How an online course entrepreneur found her funnel’s flaws with SegMetrics

Sam has an online music course that she has been running for 4 years.

The market has become increasingly crowded, so she had started running paid ads with the help of a PPC consultant, along with running a 30 Day Challenge.

Her funnel was fairly normal. She had a strong following with her free content on Youtube, where she occasionally promoted her lead magnets. Subscribers then went through an email funnel leading to a sales page for her paid course.

She was skeptical about whether she was getting a solid ROI from her campaigns. The ad platforms couldn’t give her reliable data about generated revenue, with Google and Facebook often conflicting and not matching up with her actual revenue.

Bad data meant she couldn’t be certain she was properly identifying issues in her funnel or successfully testing changes.

[Note: “Sam” is an amalgamation of various true stories from SegMetrics users, not a single person]

The plan of attack

Sam needed a reliable way to assess her whole funnel. She needed to know the ROAS based on lifetime value, with ways to test how each piece was affecting revenue.

SegMetrics let her do just that, with traceable data and multi-purchase attribution.

She decided that she needed to form a plan instead of jumping into the software with guns blazing. Her to-do list became:

  1. Optimize the web traffic to ensure that it’s profitable instead of burning money
  2. Maximize average order value (AOV) so she’s not leaving money on the table
  3. Improve retention in the middle funnel with relevant and engaging content

These are prioritized both by urgency and ease. The middle of funnel has the most moving pieces and can be the murkiest to optimize, so is best left until after the quicker wins of TOF and MOF.

With a plan in hand she was able to tackle these three challenges.

What’s my ROAS?

Top of funnel (TOF) is where quick wins are usually found, as there is great data waiting to be uncovered. The core goal is to ensure that every campaign has a positive ROI.

The core question was whether the $3k/month she was spending on ads was creating a positive return on investment. So, she looked at lifetime revenue from each campaign she was running.

Evaluating her 30 Day Challenge

Sam had a new 30 Day Challenge that she was paying to promote. Her PPC consultant was excited as it was bringing people in for only a $20 CPA, but was unable to say how that translated into money in the bank.

Google and Facebook were unable to track leads over the long sales cycle, while her customer data wouldn’t say how many of her sales were a result of the challenge.

With SegMetric’s Ad Report she could instantly see how much she made from people purchasing after the 30 Day Challenge… and the news was terrible.

She had an Ad Spend of $9,452 to promote the challenge, but the revenue from the attendees was only $1,700, meaning a loss of $7,752 and RoAS of only 18%.

Promoting her challenge was burning through money while making a loss. She immediately paused the campaign with plans to reassess the strategy.

Lesson: Number of leads and CPA are just a vanity metrics unless you can also measure the revenue from a campaign

Not all lead sources are created equal

She had also been running ads direct to her sales page on Facebook and YouTube.

On the face of it both were successful, with a Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) of around $80. Some back of the envelope maths had given her a customer value of $125, averaged across all of her customers.

But, she had assumed that customers from different sources would spend similar amounts. There had been no way to compare how much customers from organic, video ads, display ads and social were spending, especially considering her program was a monthly subscription.

SegMetric’s Revenue Report was able to segment her contacts by source, showing how the customer value varied.

It showed an almost 3x variation between the most and least valuable customer sources!

She could see that customers from Facebook spent $180, but ones from YouTube only spent $60. So, a CAC of $80 for YouTube ads was losing her money.

Her top-level numbers had hidden this variation, so again she took a step back to find the issues before wasting more money on underperforming ads.

Lesson: Looked at overall averages can hide crucial variations that are secretly wasting your money

Finding the best upsell combinations

Bottom of funnel is all about improving conversions and average order value, through testing different sales pages or offer combinations.

Now that Sam’s ad budget was all allocated to profitable campaigns, she could focus on improving the AOV.

Over the years Sam had built up a small array of core products and potential upsells, downsells and cross-sells.  She had used her best guesses to match them up, but again there was no real way to test what decisions lead to the most sales.

Her sales data could tell her the total she had sold of each product, but not how different pairs performed.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, she took a look at the data in SegMetrics

It automatically showed how pairs of products were selling together based on the customer invoices. With a few clicks she had a table of how each order bundle was selling.

She could see that while the Essential Scales eBook had more orders, her Private Lesson Bundle lead to double the revenue due to the higher cost.

By focusing on this upsell Sam realized she could easily raise the AOV, which in turn would mean she could afford a higher CAC.

Lesson: Bottom of funnel is an undervalued opportunity for optimizing revenue, especially testing ways to boost the average order value

A way to finally analyze email sequence performance

Middle of funnel can be tricky to optimize due to the complexity, but the aim is to ensure it is maintaining attention and building the desire for the proposed solution.

Sam now had a profitable funnel, with good traffic and popular offer combinations. That gave her the headspace to give her email sequences attention.

The email platform gave her the usual metrics around clicks, open rates and revenue per email.

But like with ad revenue attribution, there was no inbuilt way to see how much a group spent after going through a particular email sequence.

For research purposes, she had been asking people about their musical experience when they submitted their email. She had wondered whether beginners and advanced students were equally likely to join her course, but again there had been no easy way to tell since customer data is in a separate silo.

So Sam went into SegMetrics to look at how these groups were moving through her funnel.

At an overall level she could see a gradual drop-off through her funnel as would be expected.

However the table revealed a few surprising details:

  1. Most of her leads were beginners
  2. Most of her revenue was from advanced 
  3. The beginners all dropped off around emails 3 and 4

She went back to her email funnel and saw that emails 3 and 4 are when she starts to introduce more nuanced topics which were clearly alienating beginners.

Sam realized she had to write a whole new email sequence for beginner that would keep them interested, while also finding ways to get a higher number of advanced students into her top of funnel.

Lesson: Viewing how different groups or sources move through the funnel can be a valuable method to find drop off points and opportunities for optimization.

Epilogue: And she funneled happily ever after

With her funnel stages all working together, Sam could finally stop stressing (as much) about her business.

She could see that her course marketing budget had a healthy ROI, while her funnel lead to a higher and higher LTV.

Sam even tried revisiting the 30 Day Challenge she had paused. The improved MOF and BOF meant that these leads converted far higher so the challenge became profitable.

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Multi-touch Attribution Models with Dan McGaw

Recently Keith chatted with Dan McGaw, the founder and CEO of McGaw.io, formerly known as Effin Amazing, a marketing technology and analytics agency. Dan is also the creator of UTM.io, a campaign management and data governance tool.

McGaw (the guy, not the company) explains his process for his clients: where he starts, what he recommends for his new customers, and how he navigates the information he collects from that customer’s site analytics. Dan also discusses the process of measuring a business’s touchpoints and the significance of each touchpoint. 

A lot of what McGaw (the company, not the guy) does is help you with governance. What is governance? It’s like the glossary for your website, or even sometimes your entire company. How should an organization be referring to social media websites? What vocabulary should one be using in marketing copy and how can an entire company stay consistent with those words? Dan answers these questions and more. 

You’ll also hear Dan tease a second book while promoting his first, Build Cool Sh*t. Build Cool Sh*t is for the CEOs and the CMOs of a company; Dan skipped all the fluff and got right down to the information that marketers like you are seeking when you buy the guide. 

In this interview with Dan, you’ll learn about:

  • The importance of governance
  • The significance of measuring your business’s touchpoints
  • Why accepting imperfection is key to understanding the limits of your data source
  • Build Cool Sh*t, Dan’s first book

McGaw (the guy AND the company) can be found here: https://mcgaw.io/

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Creating More Efficient SOPs with Say Gabriel

We’re back with another episode of DBO with Keith Perhac. This week, Keith chats with Anansi’s Say Gabriel. Say’s main goal in life is to create cohesive systems that support strong communities.

Frustrated by watching stressed-out digital leaders get mired in constantly shoring up shoddy systems, Say set her focus to the digital world a decade ago, just as it was rising in impact on everyday life. Today, Say helps agency leaders troubleshoot and build strong marketing, operations, and admin systems.

In this interview, Keith and Say discuss:

  • The importance of modifying your typical checklist SOP
  • The differences and the benefits of both a top-down system and a bottom-up system
  •  How she reduced her team’s revision process from 2-3 week to just 45 minutes

Say’s motto for her team is, “Done is the new perfect.” She believes failure is just the first step to success and she wants to get you just as excited as she is about effective processes and how they can not only help you, but they can help your team, your clients, your marketing, your sales, and so much more.

Find Say at:

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Modifying the Typical Sales Funnel with Claire Suellentrop

Claire Suellentrop is an up-and-comer in the marketing world. She dabbled in journalism and entertainment marketing before she began helping SaaS companies like Wistia, FullStory, Edgar, Death to the Stock Photo, and many others get inside their customers’ heads. She then became the co-founder of two companies: Userlist.io and Forget the Funnel which we discuss with her in this enlightening conversation with Keith on Data Beats Opinion.

During the interview we talk about:

  • Modifying the typical sales funnel with Forget the Funnel
  • “Aha” moments and how to find them for yourself and your customer
  • How successful companies like AutoBooks and ProfitWell look at their sales funnel from the bottom instead of the top
  • The value of the customers you already have vs. potential new customers

Find Claire at:

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

The Importance of Personalization in Online Marketing with Jason Resnick

Jason Resnick helps freelancers get more leads, find better clients and build recurring revenue. Jason started working in eCommerce back when it was next to impossible to get someone to put their credit card online. He’s truly an expert in this space and I’m really excited to have him on the show.

In this interview with Jason, we cover:

  • How Jason got his start in eCommerce
  • The importance of personalization in online marketing
  • Why one of the first things Jason does with his clients is ask them what their customer journey is
  • Helping his clients identify their sales cycle
  • Nurturing customers through email
  • The importance of picking the right lead magnet
  • Using lead scoring
  • Launch style funnels vs evergreen funnels
  • How to make your marketing stand out in a crowded space
  • The value of putting yourself through your own funnels

Connect with Jason

@rezzz on Twitter

rezzz.com

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

How Zach Goldie Boosted Email Conversion by 87%

Marketing to marketers is always a tricky proposition. As marketers, we get hundreds of emails from various lists a day, and many of us are essentially immune to generic email messaging.

In order to stand out from the background noise, email content aimed at marketers has to be top-notch, while straddling the line of “often enough to not be forgotten” with “not so often that it drives people batty.”

It’s a fine line to walk, and when it was time to look at our lead nurture campaign, we knew we had to do it right.


Explaining the strategy behind our new lead nurture campaign

We recently built a new lead nurture sequence which is converting beautifully. In this article we’ll delve into how we came up with the 

  • underlying strategy, 
  • non-salesy content ,
  • final push for the sell

with advice for applying the concepts to your own campaigns.

Accepting we needed outside eyes

We were geeking out on our own funnel data and found that the lead nurture sequence was a weak link. The short sequence we had was outdated and the long-term nurturing depended on us sending newsletters, which happened… less often than we intended. Our lead magnets such as the Ultimate Tagging Blueprint were popular, but only 12% were then signing up to a trial.

We could have rewritten it ourselves, but we wanted to make sure we were not only providing actionable information, but doing it in a way that was engaging.

We were referred to Zach Goldie, an email copywriter, who helped us rebuild the whole pitch. The resulting sequence is converting beautifully, so we wanted to share how we worked through it.

Realising leads are oblivious of missed opportunities

Zach began by helping us think through the typical mentality of a new subscriber. He quickly pinpointed them as:

They suspect stronger analytics would help but don’t know the opportunities they’re missing, so looking into options sits low down their priorities.

along with added details like how they’re using Google Analytics or their CRM’s limited data, but without an easy way to dig into the numbers.

It is easy to forget that prospects don’t realize the extent of their issues when it’s all we think about. But we accepted that any nurture sequence needed to start from this lack of awareness.

So now we had our aim for the emails – help subscribers realize the implications of their weak analytics.

DIY Guide #1: Pinpoint the lead’s decision making stage

First think through questions about the subscriber’s current state, such as:

  • How are they currently coping with this issue?
  • Are they even aware of the impact or that solutions exist?
  • Is this decision high up their to-do list? If not, why?
  • What’s the gap between your lead magnet and your product?

Then check your emails are relevant to that situation. It might even differ from lead source to lead source.

Picking a blind spot for each email

It’s easy to jump into writing about the features we’re most excited about. Instead Zach stopped to plan how each email will help readers realize how a lack of data is hurting them. 

The aim was to help them discover these blind spots for themselves, to think about data they’re missing and ways it could be helping them. To plan our content we went through the questions that marketers either don’t think to ask or don’t realize they could answer, such as:

  • Which Facebook campaigns bring in repeat buyers?
  • Which upsell generates the most revenue?
  • How long does it take to reach break-even for paid ads?
  • What is the refund or chargeback rate?

From talking to new users, we know most forget that their analytics usually only record signups or first purchases. So, these questions were chosen to help subscribers realize they’re missing data on each funnel step’s long-term impact on their bottom line revenue. 

If the sequence could guide subscribers into considering these questions, SegMetrics can then be introduced as the best way to find answers in a few clicks.

Guiding readers into realising the benefits (not just telling them)

‘Show don’t tell’ is a popular saying among writers, so we applied it to presenting SegMetric’s benefits. Instead of just telling them “you could boost revenue by 90%”, Zach planned out content to walk them through issues so they could discover the problems they had previously overlooked. 

We grouped these data guides into four categories:

1) Data challenges – posing challenges such as whether they know the lifetime revenue of each lead source, giving them a question to chew over with suggestions of what it might reveal.

2) Case studies – showing the revenue lifts that users have achieved, to reinforce that it is actionable data worth digging out, not just pretty graphs and nice numbers.

3) Industry averages – marketers love a good benchmark, so we collected averages from our users that could only be discovered through SegMetrics.

4) Potential tactics – outlining tactics such as offering a high value upsell instead of the current cheaper one, with a note that SegMetrics could track the impact.

Each of these tied back to one of those blind spots we had previously identified, written with a gentle tone acknowledging that it’s understandable to not already know the answers. (Especially since we’ve been doing this for over a decade, and STILL run into issues.)

DIY Guide #2: Content planning

After identifying their decision stage, consider what is needed to bump your service up their to-do list.

  • What is bothering them about their current solution?
  • Are there pain-points they didn’t realize could be solved?
  • Do they realize the impact that signing up will make?

Then plan how to show them these answers, helping it become their own realization instead of just something you’ve told them.

Admitting that yes, there’s a free alternative

As subscribers progress through the sequence they will hopefully start wanting this kind of information for themselves. Zach expected they might start looking for free alternatives, so wanted to stay helpful during those decisions.

Like many SaaS apps, the main alternative is a spreadsheet and lots of time. In fact, almost all of the data SegMetrics reveals can be found with a bit of pivot table magic. 

That’s why we openly suggest they try to DIY it. We first gently mention it in a couple of emails, with rough steps of how to do so. An email then includes the link to our in-depth guide of how to manually calculate the lead value of an opt-in magnet. 

Our good worst-case scenario is they spend two hours generating one KPI, appreciate having those numbers, but then look to SegMetrics to get it in a few clicks next time.

Really this is one big show-don’t-tell.

We could tell them “don’t waste hours trying to DIY this in Excel”, but instead we showed them the alternative and how much drudgery is involved.

This has a double effect of a) showing people that the data that we’re generating is trustworthy, because they can calculate it themselves, and b) that since it takes over an hour to get a single KPI manually, they should do it in a few clicks with SegMetrics next time.

Finally: pitching SegMetrics while addressing remaining objections

A couple of months after they downloaded the lead magnet, we go for a direct pitch.

We outline the trial in terms of what’s included and recap key insights they can find. It’s a nice friendly email, nothing overly clever.

Zach then had fun preempting common objections.

These are the typical concerns that leads have directly asked us or we suspect they won’t admit. We wrote an email to pre-empt each one and show why they should sign up anyway. These objections and counters were roughly:

Cautious it’ll take ages to set up? Talk about our free concierge service and how we walk them through the installation in a quick call.

Don’t want to yet more useless data? Similarly, we offer a free strategy call, helping them make meaningful decisions from their new numbers.

Considering popular alternatives? Link to our existing comparison articles, admitting the (few) cases when the alternative software is better suited.

To finish it off, we then had a short What’s Stopping You? email offering to discuss any concerns we have missed out.

DIY Guide #3: Removing sales blocks

Consider if there are common concerns that might stop them converting.

  • Have they had issues with competing services that you might replicate
  • Is there any nervousness about getting up and running?
  • Are there details about your trial or product that are unclear?

Then plan out an email around each one to help them get past that stumbling block.

Final notes

We’re happy to say that the lead nurture sequence is now happily converting at 187% what it used to, with some of the highest engagement rates we’ve seen — even 12 emails into the funnel. We even worked with Zach again on a similar educational approach for our onboarding sequence.

If you would like to test this strategy yourself, then the key steps are:

  • Consider the decision making state of new leads
  • Identify topics that will push your service up their to-do list
  • Plan out educational content to guide them into action
  • Pre-empt each objection with relevant content

Or alternatively, email Zach for help with your funnel:

DIY Alternative: Talk with Zach

Zach is a copywriter, specializing in landing pages and email sequences. He was instrumental in putting together the strategy we outlined in this article and so we’d highly recommend him if you are looking to improve your conversions.

You can find him here: Zach Goldie, Copywriter


Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Refining Your List with LeadShield.io

LeadShield is Brandon Shelton’s 3rd SaaS. He has a proven track record as far as the marketing and growth of his products go. His latest SaaS is a product that must exist, especially for marketers, helping you understand the people on your list, and determine if they’re good leads or bad leads.

One thing I like about LeadShield is it’s not an all or nothing system. Their tagging and analytics allow you to identify bad leads and not just block them, but understand how those email addresses are performing and decide what to do with them.

In this interview with Brandon, we discuss:

  • The inspiration behind the creation of LeadShield
  • The surprising thing Brandon found in the process of creating LeadShield
  • The growth strategies Brandon’s used for his 3 SaaS
  • His use of Mechanical Sequences to plan his promotions
  • The importance of keeping customers happy and offering a great product
  • The two parts to effective email marketing
  • The benefit of segmenting your list
  • Why you want to collect the lead first and weed out the bad leads later
  • The importance of understanding your ideal target market when developing a SaaS

You can connect with Brandon:

LeadShield.io

Discount page: go.leadshield.io/databeats

On Facebook as Brandon Shelton – send him a friend request

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Funnel Optimization Strategies: Josh Doody

Josh Doody is a salary negotiation coach who helps experienced software developers negotiate job offers from big tech companies. He also wrote Fearless Salary Negotiation: A step-by-step guide to getting paid what you’re worth. In this interview we discussed his strategy for funnel optimization for Fearless Salary Negotiation, including how he used SEO to grow his site visits from 150 to 100K.

In this interview, Josh and Keith discuss:

  • Josh’s offer and how his funnel is structured
  • How he uses RightMessage
  • Using SEO to grow his site visits from 150 to 100K
  • What happened when he switched from giving away 10 templates as his opt-in, to giving away 1 template and selling the other 9
  • How he utilizes his thank you pages
  • Why he shortened his funnel

You can connect with Josh at:

Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

Planning the Perfect SaaS Launch: Userlist.io

Jane and Benedikt are long-time members of the SaaS bootstrapping community, and most recently the founders of UserList – which they launched to a crazy amount of grass-roots hype.

One of the most interesting things I saw from their launch (and I mention this in the interview) is that for about a week UserList was all I saw in my social media feeds. I wanted to sit down with Jane and Benedikt and talk about how that came about, how much was planned, and what they did to stay on track with a looming deadline, limited budget, and a brand new following.

In this interview with Jane and Benedikt, you’ll learn:

  • How to leverage the audience that you have (without abusing your personal relationships)
  • How they chose where to promote their launch
  • Why they used product hunt
  • Their decision making behind choosing to do card up front
  • Why they used ‘schedule a demo’ as their secondary CTA and how it worked out for them
  • Things they weren’t expecting to come out of the launch of the product and how people responded
  • The strategy behind what they chose as their freebie
  • Why they don’t like selling lifetime licenses
  • The Ultimate Guide to SaaS User Onboarding

You can connect with Jane & Benedikt at:

  • Userlist.io
  • Jane Portman @uibreakfast
  • Benedikt Deicke @benediktdeicke
Avatar

Keith Perhac

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.