How To Optimise Each Stage Of The Conversion Funnel
If you want to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel, you’re going to have to commit.
CRO is a long and rigorous process, but it’s well worth it. The tests you run and the insights you gain will inform all your marketing activities. This will improve your conversion rate and therefore your revenue. Now, doesn’t that sound great?
So, let’s jump right in and learn how to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel. Then you can start making changes today!
The conversion funnel: A quick recap
The conversion funnel is a visualisation of the journey visitors take to reach the point of conversion.
It could either be a small conversion (like an email sign up), or the entire process leading up to a purchase.
There are five stages to every conversion funnel:
Most marketers forget about that last one. However, we don’t believe that the process ends at conversion. It’s possible to re-engage visitors to convert again (in a different way) and create a bank of loyal customers.
Behavioural analysis is a key part of the conversion funnel. It identifies areas of the customer journey where people ‘drop off’ and disengage with your brand.
Optimise each stage of the conversion funnel to improve these areas and you’ll get more people flowing down that funnel to the point of conversion. Hooray!
How to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel
You need to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel individually because your visitors have different needs, goals and preferences at each stage. However, remember that everything should all come together to create a cohesive and engaging customer experience.
Here we’ll look at each stage, and the growth marketing techniques you can use to improve performance. We’ll even use an example of downloading a guide, so you can get an idea of how to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel in a real-life context.
Before you get started
Don’t look at the first stage until you carry out a comprehensive analysis of your entire site, and current user behaviour (tools can help with this). This will help you discover where different pieces of content fall in the conversion funnel and identify key areas for improvement for each stage.
And, bear in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all option. You're going to have to test the changes we suggest to make sure that your audience responds positively to them.
We can give you some great guidelines, but you’ll need to put in a little legwork to make sure any suggested fixes are right for your business.
Stage 1 – Awareness
This applies to the very top of the funnel. Your audience doesn’t want anything too dense, or overtly 'salesy'. The content here must be relevant and attract your users' attention.
The aim for any content at this stage is to pull people in. You can do this through:
- Social media
- Content marketing campaigns
- Organic search
Use analytics to assess which of your existing methods are the most effective, and which need some work. Then, you can begin to make changes.
At this point, it’s important to remember that you want to attract the right type of visitors. This will determine the success of your entire conversion funnel, so it’s a pretty big deal.
Junk traffic and pulling in visitors who have no interest in your product is pointless. Instead, you need to aim for high-quality traffic every time. Do this by:
- Optimising keywords for paid search and display ads
- Adjusting targeting of social media ads
- Creating unique, engaging, keyword-optimised content such as blogs, eBooks, guides, infographics and videos
- Using social media to reach out to followers
You want to attract people to download your guide. That means you should target people who are interested in its topic. Test different demographics, 'lookalikes' of your existing audience and different platforms.
You could also test the text, images and layout of your posts to determine which will bring in the best quality leads:
Stage 2 – Interest
So, you’ve got traffic to your website, now you just need to keep it there!
Use engaging content, special offers and eye-catching designs to generate interest in your product or service. Try to demonstrate the benefits of your product, without overtly selling. These visitors still aren’t ready for the hard-sell.
If your conversion path is quite long (e.g. if you’re trying to get visitors to purchase a product), you might have lots of mini-conversions and different interactions along the way. These should increase loyalty and move your users on to the next stage.
Determine whether they’re interested through user-tracking and offering something special for an email sign up, or 'like', on a social media page. If they click through, you can be sure they’re qualified leads that are worth pursuing.
Now your visitor is on a landing page for your guide. There are lots of things you can test at this stage, including:
- Information included
You can also test which offers are most effective. You could try:
- Quick download for account sign up
- Quick download for newsletter registration
- Fill in form for a free guide – test the amount of information required for the form
The last one kind of skips to Stage 4, so don’t expect too many people to convert from that. Work your way up to it and you’ll be sure to get more engaged conversions.
Stage 3 – Desire
This is where you need to build trust in your brand and inform visitors specifically about your products.
Until now, your content should have been all about the user and his or her needs, with only light mentions of your products or services.
Here, you should try automated marketing campaigns, product reviews, price comparisons and case-studies to prove that your products are worthy.
As we’ve said, by now these leads are highly qualified, so you really need to nurture them. Send out personalised and highly relevant content to bring them back to your website, and follow through with conversion.
So, we’re still on the landing page. Use a case-study to demonstrate the benefits of your product, or some other social proof that shows this is the right choice.
To ensure this is effective, test the layout, tone and use of the first or second person. These can all make a huge difference!
And test a few personalisation elements (such as other content recommendations, location-specific offers etc.) to see which are most effective.
Stage 4 – Action
This is the most important stage – where your visitor will complete your desired goal. Hopefully, your efforts in the past three stages will pay off here.
By now, your audience should be pretty convinced that your company is the right option. It just needs another little nudge. Signpost the action your users need to take, and let CRO work its magic.
At the bottom of the landing page use a big, bright button to highlight ‘download now’. Test the button's shape, colour, text and placement to make sure it will elicit the desired response.
Stage 5 – Re-engagement
So, they’ve converted – wahoo! But, your job’s not over yet. You need to get users to come back to your site in the future, so pour them back into the conversion funnel.
They might think that they’re done with you now they’ve converted, but you need to prove this isn’t the case by piquing their interest in other areas.
Don’t worry though, you don’t need to go right back to the start – they’re already aware of who you are. Move to Stage 2, instead.
You should have a new conversion goal in mind here, that lines up with the customer journey. Use your visitors’ previous data and customer segment patterns to inform this stage, and take advantage of personalisation and targeting techniques to improve the process.
Your users have downloaded the guide and received it in an email. Your next conversion goal is to get them to purchase a product.
Use email campaigns to offer additional bits of content that support the guide. This could range from blogs, infographics and helpful links. It’s best to present these as a series of autoresponders, however make sure you test elements within each email to make sure it's effective.
Once you’ve got them interested, you can move them down the funnel:
- Desire – Use product reviews and case-studies to prove how much they need your product/service
- Action – Get them to make a purchase using the ‘checkout now’ feature
- Re-engagement – Send them right back up to Stage 2 ('Interest') to gather information on accompanying/future products. You could also offer how-to guides about their new product to support their journey.
So that’s it – how to optimise each stage of the conversion funnel. Just remember to test everything and you won't go far wrong! Good luck!