You have your marketing funnel well mapped out and ready to go. Cool. But wait – have you given any thought on how you could be improving your conversion rate? Traditional marketing teaches us that a marketing funnel is vital for any business, as it helps brands track and close in on potential clients. And while that is true, modern buyers often follow their own purchase paths – which are, unfortunately for us, not as linear as the classic marketing funnel leads us to believe.
The good news is that by adjusting the sales process to the buyer’s funnel, businesses can introduce different purchase paths which satisfy these new demands, and ultimately improve conversion rate optimization (or CRO, for short). Wanna know how? Then read on!
The outdated marketing funnel
In order to understand what an optimized marketing funnel is, let’s start by understanding what it isn’t. For one, outdated marketing funnels are very linear, and potential customers seem to move in a predictable path from one end to the other. Given the apparent simplicity of this process, the marketing efforts used to meet customer journey needs at each stage are also overly simplified – which hurts user experience.
Marketing funnel stages (before CRO) are commonly as follows:
The visual representation of a funnel also provides a pretty good idea of what the conversion process entails. At the very beginning, you’re drawing in a large group of people into your website, and as they move down through the stages, the amount of potential buyers gradually decreases and turns into only a couple quality leads. The logical order in which that happens is also clearly stated in this version of the conversion funnel, as the 3 primary stages: awareness, evaluation and sale. This implies that potential buyers first become aware of a product or service, then evaluate it to make sure it fits their needs, and finally convert (or not).
What is a buyer’s funnel?
While the traditional marketing funnel paints a more general picture of how to track and lead buyers towards a purchase, the buyer’s funnel takes a more advanced approach. While the exact names for each stage can vary, they mainly come down to this: awareness, interest, intent, evaluation, and purchase. These can be further grouped in 3 broader categories, namely lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales. Let’s take a closer look:
The so-called awareness stage is still at the top of the funnel, where lead generation begins. During this stage, marketing efforts should focus on drawing potential customers in through content marketing, corporate blogs and social posts. The objective here is to help buyers “formulate” their questions and needs by offering highly informational content. Then, comes the evaluation stage. This stage consists of users’ initial interest in your company and product, followed by the buyer showing intent, which signals that someone is getting ready to buy what you are offering.
But don’t be fooled – this does not mean that they will go through with the check out process. Before actually making a purchase (or conversion) decision, customers might want to revisit some of the previous stages. In fact, this whole process might not take place in chronological order – and often not even in the same website visit. Which makes mastering CRO and the buyers’ funnel all the more important.
Optimizing the buyer’s funnel
The trick in conversion rate optimization lies in knowing how you can match your content to nurture potential consumers regardless of the marketing funnel stage they decide to revisit or enter. Nurturing every step of the funnel calls for tact and well-planned marketing strategy. Ensure that you are fully present in every step of the buyer’s funnel and offer prospective buyers practical and realistic solutions through every step of the way.
Further to this, while outdated versions of the marketing funnel were simply focused on leading prospects to the bottom of the funnel, an optimized buyer’s funnel goes beyond the purchase step. It takes the shape of an hourglass as it expands just after purchase.
· Awareness – Stand out from the crowd by investing in brand awareness strategies.
· Interest – Get in the customer’s ‘shoe’, look at their pain points and offer practical solutions to their problems.
· Intent – Go ahead of your customer to offer a real and targeted solution to their intent.
· Evaluation – Step in as an ideal option to solve the buyer’s core problems by majoring on differentiators, benefits, and competencies.
· Purchase – Embrace and nurture your newfound friend all through the buying process.
· Adoption – Lay bare every resource, onboarding tool, or knowledge that will help foster a lasting relationship with the customer.
· Retention – Do more to ensure the customer identifies with your brand and is genuinely happy to be associated with the business.
· Expansion – Learn from customer’s experiences, whether at your business or in other brands, to identify new solutions for their success.
· Advocacy – Seek practical ways to make your new client a willing ambassador for your brand through word of mouth. In turn, this will get new potential customers entering the awareness stage of their buyer’s funnel.
So… Why should you invest in conversion optimization?
Not using a conversion optimization strategy should be a cause for concern, especially at this age when competition is the name of the game. So apart from helping you improve your sales prospects, how beneficial is conversion rate optimization?
Understand your customer better
Before you can optimize your site, you need to understand your target market. Through this, you understand your customers better and build personal relationships that will help increase your conversion even more.
Lower your cost per acquisition
Conversion optimization is all about speeding up the buying process. This will mean less expenditure on your side in driving leads through ads and other financially straining strategies.
Improve your SEO efforts
CRO and SEO complement each other sometimes. Since search engines are becoming smarter, conversion rate optimization helps meet the search engine’s dynamic changing needs in appealing to human behavior. By offering the best customer experience, your site will rank higher in the SERPs.
Tips for success in CRO
Many leads do not end up in sales. What a waste! Optimizing your site is not just about driving in traffic but also ensuring you attract the right audience. This is where conversion optimization comes in. You want to ensure the traffic to your website leads to more sales.
With the right conversion optimization comes a low bounce rate. A prudent marketer will strive to balance between driving traffic and making real conversions. These will always work in sync to help harmonize and meet your site’s performance goals.
We understand you want to accomplish your objectives in making sales, but this has to start with understanding and bringing your target audience’s goals to fruition. This may be done in several steps:
Understand your goals
Optimize for conversions by mapping out your site’s objectives and goals. This can then be followed by setting up an ideal web analytics tool to help create the foundation for each goal’s conversion rate.
Use an effective testing process
Find an ideal process for testing over time. Create a systematic process that maps out what and how to test the processes. Here, your focus should be on improving your conversion rate.
Some factors that may affect conversion rate and thus call for testing may include the user interface, headlines, navigation, content, and call to action.
Create your conversion funnel strategy
Formulate a conversion funnel strategy that will align with your business objectives. You can then list the behavioral steps you would expect your target audience to take. Test each of these steps to ensure they lead to a conversion.
Visualize visitor success
How would you want your site’s visitors to feel during and after going through your content? Visualize a positive feeling and work towards offering just that on your site. By meeting them at their point of need, conversion becomes much easier
Optimizing your funnel for higher conversions is not a walk in the park. Still, the process becomes much easier with the right strategies. This boils down to your ability to identify, understand and work in sync with the buyer’s funnel.
Traffic to your site is a good sign, but this may not help if you do not take the right steps to ensure that this leads to sales and lower bounce rates.
Luckily, you can easily streamline this process through conversion optimization. Understand user intent and work towards meeting their needs in each step of the buyer’s funnel. By embracing the new marketing funnel, you can rest assured that your leads will not just end at purchase. They’ll go ahead to advocate and identify with your brand.