Sales funnel is used to describe the journey or decision process that a potential customer takes leading up to a purchase. The sales funnel analogy is often used to illustrate the gradual decline in the number of potential customers as they are guided through the conversion process. It is reasoned that fewer people make it to the end of the funnel until finally only a small percentage of them become actual customers.
The sales funnel can be generally broken into three distinct phases, otherwise known as sales funnel stages: upper funnel, middle funnel, and lower funnel.
By understanding where your users are in relation to this funnel, you can better tailor your marketing strategy and tactics to increase the likelihood of conversion. Another way of thinking about this conceptually is in terms of the “top of the funnel” and the “bottom of the funnel”, which respectively correspond to the beginning and end phases of the potential buyer’s journey.
The level of education that a potential customer has of a product is important when it comes to them making a purchase. The terms ‘Awareness’, ‘Interest’, and ‘Consideration’ all reference this idea. Customers who are closer to making a purchase are typically more invested in learning about the product and its features.
TOP OF THE FUNNEL
At the top of the funnel, potential customers are just starting to do research about a product. They might spend time looking into different brands and try to understand which one would suit their needs best. They might not be sure about technical requirements or what their exact needs are yet. This stage is also known as the awareness stage.
MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL
At this stage in the funnel, your potential customers are clued to the most popular brands and may have even signed up for some email campaigns to receive information about products from these brands. They have built up expectations about what they want now and will disregard brands that they see as not being able to provide good value and quality for them.
BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL
Potential customers have now decided on their favourite brands and started to look for reviews and information from customers to really inform them about what they will get when they purchase from them. Remarketing and long-tail keyword optimisation will help you stay in the mind of your potential customers at this stage of the conversion process.
THE SALES FUNNEL STAGES
Although the model of your sales funnel will largely depend on the type of business you’re running, it is typically broken down into 4 levels: “awareness”, “interest, “desire, and “action”.
The purpose of building a sales funnel is to have more people travelling through each stage and ultimately increase the conversion rate by taking the desired action. Even though every stage in the funnel has its own purpose, such as to attract ideal customers or to build their interest in your products, the one overarching goal is to drive them to the final conversion stage.
The first step in any sales conversion funnel is awareness. You can raise awareness of your e-commerce business and products by determining the sources that are currently driving most of your quality traffic and making better-informed decisions about what tactics are most effective. Most businesses rely on attracting targeted traffic through advertising, social media and content marketing campaigns, and organic search. By understanding which channels are currently providing the most value, you can focus your efforts on those channels to drive more conversions.
Once you’ve started driving traffic to your website, you’ll need to work on building an interest in your products and services. Content that engages visitors, irresistible offers, and striking visuals will all be helpful at this stage. You should also put some measures in place to gauge whether your baiting tactics are working. Something as simple as asking prospects to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a discount or free shipping can help you assess their interest in your brand.
As you continue to attract more visitors to your site, you’ll want to focus on building trust and interest. These are the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say and sell. You can keep them coming back by emailing them targeted content that’s personalized to their interests. By this stage in the funnel, your prospective customers have shown that they trust your brand and have a desire to learn more. These are considered highly qualified leads that need to be nurtured in order to move them further down the funnel. One way to keep them engaged is by using email workflow campaigns that deliver targeted and personalized content. This will help bring them back to your website regularly.
The action stage is the final and most important part of the funnel. All the smaller actions that your leads have taken up to this point, such as signing up for your newsletter or downloading an eBook, are referred to as micro conversions. Yet, your ultimate goal is to persuade your leads to convert and make a purchase. If a lot of visitors drop off at this stage, it indicates that your sales tactics may need some improvement.
Your website’s sales funnel is like a recipe for success. The more ingredients you have at each stage, the more likely it is that your visitors will reach the last level. To optimize your sales funnel, you need to understand your customers’ behaviour and identify the causes of the “leaks” at each stage. By making even minor improvements at each level, you can significantly affect your bottom line.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SALES FUNNEL
When it comes to sales funnel optimization, it’s helpful to think of it in sections – upper, middle, and lower. The upper funnel’s main purpose is to bring in prospective customers. The middle funnel then takes those prospective customers and turns them into qualified leads. And finally, the lower funnel is responsible for the macro conversions, or purchases. Because each part of the process is different, various marketing techniques are needed for each section. They are:
UPPER FUNNEL OPTIMISATION
There are a variety of ways to optimize the upper funnel, but the first and most important step is to focus on driving quality traffic. This means generating traffic from sources that are likely to be interested in your products. Once you have a steady stream of interested prospective customers, you can start testing different methods to convert them into happy customers.
The following points can help you achieve this:
1. Optimize your keywords for paid search and display ads. First, research your target audience and come up with a list of keywords that are relevant to them. Then, use those keywords in your ad campaigns. Remember to track your results and adjust your keywords accordingly.
2. Revamp your social media target audience. The way that you target your social media ads can make a big difference in how successful those ads are. If you’re not happy with the results that you’re getting, switch it up.
3. Create highly optimised content like blog posts, e-books, infographics, videos, etc.
4. Utilize the power of social media to promote your brand or business.
5. Show social proof
MIDDLE FUNNEL OPTIMIZATION
You caught people’s attention, and they landed on your site, now the actual work begins. The middle funnel is all about building trust with your prospects and demonstrating the benefits of your products. Depending on how long your conversion path is, you might need a number of different interactions with your customers to earn their loyalty and move them down to the next step of the funnel. As a business owner, you have a variety of different tools and techniques at your disposal. These include testimonials, product reviews, case studies, community forums, price comparisons, and various marketing techniques. It’s important to understand your customer’s state of mind and expectations in order to make the most of these tools. This means running continuous A/B tests, collecting feedback, and tracking key metrics.
LOWER FUNNEL OPTIMIZATION
The final stage of any successful eCommerce operation is ensuring that your buyers become loyal customers. After all, the hard work of guiding them from the awareness stage to their final purchase would be for nothing if you let them go now. ECommerce businesses should have no trouble turning onetime buyers into loyal customers with a few sales tactics. Being able to personalize a prospective customer’s experience is key to keeping them interested in what you’re selling. After you’ve converted a lead, it’s important to bring them back into the nurturing phase so that you can maintain a relationship with them. This can be done by targeted offers and creating an email list to help with email campaigns.
STRATEGIES TO OPTIMISE YOUR SALES FUNNEL AGAINST CART ABANDONMENT
There are a few reasons why potential customers might abandon their shopping cart before completing a purchase. Maybe they were just browsing and not actually ready to buy anything, or comparing prices between different items. There’s also the possibility that they simply forgot to go through with the purchase. However, an abandoned cart doesn’t necessarily mean a missed sale. You can still reach out to them through email marketing campaigns, re-targeting ads or push notifications.
Some additional ideas to decrease the rate of shopping cart abandonment could include:
· Push notifications: this can be a great way to let your users know about a price drop on a product in their cart. By mentioning the price drop in the notification, you can help encourage them to complete their purchase.
· Remarketing: this allows you to specifically target people who have already shown an interest in what you have to offer. It’s an effective way to highlight the importance of a product, especially if it’s something that the user has already placed in their shopping cart.
· Abandon cart emails: they are designed to remind customers that they still have items in their shopping cart. These emails can be sent automatically after a certain amount of time has passed, or they can be triggered manually by the customer.
We learnt a thing or two on how to optimise sales funnels. Sales Funnels are a great way to visualize the journey that your potential customers take in the buying process. The more you understand about your potential customers and the challenges they face, the better you can tailor your sales process and marketing efforts to connect with them and help them move down the funnel.