Acquisition Funnel Analysis - How WorkflowMax Grew to 10,000+ Users

Lucas Mondora

Problem solver. Founder of precisepath. Let's make your SaaS funnel way more profitable at www.precisepath.co/consulting/strategy-session

Ever wondered how wildly successful companies approach their growth marketing campaigns?

...or how they managed to rapidly acquire a tonne of users, despite being in a competitive market?

That’s exactly what I was thinking when I stumbled upon WorkflowMax.

Despite being a leading Project Management tool owned by Xero, they're still competing in one of the toughest, customer-diverse markets in the world.

Just look at the differences between companies like Monday, Asana, and Basecamp. They are all project management tools, but they suit the needs of very different users.

In this post, I'll be going through the steps required for someone (myself) to become a customer of WorkflowMax, from searching a keyword, to signing up, while giving you my first impressions on each step. 

After my initial impressions, I'll give you an in-depth analysis of their ads, landing page & checkout flow, comparing everything against a Conversion Heuristic, in true CRO style.

Understanding how WorkflowMax's acquisition funnel fits into the customer journey

When building, analyzing, even optimizing an acquisition funnel, you need to consider the most important principle of marketing; where the visitor is in the customer journey — as that's what ultimately dictates the type of messaging & offer the visitor will respond to best:

Figure 1. How Acquisition Channels & Product Messaging Align With The Buyers Journey

To understand where I am in this, we need to look at how I found WorkflowMax.

My customer journey starts the same as any other; I realize I have a problem that needs to be solved...

...keeping track of projects, tasks & invoices.

And past experience told me that I could solve this problem with a project management software. 

So I typed project management software into Google and came across the following results:

Based on the matrix above (Figure 1. The Buyers Journey), and my search term; 'Project Management Software', you can safely assume that I'm the 'Solution Aware' stage as I'm searching for possible solutions, not for a specific solution (which would land me in the Product/Most aware).

This means I know what Project Management Software is, I just need a company to prove to me their solution matches my needs, better than every other.

Ad Analysis

Ever go on a first date with someone, hoping they'll be 'the one' – only to find out that they're kinda aloof & pushy?

(And not in the Breakfast at Tiffany's kinda way)

That's how I felt when I saw WorkflowMax's search ad:

Headline 1:
The Headline 1 in a Google Search Ad is all about relevancy. When I first saw the ad, I noticed that Headline 1 was exactly what I was looking for — it connected to what I was looking for, and was relevant as it matched my search term exactly.

Headline 2:
But when I kept reading, that connection quickly fizzled out, because Headline 2 jumped straight into asking me to pay. 

And at this stage of the buyer's journey, I'm looking to learn more about these solutions. I'm not ready to sign up to a product, especially if it means I don't get a trial. 

"Wait, do I get a trial?"

This sort of message might be more effective in RLSA search ads, remarketing display ads & their onboarding. But not on the first contact — that's what I meant by pushy.

Description:
WorkflowMax's description isn't bad, however, it could be much better.

It starts off with a general summary of what it is: 'All-In-One system'. This could be a little more specific or unique, especially as 'All-In-One' can mean anything in this market.

But they also added in some social proof in there, which is nice, and tells me that a lot of people love them (they are owned by Xero, after all).

However, I believe that 'Loved By 10,000+ Customers' would be better placed in Headline 2.

Ad Extensions:

WorkflowMax uses Structured Snippets, Callout Extensions & Sitelinks — which is a strong combination.

However, I'd reconsider the site link destination URLs. They don't seem to be intriguing, useful, or even that relevant to the searcher.

You have a mobile app? Great. Case Studies? That's reassuring. Small business tips? Why are you willing to spend $40 a click just to get me reading your blog? 

Instead, these sitelinks should point to the most important, conversion-focused sections of the site, or better yet, to the same landing page the rest of the ad goes to.

Landing page first impressions

First impressions are important — they’re the closest we can get to understanding how the visitor initially experiences the page they land on (without running user tests).

When I first saw WorkflowMax's landing page. I was impressed. It looked good, AND It had a bold promise: More Profits.

Hell yeah, I want more profits. Who doesn't?

But, the question is; how?

If I continue reading, I should find out. But unfortunately, the subhead doesn't explain it either.

Don't get me wrong — the subhead is great. I love it. But all it tells me is that I'll be able to manage stuff better.

And if I think about it, I can make the assumption that managing a project better = reduced costs, reduced overhead, faster project completion times, and fewer hours clocked by contractors.

Which means more profits, right? Not really.

But I shouldn't have to make that assumption, and neither should anyone else.

Rather than telling you how it maximizes profits, it tells you how you can manage your workload, which has a closer relation to saving time, not making money.

Instead, the subhead should spell out exactly how it maximizes your profits.

Maximizing Your Project Profitability appears to be the entire premise of the page, which means everything needs to build & strengthen that argument.

But, that makes me question: "Is project profitability really the end goal for their users?"

I mean sure, everyone wants that. But would they prefer to save & free up time? 

(Freeing up more time doesn't always mean more profits)

So, when people search "project management software", are they looking for something that maximizes their profits?

Or are they looking to free up time by managing their projects better, keeping track of tasks, and streamlining their workflows?

I can see how some users – like the Operations Manager of a construction site – will use this type of software to maximize their profits.

But I'm biased, as every company I've worked with, has used them to manage & organize their workload.

I noticed that none of the messaging from the landing page crossed over into the ad. Nowhere does the ad say 'Free trial, Maximise your profits, or Manage your workflow'. Which means the ad messaging was inconsistent with the page — fixing this could quickly improve their ad rank & cut down CPC's.

When I scroll down, I'm greeted with a 50% off incentive to signup, despite myself knowing nothing useful about WorkflowMax (like how it works...).

Unless I already know how amazing WorkflowMax is, it might be a bit early for this type of messaging, and I think it would be more suited at the bottom of the page — even if this is a special promotion.

Maybe this should be offered to visitors who've been on the site before, not someone who only just learned their name — I don't even know if $12.50 is a good price.

This price means nothing to me as I don't yet know how WorkflowMax can help me achieve my goals.

Another thing I found odd with this section: the rest of the page offers a free trial, yet this section is offering a paid discount. Two different offers — do I also get this discount if I signup for the trial?

However, I do have to give WorkflowMax props for having such awesome social proof. Videos, testimonials, and logos with a crosshead explicitly stating:

"Trusted by 10,000+ happy customers worldwide"

Awesome. 

With that sort of proof, no one can argue that WorkflowMax isn't a good product.

But is it the right product for me?

Let's find out.

When I scroll down a bit, I'm presented with the crosshead:

"Benefits of our all-in-one project management software"

Which is kinda bland, and ironically, doesn't convey any benefits.

After some quick customer research, I wrote a crosshead that could do them a world of good:

"Tools To Streamline Your Workflow & Manage Your Workload"

Now, about that body copy...

I understand the allure of using super-short copy on a page.

It's easy to read.

Allows for skimmers to get the gist of things. 

And sometimes, it's the best way to get a point across.

But sometimes, it pays to go a bit more in-depth in your copy.

Especially when you're paying $40 a click, and need to prove a claim like 'our software makes you more profitable'.

And when it's for a product as complex as project management software, it likely pays to be a bit more in-depth than writing 12 words about a feature and linking them to another page — especially when your competitors are saying the exact same. boring. thing.

Be unique. Show me how WorkflowMax maximizes my profits, because right now, I don't see it.

The next section of the page demonstrates who WorkflowMax is for.

Which is fine, but the crosshead doesn't really say anything. It asks the question 'Who is WorkflowMax for?'

We can make a bigger impact on the reader simply by answering that question in the crosshead:

Made For Businesses Who Track Time & Bill By The Hour

Conversion Heuristic Analysis

Without conducting surveys, analyzing visitor recordings, forms, and customer research, all we can do to optimize a webpage is guesswork & speculation.

But we can make this guesswork more accurate by using what's called a Conversion Heuristic: a framework or thought process designed to analyze and compare certain factors of a web page against our knowledge & experience of user behavior.

My heuristic of choice is the MECLABs Conversion Formula:

C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) - 2a

This is how MECLABs explains this formula:

"The probability of Conversion (C) depends on visitor Motivation (m), the force of the Value Proposition (v), eliminate the presence of Friction (f) & Anxiety (a) in the process, using Incentives (i) to offset any Friction which cannot be eliminated."


If you're confused by the numbers, let me explain; each number symbolizes the importance the corresponding variable plays in converting a visitor. For example, 4m means that Motivation has more influence on conversion rate than Incentives (2i).

And if you're aware of the intricacies the terms above mean, then you may have noticed I've brought up a lot of them in the first impressions.

To analyze this page, let's start backwards, looking at the more negative aspects of the heuristic: Friction.

Heuristic Analysis: Reducing friction & creating an easier checkout process

Because friction relates to length, difficulty & confusion, we should begin by analyzing how difficult their checkout process is to complete.

Finding 1: A LOT of unnecessary forms.

PIE Score: 7.33
Potential: 6. Importance: 7. Ease: 9

No one likes filling out forms, yet they're a necessary evil.

But, having too many forms can hurt conversion rates.

And in this scenario, there are a lot of forms for me to fill out — most of them being unnecessary.

WorkflowMax is asking for my mobile number while asking for an overview of my company: such as my role, number of employees, industry etc.

This information shouldn't be required in this step.

It's more suited to a 'profile setup' stage in the onboarding flow AFTER I've chosen to trial their platform, not when I'm still deciding whether I should signup or leave.

Finding 2: Remove drop down menus

PIE Score: 6.66
Potential: 6. Importance: 6. Ease: 9

On desktop, drop down menus require you to interact several times with the page until you've made the selection.

It's easier to write the answer rather than take your hands off the keyboard, place it on the mouse and click a few times to make your selection. 

There are 6 drop down menus I must complete before I submit this form. That's a lot of effort for information that doesn't need to be filled out during this step.

Finding 3: Thank you page & confirmation email

PIE Score: 7.3
Potential: 8. Importance: 8. Ease: 4

After completing the form, I'm taken to a thank you page where I'm asked to check my email and read their Quickstart guide. 

This confused me, as a more intuitive flow would be:

  1. Submit the form and be redirected to the app with a 'Thank you message'.
  2. Push me into a guided walk-through on getting started. 

Instead, I have to:

  1. Manually leave the page.
  2. Read a guide.
  3. Open up Gmail.
  4. Open the confirmation email and click a bunch of links just to get access.

This is a lengthy process, and I can't speak for others, but I would’ve dropped off if I weren't doing this analysis. The product & marketing team at WorkflowMax should definitely consider restructuring this process; if analytics show a reason too.

Finding 4: Slow load time.

PIE Score: 8.66
Potential: 8. Importance: 9. Ease: 9

An estimated 40% of visitors abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. It's also estimated that for every 1 second a page takes to load, conversion rates drop by 7%.

This means that for most websites, decreasing load time is a huge opportunity to boost revenue — and with WorkflowMax's load time of 8.4 seconds, being slower than 84% of websites on the net, this a high impact, easy optimization they can do.

Landing Page Friction:

Finding 1: Reduce overall friction with micro-commitments

PIE Score: 7
Potential: 9. Importance: 5. Ease: 8

Cognitive biases play a huge role in web conversion rates. We either use them to improve performance, or we identify those that are hurting performance and remove them.

And one of the easiest, highest potential biases we can capitalize on is 'Commitment Bias'. 

"Commitment Bias Is the tendency to be consistent with what we've already done, or said we will do in the past" - AQR

Which means that if someones started to go through a process, they're more inclined to complete that process.

We can use this on a landing page by creating an email capture signup form in the hero section & the footer, and push the data to the signup form upon submissions.

Once someone fills in this form, the visitor has unconsciously signaled to their brain that they've already committed effort to sign up. This can increase the likelihood of them continuing the signup process if it's not too much effort.

Transforming a single step form into a 2-step form also creates a lower barrier to entry, and helps increase the second step form completion rate as there are fewer forms to complete.

And if this first step of the form also captures email addresses, you can add them into a sales/follow up sequence if they don't convert immediately, effectively letting you remarket to them for free.

Finding 2:  Landing Page load time.

PIE Score: 8.66
Potential: 8. Importance: 9. Ease: 9

I talked about this on the signup page, but it's prevalent on the sales page as well. Here are more stats stressing the importance of a fast website:

For every 100ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1% (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007) (That's $600.5mill lost every 100ms, according to 2017 revenue figures)An extra 500ms in loading time resulted in 20% drop in traffic (Google)

Is that enough to convince you?

Heuristic Analysis: Eliminating visitor Anxiety & uncertainties

People like to feel in control. Yet, anxiety is the exact opposite of that — it's our natural, primitive reaction for when things are out of our control.

It's comforting to know what's going to happen after we do something, whether that's submitting a form or buying a product, as it makes us feel in control.

When it comes to the purchasing decision, the easiest way to make someone feel in control – in a state of low anxiety – is by aligning your brand with their beliefs, and reassuring them that your product is a smart choice by eliminating...

Any fears, uncertainties & doubts about your product. Any objections stopping visitors from purchasing your product. Any perceived risks from buying or using your product. Anything that creates hesitation in making the purchase decision

Here's what they do well:

They have a tonne of social proof, proving to me they have a good product and are in it for the long run. They also leverage the fact that they're a Xero company — meaning they're supported by a reliable, trusted and loved Fintech giant. 

WorkflowMax also uses video to demonstrate how to use the product. 

They have a professionally designed page that uses nice imagery, which helps establish a base level of credibility. They have a section pointing out who their product is for, eliminating a lot of purchase anxiety if the visitor falls under those under segments. 

But that's not to say they're perfect...

Here's what they can do better:

Expand more on the written copy to reduce any doubts that this product isn't for me — with only 10 words explaining each feature, it's hard to know if the product is any good. Remove many of the signup form fields — just looking at that signup form makes me anxious & hesitant to signup.

Heuristic Analysis: Incentivizing visitors to act, right now.

If you're not using an incentive, you're missing out on sales — people are lazy and tend to be stuck in their ways, which is why getting someone to act is so difficult.

Imagine you're selling a complicated software to a large company, where half of the organization will need to use it.

Not only does your customer need to spend time evaluating the software, learning how to use it, and transferring all their data from the old software, they'll also need to spend weeks onboarding their organization, getting stakeholder buy-in, and answering any questions on how to use this new software.

That's a lot of friction (aka. a whole-lotta-reasons-not-to use your software).

We need to overcome that friction somehow, so, unless your product is the next unicorn, or your visitors have an always-on-their-mind problem that your product specifically solves, it's going to be a difficult task.

Which is why so many successful businesses use incentives.

Think of incentives as that extra little push to motivate visitors towards taking action.

This could be a discount, a bonus, a chance to win a prize, a free trial, a promise or guarantee.

And in this case, WorkflowMax uses 2 incentives:

  1. A 14 Day Free Trial to lower the perceived risk of using the product.
  2. A limited time offer of 50% off for the first 3 months once the trial ends.

But those aren't very strong incentives.

What can they do instead?

Sticking with the theme of project/operations management, WorkflowMax could offer new users a free, 30-minute consultation on how they could streamline their workflows and manage projects better.

Most businesses won't notice a saving of $12.50 each month, for three months. But you can bet your life savings they'll notice a slight increase in operations efficiency. That could mean 10's of thousands, 100's of thousands, even millions in reduced costs & increased profits per year.

Heuristic Analysis: Strengthening & clarifying the products value proposition

When analyzing a page for how well it clearly & effectively communicates a product's value, we must compare every element to our customers ultimate desired outcome: More Profits.

Finding 1: Focus more on the overarching premise: Maximizing Profits

PIE Score: 7  
Potential: 9. Importance: 9. Ease: 4.

This is a nice way of saying 'the copy & imagery could be much stronger'. AKA. Good try, but you can do better.

On this page, only two sentences tell me that WorkflowMax maximizes my profits.

1. The headline:

Maximize Your Project Profitability


2. And this testimonial:

"WorkflowMax has helped our clients improve project profitability and optimize job costing" - BDO


The rest of the page tells me how it helps manage my workload, or it doesn't tell me anything at all — like the subhead "Benefits of our all-in-one project management software".

These chunks of copy aren't communicating how my business will become more profitable. They just tell me what I can do, IE. View standard performance, track timelines & assign jobs...

It doesn't tell me – or show me – how I can do all that. It doesn't show me how it helps me. And nor does it convince me on why I should care.

For instance, If I go to the 'Powerful Job Management' section, I'm confronted with the following, non-persuasive argument as to why I should care:

"Easily assign jobs, track timelines & receive notifications when projects are running late"

But If I re-write this with the overarching outcome – maximum project profitability – in mind, I may end up with something like this:

Powerful Job Management Tools
Stay on top of job progress, and ensure that every project finishes profitably on time – every time – with our job management features.

Get all your job information in the one interface. View & review milestones, and assign job-related tasks. You can check up on costs and progress at a glance. Plus, understand how your staff are allocating time with our powerful reporting tools. All to help you reduce wasted resources while maximizing project efficiency.


Finding 3:
 Convey the products' value in the Google Search ad.

PIE Score: 7.66
Potential: 6. Importance: 7. Ease: 10.

All advertisers want higher CTR's.

It means that more people click through to your website from the same spend. And it also means Google will prioritize your ad over your competitors due to a better ad rank, also lowering your cost per click.

This search ad contains a lot of selling propositions. Yet, it doesn't communicate the value it brings to my life.

No one will care about 'World-class support, 10,000+ customers, or a Free Trial' until they care about WorkflowMax.

Only after you've given reason to care about your product, can you give reason to choose you over someone else.

Heuristic Analysis: Optimizing for our visitors intrinsic & extrinsic motivators

Motivational forces are the intrinsic & extrinsic forces bringing the visitor to your landing page.

These are, but not limited to:

Where your visitor is in the user journey at the start, middle & end of every interaction.

What's happening in their life at the time of interaction.

What pain points & problems they're looking to solve

And what they hope your product can do for them.

Motivation is the one factor we cannot change, but we can use those forces to our advantage by writing our copy around them, and segmenting our traffic by the motivational forces driving each buyer persona.

Because we don't have much research to go off, we can't go too deep into this section, but we can look at the buyers' journey based on how I got here.

Finding 1: Restructuring the messaging hierarchy.

PIE Score: 7.2
Potential: 9. Importance: 8. Ease: 5.

A messaging hierarchy is the order of messages on your page. 

And the right hierarchy can be the difference between you blowing all your cash on advertising, and eating packet ramen tonight, versus watching your bank account grow in real time, while 5-star dining on Wagyu Beef & Black Gold Caviar. 

Let me explain.

When we're writing copy, we're not just putting words on a page. We're constructing a persuasive argument. And the most persuasive arguments come in the form of a narrative, or at least a logical flow of thought.

We need this flow/thought structure to guide our visitors down the page, getting them to read the right messages (arguments) that they need to hear, at the right time.

Without the right structure, you simply cannot create a persuasive argument. 

And we do that by guiding our visitors through the buyers' journey (which is essentially a thought sequence).

You need to move visitors from the Problem Aware stage into the Solution Aware stage. Solution-Aware visitors need to become Product Aware. And Product Aware visitors need to become Most Aware.

Think back to when I mentioned that offering a 3 month, 50% discount should be located at the bottom of the page — not the top of the page. The reason being, I hadn't yet seen the value in the product, so offering that incentive to me made no sense.

But, if I knew everything about WorkflowMax before I landed on this page, then I'd be considered Product/Most Aware and would be primed to see that incentive almost immediately, because by that point, I'd know enough to make a good purchasing decision, I just need a reason to act.

This is the reason I choose to use C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) - 2a when analyzing Landing Pages & Sales Pages. This formula actually shows you a solid, high-level messaging hierarchy that you can use to convert visitors based on where they are in the funnel:

Currently, WorkflowMax's messaging hierarchy looks like:

  1. Motivation
  2. Incentive
  3. Anxiety
  4. Value
  5. Anxiety

Instead, it should look like:

  1. Motivation
  2. Value
  3. Anxiety
  4. Incentive

Finding 2: Message Match ad messaging and landing page messaging.

PIE Score: 6  
Potential: 3. Importance: 6. Ease: 9.

If Google recommends bidding $40 a click, then you want to try and reduce that number as much as possible — reducing that CPC by 25% means saving $100 every 4 clicks. That's an extra 3.3 clicks for the same spend.

One way of doing that is by improving their ad relevancy & landing page conversion rate through message matching.

If you aren't aware, message matching is matching the phrasing of the ad or CTA, with the first messages, they see on the page.

We do this to let the visitor know they landed in the right place, increasing the likelihood of them continuing to read down the page.

But increasing Ad relevancy isn't the main reason we message match. We message match our ads because the sales page needs to match where the visitor is in the customer journey (state of awareness).

This means the ad also matches where the visitor is in the customer journey, creating an effective highly relevant and compelling Call To Action.

For example, if I knew nothing about WorkflowMax, but I knew I wanted a Project Management Software, take a guess on which message would I respond to better:

'Get 50% Off The First 3 Months'

Or... 

'Software That Manages Your Workload & Maximizes Project Profitability'.

I would respond better to the 2nd message, but the opposite would be true if I was already considering WorkflowMax (as I'd be further down the customer journey). 

Finishing thoughts

Ads and landing pages are the foundations of your growth funnel. 

But just having them alone isn't enough to rapidly scale your business.

There are so many more strategies & principles that you must utilize if your goal is taking growth to the next level...

...tactics that focus on incremental improvements across the entire customer journey, from Acquisition to Retention & even Referral.

So, if you're interested in taking control of your businesses growth, then subscribe to our newsletter, and we'll keep you up to date with the latest strategies & articles from industry-leading practitioners.

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