So you’ve created an online store and planned the entire flow for your customers. Select a product, add to cart, check out, and pay. It should work like a hot knife through butter.
That’s a best case scenario that all online store owners dream of.
But in reality, did you know that a whopping 80% of the marketing leads never convert into actual sales?
That’s leaving a lot on the table!
Generating leads is challenging by itself. To maximize your return on investment (ROI) and increase profits, you not only need to convert most of the leads into sales but also increase the average customer order value.
Ideally, you’d probably like to plug those holes in your sales funnel to ensure maximum conversion.
Which is where funnel optimization comes in.
Using proven optimization strategies, you can craft the perfect sales funnel that helps prospects become aware of your products and services and increase sales.
What are these funnel optimization strategies? Read on to find out!
- What is a Sales Funnel?
- What is Funnel Optimization?
- The 4 Stages of a Sales Funnel
- Why Should You Optimize Your Sales Funnel?
- 7 Funnel Optimization Strategies to Optimize Your Sales Funnel
- Different Types of Sales Funnels
- Optimize Your Sales Funnel Using CartFlows
- What Are Your Funnel Optimization Strategies?
Let’s begin by understanding what a sales funnel is.
A sales funnel is a series of steps the customer takes to complete the purchase of a product or service. Consider it part of your customer’s journey from start to finish.
It begins when someone first hears about your product or service and finishes then they purchase.
Every business requires a sales funnel. At least if you’d like to convert your prospects into customers!
A well-planned sales funnel ensures that you fill the holes where prospects could potentially drop out, thereby increasing conversion.
Did you know that nearly 70% of businesses have not measured their sales funnel? That risks losing a lot of potential customers and revenue!
Optimizing your sales funnel is absolutely critical if you want to increase sales.
Funnel optimization is the process of fine-tuning your sales process to ensure there’s a higher chance of customer acquisition and conversion.
No sales funnel is perfect. The idea is to fill in those gaps where potential customers could drop out to minimize cart abandonment and lost sales. If you don’t sell products on your site, you could increase conversion instead.
We will be covering the various sales funnel optimization strategies in detail later. Methods include running A/B split testing, optimizing your landing and checkout pages, creating high-quality content and lead magnets, and more.
Before we get into funnel optimization strategies, we’ve got to understand the different stages of a funnel and how each stage can influence visitors to take action and convert.
The four stages of a sales funnel represent your potential customer’s mindset. These are Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action, popularly known as AIDA.
As a marketer, it’s essential to understand your customer and what stage of the sales funnel they are at.
For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to promote a product right upfront. This is because the visitor likely has little to no knowledge about the product and how it could solve their problem.
In such a scenario, you are better off educating the visitor about the product, its features, benefits and how it works. Then you can encourage them to purchase.
So what kind of content works best for the various stages of a sales funnel?
Let’s quickly look at the various stages to get a better understanding.
This is the top of the funnel. This is where you catch the potential customer’s attention. You do so by providing informational and educational content related to your product or service.
The idea of the awareness stage is to educate your prospect about your business and what you have to offer.
While you needn’t necessarily promote your offer from the word go, you could highlight some features and benefits that your product offers.
This way, you aren’t hard-selling your product, yet you are keeping your options open. If the solution you offer matches the prospect’s requirements, they will move on to the next stage.
Typically, this is the beginning of a long-term relationship. You nurture your prospects by providing value and encouraging them to navigate to the next stage.
That next stage is the Interest Stage.
By now, your prospects are aware of your product, its features, and its benefits. By educating your prospects, they should be interested in the solution that your product has to offer. And now, they start looking around or doing some research for similar products and services.
This is when you grab their attention with content such as reviews and comparisons.
Again, while you are not trying to sell, creating this kind of content that clearly explains how your product will help prospects can assist them in making an informed purchase decision.
The goal in this stage is to establish your expertise as a market leader while still avoiding the hard sell.
The next stage is the Decision Stage.
This is where the customer may have narrowed down their options at the decision stage and is ready to buy. Providing informational content is not going to close the deal at this stage.
Instead, it’s time to make your best offer. It could be a discount code, a limited period offer, extended support, free addons or bonuses, free shipping, or other incentive.
The idea is to make an irresistible offer that leaves the prospect no option but to take advantage of it.
Did you know that it’s easier to sell to existing customers compared to new customers?
Once your prospect becomes a customer, they become a part of your business ecosystem.
While you may have closed a sale, this is where you try to increase the average customer value by generating repeated business.
Reports suggest that 60% of existing and loyal customers will continue purchasing from their preferred companies and with whom they already have an association.
The same report also indicates that if you offer excellent after-sales customer support, 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from you.
So, if you want to increase your average customer value, start nurturing your customers after their first purchase. Reach out to them with feedback, offer loyalty programs, and other incentives.
Now that we’ve understood the sales funnel stages, we must address a frequently asked question.
Are marketing funnels and sales funnels the same? If not, how are they different?
A straightforward answer to this question is that they are not the same. However, one can be considered as a subset of the other.
Marketing and sales funnels are similar because both lead prospects from the awareness stage to the action stage.
A marketing funnel includes the entire customer journey, right from customer acquisition by running ads, sending emails, SEO, and more to the action and loyalty stage.
The sales funnel is a part of the marketing funnel that deals more with the funnel’s interest, decision, and action stages. A typical sales funnel deals with the offer page, the checkout, upsells, order bumps, and thank you page.
Essentially, a sales funnel is a subset of the marketing funnel that deals only with the actual transaction and conversion.
Let’s face it, customers today have lots of options to choose from. They are constantly bombarded with ads and offers from just about every competitor in the market.
With all this noise around, you want to ensure that your sales funnel reduces the risk of customers falling off before they convert.
Considering that nearly 65% of the businesses do not have a defined lead nurturing strategy, you are already ahead of the curve by implementing one.
Sales funnel optimization is an ongoing process. There’s no one method that fits all.
However, we’ve listed a few funnel optimization strategies that should help improve sales and/or conversion.
Irrespective of what stage of the funnel your customer comes in from, having high-quality content always helps.
Remember. For the prospect, you are one of many options. The better you nurture your prospective customer, the better your chances of closing a sale.
What kind of content works? Well, it depends on what stage of the funnel your prospect is in.
There are four main stages of a content sales funnel.
Awareness – This is where you focus on high level content that educates your audience to make them aware of your brand
Evaluation – Evaluation, also called consideration, builds trust to allow customers to determine whether they need your product and whether it meets their needs.
Conversion – Provide clear reasons why the customer should buy your product and how it will solve their problems though case studies, product description and so on.
Delight – Keeping your audience engaged with value-add content and supplementary content so they remain aware and loyal.
Educational content and how-to videos work best if your prospect is at the awareness stage of the marketing funnel. At this stage, the prospect wants to know more about the product or service you are offering.
Likewise, articles such as reviews, comparison, ‘ten best’ lists, and so on work great if your prospect is in the evaluation stage and is trying to narrow their options. It’s a good idea to include a CTA at this stage, which leads to a limited period offer or other incentive.
A commonly used marketing tactic to generate leads is by offering a free lead magnet.
Examples of lead magnets can be webinars, ebooks, workbooks, trial software, case studies, a theme, plugin, and other incentives.
While you may be offering a lead magnet for free, the freebie must be of high quality. Considering the number of marketers and businesses using this tactic, customers are not lining up to hand over their details as quickly as before.
That being said, if you’ve created a high-quality and resourceful lead magnet that’s going to solve a problem for your users, you’ll be building a significant database of genuine and high-quality leads.
While it’s important to build and generate leads, it’s equally important to nurture them once you have them.
Another way to get high-quality leads is by ensuring your content and ads are targeted to the right audience.
If you are working on your SEO, optimize content carefully for the relevant keywords. This way, when a user searches for a keyword that is relevant to your product or service, your website shows up on the search engine results page.
If you plan to run ads, be it on Google or social media, you get to use advanced metrics for targeting your ads based on the customer’s preferences and interests.
Using targeted traffic, you get the right audience visiting your landing page.
How do you optimize your landing page? That’s our next funnel optimization strategy!
Once you have gained your audience’s attention, it’s time to capture them as leads.
Optimizing your landing pages to ensure your prospective customers don’t bounce is critical.
When you optimize your landing page, you need to improve every element on your page to capture leads and enhance conversions.
Here are a few tried and tested methods to optimize landing pages.
- Create different versions of your headline. Use them on various versions of your landing page and see what attracts the audience the most
- Have a clear and straightforward offer mentioned above the fold. This way, your prospects will get to see the most critical information as soon as they land on your page
- Keep your landing page simple. Remove unwanted bells and whistles
- Create a sense of urgency and FOMO. Add a countdown timer, too, if it makes sense
- Try different color schemes for your text, background, and your call to action button
- Include your contact information
- Add social proof and genuine user testimonials
- While adding several form fields may not be ideal, you could try different versions of your lead capture form as well
- Always A/B split test to see which version of your landing page works best
You won’t always get it right the first time.. Try different versions and analyze how they perform. Then refine subsequent landing pages using the lessons you learn.
Before we get into some checkout optimization methods, here are some cart abandonment stats to ponder over:
- The average cart abandonment rate is nearly 70% across all industries
- Cart abandonment is even higher for mobile users at almost 86%
- The number one reason for cart abandonment is extra costs, and the second is being forced to create an account
With this data at your disposal, it’s easier to plan and optimize your checkout pages.
Some common checkout optimization tactics are to include a sense of urgency, leveraging FOMO, avoiding additional costs, including multiple payment options, and simplifying the checkout process as much as possible.
You could also consider sending emails on cart abandonment as they can prove very effective
Alternatively, you could just use our conversion-optimized checkout pages!
Any sales funnel aims to sell more, whether by including upsells, downsells or order bumps, there’s nothing better than increasing the average order value!
Once the customer has purchased from you, consider following up with welcome emails and a drip email marketing campaign. You could slip in a discount voucher too to entice customers into making repeated purchases.
CartFlows One-Click Upsells allow you to easily incorporate one time offers and cross-sell related products. You can even increase your average order value by including order bumps anywhere on your checkout page.
Finally, create different versions of your sales funnel and monitor how they perform. Try different versions of your landing page. Customize WooCommerce checkout page and create a new variation and compare how each performs.
How did prospective customers find out about your offer? Did they complete the entire sales funnel or fall through? If they fell through, at which point did they fall?
By monitoring how your sales funnel performs, you know exactly what works and what doesn’t. You can craft future funnels using everything you learn during testing, gradually refining them until they are perfect!
By using CartFlows A/B testing, you can identify the best-performing pages. You can also make necessary adjustments to improve your pages, reduce bounce rates, and increase conversions.
Sales funnel optimization strategies ensure you capture leads effectively and get visitors into your ecosystem. By using a sales funnel, you focus on what should be done to not only generate leads but also convert them into sales.
It’s now for you to nurture these leads and convert them into paying customers!
One way to nurture your leads is by using a drip email marketing sequence. Start with a welcome email and follow it up with a series of emails sent out periodically.
Include links to customized checkout pages. Incorporate your upsells, downsells, order bumps, and more to increase the average order value. Measure how each of these conversion funnel optimization methods works. Rinse and repeat!
Now that we’ve covered some funnel optimization strategies, let’s look at the different sales funnels you could use.
While you could create a sales funnel for just about any industry or business, we’ve classified them into five categories.
Those categories are:
The squeeze page sales funnel is ideal when it comes to generating leads for a product or service that you have to offer.
A squeeze page is a landing page designed to capture email addresses. The idea is to entice readers to opt-into email marketing and ‘squeeze’ the reader into providing that very important email address.
Want to create a sales funnel to target prospects at the awareness and interest stage? Consider creating a squeeze page sales funnel.
When you’re launching a new product, you’ll want to have a little build-up to the launch date to create anticipation and generate interest around the launch.
You could entice customers with a prelude to the features, a product image, a countdown timer, and so on with a product launch sales funnel.
Our product sales funnel templates come pre-built with a product description page, checkout, and a thank you page.
Webinars are the new way of selling. Marketers, influencers, coaches, and trainers have all been using webinars extensively over the past few years, with great success.
Webinars help you generate high-quality leads. If someone sits through an entire webinar, you have an interested lead that has already engaged with your content and is likely open to offers.
Be it a free webinar or a paid one, import the flow and get started with your webinars right away.
The tripwire sales funnel helps you capture leads, close sales, and include an OTO (One Time Offer).
It works by offering a low cost but high value item in order to encourage future purchases.
Once the customer enters their information and payment details, they are taken to an upsell page and then a downsell page that each has an One Time Offer (OTO).
Of course, it’s recommended that you mention your one time offer upfront. You know, something on the lines of buy now to avail our one time offer.
Finally, they are taken to the order confirmation and thank you page.
Tripwire sales funnels work great when you price the entry product really low. The idea is to get the customer to fill in their information and payment details and only then pitch your one-time offer.
This sales funnel is an eCommerce sales funnel optimization tactic to increase the average order value and maximize your return on investment per lead.
Next on our list is the lead magnet sales funnel. An ideal funnel to generate leads for your business.
It’s a simple sales funnel where you get to offer a lead magnet, such as an ebook, trial software, case studies, cheat sheets, discount code, and more for free in return for the customer’s details.
There are many other types of sales funnel, but these are some of the most effective.
CartFlows is a leading sales funnel builder that helps you increase conversions and enhance the entire checkout experience. With features such as one-click upsells, order bumps, lead generation, and pre-checkout offers, you can get started with an optimized sales funnel in a matter of minutes.
In short, CartFlows is your go-to WordPress funnel builder plugin.
If you have an online store, it should go without saying that you need a sales funnel. All the better if your sales funnels are optimized.
Without optimizing your sales funnel, you are potentially leaving a lot on the table.
When you use the funnel optimization strategies mentioned above, not only are you plugging the holes in your sales funnel, but you are also enhancing user engagement, reducing cart abandonment and creating a relationship with potential customers.
While all this can be overwhelming, we’ve made things simple for you. Simply install CartFlows, and let it do the rest.
Just remember that a funnel that works successfully for a specific product or service may not necessarily work for another. Testing different versions of your sales funnel is the key to get that perfect one that does all the wonders for your business.
Over to you now. Which of the above funnel optimization strategies do you feel works for you? Or is there something that we’ve missed? Let us know.