramp for prospects:
Why Message Mismatch Kills AdWords Conversion Rates and What to Do About It
When a visitor clicks from Google to your web page they go to a brand new, unfamiliar place. They see a different brand name. Different colors. A different layout.
If you don’t bake a reminder into your page, visitors get confused. Chances are high they won’t remember what the ad said. This is when they’ll click away from your funnel and go somewhere else to find a solution.
To better understand the confusion that sets in, let’s look at a message mismatch.
To get out of my post-Italy-rock-climbing-trip blues, I started planning my next adventure. Searching for my need, ”adventure travel Italy” brought me to this ad which offers a solution.
The landing page doesn’t mention travel, adventure tours or the solution.
This message mismatch confuses visitors because they are set up on Google to learn more about adventure travel.
The mismatch can be easily fixed by changing the landing page headline to include some of the words found in the ad.
What if I don’t know how my brand solves problems or fulfills needs?
Ask your target audience. Getting this intel isn’t as scary and expensive as it sounds.
Add questions to your thank-you page. In a pop-up survey on your product page. Or in post-purchase surveys.
I’ve put together a free list of questions which you can get here.
The research I’ve gained from these questions has helped me increase conversion rates for my clients.
To recap, here’s a digital marketing funnel strategy that can supercharge your sales.
- Map out your funnel according to the 5 stages of a buyer’s awareness.
- Use content marketing, social media or online ads to find prospects in the not-aware and problem/need-aware stages.
- Your web page copy needs to include solutions and benefits. Tell visitors what’s in it for them before you tell them about product features and details.
- Make sure there’s a message match between your web page and the ad or social post that sends prospects to the page. Put the match at the top.
Now go out and revive your landing pages so your digital marketing funnel brings in more Benjamins.
1. Do You Make Buying Decisions Based on Logic or Emotion? A Tale of Two Chickens, McCombs TODAY, April, 2010.