No matter how well-crafted and finely optimized your sales funnels may be, there is no such thing as perfect. Guiding your customers along the most effective path to guarantee a purchase is a process of constant optimization and testing. Let’s take a closer look at funnel optimization. We’ll be explaining the basics while giving you practical optimization techniques that you can use to improve your own conversions.
What Is Funnel Optimization?
Funnel optimization is the assessment and improvement of sales pipeline workflows to improve conversion rates, customer acquisition, and customer retention. Every funnel is made up of multiple stages, each granting opportunities for improvement and further segmentation when needed.
Most sales funnels can be classified into four basic categories:
Awareness – The first stage of each funnel is where you engage the attention of your potential customer, raising awareness of your company, brand identity, and what your business offers.
Interest – With the prospect’s attention engaged, the second stage is where your buyers research whether your product or services are suited to their needs and preferences.
Desire – Once interest is generated in your product or service, the desire stage then covers all factors relevant to making the final purchase decision. This includes how your brand is perceived, comparative pricing, and any other related purchase options.
Action – The final stage is when the interested party becomes a customer, completing the sale, order, or contract.
Building An Optimized Funnel
Here’s a look at three simple steps that you can take to create an optimized sales funnel.
Map The Customer Journey
Use your analytics platform or Google Analytics to blueprint the customer journey. Source reports for each segment of the workflow, determining how people behave when they reach each part of your website or page. How do your users act differently when they are on the home page compared to a review, support or product page? Which domain and landing page is driving the most traffic? How many interactions does the average customer have before making a purchase on your site? Pulling this information and more gives you a good starting point to begin building a map of your customer journey.
Segment Your Blueprint According To Each Stage
Using awareness, interest, desire, and action, develop a plan for guiding the customer through the experience of making a purchase. Divide the sales funnel into the four basic stages listing the type of content and traffic sources relevant to each. Once you’ve matched your map to the basic progression of a sale, you’ll soon see which sections of the funnel need additional work and more or different content developed.
Determine When A Visitor Becomes A Lead
There should be multiple opportunities for a visitor to become a lead while browsing your site. Analyze your map of customer interactions and look for the point where the visitor hands over their information, thus becoming a contactable potential customer with an interest in your brand, products, or services already. Once converted, your company can then begin lead nurturing relative to the target demographic and intent.
Funnel Optimization Techniques For Every Stage Of The Pipeline
Here’s a look at a few ways that you can improve each stage of your sales funnel, generating additional awareness, interest, and desire as is found needed.
Post Educational Content
Guest posts on high authority sites will improve awareness for your brand the most but all types of education content posted both locally and on third-party sites are invaluable to growing the awareness segment of your funnel. Diversify to include:
- Long-Form Articles
- Research Reports
- How-To Videos
- Case Studies
- User Guides
Participate In User Discussions
Community forums and message boards like Reddit are a great way to interact with the community. Never present yourself from a sales angle but rather set yourself up to be a relatable, knowledgeable, and welcoming member of the discussion group. Facebook groups are another fantastic way to reach out while positioning yourself as an authority over time as a natural consequence of socializing.
Start Content Marketing On A New Platform Or Shift Resources
A company’s content marketing strategy should always run relative to the insights observed from every stage of the funnel. If you’re lacking basic reach and awareness, start developing content for a new platform or a new type of content entirely. Alternatively, if a particular channel is no longer bringing the business that it once did then consider focusing on another method of outreach instead. Diversification will always reward with results, as long as new markets and the media created for them are not rushed.
Create Landing Pages
Don’t limit yourself to one or two landing pages but instead use multiple pages to broaden or refine the interest segment of your sales pipelines. For every type of customer, there’s a perfect landing page. Once you find one that works, it’s time to channel your resources towards putting more out there. Never stop split testing, and keep publishing those single page or simple site drawcards.
Diversify To Additional Social Networks
Maintaining a presence on social media across multiple channels is quite manageable. Those with a powerful brand will be running streams of social accounts and for this, there’s ample automation software available. We recommend that you publish content according to a calendar, devising your material beforehand and according to a fixed strategy.
Strengthen Your Brand Image
How good is your logo? Do your emails get bounced for poor wording? Small things like professional presentations, regularly updated accounts and profiles, and a unified scheme for your graphics and design make a big difference to the way you’re perceived online. The bolder you make your brand by developing things like mascots, slogans, and policies, the more interest will be generated from all channels.
Provide Customer Testimonials
No matter how many times you sell yourself in the best words you or a copywriter can muster, the impression seldom compares to the feeling given by a simple, honest customer testimonial. Go through your work history and find quotable sources who you know see you as a partner. Publish these to grow authority and recognition, instantly swaying the desire of a potential buyer far more often than not.
Display Affiliated Brands
Brand association is an often overlooked part of optimizing marketing. Partnering with complementary brands allows both businesses to inherit trust, coat-tail riding on the authority and following of each other. There are few faster ways to sway a customer’s decision than to show that you’re in business with someone that they trust.
Comparing yourself and products within your industry to each other in a neutral, unbiased manner is a great way to improve desire for your brand. Comparative reviews are usually reliable for bolstering desire while reviewing products from complementary brands and their competitors can be an even better idea when used right.
How To Start Improving Your Sales Funnels
Now that you’re armed with how to build and populate a funnel, it’s time to start improving the sales pipeline that you’ve created. Here’s three basic steps to better sales funnels.
Refine Primary Site Pages
Pay attention to all of your main pages forming the structure of your site. The main pages all depend on what is selling, and which areas are in demand. Those are the places that need to most work. Both search engine optimization and reshaping the user experience should be carried out, developing or modifying content and design according to aspects that are working.
Shorten Your Forms
The lead capturing points that you found earlier rely on forms and those forms need to be optimized. Make sure that users are enticed to hand over their contact info is the briefest of manner using a lead magnet, discount or free product offer. Even if you’re giving something a way, it’s hard to convince anyone to fork over more than a few basic details. Keep this in mind and make sure that your forms ask for essential info only.
Present The Perfect Checkout Experience
When presenting the sale or checkout page to a potential customer, make sure that you’ve got as many payment options as possible. Same goes for trust markers. Present ample information concerning their privacy and security. Never allow any part of the user experience to go by blindly and never spring any surprise questions on steps on the buyer along the way. This means progress bars for everything and complete transparency with steps taken to point out important information. Checkout must always be well optimized.
Keep An Eye On Your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
With everything set up, now it’s time to track your key performance indicators. Look at your analytics for metrics like:
- Traffic Volume
- Conversion Rate
- Bounce Rate
- Response Rate
- Open Rate
- Cart Abandonment
- Heat Maps
These numbers will show you exactly how your funnel is performing, and which areas need work. Heat maps tracking interaction and engagement with particular areas of your site or landing page are particularly useful.
Arm Yourself With Information And Optimize For Success
The more information you can monitor concerning user behavior, the better. With each sales funnel segmented and clearly visualized, reports broaden the insights by giving you a clearer picture of the market that you’re working with. Every business will benefit from funnel optimization no matter what industry you are in, or which product or service you may provide.
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