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Craig Greenup 27/09/23, 13:58
If you’ve got a website, you’ve got a website conversion funnel. But that’s not to say it’s working particularly well.
An effective web conversion funnel relies on top-notch web design, targeted marketing and a clear conversion funnel pathway. Get all of this right and you turn a greater proportion of website visitors into customers.
Here we’re going to look at the four stages of the website conversion funnel – and give you lots of great tips for optimising your funnel and improving your website conversion rate.
A website conversion funnel is the path website visitors travel as they move closer to a conversion action. For an ecommerce website, this usually means a product purchase. But a software trial signup or completion of a contact form can be classed as website conversions too.
We talk about this concept as a “funnel” because you tend to have a large pool of people at the top of the funnel, then progressively fewer people at each stage of the process.
You inevitably lose people along the way. Some people who visit your site just aren’t the right fit for your product or service and will never end up buying from you.
However, some people simply need a bit of guidance and persuasion to take the plunge and make a purchase. And that’s what conversion funnel optimisation is all about.
When you understand where and why you’re losing people from the website conversion funnel, you can make targeted changes. You can improve your website user experience (UX), your website content and your marketing efforts so they guide users more effectively to the desired conversion.
We tend to break the website conversion funnel down into four stages. These four stages are:
This is where customers first get to hear about your brand, products and services. Via PPC campaigns, social media marketing or organic SEO marketing, customers arrive at your website, hoping to find a solution for a problem they’re experiencing.
Now that people have made it onto your site, you need to build a bit of buzz around your brand. To do this, you need a well-designed website that offers excellent UX and easy navigation. You can also engage website visitors with strategically placed pop-ups, email sign-up forms, top quality content and product pages that provide lots of useful information.
By this stage of the web conversion funnel, website visitors have an active interest in your product or service. But there are other options on the table and they need to know why your brand is the best bet. Customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, FAQs and price comparisons are all very useful at this point in the process. You can also encourage reluctant buyers with money-off deals and limited-time offers.
This is the point at which a website visitor becomes a customer. They take action and buy a product, sign up for your service or make an enquiry. To smooth this final stage of the website conversion funnel, you need product pages that are rich in information, plus an intuitive checkout or contact form process. A small proportion of prospects actually make it to the action stage of your conversion funnel and a good website conversion rate stands somewhere between 2% and 5%.
So how do you get more people from the awareness stage to the action stage? Here are all the things you can do to optimise your conversion funnel.
A website conversion funnel should always start with a goal. What do you want people to do when they visit your website?
There may be micro-conversions along the way, such as a lead magnet download or an email newsletter sign-up. But decide on the desired endpoint too. With a clear, final conversion goal in mind, you can create a better conversion funnel.
When you first build a web conversion funnel, base it around the ideal customer path. Think about where website users will enter your site. And what pages they’ll visit before converting.
When you visualise the ideal customer path in this way, you find it easy to create pages with a clear purpose. They’re designed to provide content and calls to action (CTAs) that move website visitors in the desired direction.
You also find it easier to identify and rectify the conversion barriers – for example, unclear messaging or limited navigation functions – that prevent a user from moving onto the next funnel stage.
Good website user experience (UX) improves the likelihood of users becoming customers. That’s because there are no points of friction that prompt people to leave your website.
A website with good UX ticks meets all of the following criteria:
Trust is a big part of the online purchasing process. Without it, you’ll struggle to move users further down the conversion funnel.
Remember that a person landing on your website may be completely new to your brand. They’re judging whether you’re a trustworthy company that provides good service. And all they have to go off is your website.
We know. Pop-ups can be pretty annoying. But when they’re used sparingly – and provide information that offers real value to your users – they can actually be very effective.
You can use pop-ups to:
You can also use a pop-up to personalise the website experience. If your site has lots of different product or service options, a pop-up that asks users what they’re looking for – and then directs them to the relevant page – ensures a better and more engaging experience.
Micro-conversions are smaller conversions that drive customers towards your final, big conversion goal. They usually involve a website user handing over their email address in return for a lead magnet.
Lead magnets should provide real value for a user so they feel happy adding their email address to your mailing list. You could offer:
Strategically placed pop-ups or sign-up boxes alert website visitors to this lead magnet. And you can then send marketing materials direct to user inboxes as part of your conversion funnel optimisation efforts.
Email marketing is an excellent way to prevent people from leaving your web conversion funnel. Once you have a user email address – thanks to a micro-conversion – you can use it to send timely reminders about your brand and all it has to offer.
A drip campaign is an automated series of emails designed specifically for new leads. It aims to build trust with potential customers (over days or weeks) before ending with a sales pitch.
You can also send regular company newsletters that highlight your products and services. And use emails collected during the checkout process to chase up users who started – but didn’t complete – a purchase, perhaps including an incentive that persuades them to revisit their cart and checkout.
Just remember, the more targeted and personalised you make your email marketing efforts, the more engaged and likely to buy your users will become.
When you use an analytics program, like Google Analytics, you can track metrics related to your conversion funnel performance. Things like website and page visits, your conversion rate, bounce rate and cart abandonment rate will all help you to judge how your website is doing.
You can also use the Funnel Visualization tool in Google Analytics to find leaks in your funnel.
It shows you how many people leave at each stage of the funnel – and where they go to next. The journey they take gives you insight into what is missing at this stage in the funnel. You can then improve pages that tend to leak a lot of users.
If you’re losing lots of users at a particular point in the conversion funnel, A/B testing can help you find a solution.
In A/B testing you create two different versions of a webpage. Half of your website visitors see one version – and half the other. You can then look at conversion stats to see which version is more effective, before choosing that version as your permanent page.
When using A/B testing for conversion funnel optimisation, consider testing different versions of the following:
Another useful thing you can do with Google Analytics? View your Reserve Goal Path.
This tool shows you the route that successfully converting customers have taken. And it helps you to see whether your customers’ chosen path matches the path you’d mapped out for them.
If it doesn’t – and there’s a misalignment – there’s work to be done. It may be that you’re trying to force website visitors down a route that just doesn’t suit them. So consider adopting a web conversion funnel that matches customer preferences, optimising the content and CTAs on the pages they like to visit.
If you want to gain an even better understanding of how your web conversion funnel is and isn’t working, heatmaps are a useful tool. They show you how users interact with each conversion-critical page of your website – highlighting the places where users tend to click, scroll or move their cursor.
A heatmap shows you where CTAs are being missed, where important content is going unnoticed and where unnecessary features distract users from completing a conversion action.
Discovering exactly which areas of a page attract user attention can help you build pages that better support your web conversion funnel.
The four stages of the website conversion funnel focus on getting new customers to convert. But what about customers who’ve already converted? Where do they fit into the process?
You spend five times as much money acquiring a new customer as you do retaining an existing one. So when thinking about your web conversion funnel, you always need a re-engagement strategy.
To pull previous customers back into the funnel at the Interest or Desire stage, encourage customers to follow your social media channels and establish an email marketing campaign for past customers. That way, you can reliably put new products, services and special offers in front of warm leads.
Whether you have a simple brochure website or a sprawling ecommerce site, a conversion funnel optimisation strategy stands to improve your website conversion rate.
You get to know what users need from each page of your website – and where you want them to go next. So you find it easier to develop website design, website content and marketing materials that support a clear customer journey.
With an effective web conversion funnel in place, you guide more users onto each new funnel stage and turn more website visitors into loyal customers.
Want help creating or optimising the conversion funnel for your website? Then contact the friendly Radical Web Design team!
Whether we’re starting a website from scratch – or updating your site with new and exciting features – you can count on creative solutions, exceptional UX and the very best results.