Do you know what a conversion funnel is? If you are in the ecommerce business, you already have one, even if you are oblivious of it. However, to maximize your results, you need to optimize that conversion funnel, because it is a key to keeping your pipeline flowing. That’s why you need to learn some basic principles of how it works. And here’s where this article comes in handy. So, let’s start!
What is a conversion funnel?
A conversion funnel (also known as sales funnel or marketing funnel) is a visual representation of a customer’s journey from discovering your online product to its purchase (i.e. conversion). This entire process is often metaphorically described as a funnel because, as an online business owner, you are guiding the customer through the conversion path toward the conversion point. Usually, the number of prospects falls as the funnel progresses. Thus, it perfectly illustrates this gradual decline in the number of potential customers.
The four stages of the conversion funnel
The very basic conversion funnel typically follows the AIDA model. The name comes from the four stages of the buying process: awareness, interest, desire, and action. We will talk you through possible reasons of a conversion funnel drop-off at each stage and actions you need to take to drive the customers to the desired action.
- About the stage. At the awareness stage, the customer discovers your product or service, becomes aware of it.
- Possible reasons of a drop-off. Targeting the wrong audience or using poor targeting methods are the most common reasons of losing potential customers.
- Actions to take. First of all, analyze how you attracted the customers. Through an ad? Or maybe through search results? Was it social media or PPC? Determine the targeting methods that work best for you and develop them. Examine click-through rates and other awareness metrics to find out what content is attracting the most people, what words and messages are resonating with your potential leads. Make sure you are attracting only the right audience, as well.
One more piece of advice: do not expect that once the shoppers visit your website, they will continue browsing it. Always offer them the next step (this is essential at any stage of the conversion funnel). The customers should always have a place to go next.
- About the stage. As the visitors of your website move into the Interest stage, your goal is to keep them engaged and build a strong interest in the products you sell or services you offer.
- Possible reasons of a drop-off. A good marketer knows that explaining how your products look and how your services work is insufficient. List the benefits of your offer to the customer. Explain what problem they solve and how they can improve your client’s life.
- Actions to take. At this stage, your task is to move some random visitors of your website to leads. Your content is the best tool for doing this. The visitors at the Interest stage are more determined to make a purchase. They have not decided what they are going to buy and who they are going to buy it from, though.
First, make sure that the homepage, landing page, product pages, banners, and blog posts on your site are visually attractive. Pull the customers down your conversion funnel with compelling copies.
Second, discover the specific problems and needs of the client. Offer them the content that applies to their interests.
Third, use some baiting tactics. You need to persuade your customers to exchange email information. Once you have an email address, provide the client with helpful information and don’t let them forget about your brand. At this stage, the potential customers evaluate your product or service to be completely convinced that it matches their needs. Offer your help and assure the shopper to purchase your product by listing its benefits. Don’t forget to emphasize what differentiates you from your competitors.
- About the stage. At this point, your leads are even more interested in your product or service. They really want it.
- Possible reasons of a drop-off. The biggest mistake at the Desire stage is not using strong calls to action. Don’t be afraid to be intrusive, or you risk losing your customer before they make a purchase.
- Actions to take. At this stage, you want to nurture your leads to move down the conversion funnel. Email workflow campaigns and drip campaigns are perfect for this. Deliver more personalized content (high-quality product photos, persuading descriptions, various options, captivating videos, rare reviews, etc.) to help the customers make the desired action.
Emphasize that by purchasing your product or service, the client will solve the problem they are dealing with. Explain how the solution you offer is different from the solutions of other companies and why it is better. The leads have to realize that they not only want the product or service you offer, but they need it from you.
- About the stage. The Action stage is the last and most important stage of the funnel: the prospect finally takes (or does not take) the desired action.
- Possible reasons of a drop-off. If signing up, subscribing or purchasing on your website are complicated processes, then you definitely should reconsider it. The leads will not spend their time trying to figure out complicated things, and you will lose your customers.
- Actions to take. The goal at this stage is quite clear: make a sale. Only a small percentage of prospects will make it to this step. Therefore, it is essential to make the process of purchasing as simple as possible. Product pages should contain large images, videos, and detailed descriptions. Examine your checkout flow and add relevant information and answers to frequently asked questions if needed. That will help you reduce cart abandonment rates.
If eventually your client did not place any item in their cart, try to win them back by creating personalized marketing campaigns or reaching out personally. It is crucial to know why the lead hesitated and stepped back. Reach out to people who made the desired action, as well, and ask them what made them buy from you. Compare the results of your research. It will help you come up with better ways of motivating your prospects at the final stage and, hence, optimize your conversion funnel to perform at its peak.
There is also one more stage in the conversion funnel that is often disregarded or forgotten. Yet, it is extremely important for online business.
- About the stage. Once your clients convert on your website, you will want to be sure to pull them back in your funnel to persuade them to buy from you again and encourage them to become repeat customers. Retention is a major aspect of growing an online business.
- Actions to take. Suggest to your buyers that they follow you on social media or sign up for your email newsletter. Include marketing or loyalty materials in their shipment. The options are endless at this stage. Show the clients how much you value them. However, try not to overdo it. There is no need to bombard your potential repeat customers with promotions. Instead, strive for an assortment of these tactics over time.
As it might be seen, even taking small steps can make a big difference in optimizing your conversion funnel and making it highly profitable. Always think as your customer, consider all the described above processes from their point of view. Thus, you can provide them with information that will ease their concerns and excite them about your products or services. A satisfied customer is a key to long-term success.