A Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Funnels
You’ve had an unique idea, taken that idea and transformed it into a product or service, and now you’re sitting there wondering “well, what now?” How do you bring the consumers in to turn your great idea into profit? Or perhaps you’re trying to figure out how to increase your consumer base or customer retention. Well, no matter which of these questions you’re asking, an optimized conversion funnel is critical for your product’s success.
What Is a Conversion Funnel?
A conversion funnel is a visual tool used to evaluate and comprehend the process that occurs when turning a curious consumer into a loyal customer. The better you understand the process that the customer takes, the more easily you can improve the steps to increase consumer flow and, in turn, sales.
When talking of conversion funnels, it’s best to picture a kitchen funnel but with a slight modification. With typical funnels, everything you put into it eventually comes out the bottom, however, with conversion funnels, there are holes on every level, leaking potential customers. Not everyone that looks at your product or happens across your website is going to have need for what you’re selling, therefore our funnel is always going to have some leak. Our goal is to minimize these leaks, making the funnel as efficient as possible, allowing us to retain as many future customers as possible.
To best minimize these leaks and optimize the process, we need to take a closer look at the process, especially from the customer’s point of view, making sure we give as good of an experience as possible. The customer should never feel trapped into a page, but instead should be given options and a clear and easy path to the next step of the process. If a customer isn’t sure of the next step or how to get there then they’ll likely walk away from your product and you’ll have lost another potential customer.
One of the first things you’ll need when converting consumers into clients is, of course, the consumers themselves. Consumers can’t buy your product or service unless they know it exists right? This is where you attract possible customers and bring them into your website, pulling them into the funnel. Just remember, these are people that you’re selling to and not just generalized segments of a population. Not everyone is going to have the same pull and they won’t all respond to the same prompting. Know your audience.
When maximizing the effectiveness of this step, quantity over quality is not always the best approach. It’s true that you want to bring in a high number of consumers to look at your product but if you’re bringing in consumers that have no use of your product than you’re likely to spend more time and money trying to convert them only to be met with little success. Focus on quality by identifying your ideal audience and target them through proper marketing. This will give you an impressively higher conversion rate, saving the large amounts of time and money you would have spent pursuing bad leads.
When determining where to best place your ads, ask yourself “Who is my ideal audience and how can I best reach them?”. Use the answer to this question to help determine the most efficient and promising places to start your marketing. Reddit is a useful tool for marketing but isn’t always appropriate for every product. Facebook is a common go to when marketing but not all the target groups are active and this may lead to a low level of response.
Now that you’ve pulled in potential customers that are well suited to your product, it’s time to develop the consumer’s interest in your product. Notice at this point that, as a funnel does, this level is now smaller than the “action” level. As mentioned before, each level will have leaks; not everyone that happens across your website will have interest or a need for your product. Now that we’ve sorted some of those poor leads out, we focus on generating a stronger interest for the product in those consumers that we’ve retained from the first step.
Remember, it’s important to ensure a good customer experience throughout the entire process. Consumers probably aren’t going to purchase anything until they’ve gotten a feel of what your company is and a level of trust has been developed. They will need a chance to browse your products and get comfortable with the product before moving to the next step. Because of this, an important tool for this step is a well designed website/app. You will want something that grabs their attention quickly, as well as making sure the content on your website/app can hold their attention.
This is also a good time to consider adding in a quick bait piece (some kind of freebie) in exchange for email or other information. This is a great way to gauge how well this level of the funnel is working and of measuring how many people are interested in your product. Be sure, however, to keep all steps simple, quick and easy to follow to ensure the potential customers have the smoothest experience possible. This will lead a higher number of consumers on to the next stage of our funnel.
Now that we have nurtured the consumer’s interest in the product, we need to create a desire for the product. We’ve sorted through potential customers and narrowed it down to only those who have interest in the product so, as before, this level is smaller than the previous levels. Now you can take those leads you earned with the quick bait in the previous step and follow up on your leads. The goal is to show the potential customers why your product is necessary.
An effective method is to demonstrate how your product solves a particular problem that the consumer has. People want the solutions to problems, even problems that they didn’t know they had. If you can make them desire your product as a solution to their problem, you won’t need to promote your product as much. A great copywriter can be one of your smartest investments at this point in the game.
Build on the previous “Interest” phase by focusing on the details: great product pictures, detailed descriptions and demonstration videos help the customer feel confident that they know what they’re getting. However, one thing to be wary of at this step is overselling. People in general don’t like to feel as if they’re being talked into anything, leading to another leak out of your funnel. It’s important that any sales pitch you have is a gentle one and allows the consumer to feel as if they’re shopping independently, without feeling pushed into buying the product.
This is what it’s all been about up to now and we’re approaching the finish line. The customer has the awareness, interest and desire for the product; now we just need to secure the sale. It’s important to ensure that the customer has the smoothest experience from start to finish, encouraging not just the initial sale but also reducing cart abandonment.
For example, if you’re in e-commerce, really focus on your product pages and make your checkout flow as smooth as possible. You want to do all you can to ensure that the product can, and will, be placed in the customer’s cart without problem. When all this goes through without a problem, the customer is more likely to complete the transaction.
Alternatively, if your product is an app, you’ll want to ensure that there are no issues with the user’s experience and that you’re app is suited as closely as possible to the customer’s needs. Of course you’ll want to make sure that your app has as many customer desired traits as possible, but if you have too much on your app that isn’t used than you’re wasting space and possibly customer’s time. Products such as UXCam that can make app analysis a breeze. See more about this essential and time saving tool here.
Now you have another happy customer and another sale. But why stop there?
Your best customers are repeat customers. They’re much less resource intensive as they’ve already been through the funnel and are already converted. They’re familiar with your product and you’ve built a relationship with them based off of that first sale. Now that they’ve been through the funnel and completed that purchase, it’s time to nurture that relationship. Think about other funnels in your business that you can steer this customer towards. Encourage them to join a loyalty program, follow you on social media so you can continue to market to them, sending them promotional materials and new product notices. Although your options at this stage are vast, it’s important to remember not to oversell to them. It’s a quick way to turn a customer off from your business and damage that relationship you’ve built with them. Instead, try to approach them from various ways over a reasonable time period. Spreading out your marketing to these customers will be more effective than bombarding them with emails over a short time period.