Building a good conversion funnel on your e-commerce site means optimizing it in many different ways that can enhance your conversions and profits. This includes many practices that contain the whole design of your site, not just one aspect of it. You will have to provide a complete package for your users.
The conversion funnel consists of many smaller stages, and each of them can increase your chance of getting more sales on your site. Here, we will take a look at what a conversion funnel is, the parts that it consists of, and the 7 best ways to optimize the conversion funnel to make more sales.
The Conversion Funnel
It’s easier said than done; all you have to do is optimize your funnel, and offer a worthy service or products, and you will be on a good way to more sales, right? Well often, it is more complicated than that. Customers can be unpredictable, but improving and building a good conversion funnel brings a lot of new sales.
But what is a conversion funnel exactly? It is a path that your customer or user must walk or take on your site before they get to your cart and complete the purchase. There are 4 different stages of a conversion funnel, and in each stage, the numbers drop off, which is expected. The way we can optimize this funnel is by lowering those drop-off numbers in each stage of the funnel.
The 4 stages of the funnel are:
- The Landing Page (Interest-Visit)
- The Product Page (Consideration-Discovery)
- The Shopping Cart (Decision-Check out)
- Purchase (Loyalty-Orders)
To make the most out of this funnel, each of those stages needs to be optimized in some ways. In this article, we will take a look at conversion rate optimization best practices.
What do those stages mean? To begin with, all the customers that visit your site in one shape or another will start with the landing page. This is the most important step in the funnel, and where the drop-off number is the largest. In this stage your customers will get the awareness of your products and services, and where you must hook them to these. You will have to provide interesting content like free blog posts, articles, guides, and even some video guides and demonstrations to get their interest.
The next process of the funnel, where usually only 40-50% of the people from the landing page come, is the product pages. In this step, users will be curious about your products as you’ve hooked them with an interesting landing page. It is a crucial step, and it is where you should provide wholesome and interesting product pages. Talk about your products and give them some value, but don’t forget to include the specific details that some customers will be interested in.
After the customers decide that your product page was engaging enough to buy the product, they will enter the shopping cart phase of the funnel. This is a crucial step on the way to the purchase, and poor shopping carts are often the reason why people abandon purchases. They might add products to the cart, but they never complete the purchase. There are some good practices that can lower the number of abandonments of your carts.
The last step is the purchase, where users decide to buy something. These are the people that go through the whole funnel, and it is this number that you will want to increase. Having a good checkout system is important, but it is all about providing satisfactory products and transparent transactions that you should be looking for in this stage.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to improve your funnel in general, which involves actions.
Optimize your E-Commerce Funnel
1. Attract Customers Through Social Media (Interest Stage)
Marketing is part of the first stage of the funnel, the one which leads users to your landing page. Social media marketing that is, being active on different social media platforms has several advantages. About 90% of marketers claimed that social media created large exposure for their business. Among others, you can grow your brand awareness, generate more inbound traffic, improve brand loyalty, increase your search engine rankings and the most important boost your conversion rate.
Facebook is a social media platform that almost everyone in the world knows, it also has the most users. That is why it is important to set up an effective tactic that will bring Facebook users to your site. Facebook use among U.S. marketers slightly grew from 86.3% in 2018 to 86.8% in 2019. This number will possibly extend to 87.1% in 2020.
Facebook Ads are great, but that itself is not enough. It is about making attractive ads that promote your products well and then creating an attractive landing page that will inspire your visitors to continue down the conversion funnel.
2. Offer Free and Engaging Content on Your Landing Page (Interest Stage)
The purpose of your landing page is to attract users and make them want to buy your products, or at least to make them interested. People seem to choose pages and products that offer them value, and during this step, you need to do that.
This can include mini blog posts about your products or services, various promotional articles – these shouldn’t be about your products only, it can also be:
- bullet points
- numbered lists
- ‘How it works’ section
- sales letter
- first-person video
- quick quiz
- ‘Our story’ section
- comparison chart
- user-generated content (UGC)
- staff profiles
- interactive content
- photo spread
- icon set
- illustrations and diagrams
- schedules and syllabi
3. Use Social Proof on Your Product Pages (Consideration Stage)
When you are presenting your products on your products page, it is important to display some sort of proof, confirmation that your products are worth the customers’ time, money and maybe efforts. The best way to do it is by displaying social proof (customer reviews, posts, or helpful comments) on the product page. That way, your products will look more worthwhile.
A report from Minter found 70% of Americans are looking for opinions from review sites before making purchases. Good news BrightLocal found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
4. Optimize Your Product Pages (Consideration Stage)
The next step is a crucial one and is one that you should do if you haven’t already – optimize the product pages.
That includes giving customers all the information they need. The product descriptions shouldn’t be boring, for example, describe how it would make them feel, but make sure it includes some technical information as well.
Also, add practical call-to-action buttons on your site that would allow customers to buy quickly, and provide all the necessary info – shipping, costs and fees, and everything else. You can find great inspirations for your CTAs, but make sure that it’s fun, unique, and irresistible.
One factor that can not be neglected when talking about optimizing a product page is web analytics, especially qualitative web analytics tools like heatmaps, and session replays. They help you answer all the questions that start with “Why” during the process of optimization.
5. Introduce Exit-Intent Triggers (Shopping Cart Stage)
Too many shopping carts get abandoned. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to decrease that number.
One of the best actions you can take is creating a pop-up message when the customer is about to leave the cart. You can do that with exit-intent triggers, which can be very effective for this.
You can combine triggers for a better result. For example, Pixojet uses a popup with an exit-intent and a timed trigger.
6. Optimize Your Checkouts System (Shopping Cart Stage)
One of the most important parts of your conversion funnel is your checkout system. 7 out of every 10 visitors leave the checkout page without buying anything. And that’s a big number, there are several evergreen ideas to reduce that:
- Offer prices in local currencies
- Don’t make shoppers register
In a study, they found that around 30% of shoppers abandoned the checkout process when they were asked to sign up. Instead offer a guest checkout or create a user account automatically.
- Free shipping and free returns
Consider adjusting your product prices to include shipping. For NuFace, an online shop selling skincare products, adding a simple “free shipping on orders above $75” banner on their homepage increased orders by 90%.
- Mobile-friendly design
Be responsive to all different kinds of mobile devices, that means use tappable buttons, make sure that it loads quickly (reduce the number of pictures), make navigation easier (align forms vertically).
7. Offer a Loyalty Program and Promote it (Loyalty)
The last step is one that never stops – keeping your customers loyal to you. It is an ongoing process that helps you create long-lasting relationships. Here, you can offer a special loyalty program with discounts and special offers for those who purchase more than once from you. You need to promote your loyalty program so that customers are aware of what they earn if they are loyal to you.
In a report, 84% of consumers said that they’re more likely to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program. And 66% of customers confirmed that the fact that they are able to earn rewards changes their spending behavior.
Improving your conversion funnel is one of the most important tasks for businesses. It is an ongoing process, but one that is certainly worth your time. If you do it the right way and strive to improve something constantly, then results await.
What Will It Take To Drive Content Marketing Forward?
You’re doing everything in your power to craft amazing content.
You sweat over quality, optimize everything to the last keyword, and feed those greedy channel beasts more and more and more.
But the results you get don’t match the effort you put in. What are you doing wrong?
The game has changed. Simply doing the once-right things – and more of them – won’t guarantee wins.
Playing to win now means doubling down on strategy
“The content you create provides no sustainable competitive advantage for your business.”
Robert Rose kicked off Content Marketing World 2022 with that bold statement. Even the most exceptional work will be copied, remixed, reimagined, and reissued by other brands and consumers.
But don’t take that statement as a eulogy for our beloved practice. Instead, celebrate new and different ways of looking at your work, Robert said, starting with your strategy and structure.
Having the right resources (including the strategic roles, teams, and repeatable procedures) lets you fluidly change and evolve all the time.
And that’s where you’ll find your new competitive advantage.
Invest in a remarkable (and human) voice
Take Netflix, for example. The streaming giant made the strategic choice to invest in real, live humans to write the closed caption subtitles for its smash-hit Stranger Things. That choice paid off with the kind of online buzz no brand can buy.
Most streamers use automated transcriptions to help people with hearing difficulties follow what’s happening on screen. But Netflix assigned marketing writers to craft vivid descriptions of the sounds accompanying the Stranger Things action.
The evocative and unsettling words they used (wetly squelching, tentacles roiling) caught the attention of younger viewers – a segment that watches shows with captions on regardless of their hearing ability. Earned media mentions skittered across the web, entangling viewers in a whole new viewing (and reading) experience.
The lesson, Ann said, is that voice can carry your brand’s unique personality, even when your brand isn’t mentioned. Investing in it is a strategic choice that sets your brand apart.
“A warm, relatable brand voice is increasingly crucial. It’s how we need to start developing relationships with our audiences, especially in this world of content abundance,” Ann said.
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Do what others don’t dare
While writing a book about how mobile phones transformed communication, he hit on a unique idea. Why not put his phone number on the cover, so readers could reach out and continue the dialog?
His publishers balked. So, Bonin purchased the rights from them and published the book his way. Since 2016, more than 50,000 readers of Txt Me: Your Phone Has Changed Your Life. Let’s Talk About It have called to create a personal connection with him.
A co-founder of Group Black – a media collective and accelerator focused on advancing Black-owned media properties – Bonin built his groundbreaking marketing career by thinking differently about what others consider impossible.
Bonin offers advice on how to challenge convention into meaningful marketing actions:
- Aspire, but have a plan to see ideas through: While aspiration is a significant first step, you must develop the muscle memory to see your ideas to completion. Allocate the time, resources, and effort to execute the ideas.
- Operate in real-time: The set-it-and-forget-it mentality doesn’t work anymore. Think about how you can change your business to deliver products in real time.
- Be resourceful: Experimenting with content is not about how much money is available. It’s about how well you use the assets, talent, and resources you have.
- Operationalize innovation: Look for models you can reverse-engineer to guide the development of your ideas and create guardrails and structures that make innovation more manageable.
- Be curious: If you build the skill of curiosity, you can foster environments that create change.
- Don’t give up: A no from stakeholders doesn’t mean your idea is bad. It just means it’s not the right fit under the current situation. Keep workshopping it. If all else fails, consider developing it elsewhere or on your own.
Advocate for a clear content career path
People remain the most valuable (and expensive) content marketing assets. So cultivating content marketing careers is one of the most strategic choices an organization can make.
Upcoming CMI research shared at the conference shows most content marketers are at least somewhat satisfied with their current roles. Yet few feel sure about how they’ll grow in those roles. And of those who do have a clear career path, 20% say they’ll have to leave their employer to get there.
“We have to build a career path into what it is we do. There’s no way content becomes a strategic function in the business if we don’t look at this. It will always be just a content factory,” Robert said.
Jessica Bergmann shared how Salesforce did this. Working with the employee success team, Jessica and colleagues documented a career path for content team members to follow to progress from individual contributors to executive management.
Each company should build a path that suits its structure and culture. But Jessica shared some ideas any brand can use to start seeding opportunities and laying a professional path for content team members:
- Advocate for integrated content teams: “It’s important that you show up as one company with one voice. We can’t have all different teams creating content everywhere and showing up with different voices and perspectives,” she said.
- Define content roles and responsibilities clearly: Understand how content-centric teams across the organization collaborate and align their efforts to help content strategy get a seat at the decision-makers’ table.
- Create democratized performance dashboards: Empower company leadership to see each content asset’s performance without asking for it.
- Automate the ordinary: Using your automation tools to reduce time spent performing mundane tasks will allow content teams to focus on creating extraordinary and impactful content experiences.
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Set your vision on meaningful change
Perhaps the most urgent strategic question today is this: How will you create content that leads to a meaningful change in the world?
With trust declining in government and other institutions, audiences now expect brands to work toward something beyond their balance sheet. Robert Rose pointed out in his talk that the subhead for Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer is this: “Societal leadership is now a core function of business.”
Mark Harrison brought home the role of content (and individual content practitioners) in this function. A volunteer and entrepreneur who founded sponsorship agency T1 to work exclusively with impactful brands, Mark is committed to making a difference.
“I have a simple personal vision, and that is to create a world of belonging,” he said. “No matter what you look like, what you sound like, or where you come from, you will feel that you belong.”
Mark executes his mission by building what he calls the above-ground railroad, giving the nod to the underground railroad that helped thousands of enslaved people escape to freedom in the United States. The above-ground railroad activates networks of people to bring greater equity and opportunity to those who have been marginalized by society.
Part of that work involves amplifying their struggles and their strengths to those who have the power to increase inclusivity.
“Amplifying voices is not giving your social pages over to somebody that doesn’t look like you. It’s about showing real courage,” Mark said.
Mark shared a brand example that shows how powerful courageous content can be. When Harry Met Santa, a video from Posten Norge, tells the story of a developing relationship between a man (Harry) and Santa Claus. The video ends with a romantic kiss between the two, followed by this closing line: “In 2022, Norway marks 50 years of being able to love whoever we want.”
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How will you make content better for everyone?
These and other Content Marketing World conversations make one thing clear: You have your work cut out for you.
But you also have an opportunity to rethink your content strategy to create something remarkable. That strategy might include investments in:
- Talented creators who help develop your brand’s distinctive voice
- A clear career path that helps you keep your talent
- New and different approaches to content possibilities
- Making a societal impact
What takeaways resonate with you? Where do you plan to focus your strategy for the rest of the year and into 2023? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
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