Conversion funnels are a fundamental concept in sales. I see the funnel as a big scary slide that I wanted to try as a kid. Your friends whizzing down the hill on their sleds looked like a lot of fun, so you wanted to try it too. You observed how much fun they were having while you were doing your research. The benefits of having fun outweighed your fear, so you climbed up and flew down.
As customers look at whether or not to buy from a company, they go through a journey that is similar to the conversion funnel that the company uses. To get people to read your blog, you must first interest them, gain their trust, and then encourage them to take some sort of action.
In this post, I’ll explain what conversion funnels are and how they impact your customer journey. You will learn how to optimize your funnel to increase the number of people who make it to your conversion point.
What Is a Conversion Funnel?
A conversion funnel is a way of describing the journey a potential customer takes before they take the desired action, for example, buying a product. As a salesperson, you help potential buyers become customers by guiding them through the sales process.
All leads begin at the top of the funnel. The more they learn about your business, the closer they get to purchasing your product or service. The process of converting leads into customers is often referred to as a funnel because companies typically have more leads than customers. The top of the funnel is usually a larger pool of people than the bottom, as fewer leads funnel down to the final stage of becoming customers.
It is important to understand how people progress through your conversion funnel so that you can effectively market to or sell to them. This includes engaging leads, answering questions about your business, and addressing concerns. The software also enables you to segment your leads into different categories and to create customer contact points that can encourage each group to convert.
This means that your sales funnel should be designed around how your customers purchase items, not around how you sell them. The goal is to create such a great customer experience that they are convinced to buy from you.
Before we discuss how to analyze and optimize your funnel, it’s important to understand the customer journey.
The customer journey is different from the conversion funnel, but they work together. Customer journey maps show the different, individual paths that people take from the time they discover your brand, to the time they make a purchase, instead of the linear, generalized conversion funnel.
Let’s say you’re a food blogger who sells cookbooks. Here’s how your customers’ journeys can differ.
- Customer A sees and clicks on your banner ad, visits your blog, reads an article, signs up for your newsletter, gets a discount email, and purchases a cookbook.
- Customer B sees your cookbook in a bookshop, buys it, makes the recipes, visits your blog, and subscribes to your newsletter.
The results for Customers A and B are the same, but the path they took to get there and the people they interacted with along the way are different. If you are aware of the various ways people enter your sales funnel, you can tweak your strategy to better accommodate those methods. This approach enables you to encounter potential customers where they are and encourages them to make a purchase.
Most funnels lead to conversion because they have similar points. We will now take a closer look at each stage of this process.
Why Are Conversion Funnels Important?
Conversion funnels are important because:
- They can help your marketing team be more effective
- They help to illustrate the customer journey, which can be important for understanding how your visitors navigate your site/store
- They can break down which stage of the buyer’s journey has the most failure
Each of these factors play a role in helping your brand’s conversion rate. The conversion rate is the number of visitors or users you have compared to buyers or subscribers. A 20% conversion rate means that for every 5 visitors to your store, 1 of them buys something or subscribes.
A marketing conversion funnel can help you figure out which stage of the buyer’s journey is causing the most problems. Most of your visitors are abandoning the conversion funnel at the top. This suggests that there could be an issue with your website’s landing page or your brand’s reputation.
Some of your users may be abandoning the conversion funnel near the bottom. This could be an indication of an issue with the conversion process at checkout, or that your product copy is not effectively convincing users to become customers.
What Is a Good Conversion Rate?
Even though it would be great to have a higher conversion rate, there is no universally accepted “good” conversion rate that works for every brand.
For example, if you only have 10 customers but a conversion rate of 100%, you have a very high conversion rate, although you don’t have many sales.
This means that your company needs to identify the conversion rate that is best for its needs. To do this:
- Quantify your past data and establish a historical baseline conversion rate based on prior company performance or visitor habits
- Determine how much revenue you need to earn to be in the black or to accomplish other budgetary objectives
- Then prioritize improving the conversion rate by bolstering the conversion funnel’s effectiveness and efficiency
Again, any conversion rate improvement is good. But there’s no single target you should aim for.
For example, if your brand focuses on a very specific and complex niche, it’s likely that you will only have a small number of customers. If you want your brand to last and be financially stable, you don’t need to sell to a lot of people. Just a few customers who are willing to pay a lot for your product or service will be enough.
If you’re not focused on a high conversion rate, you may be more successful relying on subscribers or income from other sources. If you run a software company as a service, it is more important to retain customers than to get a high conversion rate. The idea is that once you turn a customer into a follower, they will remain one for a considerable amount of time.
Elements of a Conversion Funnel
We will now examine the main aspects of a conversion funnel one by one.
Awareness is when customers are attracted to your brand or when your target audience is aware of your company. Your company uses marketing efforts, reputational improvements, or other means of boosting brand awareness to pull customers into the awareness stage.
Most successful companies use a combination of marketing strategies rather than relying on just one. Instead of using just one marketing channel, they use multiple channels and often connect them to omnichannel marketing tactics. It is easier to reach a wider audience by doing this than any other method.
The next stage is even more important. The “interest” or “consideration” phase is where you try to build trust and desire with your potential customers or leads. Prospective customers need to know that your brand makes products that are useful to them. They have to choose their brand among all the other companies or brands in the industry.
During the “desire” phase, your brand needs to make potential buyers interested and show them why they should buy your product instead of another brand’s product.
In this phase of the conversion funnel, it’s important to leverage attention-grabbing elements, like:
- Phenomenal product descriptions for every item on your online store
- Excellent images, such as enticing photos
- Videos of products or services where applicable
- Downloadables like whitepapers and case studies
- Good product and website copy
- Excellent social media influencing
By the time customers reach the conversion stage of the funnel, their options have become considerably narrower. It’s time to convert leads into customers. In fact, it is the final stage of the cycle and the point of least return. The final stage of the conversion cycle is the point of least return.
The conversion stage is met when a customer makes a purchase or subscribes to your brand. In addition to purchasing a product, conversion can also involve taking an action, like signing up for a newsletter.
Re-engagement is the fifth and final stage of a successful conversion funnel. The final stage of the customer lifecycle is known as the loyalty stage. This stage occurs after a lead becomes a customer or subscriber.
It is better to keep customers that have already been gained rather than always trying to bring in new ones. You want your current customers to keep buying your products or staying subscribed. This leads to higher profits for your brand because each customer is worth more to your brand over time.
When customers move further down the conversion funnel, they don’t start back at the beginning. Instead of needing to be convinced of your brand’s trustworthiness, they already trust your brand and are further along in the buyer’s journey. This means that if a customer spends less time in the sales funnel, they are more likely to buy something else from the company.
Conversion Funnel Stages
The classic sales funnel model that focuses on sparking interest, informing potential customers, convincing them to purchase, and building loyalty so they become repeat buyers is the top-middle-bottom funnel.
Traditional Conversion Funnel Stages
- Top of the funnel (TOFU): This is the awareness phase. Potential customer enters the TOFU when they engage with your brand, oftentimes through your website, an ad, an email, or social media.
- Middle of the funnel (MOFU): This is the consideration phase. The potential customer knows about your brand and engages with it to learn more. They may sign up for your email newsletter, follow you on social media, or download guides and templates.
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): This is the conversion phase. A prospect is here right before they purchase, which means you’ve given them good information and relevant touchpoints. Help them convert by making it easy to purchase, offering a trial, outlining pricing, or sending a discount for their abandoned shopping cart.
Conversion Funnel Examples
HubSpot began using the standard conversion funnel model, with marketing activity at the top of the funnel. That sales funnel started with leads that were then sent to the sales team.
There can be a lot of difference between the simplest and most complex conversion funnels. There are several conversion models, ranging from a simple three-stage funnel for smaller operations to complex, multi-stage sales funnels for enterprise-level companies, that you can use to suit your business needs. Let’s explore some of the most common models.
Three-Stage Marketing Funnel
- Awareness: Get visitors to your website. Attract them with quality blog posts or through social media.
- Consideration: Use that great content to entice your new visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
- Conversion: Now that prospects are familiar with your brand, persuade them to purchase by offering a discount code for first-time buyers.
Rather than just Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, it also includes the concepts of: The AIDA model is sometimes called a “purchase funnel.” It expands on the basic three-stage structure by adding the concepts of:
- Attention: In addition to blog posts and social media, you can use targeted ads to draw visitors to your website.
- Interest: Pique the prospect’s interest in your product by showcasing the goods. Use case studies to show how your product has helped other businesses. Have notable press mentions? You’ll want to showcase those as well.
- Desire: Your prospects like you, now you must make them want you. Gain their trust and create an emotional connection. Continue to serve them content that helps them visualize how your product would fit into their lives and why they need it.
- Action: Now’s your chance to get them to convert. One way is to offer a free ebook, trial, or tool that’s only accessible if they fill out a form with their contact information. If your goal is to get them to purchase a product, you could give them a promotional offer to persuade them to buy.
The complexity of your funnel is determined by your sales process – the longer your sales cycle, the more complex your funnel will be. If you have a shorter sales cycle, your marketing funnel is generally simpler.
It takes a lot less time to sell a $20 t-shirt than it does to sell $2,000 B2B software. The purchase of software usually takes months of sales calls, marketing materials, FAQs and demos. There are specific points in your conversion funnel where customers can drop off. However, customers only need five minutes to determine if the t-shirt is the right color and size before making a purchase. In order to purchase this item, you must first take it off the rack and try it on.
You can analyze the data to figure out how complex your funnel is. Creating a visual representation of your customer’s journey through your sales funnel can help you identify areas where customers are getting stuck or dropping off.
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