Aaron KassoverThis is the first of a five-part series on the components of the online marketing funnel.

Good news: Selling online isn’t that different than traditional selling. As in traditional sales, the successful Web agent sees their online marketing as a funnel. Breaking your online marketing down into components of the funnel will help you track and manage your online sales efforts. This also gives you the tools you need to identify and remove bottlenecks, resulting in a more efficient and profitable sales process. Over my next five articles, I’m going explain the five components of the online marketing funnel.

Components of online marketing funnel:
1. Attract
2. Engage
3. Convert
4. Retain
5. Refer

Component 1: Attract

Online marketing begins by getting visitors to your Web site. Whether they are people actively shopping for life insurance or casual Web browsers, you can’t begin to sell to prospects until you’ve got their attention. This means, very simply, that at the top of the funnel, you must get your prospects to your Web site.

Attracting visitors to your site

Several of the most effective ways to attract prospects through online marketing include:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Optimize your site to show up in search engines for phrases that your prospects are searching for. SEO is a long-term strategy that requires continuous effort but once in place, can be a tremendously valuable source of visitors.
  • Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC) – Purchase ads where you pay every time someone clicks through to your site. Because anyone can purchase ads on a PPC network, this is an effective strategy for agents looking for quick traffic. Search engines such as Bing and Google, as well as social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn operate PPC ad networks.
  • Link Building - Get other Web sites to link back to yours. The Web is by definition, connected. A great way to attract visitors is to proactively get other sites to link to yours. This could be as simple as commenting in message boards and blogs where you can link back to your site or as complex as contacting other site owners and requesting relevant links back to you.
  • Off-line Marketing – Connect your offline marketing with your online marketing. Make sure your Web site is on everything you send out from business cards to brochures to letterhead. When someone ends up with a piece of off-line marketing from you, they’ll go to your Web site to learn more about you before they pick up the phone to call.

Measuring attraction

As with any well-managed sales funnel, you should measure your online marketing funnel. The key ways to measure your attraction efforts are:

  • Unique visitors – On a monthly basis, how many visitors come to your site? This is an overall metric of your attraction efforts. You should see this increase month-to-month as you put attraction strategies in place.
  • Referral source – What sites are driving traffic to yours? This shows you how visitors get to your site. Keep track of your attraction efforts to see which ones are the most effective.
  • Search keywords – What were your visitors searching for when they find your site? This tells you not just how well your SEO efforts are going, but also what specifically your site visitors are interested in.

Make a point of tracking your attraction efforts on a monthly basis to plan where you should focus your efforts in growing the top of your online marketing funnel.

Up next: Part two of the online marketing funnel – Engage.

Want more information to help improve your online marketing? Download my free eBook “Make Money While You Sleep: A Step -by-Step Guide to Generating Leads from Your Website” at http://www.agentmethods.com/ebook

Aaron Kassover, managing partner of AgentMethods LLC, has spent the last 10 years helping insurance carriers, agencies and brokers bring their services online. He has applied this knowledge to the development of AgentMethods, a Web site platform for insurance agents, agencies and brokers. For more information, visit Aaron’s Web site at www.agentmethods.com.

Check out more sales & marketing articles from Aaron Kassover.