Get yourself a quick win in conversion by identifying and eliminating the biggest holes in your leaky bucket.

What You Will Learn

  • How the weakest link in your sales funnel can tank your sales
  • Why you should apply the 80/20 rule to fix the problem
  • Where to find your weakest link

Weak Links Cause Disaster

73 seconds into it’s flight on 28 January 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 65,000 feet above Cape Canaveral, Florida, killing all seven astronauts on board. The cause of this explosion? The failure of one seemingly-insignificant component – an O-ring in the right Solid Rocket Booster.

This one weak link was enough to cause a disaster that bereaved seven families and brought the US space program to a halt for years. Billions of dollars had been invested in the Space Shuttle, but the poor quality of one, inexpensive component was enough to cause catastrophe.

This tragic example highlights the importance of finding and eliminating weak links in your sales funnel. You can have a great product and a sales funnel that is 99 percent efficient – but the weakness of the final 1 percent can kill your profits.

Applying the Pareto Principle

Even if you have a sales funnel that is profitable right now you are almost certainly leaving money on the table. There are probably several weak links in the chain that are hurting your profits and making it hard for you to scale the campaign.

But here’s the good news. The Pareto Principle applies here, as 80 percent of the problems are probably concentrated in 20 percent of the funnel. In other words, when you find and fix the weak links you get quick and substantial wins. A simple improvement that takes 10 minutes may add an extra million dollars to revenue.

If you haven’t reviewed your sales funnel for a while, it’s time for a revamp. Take a close look at every step of the sequence and identify potential problem areas. Of course, this assumes you have accurate data on what is happening in every step in the sequence. If not, getting that data should be your first priority – you can’t do this flying blind.

Finding the Weakest Link

Every sales funnel is different, so the weak links in your chain may be different from those in other marketer’s funnels. But there are some common areas where weaknesses often lurk, so let’s discuss places you may find ‘quick wins.’

1. Headlines

Everything starts with your headline, both in your ads and on your sales pages. So it’s worth spending time to get this right, yet many marketers are lazy. Simple benefit-driven headlines will get some clicks, but you can do better.

Test adding curiosity into your headlines. This does not mean creating pointless ‘clickbait’ headlines. They will typically get you lots of clicks, but few sales. Instead, test headlines that combine curiosity plus a benefit, such as:

‘Weird Trick Melts 10 Pounds of Fat in 7 Days’

This works because it makes a big promise in terms of the benefit delivered, but also leverages curiosity. What weird trick? Why is it weird, and how does it work? This ‘benefit + curiosity’ combination is hard to beat, so be sure to test it!

2. Email Subject Lines

Many copywriters spend a lot of time crafting great email copy, yet fail to spend much time working on subject lines. But if the email never gets opened, all the hard work invested in the copy is wasted.

Subject lines are critical in email. Keep them short but powerful. You can test the ‘curiosity + benefit’ here, too, and it is sure to work. But you can also test pure curiosity-driven subject lines. You already know that the people on your list are interested in your offer, so you can be more aggressive in trying to get the ‘open’ at any cost.

3. Calls to Action

Once you have fired up your prospect’s enthusiasm, you need to guide them to the checkout. And that means having a call to action that is clear and easy to understand. 

Frequently, however, calls to actions are muddled, vague or confusing. If your customers don’t know what to do, they will do nothing. So take pains to explain clearly and concisely what they need to do next. Then give them a big, bright button to press to make it happen.

No matter how sophisticated your audience may be, you have to explain things clearly, step by step.

4. Checkout Pages

How can the most important page in your funnel be so easily overlooked! The whole point of your sales funnel is to get people to your checkout page and safely through to the other side. So it’s amazing how little attention is paid to this page.

You can get an easy lift in sales by running experiments such as:

  • Adding testimonials
  • Restating your guarantee
  • Using a countdown timer
  • Testing your price
  • Adding video

5. First Upsell

You do have an upsell chain, right? Assuming that you do, this is definitely an area where weak links can be found. Most importantly, focus on your first upsell, as this is the one that can make or break your offer.

Your upsell needs to be congruent with your main offer and keep the buyer momentum moving forward. If you are selling physical products, offer them more product at a discounted price. If you are selling digital products, help them get results faster or more easily.

Fixing this part of your funnel may require more work, but it’s critical in making campaigns profitable.

6. Abandoned Carts

With two thirds of people abandoning carts without purchasing, it’s really important to focus on winning this lost business back. 

You need an abandoned cart recovery system. Email these abandoners with an extra special offer – an additional discount if they complete their order asap.

Turn Your Weakest Link into Your Greatest Strength

When I was a school student, my mother would often help me revise for exams. When she found something I was weak on – such as French vocabulary – she would test me on it over and over again until it became my greatest strength.

I still apply that principle today, and it’s a great way to approach sales funnel optimization. Turn those weak headlines, subject lines, calls to action, checkout pages, upsells and abandoned carts into powerhouse converters. Then you will be well on your way to greater success.

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