What Is A Conversion Funnel?
You’ve probably heard the term ‘conversion funnel’ before, but you might not have thought about what it means or how it can help your business.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most people think it’s a marketing buzzword that can just be ignored, but we’ll let you in on a secret – it’s not!
A well-optimised conversion funnel is essential to online marketing success. However, you need to understand exactly what it is and how it works for it to be effective.
That’s where FABRIC8 comes in. We want to help you get to grips with the tricky topic of conversion funnels so you can adapt your marketing strategies and grow your business – now doesn’t that sound exciting?
So, if you’re ready, let’s jump in!
How To Define a Conversion Funnel
To keep things simple, we’ll split it into two parts:
- Conversion: This encompasses the actions completed by visitors to your site. These could include something small, like clicking through to another page, or something huge like actually buying your product.
- Funnel: This is the journey the customer takes to get to the point of conversion.
A conversion funnel can either be applied to the visitor’s whole life-cycle, or to a single specific action (like signing up to a newsletter). It gives great insight into customer behaviour which can significantly affect your marketing strategy – but more about that later!
Traditionally, a conversion funnel depicts the user's journey, from their first interaction to them completing the action desired by the brand. For example, visiting a landing page to clicking through to a product page.
At FABRIC8, we think there’s a little more to it than that. We believe the conversion funnel should show the entire user journey through your site and that (most importantly) there is no endpoint!
Even if the customer makes a purchase, the conversion funnel shouldn’t end. They should be sent right back to the top of the funnel where they can be approached later.
It might be more of a conversion cycle than a funnel, but that’s industry jargon so we’ll stick to 'funnel' for now.
So, Why Call It a Conversion Funnel?
Using the word ‘funnel’ is a great way to visualise the flow of customers to your business – and what happens to them once they interact with your site.
Think about it; a funnel guides liquid through to a container, just as you should guide customers through to the point of conversion.
Then there’s the shape; the wide brim at the top and narrow spout at the bottom reflect traditional customer patterns. Lots of people are interested in your product/service at the beginning, but this thins out the closer you get to the point of conversion.
Every business has a conversion funnel of some sort – even if it's not described in those terms. However, if you identify the different stages in the funnel, you can really start to understand customer behaviour and create a top-notch online experience for all your visitors.
4 Typical Stages of a Conversion Funnel
No matter what your chosen conversion is, there are four stages your potential customers must go through before they take action:
- Awareness: They now know of your brand and are somewhat aware of what you’re offering.
- Interest: They become engaged and want to learn more about your product/service.
- Desire: They like your brand/product and try to determine if it’s the right choice for them.
- Action: They complete the action desired by the company.
However, FABRIC8 have a fifth stage: re-engage!
Most businesses forget about this, but it’s super-important! This is where you pull customers back into the conversion funnel (somewhere near the top) and encourage them to become repeat buyers and advocates for your brand.
This increases overall retention and profitability. Why? Well, according to the book 'Marketing Metrics', the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. The probability of selling to a new customer, by contrast, is 5-20%.
What Does This Mean For My Conversion Funnel?
The below is a simplified version of a conversion funnel – and just a little vague – but you should get the idea.
Different interactions are assigned to different stages in the funnel so you can analyse their effectiveness. To do this, you need to know the specifics, like:
- The steps and processes you want to analyse.
- The desired action you want to map (if you want a visitor to download a free guide, the conversion funnel will be much shorter than for purchasing an item).
The more detail and data you have, the better. It will help develop more in-depth insights into customer behaviour.
- Aim: Persuade someone to download a free guide.
- Awareness: Potential customer becomes aware of brand/guide through a FB Ad.
- Interest: They visit the landing page set up for the guide.
- Desire: They read the reviews at the bottom of the page, and are convinced that this guide is the right option for them.
- Action: They fill in their details and download the guide.
- Re-engage: After a week, the receive an email series asking what they thought and offering more content on that subject. If their open rate is high, they’ll be signed up to the monthly newsletter and persuaded to purchase product.
How To Use Your Conversion Funnel to Optimise the Customer Journey
Let’s go back to thinking about how a funnel works (bear with us, it’s worth it).
If you pour 100ml of water into a funnel, you’ll get 100ml in the container at the bottom. Sadly, this is not the case with most conversion funnels.
If 100 potential customers enter at the ‘awareness’ stage, you definitely won’t get that many taking ‘action’.
This is because your funnel has some leaks in it… These are the points where customers disengage, or leave the process, in search of something that suits them better.
However, if you understand how your conversion funnel operates, then analyse it, you can take steps to improve the flow and plug those gaps.
This will create a fully-optimised conversion funnel, which will ensure more people complete your desired actions and (eventually) convert into paying customers!
Here's how you do it:
Optimising your conversion funnel is an ongoing process – and it’s hard work. It’s going to take time, effort, patience and a bit of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) know-how.
- Collect data (and lots of it)
Accurately collating data is key to creating an effective conversion funnel.
You must track every visitor’s movement through your site to ensure you get a well-rounded picture of customer behaviour. Use platforms like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics and Amplitude to help you with this.
If you’re not too confident using these platforms, use Google Analytics or similar to identify key trends in your data. Here’s what you should look at in every stage:
- Awareness: Social media shares, email list sign-ups, new visitors
- Interest: Email open rates, return visits
- Desire: Time on site, leads
- Action: Orders, revenues, sales (specific to your chosen conversion)
- Re-engage: Repeat purchases, customer referrals
At this point, you really need to make sure that you understand the information gleaned from these sources. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make changes further down the line.
- Identify drop-off points
Analyse your data and work out at which stages (and on which pages) most visitors are leaving your site.
A common eCommerce drop-off point is the checkout page. Basket abandonment rates stand at a huge 69.23%. Imagine how your business would grow if you could alter this by even just a little…
- Think about why this might be
Now you’ve got to do some head scratching. Why are people dropping off at this stage? Is it something to do with the customer experience, is your site hard to navigate, were they not convinced by your brand, or are your products not quite right?
It could be any of these reasons, or others, so go through your website as a customer would and think about what could be improved.
If we nip back to our checkout page example, it’s usually because the page is hard to navigate or hidden costs (such as shipping) have finally been revealed.
- Make improvements
So, you’ve got your list of everything that might be wrong? Start making changes. Address each element individually and you’ll improve your overall experience.
CRO can occur at every stage in the funnel and increase the number of people you drive towards your desired action. Be meticulous, be smart and always have the goal of streamlining and improving the customer journey.
Remember, even if a problem has been identified on a certain page, it could possibly be rectified at an earlier stage in the conversion funnel.
For example, if hidden costs are the problem on your eCommerce site, go back to the product pages and add in a few words about shipping costs. This will prevent a nasty shock for the user later on!
If you’re not sure of the reason behind the drop off, test different elements on your site. This could be as small as switching or removing one word, to transforming the layout of an entire page. Use A/B testing to see which version works bests.
FABRIC8 can do this all for you. We can test your conversion funnel from beginning to end and identify where efficiencies can be made. We can even test and implement changes on your behalf – you’ll be in expert hands who know what they’re doing, so you won’t need to worry about a thing.
A well-optimised conversion funnel will result in more conversions, increased retention and, ultimately, more paying customers. And who would say no to that?