I know, I know.
The idea of making it harder for customers to buy from you sounds ridiculous on the surface.
At every turn marketers and business owners are told that friction is the enemy of conversions. That they need to make it as effortless as possible for leads to opt in, and for prospects to buy. Putting up barriers and making them work for it? That’s not just counterintuitive — It goes against 99% of marketing advice you’ll find out there!
According to conventional marketing wisdom, less friction in your funnel always leads to more leads and more sales.
But is it actually that simple?
I, for one, don’t think that it is. That’s why in today’s article, I’m going to explore how you can leverage friction strategically in order to grow your business. And at the end, I will share 3 actionable strategies to do just that!
Let’s start with the all-important question…
So… what is friction, anyway?
In marketing, “friction” refers to any sticking point that makes it tougher for customers to travel down the lead funnel.
A checkout flow with too many steps, a hard-to-find opt-in form, long loading times, a confusing website layout, extended waiting period between application and sales call, etc. — all of these are examples of friction.
Now, you might say, “I don’t know, Summer, they sound pretty much universally bad for business and conversions!”
And sure, most of them are. E.g. it’s easy to see how long loading times would limit your ability to generate leads or make sales. Ditto for obtuse design that makes it harder for customers to take action on your messages.
But sometimes, entrepreneurs can leverage specific types of friction as a strategic tool to achieve specific marketing goals.
Let’s take a closer look!
What is friction good for — and who can benefit?
Imagine for a moment that your business just got 10X as many leads as you usually attract in a month. That would be amazing, right? Time to dance awkwardly at your desk and pop the champagne!
Except, I also want you to imagine that:
- Half those leads aren’t your ideal customers, and aren’t interested in what you sell.
- Of the remaining ones, about 60% simply can’t afford to invest in your offers…
- …and another 30% won’t be ready to buy from you for a good long while.
This is the flip side of having a completely frictionless lead funnel. Yes, you will get more leads to market to — but the trade-off is, most of them won’t be a good fit for your business… at all!
And that’s bad news, because generally, you want to prioritize lead quality over lead volume / quantity. Especially if you’re a service-based / B2B business, or you have a high average deal value + longer sales cycle, or you rely on outbound sales to generate most of your revenue.
This is where friction can help.
When executed right, it can serve as a kind of “filter” for your lead funnel, helping you achieve two things:
- Aggressively qualify leads at the top of the funnel, so only (or mostly) your ideal target customers end up in your pipeline.
- Prioritize ready-to-buy prospects over everybody else, to save your sales team’s time and energy for deals with a high probability of success.
Now, the important thing is, you have to be extremely intentional and deliberate about how much friction you introduce into your funnel, and how. In other words, you can’t be like:
“I’m not gonna fix my slow-as-molasses website so only super-dedicated leads will get on my newsletter!” That’s not how it works.
In order to be useful, friction has to be contained, controlled, and constrained. For you, it needs to reveal useful insights about your target customers. And for your leads, it needs to feel purposeful and deliberate — not random and incompetent.
With all this in mind, let me show you 3 effective strategies to increase “good friction” in your marketing… so you can boost your lead quality and overall conversions as a result!
1. Experiment with longer copy (even on free offers)
Most business owners have made peace with the idea that long-form sales pages and product pages can be highly effective.
Taking the time to really engage with a prospect, explore their desires and goals, communicate the full potential of your offer, address their fears and objections… it can deliver much better results than rushing towards the sale.
Well, the same logic can be applied to your “freebie” landing pages, too!
It’s time to let go of the assumption that leads will snatch up your lead magnet just because it’s free. It’s not 2004 anymore — we’re all drowning in “free”! It stopped feeling special a long time ago.
So instead, communicate the value of your freebie in detail, just like you would a paid offer. Paint the picture, promise value, back it up with proof, and only then invite your leads to take advantage.
You just might find that: a) more people opt in (like in this case study); b) they are much more motivated to implement what you share, and c) more of them become paying customers / clients down the line!
2. Extend and beef up your lead qualification process
Ask yourself: just how much time does your team waste on leads who aren’t the right fit for you? Leads who can’t afford you, won’t be ready to buy for a long time, have completely unrealistic expectations of what you can or can’t do… you know the type.
Too many leads like that can overwhelm your sales team and grind your pipeline to a halt. So the only solution to save your team’s time, energy, and sanity is to disqualify them as early as possible!
Examine how leads are getting into your funnel, and see what extra steps you could take to qualify / screen them more effectively. Here’s just one example from my experience…
When we wanted to boost our lead quality here at The Draw Shop, we added 2 questions to our “risk-free quote” form:
- “How soon do you need a video created?”
- “What is your budget for this project?”
Obvious? Sure. Simple? No doubt. Effective? Astonishingly so! These 2 questions boosted our caliber of leads dramatically — mostly by making vetting and scoring before appointments 10X easier.
3. Try “compulsory” lead nurturing and hidden offers
Ever noticed how some companies discourage people from buying their stuff?
They don’t have prices listed on the website (well, maybe something like “starts at $2,000”). Or they tease you with an offer… except it’s not available right now, and you gotta get on a waitlist. Heck, sometimes even the offers themselves are nowhere to be found!
Do these brands hate money? Are they bad at marketing? What’s going on here?
The truth is, those companies know that very few people will buy from them sight unseen. The trust and the desire just aren’t there yet. So instead, they funnel new leads into a more private “container,” like their email list.
There, lead nurturing can happen uninterrupted, and the company can present their offer at the right time… and on their own terms. E.g. it can be packaged as a limited time, one time only offer — and as you may guess, that makes it much more likely to convert!
See? Sometimes it’s good to limit your prospects’ ability to buy. Specifically, until you’re stone-cold certain that they’re able and willing to do so!
Want to build a high-converting lead funnel for your business?
For many entrepreneurs, the #1 challenge of creating a marketing funnel isn’t even about figuring out how to do it… it’s about getting started at all.
There’s just so much to learn about lead generation, nurturing, conversion, friction, and a bajillion other things that it’s very easy to do nothing, and keep descending that research and learning rabbit hole.
But research and learning count for nothing without implementation.
Are you ready to take action — and finally start getting results from your funnel? Then you will love the 5-Day Lead Challenge created by Russell Brunson — Founder or Clickfunnels and a friend of The Draw Shop!
Check it out below: