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Unlocking the Power of Sales Funnels: Converting Leads into Customers

In Conversation with Ramsey Sweis

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Ramsey Sweis, President & Founder of Aqaba Technologies, an advertising and marketing intelligence company located in Clarkston, Michigan

Ramsey discusses AI’s transformative role in enhancing sales strategies, fueled by dynamic adjustments and behavioral analytics. He delved deep into the world of sales funnels and uncovered effective strategies to supercharge your conversion rates

Watch the episode now for more insights!

Incorporating AI and data insights revolutionizes how we build successful sales funnels.

Ramsey Sweis
President & Founder of Aqaba Technologies
Ramsey Sweis

Hi, everyone. This is Ranmay here on your show, E-Coffee with Experts. Today, we have Ramsey Sweis, who is the Founder and President of Aqaba Technologies. Welcome, Ramsey.

Thank you for having me.

Great. Ramsey, before we move forward and let us speak about and hear from you about how do you channel your sales funnels and stuff, I request you to introduce yourself to our audiences.

Yes, my name is Ramsey Sweis. I’m the President and Founder of Aqaba Technologies. We’re located in Lovely, Michigan. Our background began back in 2004. In the conceptualization of the company and its business model, we started as a search engine marketing company and evolved into web design, boutique design, and SEO. Then social media, as we adopted the progress of these utilities as we know today.

Yeah, absolutely. Since we were discussing sales funnels before the podcast, I would like to start it off by knowing about how do you think about what is your take on the importance of aligning those sales funnels with the buyer’s journey. What are the key considerations that any business should look into while creating that effective alignment?

Yes, great question. For example, the sales funnel varies from audience to audience because primarily you’re targeting the audience, not the business. But if it’s business-to-business, B2B, or B2C, then it’s a completely different landscape. The behavior of the sales journey in terms of segmenting the steps along the way, varies. Let’s just say, for example, you have uploaded.

When you look upstream in upload, where is this traffic coming from? How are we targeting them? How do we get them to perform a certain task, which is to land on your sales page or sales funnel? What are they doing when they reside on the sales page? Then as they go through the segmentation, the top of the funnel, mid-funnel, bottom of funnel conversion, and then evergreen perpetuity, what happens after you capture this information is that the entire lifecycle of that user is captured and behaviors are modeled, and that data is collected. Having all the appropriate attributions in place is just as important as, say, devising an ad campaign budget strategy content, hot ear tone, the Avatar, and performing the research. Now, what do you do with that data once you collect it as you drive traffic to the top of the sales?

That’s the craft. This is the science. Let’s say, for example, through the onboarding process, you want to analyze the data, you want to capture the customer’s attention, whether you speak different tones from a B2B standpoint or the perspective of B2C. The sales page design, and the UX for both mobile and desktop, primarily mobile. The nurturing of that relationship throughout the process of the upstream top-of-the-funnel, mid-funnel, bottom-funnel conversion, and evergreen. Then staying in touch, having outreach via social media, and then having the correct platform in place that you want to use. There are many out there. All are good, all serve a different purpose, and all have different benefits, but it all depends if check the boxes of what you’re trying to provide your client as the end goal. From a reverse engineering standpoint, the goal is what matters. Then you go back to your ad comm, the messaging, the tone, the brand, the user experience, and the optimization through conversion rate optimization over time takes effect, and it just improves. The brand made all, very important, all driven by data. So attribution, singling out each step of the funnel upstream. As they leave the funnel downstream, all of this data should be collected and then a model starts to shape.

It takes place as it forms. Your job as a marketer is to optimize and deliver results. And to do that, it must be managed. It’s not something back in the day when funnels first launched and excited and let it go because no one knew they were on a sales funnel page. They thought it was just a landing page or a very poorly designed sales page, but it worked. Today, your audience is far more sophisticated and you need to better establish credibility as an authority from the B2B standpoint. From the B2C standpoint, you need trust signals, citations, credibility readability, case study, use case study, and video. You’ll figure all this out when you see what’s performing and what’s performing in an ill fashion and how do you improve and leverage what you have working for your team in terms of that sales funnel. That’s the long version. The short version is goals. Understanding the target audience helps you define that roadmap, the customer journey from point of entry, from a click to where they left, what’s the behavior on page, off the page, and then speaking to that audience where having a retargeting plan, maybe that’s important. Try it, collect the data, take the feedback, devise a plan, what the model looks like, present it to your client, and see what your audience likes and dislikes about it.

And that’s where the attribution helps you allocate or reallocate your budget accordingly. So it’s an ongoing relationship. It’s a symbiotic relationship. And it’s very important to have a data mindset, first and foremost, knowing what the goal is going to be and then architecting accordingly in a reverse engineering standpoint to your messaging, your content, the graphic images for your ads, and the content, the body, the description, and the offer.

I mean, data is at the central focus point of all of it that we speak about in SEO, digital marketing, and PPC. A lot of businesses must have faced it as well, a lot of businesses when they approach you as the expert in digital marketing or as a marketer, all talk about that lead gen number. End of the day, a lot of businesses, do not care about what you’re doing, whether it is technical SEO, you’re running ads, they have given you a budget, or let’s say you’re building links, but they want their phone ringing. So lead gen becomes so important for the end businesses. What are your techniques at Aqaba to attract those high-quality leads to put in those sales funnels for your clients?

Yes, there’s organic, and there’s paid. Both verticals work. Organic takes a little bit longer in terms of SEO, but organic in terms of content marketing, newsletter, remarketing, and retargeting, can be instantaneous if you’ve checked all the boxes leading up to that point. And how we manage our campaigns gives you the skinny of the onboarding process, outlining the basics, a very simple sales funnel. There’s much more to it, but there’s also much less to it, depending on the type of product, your budget, and other possible constraints that you identify along the way. Let’s just say, for example, you have a budget X. Call it $10,000 a month. And of that $10,000 in ad spend, you budget it accordingly. You allocate some for Google, you allocate some for Facebook paid ads, and possibly LinkedIn paid ads. And then they perform based on the target audience and the sales goals. If you don’t have the budget, you’re going to fail from the get. There’s no sense even taking on that client. So they either have the budget to perform on Google, or there’ll be a minimum in terms of ad spend. On LinkedIn, a minimum. Facebook is more flexible. You can go video on demand or you can do contextual ads and static ads and carousel ads.

There’s a variance of those. That’s where attribution comes into play and you have to budget accordingly and see what performs best and then scale accordingly. Seo is long-term. That is a more high highly qualified set of eyeballs in terms of users if done properly. What we do for ourselves and our clients, in some cases in the B2B world, is crafting very fruitful, useful, relevant articles. We do that in a dual-pronged approach.

One prong within that fork is to write content that can be optimized up to the top-level domain or site map within your website, and all of your metadata and everything accordingly. It’s all relevant. Then you get the juice on that article, and that article tends to rank very well if properly crafted. There are PRs. You can do PRs and distribution by region or globally. The point is that to a landing page or a sales page, and by accident, you’re going to get traffic to that page. That’s another channel. That’s how you leverage content. The other is a newsletter. Don’t just produce a newsletter for the sake of seeing your name come across your inbox. It needs to be purposeful. It needs to be fruitful.

Give this information away. I’m a true believer in that. You get to show your knowledge, trust, and the value in what you do, and you get to show and express your passion for your industry and your knowledge. So all very truthful, all very honest, and all meaningful. From there, make sure that you craft your newsletters to a landing page, whether it hosts the entire article, an infographic, or a downloadable takeaway, but try to leverage that so there’s retention. The retention will lead to subscriptions, revisits, shares, social posts, etc. Lastly, what I believe in the second fork is the credibility factor. Just by accident, by creating this content, you’re viewed as an industry expert or someone very knowledgeable in that space. You’re establishing a relationship and you’re asking for nothing. No sales page. Just here’s the information. Do with it what you please. Just come back and visit and watch more often. That’s the social. Like, follow, share, join a group, have roundtable conversations, speak with your peers, and that’s the second form. So in terms of content marketing, it’s very important to have these principles in place, but first and foremost being given away. T’s a hot marketplace, right?

No one wants to see spam. No one wants to read spam. No one wants to read something somewhat interesting. There needs to be a value behind it. Think like this when creating your blog posts. Provide images, provide infographics, provide links to videos, link up to other articles, keep them entertained, and extend the length of that user experience.

Yeah, absolutely. Content is such an important tool as you mentioned, and AI has taken it up, and blown it away in the last couple of quarters. I just wanted to generally understand, what is your take on AI. Where are we headed?

Love it. It should be used as a tool that complements everything that we do. The media is blowing AI out of proportion and the misconception of AI doing humanization of AI is far from, It still needs human interaction and input. Ai is only as good as the input. How we use AI, Ranmay, is to give us insight, to perform the research, and not to do our job of personalization. Asking a robot to personalize something or teaching it to speak in my tone or my voice is not me. And to me, I think it’s to cop out for people in our industry, and they should not use it to replace human-generated content inspired or the guide rails provided by AI to allow you to turn that content over quickly. Yeah. Then there’s the media part. You can create graphic elements. That’s fine. To assist you with, say, SEO research, we do heavily use AI to research competitors, prior campaigns, industry, and leading industry topics and subjects to go out and perform the research on that, think about all the things we have to do collectively in our day to drop everything, to perform research, to get your keyword strategy, your competitor information.

All of these things take time, takes knowledge, takes know-how, and then you have to present it. Ai takes about 90 % of that test off our plate. The 10 % is the knowledge, how to purpose that, and what the goal is, where you want to land with this information. You can’t eliminate the humanization aspect. That’s my perspective.

It does give you a head start, as you mentioned, in terms of collecting information, which will take time for a human to do it. But it cannot be your final deliverable product because the end consumer of the content is a human at the end of the day. That human touch in terms of humanizing the content which has to be read by humans at the end of the day. That in itself, that logic justifies that it really cannot take up human jobs. People are scared, but that’s the way we look at it as an organization as well. We use it to the optimum in terms of reaping the benefit and saving time. We’ve just seen that our resources have become all the more efficient after using AI versus the other way around that people are thinking or were thinking at one point. It’s just the way how you’re going to use it, how you think about it. Yeah. Also, since we were discussing leads, talking about leads when you are either doing SEO or social media campaigns or let’s say PPC ads, you get a lot of leads. There are junk leads, there are not-so-good leads, then there are good leads, hot leads.

For any business, it becomes extremely crucial to bifurcate and segregate those leads so that they can be nurtured moving forward. If you can help us understand what are the best practices for qualifying and prioritizing them to ensure that it is efficiently allocated to the resources in the organization or your case, in your client’s business?

Yeah, scrubbing through that data is very important. In terms of leads, I always lean on attribution. Attribution by industry. You can go to protocols within an industry. You can go industry by general purposes, and then the modeling takes shape. The number you want to look at in terms of paid ads is the cost per acquisition.

Absolutely.

So if you were to silo those segments, say, for example, you have health care, you have manufacturing, you have industrial, you can break down B2B, B2C as well. And you look at attribution, of course, if my cost per acquisition is $1,800 for health care, but manufacturing is $22, and there needs to be a decision, like the economics, the business that takes place. And I see many agencies fail from that standpoint, which is why things fall into our lap because they’ve had an experience, they believe in it, but they also believe that they don’t have the right team in place. We tend to land those types of accounts because of our background, technical background, data management background, and data mining background. So to me, if you were to decide Silo these things accordingly and look at the numbers, the barebone numbers, you need sales and then the human business logic. What does this mean? I’m reading the data, putting your reports together, analyzing the data, conversing with your clients, and often, getting them to cooperate in terms of, I think that probably the biggest challenge we have is everyone’s so busy, they just expect us to know everything.

We don’t know is how many leads did you close? How many deals do you have in the hopper? How many came from call tracking, like pay-per calls? How many came from PPC from your website? How many were mobile? How many were desktop? This data helps us perfect our craft and optimize for even greater results as you hone in on your skill sets. Those inputs and attribution are also required from the customer. That means as an agency, you need to interact and schedule meetings weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annually, and then do a year in review. And in that year in review, that dovetails into budget planning for the up and coming year. So when you put that in perspective, it should be done in Q4, right? That’s why we pretty much have gone fishing signs on our doors the month of December because we’re going to be booked and scheduling all of our client meetings and budget and planning for the up and coming year. So it’s not something you put, say, a salesperson on that task. It needs to be the account manager who’s rummaging through this data daily.

So how does that affect your business? It affects your agency, too, if you have properly scheduled reviews in place for the year and it’s adopted as part of your workflows. It should be in your day-to-day management. And then that signal will help you optimize your cost per click, cost per conversion, off-page optimization of your campaign, the on-page optimization of your campaign, your upstream optimization to your campaign, and all of it melds together and affects your cost per acquisition.

Absolutely. Then talking about these leads, what are those key metrics that you or your account managers or project managers look at while tracking the measure which drives those leads to the sales funnels?

Boy, that’s an excellent question. In place should be identified in your campaign requirements before you kick the campaign off. All of this should be outlined and checked off your project management as part of your workflow. Now, when we look at your research, it’s a good baseline. It’s not final. If you have the funds, deep enough funds to drive traffic to a sales page and track the performance of that campaign and the website, then you can make intelligent decisions on behalf of your client and recommendations based on the data points and the sets that everything flows up to. That affects your budget, it affects performance, it affects optimization requirements, and you mask it that way as part of your reporting. Me, if I were a client, I would want to know very simply what’s my cost per acquisition. The model is if I spend X, I should get receive around Y, right? We’re plus minus within this range. And I can share with you that our clients, of them tend to get very spoiled. They have a stellar month, and then things seasonally tapered downward. So the ebbs and flows. When you’re in the valley, your phone’s ringing, when you’re in the Valley, your phone’s ringing.

When you’re at the peak, they don’t want to talk to you. And it’s just part of the game. That’s just how the internet works. There are seasonal trends. There are non-seasonal trends, too, and they can be addressed and cured. But with the seasonal trends, you can’t do much. Throwing more money at it is not the solution to the problem. Optimizing, if you average it out and you see the performance year over year, if you were to map overlay, bar chart, and look at your performance, cost per click is always going to increase. That’s just the way it works. So the bidding strategy, what you’re willing to pay, and what you’re paying is different, but always being willing to pay more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to pay that amount. And then optimizing that channel for top performance is natural. That should be your goal and your objective for your campaigns. I hope I’m able to answer that question properly.

Yeah, absolutely. And I also wanted to understand from you those strategies that you use at Aqaba Technologies to maximize these funnel to ensure that the funnel is kept warm and fills in through the entire year, although there will be at some point like you mentioned how you as an agency for a client’s business, ensure that it is kept warm throughout the year?

I’ll throw the kitchen sink at that one. There are your paid ads. Then there’s your top-of-funnel, mid-funnel, bottom-funnel, and evergreen. Where’s your onboarding process at the bottom of the funnel. You need to determine where that is. So now you need some automation in place. All of this can be automated. The ecosystem is fully automated.

Smart marketers will develop the entry point to the exit point and perpetuity. Then the segmentation of the top, mid, and bottom of the funnel, the nurturing process. Let’s say I’m giving away this thing, an eBook, and they click on the ad on Google or Facebook, they land on the landing page, they arrive at the landing page, and they go through the copy. You can track that entire user experience. Now, they either perform something or they did not. So if yes, then this set of rules applies. To download, you have to provide your email. Then dispatch, it’s sent out. Moments later, they click on it. If they don’t click on it, then the rules apply. Keep nurturing until that conversion at the top of the funnel takes place. The download, and it’s executed. Then what’s the next step? When they download, there’s a Thank You page. Thank you for downloading. Maybe it’s a video explainer. Personalized message by a real person, not an Avatar. It welcomes them and thanks them. Then hopefully, they find benefit in this download. Then the next series of events happen. How do we get them to the middle of the funnel? If you like the ebook, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, then we welcome you to perform the next set of tasks.

You can go to the calendar, and a schedule, it syncs with the team calendar, and a sales rep then sends out an email. It’s automated, it’s personalized. Have your photo and email signature. I want to see who the person is. Maybe even a link to a video introducing themselves helps. And then from there, they schedule, it’s booked in their calendar, an invitation, or it’s synced directly with the user calendar and the salesperson. Then there’s a set of reminders that take place.

Until that moment, but it can’t be spammy. Two, maybe three emails, one three days before, a second one, two days before, a third one, say 15 minutes or an hour before the scheduled meeting as a reminder. In some cases, we use SMS. If we’re taking their phone number, we’ll send a message via text message just an hour before, as opposed to each step of the way. It’s a bit irritating to have your mobile number being pinged for three days straight. And then they either attend the logic or they don’t. If they attend, there’s a series of thank you emails that go out afterward thanking them for attending and what the next steps are, potential steps are, and warming them up to a sales meeting, or a demo, or a potential proposal submittal to review the proposal. Don’t just email it. Schedule that Zoom call, if you will, to go over the proposal. You record it, you send them a video of the recorded meeting and your proposal, or the demo, and also a recording. It’s personalized. It means a lot to the user. It also puts you ahead of the competition.

Absolutely. I can vouch for this because we also do this as a practice and this has worked wonders while not sharing the proposal on an email, actually explaining every logic as to why you have proposed something against what was the need, what was the discussion. That you have to present it in a way that matches their expectation requirements and the discussion versus your proposal rather than just sending out a very fancy PDF proposal in an email. I can completely relate to what you mentioned, a very valid point there in terms of explaining the proposal over a Zoom call to help them understand why have you mentioned so-and-so things against so-and-so parameters, and what is your thought process behind preparing that proposal as well versus just mentioning numbers and the dollar value against it?

Yeah, implying fear is not good.

Presenting an expectation Ranmay, this is what we’re going to accomplish in our demo. And the expectation is as follows. We expect you to walk away knowing A, B, C, 1, 2, 3. No strings attached.

Absolutely.

That alleviates the pressure of being sold. That alleviates the hard selling tactics that we’re all expecting on a day-to-day basis when you open up your email.

This is what we don’t want. We want the opposite.

and not sell. It’s your job to inform.

Absolutely. I think we need more.

Yeah. You solve this problem that they have, and their guard is not up waiting for the one-two, the left, the right, then the uppercut to follow. That goes away. You have to establish capability. You become the authority. You become liked and welcome to the next step in your sales process, which is to not sell. And at the end, here’s your proposal. We did the presentation. Yes, I’m interested. No, I’m not.

Yeah, absolutely. We also leave the door open for our consumers and also for our clients, wherein we get operationally involved. We always educate the clients to further educate their end clients and inform them about the process. Let’s say, create a 12-month roadmap plan for them to succeed. Now that success they can achieve either with you or some other partner, some other vendor. But it is you to own them the process. So you have kept that dialog open that this is the way of doing it. You can do it with someone else. That’s fine. But your job, since they’ve walked into you, it’s your job to educate and tell them that this is the best way that you feel that we feel you should go about. And then you leave the door open, as you mentioned, and say yes or no, it’s their call, fine, at the end of the day, and you have to accept it. That’s fine. And not selling is so important in sales. That is one learning that our audiences will take out today from this podcast.

Yeah? Yes. It’s like what we’re doing right now. I’m passionate about what we do. Our team is very passionate. We have longevity here in terms of team members, clientele, and to take great pride in that.

If not up to tune with the industry, I can’t provide value. I’m just doing what everyone else is doing. I could find those people everywhere and anywhere. But to establish a relationship with someone, you need to be the authority. You need to provide value and insight into the black hole. This is what you’re going to expect in working with us. Or in the case of your question on a strategy for a sales funnel or a campaign, this is what you’re going to expect and we map it all out. Now, the bottom of the funnel to complete the campaign is another set of rules. Yes, I’m interested. We book, whatever the conversion measurement is if it’s a demo, a request for a proposal, or audit, or a review, in terms of SEO, what you do. Here’s a comprehensive SEO report. Here are the 200-plus signals that Google is monitoring. Here’s where you reside within this ecosystem. And then the recommended improvements. Now, that’s great. But what’s my strategy? That’s where most audits fail because they’re just generating a report using some third-party software. But it’s not applicable in terms of keyword strategy. We call them the payloads.

So it would be your profit center keywords.

Now, that’s it. Okay.

Not what’s easiest to optimize and get your ranking. Here you go, Mr. Client. I got your first position on a very broad keyword that’s not going to mock too much in terms of sales.

No traffic at all. You’re ranking, but there’s no point there.

Bottom of the funnel, if yes, then a set of rules. We welcome them. We want to schedule an onboarding process. Here’s what you’re to expect as the next steps, maybe even a personalized video welcoming them with just a brief bullet point on the sales page or the Welcome onboarding sales page. The other would be the evergreen. Now it automatically enters them into an email newsletter and invitations to click and follow or join their social groups.

It goes on from there. Just hand it off to the sales team and then begin the onboarding process and scheduling. There’s an ongoing nurturing process and there’s also an ongoing delivery of material. And that helps with cross-selling and upselling and pushing them further into your CRM for forecasting. So all of this can be done with the proper sales funnel and a CRM with automation features and characteristics that cover the workflow I described.

Absolutely, absolutely, and so we have spoken so much about, say, before we wrap it up, I would just like to understand your thought process on customer retention, which is so important in today’s day because there is so much of competition for any business, for any niche, for any industry for that matter. You cannot afford to have a leaking bucket when you are spending so much energy to create that sales funnel, that ops model, and finally converting a client. And you cannot afford to lose a client three to six months down the line. So it is very important for sure. What is your thought about it? How should businesses create that stick-Inness for the clients to stick around with their business for a longer period?

That’s the agency’s role. It’s their responsibility. So don’t have a step-by-step process in place. Your team members are only as good as leadership.

I don’t outline goals and objectives and have team meetings and sit in on client meetings and review and analyze and show areas of weakness that can be approved upon, touch on what they’ve done well, then your team is just going to continue down that path and you’re going to have churn. And it’s not a profitable venue for you or your clientele.

Yeah, absolutely. Now that you’ve put it on the agency side of things, I’m sure a lot of our listeners from the industry would get scared to take that ownership after the sales happen as well.

Yeah. You know that matriculation to a couple of hundred dollars a month client, and everyone’s targeting them. Or if you want to increase your engagement retainer, you have to be a true agency. There needs to be customer service in place, and expectations, like every month. Get into that routine. My biggest pain point is, Ranmay, getting clients to return my calls in terms of speaking on behalf of the agency.

I can imagine.

There’s the notion that everything’s good. It’s in the hands of my agency. There needs to be some communication. A little collaboration goes a long way. And as long as we’re doing our job by reaching out to the client, I can always put it back on onto their plate and say, You missed this meeting. We deferred this meeting. We’ve hit a glass ceiling to get to the next level. We need a commitment. And that’s my biggest challenge. Everything else can be perfect. It doesn’t matter. When you hit that glass ceiling with the client, it becomes a challenge. You can’t improve.

We have spoken a lot about sales funnel, retention as well, customer retention. There’s a lot of serious discussion. But finally, before wrapping this up, before we let you go, I want to play a quick rapid-fire with you. I hope your game for it.

Shoot.

Great. Your favorite book?

48 Laws of Attraction.

Your last Google search. You can check your computer if you want to.

No.

Do you remember that?

That was a good one. That was a good one. Where did you go on your last vacation?

My last vacation was to Indian Rocks, Florida.

Let’s say we have to make a movie about you.

If DWS has to make a movie on you, what genre would it be? Oh, man.

What genre?

You couldn’t have googled that about me, for sure.

I can narrow it down to…

Go ahead. We’ll take this one.

I love Bruce Willis, I’m old school, diehard, like action.

Action movie, that is.

The other would be business-oriented, like Wall Street or something along those lines.

Okay. Talking about business, that brings me to my last question, not really any further. What is the one thing that you like the most about your job, or let’s say this industry, or the field that we are in?

This is our man. So many. I’d have to say premium has to be the success of our campaigns. Putting a smile on our client’s face.

Oh, okay. Wonderful. That’s a good one, sir. Yeah. Superb. Thank you so much for taking out time for this podcast.

Pleasure. Thanks for having me. This was a very nice and pleasurable experience. Thank you so much for what you do.

Great. Pleasure is all mine and thank you for your time. Appreciate you coming to our podcast. I’m sure our audiences would have benefited a lot from the insights which you shared tonight. I can’t thank you enough. Have a great day. Cheers.

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