I just completed a website assessment for a prospect who was sure he had a conversion rate issue. He wanted to jump his current conversion rate of 1.3% to 2%, a lofty goal by all accounts, but obtainable.
It seems obvious, right? If you have lower conversions than you want, you should go for a redesign… or begin conversion testing.
Maybe. But maybe not.
Before you rush to figure out how much to spend on a new website design, it’s important to ask this question:
Do you really have a conversion problem or is it something else?
The truth is, your website might not be the problem at all. In many cases, a website has a lower conversion rate because parts of the sales funnel are missing.
In this article, you’ll learn the three stages of an online sales funnel, and hopefully determine if your funnel is incomplete and how you can improve it.
The top of the funnel
The top of the funnel focuses on increasing overall awareness of your organization.
Essentially, something happens that triggers brand awareness in a new prospect.
It may be a tweet or Facebook post or even a blog post. But the best way to build awareness of your company is through search engine referrals since most users start at a search engine when looking for your product or service.
That’s why you need to spend time making sure your website and content are optimized using the most current best practices.
To easily identify if the top of your sales funnel is weak, use traffic metrics. If you’re getting less than 1,000 visitors a month or this number isn’t growing over a period of time; you’re doing a poor job of building awareness.
An example: Here’s something from the top of my own sales funnel.
Guest blogging is great opportunity to build awareness at the top of the funnel. My guest post on The Daily Egg, 7 Bad Reasons to Re-Design Your Website, resulted in a lead for my business.
The middle of the funnel
Here, prospects are aware we exist but unaware that we can help them.
The middle funnel is about helping prospects understand that you have the answer to their problem. Specific website pages do this. Your About Us and Services pages can educate prospects about your services. Useful, authoritative blog posts get them engaged with your brand.
The type of content you want to create will educate the prospect about their problem and possible solutions that your organization offers. Here is some content that performs really well:
- Posts that challenge popular belief
If you find that your website has a high bounce rate (above 50%), you might be dealing with a problem at the middle of the sales funnel.
This recent post by CrazyEgg is a great example of middle-of-the-funnel content. It showcases expertise and gives the prospect the opportunity to identify their problem.
The bottom of the funnel
The bottom of the funnel is all about building trust.
If the prospect knows we exist, has identified their problem and our solution but still hasn’t converted, it’s because we haven’t earned their trust yet.
Spend the time to create pages that build trust: Testimonials, case studies, emotionally driven story pages, and great website design all build trust with a prospect and help them convert into a lead or sale.
If you find your conversion rate is below 1%, the bottom of your funnel is weak.
Content that shows case studies and success stories are a great way to build trust with the prospect and get them to take action.
Mapping out your funnel
Now that you understand your funnel, it’s time to map your content. Start by answering the following questions:
- What are the prospects’ questions at each stage of the funnel?
- Who is looking at this content?
- What do prospects hope to take away?
- What kind of content should I be leading them to next?
Once you understand the buyers intent, you can interlink relevent content and use appropriate calls to action that will lead them further down the sales funnel. Content at the top of the funnel should be inter-linked with content at the middle, and content in the middle should be inter-linked with the content at the bottom of the sales funnel.
When a visitor follows your sales funnel, it will look something like this:
Visits company blog > Reads a generic blog post about your expertise > Downloads an ebook > Navigates About Us and Services page > Reads blog posts around his problem > Finds case study with a similar client > Fills out request for more information > Becomes a lead.
Using Google Analytics you should be able to determine which path your prospects are following and where they are getting hung up.
If you find that prospects are not completing the funnel, that’s OK. Answer the questions above again. Chances are, you’re leading them to the wrong type of content too quickly or, worse, you have them in the wrong funnel altogether.
If you review your online sales funnel, you’ll find that content is at the heart of each area. Don’t try to skip ahead and work on the bottom of the funnel if the top is still incomplete.
Create content for the top, middle, and finally the bottom of the funnel. Use tools like CrazyEgg to determine where people are getting hung up. If you’re still having trouble converting users, it might be time to consider re-designing your website.
What do you think, are there areas of the sales funnel I missed? Leave me a comment below and let me know.
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jay Baron.