What actions do you want customers to take on your website?

Depending on your business it may vary from purchasing a product, getting more information, subscribing to your blog, or donating money to your cause. When a customer completes the action you want them to take it’s called a conversion. You can encourage conversions by refining your marketing funnel.

We’re going to explain what a marketing funnel is, how to identify yours, and how you can improve your funnel for increased results.

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What’s a marketing funnel?

Marketing funnels represent the steps prospective customers take on their journey to becoming an actual customer. Funnels are broken down into different sections, each designed to represent a pivotal moment someone can have with your business.

They’re a way of understanding your customer’s experience. It starts the second someone learns about your business and it continues through the moment that they become a customer. Successful funnels encourage customer advocacy, loyalty, and repeat business.

A healthy funnel looks like this:

As you move down the funnel there are fewer people at each step. Not everyone who visits your site becomes a customer, right? Optimizing your funnel increases the number of people who make it all the way through. In order to refine your customer’s experiences and your funnel, you need to understand what happens at each step.

Breaking down the funnel

Each section of the funnel represents a pivotal moment in your customer’s journey.

Marketing Efforts/SEO: Your marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts aren’t technically part of the funnel, but they do influence the user experience and willingness to move through the funnel. Think of your marketing efforts as food for your funnel. Without any marketing or SEO efforts, prospective customers won’t know you exist and can’t find their way to your website. Marketing efforts can include having active social media profiles for your business, a blog, email newsletters, and any other content created for your site or products. Your marketing efforts directly affect awareness of your business or site.

Awareness: This lives at the top of the funnel and goes hand-in-hand with your marketing efforts. At this stage, people are finding your website and discovering what it is you offer. They’re learning about you on your own territory (your site or retail store).

Interest: Once someone’s aware that you exist, one of two things will happen: you’ll pique their interest or they’ll leave your site having decided that their needs can’t be met by your offerings. To increase the number of interested parties, make sure your site has clear CTAs (Call-to-Actions) and a good user experience. If you’ve explained and positioned your offerings clearly people will take greater interest in your services and move further down the funnel.

Evaluation: They’re aware, they’re interested, and now they’re seriously considering your product. Many things can happen in the evaluation step: prospective customers are trialing your goods or services, or perhaps they’re taking advantage of your free initial consultations. People at the evaluation stage are on the cusp of becoming paying customers.

Conversion: This is the moment you’ve been working for. Conversions happen when site visitors complete the action(s) you want them to take. Conversions can include purchasing an item or signing up for your webinars and blog posts. When someone converts, you earn a customer or client.

Loyalty and Advocacy: Sometimes, you’ll find loyalty and advocacy described as two distinct parts of the funnel, but they go hand-in-hand. Treating customers well and providing good experiences for them will earn you their loyalty and a loyal customer is a repeat customer. These customers are also more likely to recommend your product or service to people they know. Customer advocacy and recommendations can make a world of difference. Convince and convert did a recent study and found that “50% of Americans would choose word of mouth if they had to pick one source of information” — so provide an experience and product you’d be proud to have people talk about and recommend. Customer advocacy is free advertising for you!

Keep in mind that repeat customers go through the funnel every time they purchase an item from you. Don’t get lax with your website experience or product offerings, because you want them to make it all the way through the funnel each time they visit.

What’s your funnel look like?

Now that you know what a funnel looks like, put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes to explore your funnel. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where can they find out about my business?
    • Do you have enough of a digital presence for people to know you exist? Take stock of your social media profiles, marketing materials and efforts to identify and address any opportunities.
  • Is my content interesting?
    • Pumping out content for the sake of having content isn’t a great strategy. Make sure your content speaks to your desired audience. Who do you want as a customer? What are their needs?
  • Do I provide enough opportunities for engagement?
    • As people evaluate your product or service they’re going to have questions. You, or a support team, should be available to address them. Consider offering a free trial or consultation if you provide a service.
  • What’s my checkout process like?
    • If your checkout process is clunky and cumbersome then you’re in trouble. You want your visitors to move seamlessly from evaluation to conversion.
  • Am I encouraging happy customers to leave reviews and talk about my business?
    • Word of mouth brings in new customers. Encourage existing customers to leave a review on your Facebook page or other outlet where it can easily be found by others.

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Do what’s best for your business

Reviewing and optimizing your marketing funnel should increase your site traffic, spike visitor interest, and most importantly — bring in the customers.

Use the marketing funnel description we provided to understand the different steps along your customer’s journey. Once you understand what that journey looks like, pretend you’re a potential customer to evaluate your specific funnel. It wouldn’t hurt to ask a friend or person you trust for their feedback, too.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to improving marketing funnels? Let us know in the comments.