Website Funnel optimization tips
A website funnel, often called a “sales/conversion” funnel, structures your website navigation so that visitors complete a specific goal. Some websites consider a goal conversion to occur when someone calls the phone number, for others it may be getting a visitor to complete a form or purchase items.
Understanding the steps in a typical conversion funnel is key to building or optimizing one on your website. Here are the common stages of a goal conversion:
Stage 1: Awareness. Visitors become aware of your company’s brand. They may find you via an advertisement, search result, or from word-of-mouth. The key here is you now have their attention (at least for a second). At this stage make sure that your ads and or organic traffic keywords are sending people to pages that match what you are messaging or suggesting. For instance, if you rank #1 for “lowest cost boat insurance in Maine” and people click on your ranking and the page they go to is primarily about home insurance you may lose them. Once people are “aware” of your brand do everything you can to get them to Step 2 as quickly as possible. This means making it easy for them to begin evaluating your products or services. In the above example they should immediately see a page that explains why you are the best boat insurance in Maine and not have to click around to find your internal page on boat insurance.
Stage 2: Evaluation. Visitors are now seeing if your product or service is a good fit for them. They may be looking at testimonials, pictures, and even seeing if your return policy is friendly. People in this stage are very valuable. Whatever your business make sure you know what sets you apart from the competition and make it clear. Also, clearly state why you are a good choice. Is it that you are open 24 hours? Are your low prices guaranteed? Have you won awards for your quality of service? A good place to see what works in your industry is to look at larger competitors websites. What are they promising? How are they moving people through the evaluation stage and into a goal conversion?
Stage 3: Conversion. The Visitor has decided you are a good fit and now wants to move forward with your company. Make it easy for them. Too many questions (especially personal ones) on a lead form may scare off people that were otherwise ready to buy from you. A complex checkout process may also cause someone to get frustrated and go somewhere else. If you are a service business, is your phone number and hours easy to find and clickable? Have family and friends help you evaluate how your online funnel is functioning vs. a competitor’s online funnel. Ask them where they get stuck or are unclear on anything.
Tip: For almost every website that we work with one common theme that we see always work well is to send users to pages that match why they are coming to your website. On that page clearly communicate your benefits and how you are going to help them and back it up with reviews, credentials, guarantees, and a free evaluations (every goal is different so think about how your industry works). Next, make it easy for them to complete a goal. Every time you make a visitor click on another page before they have completed a goal you will usually see between 20-60% of them leave. Multiple clicks to goal wreck conversion funnels.
Steps to complete this task
Understand your website’s macro and micro goals. What are you trying to get your visitors to do? It may be more than one thing but prioritize them. Do you want them to call you? Sign up for a newsletter? Come into your business? Read your blog? Knowing your most important goals will help you build a funnel that directs visitors towards that goal.
A funnel typically consists of a landing page that you build specifically for a certain type of visitor or goal completion. Make it simple and as short as possible while still communicating everything necessary.
With your goals in mind make sure the first impression a visitor has of your business (once they arrive at your landing page) provides them with compelling reasons of why they should put in the effort to take the next step with you. If you are a restaurant, your pages should include incredible food pictures, reviews, social validation, and seasonal specials or some other compelling reason for that visitor to pick you for their next meal over a competitor. If you are a blog and want a visitor’s email, make sure your content is amazing, and promise them more amazing content in the future. Be sure to communicate why you are an expert in your field and why you are worth space in their inbox every week. Once you have people on your website make sure you are fulfilling their need to “evaluate” your offer. Basically, what do they get in return for fulfilling your goal? Make sure it is better than what your competitors give them.
Last, if they are ready to call you, sign up for something, or make a purchase, remove any obstacles. For instance, in the restaurant example above make sure your location, hours, and a clickable phone number are clearly visible on every page. If a visitor is driving around town and ready to eat make it easy. If you are offering a discount make it clear how to redeem it. Again, in the above example if you are the blog make it clear what the visitor gets by entering their email. Is it a weekly blog post to help them do something? Also, let them know you won’t sell their email or spam them (assuming you don’t). Remove any and all hindrances between them and your conversion goal and offer a guarantee if possible.
Tip: Have family and friends go through your entire funnel from start to finish. Ask them what questions they have and where they get caught up. Also look at the task regarding exit pages and make sure that there are no stages in your funnel where a large number of visitors are abandoning ship!
- Make your website load faster.
- Make your website navigation simple and intuitive.
- Write web content that your visitors love.
- Identify pages with high exit rates and improve them.
- Create a funnel to improve goal completions.
- Embed social media functionality within your website.
- Use pop-ups and forms correctly.