Getting paid is one of the biggest thrills of being a small business owner. But increasing your bottom line means getting your brand in front of more potential customers. Optimize your website’s marketing performance with a sales funnel.Cue the head scratching. For those just starting out, the term “sales funnel” might be anew one. A sales funnel is simply a visual representation of the sales process. The wide top of the funnelrepresents your target market. As visitors come to your website they enter the awareness stage, a process oflearning about you and your products. Visitors then move down the funnel. As this targeted group narrows, sitevisitors turn into prospects and sales leads. Sales leads (fingers-crossed) become customers.Sales funnel basicsUsing a sales funnel can help you identify problematic, clunky, or missing parts of yoursite. Here are four ways to give your sales funnel a boost:Attract visitorsIt’s impossible to create an effective e-commerce sales funnel if you aren’t attracting theright customers. With that in mind, the top portion of the funnel is created by generating traffic.There are various ways to boost customer acquisition: search engine optimization,pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, and social media. Experiment with a few. Move forward with onesthat provide the most ROI for your business.To attract potential customers, you’ll need a solid understanding of your target market.Researching your audience and their buying habits allows you to determine how best to reach this group.Focus on designIt’s not enough to draw visitors to your site; you’ll need to provide an engaging andeasy-to-use website that reflects your brand and products. Create a clean, visually attractive site design andinclude compelling content that is both original and benefit-focused. Ensure your site is easy to navigate andfeature fast load times. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites, so be sure that yours is easy to navigate on asmartphone.Stay in touchKeep in contact with your customers. Email auto-responders allow you to inform customerprospects about upcoming sales and other events. You’ll want to tailor communication to particular groups of clientsbased on their specific needs and demographics.Emails might direct customers to your social media channels or directly to your site. Makethe most of your social presence–offer incentives and limited-time discounts to create a sense of urgency topurchase.Supporting Your Sales ProspectsJust because you have visitors, doesn’t mean you have sales. Encourage customers to buy bymaking them feel confident about purchasing your goods. Consider providing incentives to purchase now rather thanlater.Social proof is an effective way to encourage purchasing. Sharing reviews can influencepotential customers through the voice of current customers.Provide sales support. Along with a phone number, you might consider providing live chatsupport. Create a frequently asked questions page with basic info on shipping and return policies.Make purchasing goods easy. Choose an online shopping cart service that is secure, easy forcustomers to navigate, and one that integrates with your e-commerce payment processing service. Accepting paymentson your website should be seamless for the customer. Many payment companies offer easy integration with financialmanagement software (e.g., QuickBooks Online).Finally, a sales funnel isn’t a static creation. You’ll want to continually analyze yourfunnel based on audience responses and research. The more you refine your funnel, the greater the benefit will be toyour business, your brand, and your bottom line.