Your Conversion Funnel
A Conversion Funnel is the path that a visitor takes from point A to point B in your marketing process. Typically that path is a series of steps, and the path can be long, short, convoluted, or extremely direct. We call it a funnel because, much like a physical funnel, it takes large numbers of people and hones them into a targeted stream by the end of the process.
Funnels help us see the sales process (or processes) by giving us a visual representation of the conversion data between each step. This allows us to:
- Determine what steps are causing customer confusion or trouble.
- Figure out what language or copy might be altering our customer’s emotional behavior during checkout or sign up.
- To be aware of bugs, browser issues and other technical nuisances.
When users visit your website, many are not yet ready to make an immediate purchase. You start by casting your net wide, attracting as many visitors to your website as you can. Then you try to transform those visitors into leads, by having them subscribe to your email list, by bookmarking your site, by “Liking” you on Facebook . . . the list is long if not endless.
With lead in hand, you then try to convert that person into a paying client. You get him to book a gig.
That entire process is a Conversion Funnel. From first contact to money in hand.
It’s important to realize, however, that most of the steps in that Funnel are ALSO Conversion Funnels. When a random visitor becomes a lead, that’s an important conversion, too.
Keep Steps Small
Marketers can minimize user drop-off at every stage of the conversion funnel. Fine-tune your steps into clearly segmented states to zero-in on strategies that promote engagement, retention, and sales.
When designing a website it’s important to build Conversion Funnels to accomplish all of your goals, always keeping in mind your personas and buying cycles. However, it’s equally important to use Google Analytics or similar software to verify those funnels and track visitors as they make their way through them.
One of the keys to successfully optimizing your conversion funnel is knowing how many people make it through each step of the process, so that you can find the points where you are losing the most people and test different ways to improve them. Without proper tracking data you are flying blind.
Questions To Ask About Each Step In Your Funnel:
Am I continuing the conversation?
Once you have engaged readers online, you’ve entered a conversation in their head. Once they’ve clicked through to your web site, their mind is moving on a track that was triggered by that link. You need to make sure that as they go through your site, that conversation continues. For each step in your funnel, make sure that it is logical, and that it adds to the knowledge and information that people have already seen in previous steps. If every part of your funnel rehashes the same information, consider cutting down the number of steps and condensing into fewer, more relevant pages.
Does this step add value? Is it necessary?
On a similar note, make sure all of your communication is necessary, and that you don’t have any steps in the process that are pure fluff. One of the key metrics people often use when analyzing site usability is the number of clicks it takes to reach any given page. Make sure every part of your funnel is on target and to the point, and that you don’t have extra, unnecessary steps in people’s way of getting to your conversion page.
Is it obvious?
I’ve made it to your site, I’ve clicked on Shows read about one I really want. Do you have a prominent clear way for me to click through and book that show? As time progresses on the web buttons have gotten bigger and bigger, often with good reason: Big buttons get clicked on more often.
Make sure people can see very clearly how to move to the next step in your process. Don’t hide an opt in box or an order link. Make sure that people can clearly and immediately see how to take action if they want to. If they want to read more first, they can, but at least they know where to go when they are ready to move forward.
What Is Conversion Testing?
Simply put, conversion testing is the process of testing various elements on your website to ensure maximum conversion rates.
Why Is Conversion Testing Important?
Without testing you’re making important decisions based on intuition, instead of fact. There are countless case studies that show how a minor change resulted in x% increase in sales. Conversion testing is all about optimization. You make small changes, measure the results, rinse and repeat.
TEST TEST TEST
Every market, every site, every opportunity is different. There is never going to be a one-size-fits-all solution, so only way to know what works best for YOU is to run tests.
Begin by looking at your front page. Most potential customers land on your front page first, so it’s vitally important to optimize the heck out of it. What is the first thing a visitor sees? Which products do you feature? How strong are your call-to-actions? Should you feature seasonal sales? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions – the point is to make changes, measure the results, and optimize.
This element might not seem like an important consideration at first glance, but you might be surprised how colors affect an action online. Studies that test how people reacted to the various colors of call-to-action buttons showed that color could make a HUGE difference.
What is at the top of your web page should naturally direct a visitor to the basic actions they will likely want to make. You should know what customers in your specific magic market are looking for. Play around with your main navigation bar and see what works.
A lot of sites use those little social media buttons on your site in hopes visitors with Share their visit with friends. Sometimes that’s a good. Sometimes it just distracts your visitor from spending some money on your show. Test it both ways, with different social media, and see what works best for you.