Having a clear understanding of how you can optimize your funnel is like having a detailed map to reach point A from point B. Point A being the top of the funnel (awareness) and the point B down, or your conversion business goal. Optimizing every step of the funnel can give you clear instructions on how to drive your leads by creating impactful marketing strategies that get results.
Why is funnel optimization important?
Have you heard of Leaky Bucket Syndrome? Imagine you keep adding water to a bucket and it keeps seeping in at the same rate. What do you get in the end? An empty bucket despite filling for hours before giving up.
Now move that concept to a funnel. If there are any holes along the path, only a tiny fraction of the material poured into the funnel will pass through it. Something similar happens with most funnels. On average, only about 3% of leads that enter a conversion funnel convert to paying customers. But just because there are holes in your funnel doesn’t mean. This is because your marketing strategy is not aligned with the needs of your prospects at every stage of the funnel.
Image source: https://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-analytics/ecommerce-conversion-rates/
Suppose you own an e-commerce store. Joe visits your site to buy a pair of black shoes. He searches for shoes and a long list of products appears. Joe doesn’t want to waste his time browsing products, so he looks for filters to narrow down the results. But what if there were no filters on your site? Or, even worse, what if he typed a typo entering the search keyword and received a response indicating zero results. Most likely, he will leave the site and head to a competitor site where it will be easier for him to shop.
Although this is just an example, you will find several instances where users leave your funnel because they don’t know what to do next. Therefore, the basic premise of optimizing your funnel is understanding your users’ journey and thinking about the experience they want every step of the way. And then figure out how you can give it to them.
Visualize your conversion funnel
There are several conversion funnel models that marketers use, but the easiest one would follow the following path:
Website Visitors -> Leads -> Customers
However, you make this funnel as detailed as you want by including all of the steps a user needs to take to convert.
According to VWO, “A funnel is a sequence of goals that represents the visitor’s journey through your website. These critical visitor journeys typically track progress toward the achieved business goal. Business goals can be a purchase of a product or service, a 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 didn’t convert and where they left your funnel to identify areas for optimization. As mentioned earlier, you can set up your funnels to analyze the data collected at each stage and take corrective action to optimize the flow. However, to keep it simple for this article, we’ll use the basic AIDA conversion funnel model and discuss the different optimization strategies that can be implemented at different stages.
Image source: https://www.conceptdraw.com/solution-park/marketing-funnel-diagrams
AIDA’s basic marketing model consists of four stages: awareness, interest, desire and action. We will also discuss an additional step: after-sales engagement, a crucial step to retain customers. Let’s dive in.
This is the first step in the sales funnel that represents the majority of your prospects. It is also the stage where a lead seeks an answer to a particular question or a solution to meet a specific need. Therefore, your messages at this point should address specific customer issues or questions. The goal is to grab users’ attention and educate them about your brand by starting conversations aligned with their interests and goals.
Some examples of the types of content you can create at this point are how-to videos addressing the specific issue you are addressing, general blog posts discussing issues in your industry and suggestions for solving them, infographics, and content on social networks. It is also important to create informative marketing materials rather than focusing too much on sales. The goal is to provide valuable information or ideas to your prospects to help them grow their business.
You can also use the information gleaned at this point to optimize the rest of the customer journey. For example, you can earn leads from a variety of sources, such as Google search ads, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. With an analysis tool, you can collect a large amount of data on the behavior and preferences of the users of 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 offer. 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 point – however, you can encourage prospects to make small commitments, like signing up for your blog or newsletter.
One idea is to use lead magnets. A main magnet can be a white paper, PDF document, or webinar that offers a solution to the issues you addressed during the awareness phase. This main magnet can be provided in exchange for personal data by signing up for a newsletter. Here are some more examples of marketing materials you can use to be successful at this point:
- 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 a great place to use your primary magnet. Here’s an article with some helpful information on how to set up high converting landing pages.
- Invest in a responsive website with easy navigation. Choose an attractive but logical design that is search-friendly to hold users’ interest.
- Attract the curiosity of your prospects by posting user-generated content, such as 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 the data, 63% of consumers who have used live chat on a site are more likely to return. Live chat also improves the response time of your customer-facing teams, which is useful at all stages of the funnel.
3. Desire or preference
The third stage of the funnel is where you pre-qualify prospects by helping them understand the main characteristics of your product or service. The goal is to share information that helps them understand your solution and why it is better than what’s available on the market.
Overall, the tone and intent of your content should be educational. Based on the information shared, the prospect will understand if they are truly interested in taking the next few steps in the funnel. Some of the preferred marketing methods that you can use at this point are:
- Use email marketing, including setting up drip campaigns, to help users understand your product and possibly take the desired action (for example, sign up for a demo or fix a call. ).
- Setting up retargeting campaigns is also crucial at this stage. Even if prospects are looking at your product, they might be looking for alternatives. Make sure you 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 urgent offers to get prospects to close the sale at the next stage.
- It is also essential to optimize the shopping experience by making it easier to find items or find information.
4. Take action
This is the last step in the journey where prospects turn into paying customers. The best strategy at this point is to advertise your products and provide quick support to streamline the process. If you are running an ecommerce business, having a simple checkout process with multiple payment options can increase the chances of a conversion.
Additionally, providing live chat support during checkout can minimize the risk that users will stray from your site and look for other alternatives. It also increases your conversion rate by humanizing the shopping experience. Having a live chat option on your site also has other benefits at different stages of the funnel, as one AMA study pointed out:
- Marketing: awareness: 29%
- Marketing: Conversion to create suspicious sales: 39%
- Sales: Early stage direct engagement: 32%
- Sales: Direct engagement at mid-term: 24%
- Sales: Conclusion of the deal: 18%
- After-sales customer support, education, engagement: 39%
As you can see, live chat is also helpful for after-sales engagement by improving your customer support. Customers no longer buy products. Instead, they’re looking for an experience that isn’t complete without personalized support and after-sales service. Adding this final step to your funnel can help turn customers into loyal fans. You can also implement loyalty programs, such as discounts and referral programs, to reward loyal customers and also boost your customer acquisition strategy.