Have you ever been in the situation where you’re doing all you can to increase the amount of revenue your website is generating and you’ve tried it all, but… it just isn’t working?
You might be getting a lot of traffic, prospects are pouring into your landing page and yet, you feel that your online sales could be doing a lot better.
You can have an incredible offer, a clean-mobile-responsive website, great capture form with as little details as possible; you could even spend a truck load of money to get people there, but still… your conversions are low and you keep ending up not generating the profits you’re looking for.
According to iFactory Digital, most websites don’t have a traffic and acquisition problem, but conversion is where the bottleneck lies.
That’s why conversion funnels are important, because they are used to anticipate the need of your prospect and provide guidance as they move across the sales journey.
Online Conversion rates typically range from 1 to 3 percent, according to Wordstream.com
When your customer lands on your website, they need all the guidance they can get to show them the steps they need to take to fulfil their desires and needs. It’s all about walking them through the sales journey.
Now, this sales journey kind of follows the same process, I mean it’s more or less the same variation of getting traffic, converting leads, nurturing leads and generating sales.
And even if your website is not “sales focused”, as long as people are taking action on your website, any form of action; which may include dropping their emails, you still have a conversion template on your website.
What is a conversion sales funnel?
A conversion sales funnel is the journey a customer takes from the point of a prospect, till they convert.
It is a model of your consumers’ journey starting from the top to ultimate action, for example, purchase.
At the beginning there would be a lot of people entering your sales funnel, prospects that are curious about what you’re selling.
And as the funnel gets Deeper and deeper, a large percentage of these people fall off, while a faithful remnant remains, hence the funnel shape.
Here we have an ecommerce funnel for conversionxl.com:
As you can see above, only 2.2% of their visitors end up converting to customers.
You have to map out an ideal path for your customers to go on your website. And it’s not a linear path, your customers could divert into various sections of your website depending on their position on the customer journey.
According to BigCommerce, online sales accounted for an increase by 15.6% year over year, this shows that just having a website and creating a landing page with landing forms is no longer innovative enough to get you sales, your business needs to take the extra step to drive business growth in the direction of:
- Finding new ways to attract new customers
- Finding new ways to keep existing customers and reduce churn.
Understanding this process is important for taking actions to improve the flow.
Here’s a simple diagram from smartinsights.com with a breakdown of how this process works in online marketing.
That’s the four step process for every conversion funnel
- It all begins with awareness. Your prospect becomes aware of your and what you’re selling.
- Secondly, interest is built into the product ( from here your funnel gets slimmer because not everyone who was aware of your product would have interest in learning about it)
- Third, from getting interest, you need to create a desire in the heart of your prospect to get your product.
- Finally, they need to take action on your product. This could mean getting them to buy or sign up for an email list. (It’s usually the smallest percentage of your funnel from those who aware initially aware of you)
Let’s go a little deeper into this process:
Awareness is the uppermost stage of the marketing funnel. Potential customers are drawn into this stage through marketing campaigns and consumer research and discovery. Trust and thought leadership is established with events, advertising, trade shows, content (blog posts, infographics, etc.), webinars, direct mail, viral campaigns, social media, search, media mentions, and more. Here, lead generation takes place, as information is collected and leads are pulled into a lead management system for nurturing further down the funnel.
Awareness is at the very top of the marketing funnel. Prospects are attracted to this stage through various marketing mediums.
These are various channels your brand can use to reach a new audience, some of these channels include: webinars, social media, search, PPC campaigns, organic search, viral campaigns, and more.
It is important that these strategies are used to attract the right target audience. You can build a target buyer persona to get more insights on your audience. According to Hubspot, 63% of marketers create content by buyer persona.
If you’re an ecommerce brand, your awareness stage could take the form of content marketing.
Here’s an example from Mr. Porter, an ecommerce fashion website promoting sleek and professional articles like this interview with Jose Mourinho.
They have taking a great deal of time to educate their consumers. By providing amazing content that addresses some major questions most prospects have at this stage of the funnel, by using this method, they easily get their prospects interested in their products.
Demandmetric.com states that content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less, and 80% marketers believe that custom content should be central to marketing work.
With content marketing, the goal is always to provide ultimate value without asking much in return.
Content marketing is one of many channels you can use to attract your prospects; another channel is search engine optimization and search engine marketing. This involves taking advantage of search traffic online to attract prospects that are actively searching for your products and services online
According to IronPaper search engines drive 300% more traffic to sites than social media.
Your job is to simply be one of the first results for your niche in the search results.
According to Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing firm, position 1 on Google receives a 44.64% click-through rate.
For example, let’s check the search results for the search term – “Men’s Shoes”
Nordstrom comes up first on the search results; let’s see how many people are searching for these men’s shoes online.
So we can estimate that Nordstrom is getting at least 44,000 visitors from this search term. That’s a lot of people for just one search term. A quick way to fast track this process is search engine marketing, using PPC ad campaigns you can get above the organic results and get more people aware about your product and services.
It’s the second stage of the sales funnel where your prospects have interacted with your brand’s story, products and services. They see what you are selling and how you sell it and have become familiar with your brand.
Interest is at its peak when the customer becomes extremely familiar with the interesting facts of what you are selling, especially when it speaks to their pain points and pleasure points.
At this stage the prospect is interested in your brand story and would be willing to connect further with your company. Not everyone who was aware of your company would be interested in your brand and company at the time and for some, they may still connect with you down the road.
That’s why the customer journey must be mapped out from top to bottom considering all the different paths the consumer can take.
For those who slide down the funnel into the interest stage, what it usually takes is further interaction with your brand which most likely occurs through:
- Downloading of free material like an eBook or whitepaper
- Subscription to your email
- Connecting to your social handles
- Signing up for a free consultation
- Free templates download
Creating a Free Material
You can create a material like an eBook, template or whitepaper that your prospect can download in exchange for his email. The idea is for the customer not to feel like he’s being sold on any transaction while he downloads his free material.
The objective is to get the prospect to connect further with your brand and provide you with an avenue to connect with him further.
Stealth Seminar does this brilliantly, they have a nice popup that encourages their visitors to download a webinar case study
Here’s one used by stealth seminar
You can also decided to create a free offer, like discounts, coupons, consultations.
Excelhelp.com does this brilliantly with their “Get a Free Consultation” offer.
Connecting to social media
integrating social media to your website gives your visitors the chance to connect with you further on the platforms they use the most.
Rolex does this well, they have seven social media channels on their footer.
No matter the platform their customers are most active, they have a great chance of connecting with the Rolex brand.
According to social media today:
- 1 in 3 social media users prefer social media customer care services to telephone or email
- An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues
- Customers spend 20-40% more with companies engage and respond to customers via social media
- Nearly 70% of consumers have said that they have used social media for issues to do with customer service on at least one occasion.
Most prospects are going on these channels to ask vital questions of the brand, read reviews and comments of other long time users. Authenticity has to be maintained across all platforms to ensure that your brand story is consistent to answering the vital questions your prospects.
Source: GO – GLOBE
Live chats also help, but so can social media where people already reside.
This is the third hurdle in the conversion funnel, and the goal here is to create desire in your product. Creating desire comes down to communicating the value of your product and how it solves the prospect’s problem.
That’s why they are out there searching, they are looking for a solution and the brand that provides enough valuable information to meet their need for a solution, that’s the one they end up with.
Content marketing in this stage as to be at it’s best. For ecommerce brands this would include crystal clear product descriptions, body copy, customer reviews on amazon.
More experienced advertisers can take advantage of retargeting old visitors to a converting page or whitepaper download.
Source: neil patel
You have to show your prospects why they need what your company is offering.
A great way to do this is to use an email autoresponder series. It helps in building the relationship with your prospects and nurturing the leads you have acquired, we will discuss this in detail later in the post.
You have to separate your company’s solution clearly, and be able to differentiate it from the solution other companies are offering.
Great copywriters achieve this by listing out the benefits of the solution in such a way that it motivates the prospect to take action. Your goal is to describe the benefits your consumer will get if he purchases your product.
A great way to come up with this benefit list is the 8 Question Before/After grid:
Ask yourself these eight questions…
- What does your prospect HAVE in the “Before” state? What does your prospect HAVE in the “After” state?
- How does your prospect FEEL in the “Before” state? How does your prospect FEEL in the “After” state?
- What is an AVERAGE DAY like for your prospect in the “Before” state? What is an AVERAGE DAY like for your prospect in the “After” state?
- What is your prospect’s STATUS in the “Before” state? What is your prospect’s STATUS in the “After” state?
Source: Digital Marketer
Moving beyond creating excellent copy and listing out the benefits of your products, a few other tactics you can implement to demonstrate the value of your company’s offering are:
- Using clear product descriptions
- Reviews and Testimonials
- Sales offers
Using clear product descriptions
Prospects cannot touch or feel your product, so they have to rely solely on your product descriptions to paint the picture for him.
It’s important to create very clear product descriptions including facts like measurement sizes, colours, weight and other important information.
Spanx does this brilliantly with an extensive description bar and easy navigation
They also have a video, just beneath the fold
Include online reviews on your website
Genuine reviews have a positive effect on your conversions. According to econsultancy, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision.
Written reviews help to provide in depth valuable information to your prospects decision making and might just bring them closer towards purchasing your product.
Here, we see zappos executing this brilliantly
And beneath the fold, we have clearer written reviews to help the prospect with his evaluation
Providing offers such as coupons, money back guarantees, returns, free shipping, relevant discounts motivate prospects to make that final step to becoming a customer.
Wrangler does this by offering free shipping on orders above $100 and this header is constant across all pages.
This is the final stage in the sales funnel, after the consumer has decided he is going to make a purchase, all that’s left is that final push that makes him convert.
There are two important elements to guiding your prospect on this final step;
- Creating a smooth purchasing experience
- Using call to action elements that improve conversion
Creating a smooth purchasing experience
A few tips include:
- Predictive entry helps your customers to prefill information on their transactional fields helping them to purchase quicker with less stress.
- Progress indicators help to guide your customers as they complete task or fill a form.
- Accepting various kinds of payment also helps to ensure that there will be less friction on checkouts.
Payoneer uses a multi-step form brilliantly to indicate progress of signing up for their service.
Using call to action elements that improve conversion
Emphasize low risk high reward on your call to action.
Amazon prime does an excellent job with this below:
Your Call to Action should have click triggers which can include:
- A testimonial, review, or tweet
- A data point
- Star ratings
- Low-price messaging
- Free or two-way shipping messaging
- Payment-option messaging and/or icons
- Security messaging and/or icons
- Privacy messaging
- Risk-minimizing messaging (e.g., a snippet about what happens after clicking)
- Your value proposition
We’ve come to the end of the sales funnel, but that’s just the beginning of the process.
Increasing conversions through Lead nurturing that brings profits
Industry Statistics tell us that only 2% of the customers buy at the first interaction. That leaves 98% of your prospects who are still undecided, and need adequate information to bring them down the sales funnel.
In 80% of businesses, it takes 5 – 12 interactions between customers and a brand for sale to occur (Stream Feed). So it’s not time to slack on the effort, this is why lead nurturing is very important.
It helps to convert more prospects and increase sales of your business.
According to Invespcro, companies that only do lead generation lose 80% of their leads and spend 33% more than companies focusing on lead nurturing strategy and generate 50% less sales.
79% of leads visiting your website never convert to sales. The reason is a lack of Lead Nurturing program, which would keep those who have not yet made a decision to purchase (Source: MarketingSherpa).
And if that’s not good enough, try this: Nurtured leads spend 47% more than non-nurtured ones (Annuitas).
This is a great opportunity to implement an effective lead nurturing strategy to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Emails are the primary resource used by companies to nurture their leads online. There are two major kinds of emails used in communicating with leads; Drip and Nurturing Emails.
Drip email campaigns are based on well arranged schedules sent to the leads of the company with the objective of “top-of-mind awareness” as they conclude on a buying decision.
Nurturing email campaign are based of segmentation of the leads, where custom emails are sent based on where the customer opted in the conversion funnel. For example, a customer who opted in for an eBook download should receive immediately a download link and resources related.
The two campaign strategies are most effective when used together. Building workflows (series of automated emails) are very effective in nurturing customers over time.
According to marketo.com, your lead nurturing process needs to be five things:
- Trusted—A smart opt-in process sets up accurate and happy expectations, which means your content will be well received in someone’s inbox.
- Relevant—The days of email “blasts” are over. Segment your audience as much as possible, and send small, highly-relevant campaigns.
- Conversational—Give your buyer a chance to respond, and make sure your next round of content takes that response into consideration.
- Coordinated—Email content should be the hub that connects social and website content.
- Strategic—Opens and CTRs are good, but you want sales. The system you use for emailing content needs to be able to deliver some kind of ROI metric.
What kind of leads should you be attracting? (quantity versus quality)
A lead generation report conducted by BrightTALK cited lead quality over lead quantity as the main priority based on survey results. “B2B marketers have demonstrated a clear preference for generating high-quality leads (68%) over generating a high volume of leads (55%).”
Truth is, qualified leads go down the funnel a lot smoother than their non qualified counterparts. A qualified lead are leads that have a clearer intent to purchase and have the means to do so.
initially, businesses will not have a choice but to focus on quantity and getting as many people as possible to enter into their funnel, because the data acquired concerning their target audience is still minimal and being developed.
If you’re not getting enough quality there’s no point thinking about quality.
For the most effective strategy, it’s best use both approaches. Getting more leads will always lead to increasing sales conversions and the prioritizing lead quality comes after once enough data has been gathered about the customer journey and the business operations has achieved a certain level of maturity.
Multiplying Your Conversions and Creating 10x Revenue
The sale is just a smaller step towards the larger goal of converting your customers into supreme advocates of your brand. Your customers will develop a preference for your brand and might go as far as personalizing our products.
This is where engagement cannot be over-emphasized, think about it this way, your sales funnel already provides the process to get you customers and that funnel will grow in conversion over time. But your brand isn’t going to expand beyond its limitations if you rely only on the external flow.
And that’s where loyalty comes into play, by creating a new source of inflow of customers from personal recommendations and promotion of your loyal customers. Your business can help nurture this connection through community development, outreaches and social media.
Once a customer is loyal to your brand they are more likely to give recommendations, positive reviews and personally refer your products to their social network.
Here are a few numbers that show the importance of growing a loyalty program in 2018
- 63% of Gen Z and Millennials agree they have many choices of where to shop, so a brand must show them loyalty to earn their business (Alliance Data)
- 76% of Gen Z and Millennials only give brands two to three chances before they stop shopping them (Alliance Data)
- Consumers who believe personalized experiences are very appealing are 10x more likely to be a brand’s most valuable customer – those expected to make more than 15 transactions in one year (Epsilon)
- Comments, customer ratings and reviews influence purchase decision for 84% of millennial women, and 62% report trying a brand based on recommendations from an influencer (Merkle and Levo)
- 55% of older millennials said they rarely purchase something different if they like a brand, and 53% of younger millennials and 51% of Gen Z said the same thing (Alliance Data)
Here lies the major difference between the traditional sales funnel and the online sales funnel. The online funnel though having many similarities, surpasses the traditional funnel because of its ability to nurture valuable relationships with your customers.
Your customers when turned into brand advocates are the greatest assets your company can have because, People trust their friends and peers, even someone they hardly know, over the most compelling advertisement
And this takes shape in a numerous amount of ways, Creating product reviews, posting about products on online forums and social media. When an external party who has no connection to a brand gives a recommendation, this can sway incoming prospects strongly towards your direction.
The objective here is to increase number and size of purchases and to drive more referrals to enlarge the marketing funnel.
A company that executed this brilliantly was dropbox.
They were able to generate over 4 million users in 15 months by turning their customers in brand advocates through brilliant referral marketing.
According to founder/CEO Drew Houston, referrals increased signups by 60% permanently.
That was an increase that generated over 40x, or a doubling of users every 3 months.
In April 2010, Dropbox users sent 2.8 million direct referral invites!
Dropbox initially were doomed to fail, if they were relying on AdWords Ad-spend alone, their customer acquisition costs were $233 – $388 per customer for a $99 product.
Referrals enabled dropbox to escape death, to grow and to focus their resources on improving their product which gave them better competitive advantage.
Some tips you can implement from dropbox referral campaign to 10x your conversions
- Include your referral program in the signup process
- Let the benefit resound in the copy
- Let the referral process be easy and straightforward for your customers
Get-ambassador executes this well with their Brand ambassador referral program.
They have the Brand Ambassador program, with a referral to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. If the people referred become a customer, the brand ambassador will receive an Apple Watch or $400!
Some tools you can use to setup your referral program
Testing your funnel and optimization
After creating and optimizing your funnel, it’s time to track and analyse what works and what doesn’t.
When setting up your funnel, you’ll start to notice which pages are most important, checkout pages, homepage and other key pages. You will begin to notice the popular routes which your customers take to conversion.
A great tool to track what your users are doing is google analytics.
Google analytics setup
Setting up google analytics is free and easy to setup whether you use a CMS like WordPress or plain HTML. You can use this link to sign up.
Google Analytics tracks website visitors on your site and lets you know a variety of details about them. including how long they stayed, where they came from (traffic source) and even what browser or system they’re using.
Creating a conversion goal
To create your own goal, from the analytics dashboard, click on the Admin panel.
Click on goals from the admin panel.
Depending on your setup, there will be some preset goals, but we are going to create a new goal. It’s time to add a new goal
Next step, there are 5 major kind of goals you can create in this section, Revenue goals – to track purchase revenue and reservations, Acquisition – for account signup, Inquiry goals – to track referrals, contact and other forms of inquisition, engagement goals – to track share count and email newsletter signups and custom goals – to track visit to a page.
We are going to create a custom goal for a destination page. We are tracking visits to a promo thank you page, for people to land on the thank you page means they signed up for the promo.
Click on custom.
Give the goal a name description. In the type section – select destination.
Next, fill in the goal details section – select equals to and fill in the url of the landing page without the http://landingpage.com. For example if your url is http://landingpage.com/promopage/thank-you, fill in: /promopage/thank-you
Below is a case study from Shopify on their sales process and how a customer might browse and order shoes:
Other tools you can use to test your conversions:
To wrap this all up, always remember that conversions is an ongoing process, it never ends but keeps on flowing in different directions, it would require you to keep on testing different angles to determine the most profitable pathway.
When done properly your sales conversion funnel will grow your revenue and profits, but it must be done from the perspective of building the best experience for the customer and providing guidance on their buying journey.