Business owners sometimes have to jump through many hoops before getting a customer.
You need to grab their attention with an ad or relevant content, then take them to a landing page where you must convince them that your product can meet their unique needs. If all goes well, you will close the sale. Otherwise, they will bounce away from your pages and onto one of many other options.
In marketing speak, the whole buying journey is called a conversion funnel.
At any given stage of the funnel, the potential buyer can lose interest and abandon the process. Furthermore, it is rarely linear. That is why it has been the focus of much attention from brands and marketers alike.
If you carefully observe your customer’s entire buying process from the first interaction to purchase, deconstruct every step and understand their goal, it will be easier to deliberate and strategize.
What Makes Conversion Funnels So Important?
Selling a product or service puts the creation of a conversion funnel in action.
The process starts with users getting to know about your business, contemplating the need to try your product or services, maybe comparing with others in the market, and finally making a purchase.
It’s important to know how to respond and react to users’ demands and objections. It is where conversion funnel and tracking pose importance; it lets the pipeline keep flowing.
So, What is Conversion Funnel?
In a nutshell, the conversion funnel represents a buyer’s journey. It describes the steps potential customers take when they visit your website to complete the desired action.
Actions include purchasing a product, registering for your service, or even simply subscribing to your newsletter.
It is also a way to picture your potential visitors’ conversion path and flow as they are converted to paying customers. There are various methods of acquiring these visitors, such as SEO, social media, content marketing, or paid ads.
Analyzing and understanding the process will enable you to formulate better strategies to improve the flow of your conversion funnel. Here’s a simple diagram for the four stages in a typical conversion funnel:
Let’s break it down to know what processes are included in every step.
The First Stage: Awareness
To kickstart your conversion funnel, you will need to pull prospects into it. What better way to do it than by bringing awareness to potential customers?
Creating various marketing campaigns to gain exposure and aim to capture users’ attention across different channels or platforms.
The focus of your marketing strategy at this stage of the conversion funnel should be on enticing and introducing your business to the visitors to let them feel content as they engage with your brand.
Having a compelling brand story is one way to get your potential visitors to feel connected and relate to your brand. Remaining authentic in sharing your brand’s image is the easy way to do it.
Another marketing strategy that you need to focus on is making your brand reach out to a new target audience. There are several options your brand could implement to achieve this. But some of the few ways that are proven to be effective are:
- Social media presence. Having enough social media presence can help your brand big time. Even though users are not intently looking for new products, if they come across your campaigns or ads, that’s enough to bring awareness to your brand.
- PPC campaigns. It will enable you to target your ads to the right audience, particularly users actively looking for products and services, making them the perfect source of qualified traffic.
- Organic search results. Organic ranking naturally allows you to reach users while they search, and often it only costs a little, which makes it budget-friendly.
Sure, it’s important to reach users in every way possible. But keep in mind that it’s better to attract qualified traffic. Sometimes, it’s quality over quantity.
Unqualified leads are most likely to not make it to the end of the funnel, so consider pursuing the right target audience with top-of-funnel strategies to make use of your time and budget more efficiently.
The Second Stage: Interest
Once a visitor passes the awareness stage, your next focus is to keep the momentum and pull them further into the funnel.
You are going to carry it out by building interest from the point of view of your visitors. Presenting them with the specific products or services your brand offers can help appeal to your potential customer’s attention.
(Note that at this point, the funnel is noticeably smaller, and this is because not everyone now aware of your brand has been interested enough to stay in the funnel.)
This stage is more known as the “window shopping” phase in the funnel. Your visitor, who is already familiar with your brand, will start to realise their need which boosts the possibility of converting them to paying customers. You can take advantage of this time to offer tailored content or ads specifically addressing their needs or problems.
Some of these visitors have their minds set on making a purchase but are still unsure where to purchase what they are looking for or what particular product or service they want.
And if you took advantage of having your visitors learn of your offerings and how your brand can meet their potential needs or interests, you’ll be more likely to have them swayed to committing to your brand.
Your marketing strategy should encompass what users need to know about your brand and address the questions or needs.
Craft content such as writing blog posts, publishing helpful guides or offering informative resources to have your audience understand what you have to offer. These contents keep your visitors remain engaged and interested.
But how can you make them pass this stage through your funnel? Making content will require an action to access, such as creating a signup form that requires email information. It can turn your audience from casual visitors to leads.
Keep in mind that this is the part of your funnel where potential customers carefully evaluate your products or services to decide whether you can match their needs. To make them move to the next step, attentively outline the value your brand provides, as well as what makes you stand out from your competitors.
The Third Stage: Desire
The succeeding step takes on working towards making your visitors hooked to your products or services. It is also referred to as the Decision-Making stage. It is where you start watering the initial seeds of desire you planted during the interest stage.
Few key points to remember during this stage in the funnel are:
- There’s a high chance that your visitor has been converted to a lead and is already deliberating on finishing the desired action. So what you can do is provide a guarantee and clear out possible objections using reviews, feedback, or testimonials.
- Keep a conscious thought that your visitor may be scouting not only your brand but for your competitors as well. Hence, make your marketing message fixate on what your brand offers, such as exclusive benefits and propositions.
- Sales-focused offers such as demos or trials will sound appealing to your leads at this level since they are already inclined to making the purchase.
- Be direct and make your call to action concise and clear. Set the expectations once your lead proceeds to fulfill the desired action.
To put it in action, you can approach your leads with an email or drip campaign. It prolongs the build-up of the relationship between your brand and your leads.
One crucial thing to note at this stage is that your leads are looking for a solution to a concern. So be on their good side and feature particular problems you solve and show how your brand handles them better than present competitors.
The goal is to make your potential customers want the solution you have to offer. By accomplishing this, converting them to paying customers will be an easy process.
The Fourth Stage: Action
Finally, the section that matters most in the conversion funnel is where the visitor fulfills the action.
As your leads travel through the funnel, they are taking minor actions in between, like enrolling in your newsletter, engaging with your emails, or downloading a resource, which is called micro-conversions. Nonetheless, the end goal is for your leads to purchase and convert them to paying customers.
If most of your leads backpedal when they reach this stage, it should signify that something is lacking in your nurturing strategies. An effective strategy should be able to persuade your visitors to act instead.
Your marketing messages here should depend on your goals, but it’s almost expected for you to provide additional instructions for your visitor once they completed the action and what to expect afterward.
The middle part of the funnel, the desired stage, is normally where the broad competition gets eliminated. And when you head towards the bottom of the funnel, your focus should be on competing against content and strategies applied by close competitors.
Lastly, figure out plans to improve your ways in all aspects to maximise the number of leads that will make it to the end of the funnel. Make offers that are hard to resist; look at it from your customers’ point of view. Give it your all.
Identifying the Shape of Your Funnel
The idea of a conversion funnel was created to visualise and understand the path taken by your visitors to leads and customers before purchasing.
The shape of your funnel needs to be symmetrical in form, meaning it’s bigger at the top to represent the many visitors that come in and smaller at the bottom, where customers should end up.
There is a sense of importance that lies in being aware of your company’s inbound conversion funnel. Analysing and understanding the shape helps you respond and optimise that flow to put time, money, and effort in the right areas to achieve bigger wins- higher sales, increased revenue, and less wasted resources and efforts.
In knowing whether or not your conversion funnel has an ideal inbound shape, you need to gather the following information:
- Number of website visitors every month
- Number of leads converted
- Number of leads in your database
- Number of existing leads that translate to sales opportunities
- Number of the opportunities that turned into closed sales
This information should be enough to determine the shape of your funnel and figure out any areas that need improvement.
4 Common Reasons Why Conversion Funnel Drop-Off Happens
Where do most leads unload in the conversion funnel?
When leads don’t receive offers for the next step in any of the stages.
Let’s say some of your leads came across a piece of your content on a social media platform, don’t expect that they will proactively proceed to browse on your website. Instead, respond to your leads by sending them offers related to the piece of content along with products found on your site. Give them an idea of what step to take next.
When companies don’t indicate the benefits of their offer during the Interest or Desire stage
Explaining your products or services is not enough effort to provide for your leads. First, remember to identify the problem they want to solve. Then, find out ways to help your customers’ lives. In short, make them realise how they will benefit if they make a transaction with your brand.
When there are no direct calls to action during the Interest or Desire stage
Create striking calls to action by using strong language or coloured buttons. “Buy now” in bold fonts, “Sign up for a free trial” in a bright colour or “Join our VIP list” are some examples of strong calls to action. Aside from making them noticeable, these calls to action are clear and direct to what desired action you want your leads to take.
When companies have a complicated Action stage
Reevaluate your signup, checkout, or subscription process. Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. Are they being asked with too much information? Is the process taking too long to finish? Look at these little details that may be causing the drop-off. Make things more user-friendly.
Get To Know The Basics When Creating A Conversion Funnel
While no conversion funnel is perfect, there are ways that you can increase your chances of success. Here are sure tips on how to do it right:
Start with the Ideal
You can come up with an effective conversion funnel by first aiming for the ideal situation. It means you must identify the target audience’s needs or wants, so you know what compels them to buy.
Next, you need to define what your business goal is. Preferably, your goal should align with your target buyer’s needs. If this is the case, you won’t have to do much work.
However, this seldom happens. You have to think of ways to help potential buyers along the journey to increase your chances of converting them into paying customers.
Set Your Goals
The conversion funnel is generally made up of the top, middle, and bottom stages. Therefore, it is important to set your target for each stage aside from having an end goal. This will allow you to react sooner and make business decisions faster, depending on how you perform at each stage.
For instance, it is common to increase organic traffic at the top segment of the funnel. You can do this by posting relevant content, using paid ads, or any other marketing strategy.
For the middle segment, you can try increasing your engagement rate. Again, there are many ways that you can do this, from creating a relatable brand story to improving customer experience.
Going through all these steps will help increase your conversion rate, which can be your goal for the bottom part of the funnel.
Build Brand Awareness
Once you have thought of an overall plan, you need to increase your online visibility and build brand awareness. You can do this by implementing strategies and creating content that makes people care about your brand.
In this stage, you could use the information you gathered about your target audience. For example, what do your customers want or need? How can your products or services meet these needs? As you answer these questions, you will gradually put flesh on your content strategy.
Another way to come up with a winning strategy to build brand awareness is through competitor research. You can look at what successful brands in your industry are doing and try to improve on them.
Generate Consumer Interest
Marketers have been throwing the phrase “Content is king” around for many years, and it still rings true today. To capture your target audience’s interest, you need to create compelling content that offers value instead of blatantly selling your brand.
There are many ways that you can come up with a successful content marketing strategy. First, you can develop blog posts that offer useful information that your target audience usually looks for.
How To Build A Sales Conversion Funnel To Increase Profits
Now that you are familiar with the basic ideas to consider when building a conversion funnel, it’s time to turn it into a more concrete marketing strategy.
Creating a successful conversion funnel takes time and effort. It is not something that happens overnight. So if you are aiming to raise your revenue and sales, let’s get working on that funnel.
Plan an optimal buying process
Conversion funnels vary from business to business. Some may opt to go for a simple diagram, but for others, they include more steps and processes in between.
If you constantly observe and develop your conversion funnel, you will be more aware of what’s working or missing in your funnel. Making your funnel fit your goals is the main purpose of doing it.
Gaining insight into how your visitors move along your funnel is feasible by continually monitoring the flow. You can then use this information to adjust the steps or processes to maximise the number of leads arriving at the end of the funnel.
In the process of developing your conversion funnel, try to think about how your visitors pass every stage in the funnel, from the beginning of the interaction to become a purchasing customer.
Here’s how a buying process might look like for an ecommerce site:
One thing that often gets overlooked when designing a conversion funnel is micro-conversions.
Actions such as visitors watching your product videos, looking at answers to some existing questions, reading through reviews, or checking out special offers relating to a specific product are some ways to trigger micro conversions.
Although your main goal may be to have your visitors check out a product in their cart or avail of one of your services, and it’s something you don’t directly get from micro-conversion, these actions benefit you in another way.
As your visitors complete these actions, they learn more about your business and be more attached to your brand.
Therefore, it becomes an essential step to conversion that should not be ignored when creating your funnel.
Establish your conversion goals in Google Analytics
After visualising how you want your funnel to look like, the next step is finding a way to measure how your visitors move along your website.
There’s no better way to do it than putting up conversion goals in Google Analytics.
Given that analytics is the ideal way to measure your website’s performance, take more advantage of it by providing clear details on what you are trying to achieve.
One tip to remember is setting up your goals at every stage of the funnel will give you an exact idea of how effective your conversion funnel is operating. The number of goals you want to add will depend on what helps in optimising your funnel.
Setting up goals for major conversions such as purchases, subscription signups, resource downloads, or form submissions is favourable.
Thankfully, putting up conversion goals on Google Analytics isn’t a hard task. It is also possible to add custom goals for certain conversions that don’t match the existing types.
Upgrade your content to raise awareness and interest
Site content is a crucial element for driving leads to move from one step to the next in your conversion funnel.
To turn your visitors to leads to customers, encourage them to get to know your industry, address their concerns, and let them know how you differ from your competitors. But, again, site content is the way to manifest it.
Carefully outline topic ideas for new content and ensure that you got content for every stage covered.
In each stage in your funnel, the purpose and type of the content should fit as needed.
- Top-of-the-funnel content
You should put up contents that give relevant information to your user’s needs and goals during this stage. However, avoid going for overly “salesly” content; instead, concentrate on educating.
This type of content also allows more creativity since the goal is not to persuade your visitors to buy. Play around topics that will spark an interest in your visitors.
It’s advisable to add “lead magnets,” type of content at this level. These contents are usually targeted at getting your visitors to flow further into your sales funnel.
For instance, you can create a downloadable resource on a topic that your visitors may find important. Then, proceed to “gate” the content by requesting an email address to access it.
The visitor acquires the content for free, and you get to add them to your email list in return which sets up a way to keep a connection with them.
- Middle-of-the-funnel content
This is the part where you use to good advantage all your previous customer’s reviews or feedbacks. Your objective would be to impress your visitors and convince them that you are a cut above your competitors.
Start including precise details stating the products and services you offer. It’s okay to sound a little promotional at this point.
Provide your users with content containing information regarding your company and how you can answer their needs.
- Bottom-of-the-funnel content
You shouldn’t ignore the quality of the content at this level. This is where you provide your leads with pricing pages or demos and encourage them to proceed with taking action.
It also helps to indicate what your visitors can expect after making the action, like purchasing. As a result, it will strengthen their resolve and increase the chances of converting them to leads.
Determine where the “leaks” are happening
If you think about it, in reality, an actual funnel doesn’t function the same as a sales funnel.
When you pour something into the funnel, you should be able to get the same amount you placed into it. That’s considering simple factors like is it done carefully or can the ingredient fit into the funnel.
But as for a conversion funnel, “leaks” are bound to happen. As your potential customers go through your site, not everyone stays and reaches the end. Those visitors that leave are the “leaks” that happen in your funnel.
How does this happen? At which point in your funnel do your potential customers leave?
Looking at it meticulously, it doesn’t happen at a single stage only. The truth is holes can happen at each stage in your funnel.
Compare every step in your funnel to a filter. During each level, visitors who aren’t interested get filtered out. They leave your sales to funnel through the side. And those who make it to the next step are the qualified ones.
These exits are often referred to as “leaks” in the conversion funnel.
An effective marketing strategy won’t easily let those potential leads go. Although some of them have left your funnel because they aren’t qualified leads, that’s not the case entirely.
Often, their reason for leaving stems from your website not doing its job right. Keep a simple and user-friendly website design to increase chances of conversion and minimise “leaks” from happening.
Thankfully, there are now available tools in the market to help you determine the cause of those “leaks” in your funnel. It will help you find solutions to lessen its occurrence.
Using the Funnel Visualisation report is one of the best options to figure out the causes of these “leaks”. This function is found within the Analytics menu, which makes it more efficient if you have added your funnel goals in there.
Obtaining the report will give you a visual representation of some of the common paths taken to your site, and instead of focusing on the final actions taken by your visitors before the conversion happens, you focus on how it starts at the beginning.
The report’s main goal is for you to better understand how your visitors behave since the start of the interaction. If you find that their actions don’t go in line with your conversion funnel, you will be able to come up with appropriate changes.
Think of coming up with additional offers added to your conversion funnel
As previously mentioned, the inevitable holes in your sales funnel are where the unqualified visitors are filtered out.
Some of these visitors may not be qualified leads, but others might still be converted using different offers that might interest them. If your main offer or service doesn’t fit what they’re looking for, they might be the ideal buyers for your other products or services.
Pay attention to how your conversion funnel treats your visitors who aren’t exactly interested in your main offer.
Let’s say a user browsed through multiple pages on your website and ends up making an action that leads to conversion, such as signing up for your email list, but in the end, they don’t find the product or service that suits them.
It’s a waste to just let them go, right? So what can you do?
You try to re-engage these users by launching an exit-intent popup. The purpose of these popups is to appear when it catches a signal that a visitor is about to leave your site without converting.
Popups are usually prompted when a visitor hovers or moves their mouse near the “back” button or go to type a new URL or exit the browser. Before your visitor does this, take the chance to make another offer that might be more interesting to them.
Discount code is one of the most common samples of an exit-intent popup element. Your potential leads leave because the product they initially want does not fit the budget. And a perfect way to convince them back is by offering to lower the price using discount codes.
When your visitors accomplish these actions that result in smaller conversions, it shows engagement to your brand. Generally, these actions will require signing up of an email address which means you will have a way to contact your users even when they leave your site.
If you keep these offers relevant to your potential leads, they can be useful to your conversion funnel. Even if a visitor doesn’t successfully convert right away, you still get to keep in contact with them.
5 Steps to Optimize Your Conversion Funnel
When it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy, there are multiple considerations to go over, and it has to adhere to your marketing goals for it to work.
The same thing applies to optimising your conversion funnel. Always out your goal, which is to pull, rather than push, people into the funnel. To obtain this, you need to observe the conversion funnel as a whole.
Sticking to consistent branding and image aligned to your marketing goals alongside your potential customers’ needs and interest is what makes it effective.
Here’s what you can apply to your digital marketing strategies as you aim to enhance your sales conversion funnel at every stage.
Awareness: Utilize Paid Ads
Paid online ads are most beneficial to businesses since they appear on various platforms either on social networks, display, or search. In addition, it’s the most effective way to let potential customers become aware of your brand.
Before you begin putting out your ads, you need to invest in doing keyword research. It will help you get to know your target audience and what they want.
From there, you can start creating your ads. First, make sure that your ads contain enough information to introduce your brand and communicate clearly to your target audience.
Interest: Keeping a User-Friendly Website
Once you’ve successfully brought awareness to your potential customers, their next step is to search for your brand. And they would start with checking your website.
Think of your website as your online office space where you get the most visitors’ first impression. Website development should be prioritised if you want to drive in traffic and boost your sales.
Remember that some “leaks” in your conversion funnel can happen because your visitors did not have a good experience with your website. Thus, it is not advisable to make your website too complicated.
Decision: Have A Definite Call to Action For Your Leads
The call to action should be short and precise. Since this is the stage in your funnel where visitors are most likely to be converted to leads, make these actions easy for them and give assurance.
Avoid call to actions that sounds unclear, such as learn more, click here, or submit. It gives potential leads the misinterpretation that they need to do something first before they can get something.
Some more appealing calls to action that you can use are get, enjoy, see, receive, and claim. These actions can potentially capture or re-engage your visitor’s interest so you can make it a popup feature for better visibility.
Action: Create a Thank You or Confirmation Page
Your efforts shouldn’t end as soon as you made the conversion. What makes thank you or confirmation pages a critical step to do in your funneling process are:
- They provide confirmation to customers that their information or inquiries have been received.
- You can use the thank you page to link to your social media or homepage, which gives more information about your brand. It may also be used for exploratory links to introduce other products or services your leads might be interested in.
- It could be used as a whitepaper or guide that includes the download link if the page’s goal was to download a resource.
Action: Sending A Personalised Email
In reality, not all instances turn into conversions. But if you do your funneling steps right, there is one step that you can use to your advantage.
If you can successfully acquire your visitor’s email address through micro-conversions somewhere in your funnel, use it to connect back with them.
Send out a personalised thank you email to show how you value your customer for a successful conversion. You can also take this opportunity to make your customers into promoters using email marketing to bring in repeat purchases.
In any way you look at it, creating and optimising your conversion funnel is never easy. Each level of your funnel has a goal, purpose, and metrics to achieve.
Picture your conversion funnel as a never-ending evolving process. As your casual visitors’ and customers’ needs or wants changes, so should you adjust your goals and funnel strategies to match it.
The fact that it also differs depending on every company’s marketing strategy makes it complicated too. You will need to break down individual components that affect your funnel. Once you have identified areas for improvement independently, proceed to looking at the bigger picture for your conversion funnel.
Now that you have a solid gist of almost everything involving the conversion funnel, it will be easier to devise your strategies from the top to the bottom of the funnel.
Devote time and effort for research and analysis for your conversion funnel so your brand will end up with increased traffic, conversions, and revenues.