Having a clear understanding of how you can optimize your conversion funnel is like having a detailed map to reach point A from point B. Point A being the top of the funnel (awareness), and Point B the bottom, or your business goal of conversion. Optimizing each stage of the funnel can give you clear directions on steering your leads by creating impactful marketing strategies that deliver results.
Why is Conversion Funnel Optimization Important?
Have you heard of the leaky bucket syndrome? Imagine you continue adding water to a bucket, and it continues to seep out at the same rate. What do you get in the end? An empty bucket despite filling it up for hours before giving up.
Now shift this concept to a funnel. If there are holes along the way, only a tiny fraction of the materials poured into the funnel will make it all the way through. Something similar happens with most of the conversion funnels. On average, only about 3 percent of the prospects that enter a conversion funnel are converted into paying customers. But that’s not because there are holes in your conversion funnel. It’s because your marketing strategy isn’t aligned with what your prospects need at every stage of the funnel.
Suppose you own an e-commerce store. Joe visits your site to buy a pair of black shoes. He searches for shoes, and an extensive list of products appears. Joe doesn’t want to waste his time skimming through the products, so he looks for filters to narrow down the results. But what if there were no filters on your site? Or, worse still, what if he made a typo while entering the search keyword and received a response saying zero results. Most likely, he’ll leave the site and head to a competitor site where it’s easier for him to shop.
While this is just one example, you will find several instances where users leave your conversion funnel because they don’t know what to do next. Therefore, the basic principle behind optimizing your conversion funnel is understanding your users’ journey and thinking about the experience they want at each stage. And then, work out how you can give it to them.
Visualizing Your Conversion Funnel
Marketers use several conversion funnel models, but the simplest one would follow the following path:
Website Visitors -> Leads -> Customers
However, you make this funnel as detailed as you like by including all the steps a user must take to convert.
According to VWO, “A funnel is a sequence of goals that represents the visitor’s journey on your website. These critical visitor journeys typically track the progress towards the business objective being achieved. The business objectives could be a product or service purchase, newsletter subscription, signups, or any other action of value to the business owner.”
You can also use the funnels in VWO to see the percentage of visitors who did not convert and where they left your funnel to identify areas of optimization. As previously mentioned, you can set up your funnels to analyze the data collected at each stage and take corrective measures to optimize the flow. However, to keep it simple for this post, we will use the basic AIDA conversion funnel model and discuss the various optimization strategies that may be implemented at different stages.
The basic AIDA marketing model consists of four stages – Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. We will also discuss an additional stage – post-sales engagement, a crucial step for retaining customers. Let’s dive in.
This is the first stage of the sales funnel that represents the majority of your leads. This is also the stage where a lead is looking for an answer to a particular question or a solution to fulfill a specific need. Therefore, your messages at this stage must address customers’ specific pain points or questions. The aim is to catch user attention and make them aware of your brand by starting conversations aligned to their interests and goals.
Some examples of the types of content you can create at this stage are explainer videos addressing the specific pain point you are addressing, general blog posts discussing the problems in your industry and suggestions on solving them, infographics, and social media content. It’s also important to create informative marketing materials than overly focussing on sales. The aim is to provide information or valuable ideas to your leads to help them grow their business.
You can also use the insights gleaned at this stage to optimize the rest of the customer journey. For instance, you may earn leads from various sources, such as Google search, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn ads. With an analytics tool, you can collect a vast amount of data on users’ behavior and preferences from these sites and use it to personalize your customer journeys.
At this point, the prospect has landed on your page and is aware of your offering. The goal is to get their email address, which is vital for marketing further down the funnel. It’s also very soon to encourage a sale at this stage – however, you can encourage prospects to make small commitments, like signing up to your blog or newsletter.
One idea is to set up lead magnets. A lead magnet could be a whitepaper, PDF document, or webinar that offers a solution to the pain points you addressed in the awareness stage. This lead magnet can be provided in return for personal details by signing up for a newsletter. Here are some other examples of marketing collateral you can employ to succeed at this stage:
- Create personalized landing pages for different customer segments to generate interest. Also, don’t forget to include a compelling call-to-action to capture the email address or other information you need. A landing page is also an excellent place to use your lead magnet. Here’s a post with helpful information on how to set up high-converting landing pages.
- Invest in a responsive website with easy navigation. Choose an attractive yet logical design that is search-friendly to hold user interest.
- Invoke the curiosity of your prospects by publishing user-generated content like case studies and testimonials.
- Create a knowledge base with FAQs that make it easier for users to find information about your product or service.
- Use live chat on your site to make the shopping experience seamless and interactive. According to data, 63% of consumers who used live chat on a site are more likely to return to it. Live chat also improves the response time of your customer-facing teams, which is helpful at all stages of the conversion funnel.
3. Desire or Preference
The third stage of the funnel is where you pre-qualify leads by helping them understand the core features of your product or service. The aim is to share information that helps them understand your solution and why it is better than what is available in the market.
Overall, the tone and intent of your content should be educative. Based on the information shared, the prospect will understand whether they’re genuinely interested in moving to the following few funnel stages. Some of the preferred marketing methods you can employ at this stage are:
- Use email marketing, including setting up drip campaigns, to help users understand your product and eventually take the desired action (say, signing up for a demo or fixing a call).
- Setting up retargeting campaigns is also crucial at this point. Even though prospects are leaning towards your product, they might be searching for alternatives. Make sure to set up highly personalized email campaigns to overcome this hurdle. You can use CRM integrations on your site to better analyze user behavior and send them information accordingly. You can also send time-sensitive offers to compel prospects to complete the sale in the next stage.
- It’s also vital to optimize the shopping experience by making it simple to search for items or seek information.
This is the last stage of the journey where prospects turn into paying customers. The best strategy at this stage is to advertise your products and provide fast support to make the process simpler. If you run an eCommerce business, a straightforward checkout process with multiple payment options can increase the chances of conversion.
Additionally, providing live chat support during checkout can minimize the chances of users straying from your site and searching for other alternatives. It also boosts your conversion rate by humanizing the shopping experience. Having a live chat option on your site has other benefits, too, at various stages of the conversion funnel, as pointed out by an AMA study:
- Marketing: Awareness: 29%
- Marketing: Conversion to create sales suspects: 39%
- Sales: Early-stage direct engagement: 32%
- Sales: Mid-Stage Direct Engagement: 24%
- Sales: Closing the deal: 18%
- Post-sales customer support, education, engagement: 39%
As you can see, live chat is also helpful for post-sales engagement by improving your customer support. Customers no longer buy products. Instead, they’re looking for an experience, which isn’t complete without personalized support and after-sales service. Adding this last stage to your funnel can help turn customers into loyal fans. You can also implement loyalty schemes, like offering discounts and referral schemes, to reward loyal customers and also boost your customer acquisition strategy.