Understanding the customer buying process is one of the keys to business success. And the most iconic model marketers and salespeople use to understand this process is the conversion funnel.
If you’ve been selling or marketing products for a while now, you may already be familiar with this funnel. What you need to do now is to optimize and refine it for maximum effect.
What exactly is a conversion funnel?
A conversion funnel, also known as a sales funnel, is a term that helps in visualizing and understanding the flow of a customer’s buying process – from them becoming aware of your product or service, all the way to them taking a desired action or in other words, convert. Unlike a traditional funnel where you just pour people into it, a more modern and effective approach is to guide them to take the next desired action.
One of the benefits of knowing about the conversion funnel is having a representation of the buyer’s journey. The simpler this funnel is, the easier you will understand the process, and the better you will be at converting customers.
The elements of a conversion funnel
The typical stages of a sales funnel comprise of the following: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Conversion.
The Awareness stage is when you create marketing strategies targeted at new audiences to attract potential customers into your site. Assume that at this stage, the customers don’t know about your product or service yet; they only want or need something. To capitalise on that want or need, you need to put your brand out there.
You achieve this by optimizing your inbound marketing strategies: search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), content marketing, and social media. Doing this will help increase your chances of bringing customers to the next stage.
Next is the Interest stage. Now that people are familiar with your products or services, your next task is to generate interest and demand from your customers. This is where content marketing is the number one strategy to ensure you get people interested. You will need things like a website that provides visitors with as much information as possible about your business. Having a blog also helps since it gives you the chance to post content relevant to your industry.
The next stage would be Desire. In this stage of the funnel, the aim is to make your customers really want what you’re offering. This is when you solidify your audience’s interest and turn your product/service something that they have to get. This includes providing eye-catching photos and videos, convincing captions/descriptions, and, on the sales side, having excellent product reviews.
Finally, you will want your audience to push through the Conversion stage. This stage is when your audience knows about your product, desires to have it, and takes the desired action (i.e. a purchase). It is important, however, to also aim for retention once the customer has converted. You must avoid bombarding your audience with constant messages; go for an assortment of tactics over time.
These are the four basic components of a conversion funnel. Some companies add extra steps to this funnel, like the Consideration stage, when customers have identified what problem they need to fix or what opportunity they need to take. Some also add an additional stage at the end of the funnel called the Loyalty stage, where you work to keep the customers you’ve gained and seek to keep them happy for as long as possible to encourage repeat sales and referrals.
Implement conversion funnels for your business
Conversion funnels may be intimidating to think about at first, but developing one for your company can do wonders to your bottom line. You need to know exactly which strategies work for each stage. For example, email works best in the Desire and conversion stage, SEO works best during the Interest stage, and so on.
Creating a sales funnel that works takes time, and requires continuous refinement depending on external factors like trends, changing customer behaviors, algorithm changes, etc. With a clearly-defined conversion funnel, you will be able to understand your buyer’s journey and ensure your company makes the most out of its resources.