Unforgiving funnel

Many contacts have already forwarded Seth Goddin’s recent blog entitled ‘the unforgiving arithmetic of the funnel’. It’s worth a read.

Some supported his point, some argued it was simplistic, others were ‘outraged’ Seth is positioning on my turf. Settle down! Seth is a legend, contributes heaps, and is far from muscling in on my turf. In fact he is much-published on the subject of funnel. No-one owns an idea, and I certainly don’t claim to ‘own’ funnel. For sure I claim to have some deep insights, but I’m not alone there either.

My view:

Firstly, I wish I had Seth’s capacity to reduce a complex idea to its barest, most powerful essence, and then to sell that idea. To those who argue his work is simplistic, I’d respond by saying that simple is a reduction, a resolution of a complex idea, not an ignorance of its complexity. I personally love diving into the detail to find the nugget – I can sell it better if I know the detail, but have found the essential heart of an idea.

Secondly, although in this brief blog Seth is dealing only with the math of the funnel, he’s far from ignorant about the people part of the funnel. Remember ‘Permission Marketing’ (where many of us learned about Seth Goddin) and ‘Flipping the funnel’?

I would offer just two simple bullets to his list. Here’s Seth’s:

  • Acknowledge that it’s there. Don’t assume that a big audience is going to easily convert to action.
  • Work to measure your losses. Figure out where in the process you’re losing interest and clicks or the other behaviors you seek.
  • If you can, remove steps. Each step costs you dearly.
  • Treat different people differently. If you alter the funnel to maximize interest by the wandering masses, you may very well miss the chance to convert the focused few.

To which I would add:

  • Work out how to know who is where in the funnel and offer messaging that helps them get to the next stage in their journey.
  • Work out how to get those who leaked back into the funnel as fast as you can (think ‘permission marketing’)

And if I was being cheeky and commercial, I’d also say get Sales and Marketing to agree the plan that describes all that.

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