Looking for a way to boost your website’s marketing performance? If so, then consider a more nuanced approach than choosing a couple of online marketing channels and hoping for the best. That’s where the sales funnel comes in.
“What’s a sales funnel? And how can it help my e-commerce site?” you ask. A sales funnel is a visual representation of the sales process. The idea behind the funnel is that it can help you formulate a workable marketing strategy that ultimately makes happy buyers out of a targeted customer segment.
The wide top of the funnel represents your target market. As they come your website these visitors enter the awareness stage, a process of learning about you and your products. As people move down the funnel, this targeted group narrows, and site visitors turn into prospects and sales leads. These sales leads then start to become customers, which gives way to customer support.
Components of an Effective Sales Funnel
Using a sales funnel for your e-commerce website also helps you identify problematic, clunky or missing parts of your site. This can include poor visibility, browser problems, bugs and even tech issues that are preventing customers from buying your wares. Here are some of the components necessary for creating an effective sales funnel for your e-commerce business:
It’s impossible to create an effective e-commerce sales funnel if you aren’t attracting the right customers to your website. With that in mind, the top portion of the funnel is created by generating traffic.
While there are various ways of boosting customer acquisition, some of the most effective methods include search engine optimization, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing and social media. Once you’ve tried out several traffic generation methods, you can evaluate which ones are most effective and those that aren’t providing sufficient ROI for your business.
When attracting potential customers, it’s essential that you possess a solid understanding of your target market. Researching your audience—along with their buying habits—enables you to determine how best to reach this crucial group.
For example, you will want to make sure your site is visible on the proper search engines, blogs and directories. You may also want to consider selling your wares on online marketplaces like Overstock.com and Amazon.
Focusing on Your Website
It’s not enough to draw visitors to your business; you have to provide an engaging and easy-to-use website for them to view your wares. For best results, build a clean and visually attractive site design, and include compelling content that is both original and easy to read. After all, Google penalizes sites that engage in keyword stuffing or, worse, steal content from other sources.
Additionally, business owners should take care to ensure their sites are easy to navigate and feature fast load times. The goal is not just to encourage customers to buy your products but also to convince them to subscribe to your newsletter. Doing this provides a means for you to inform and keep up with clients in the coming months and years.
In recent months, Google has also started prioritizing mobile-friendly websites, so be sure that yours looks nice on a smartphone. However your customers arrive at your website, the long-term goal is to encourage them to buy from you over and over.
You may want to provide a means for visitors to create wish lists, so they can return to the site and purchase products later. Additionally, it’s smart to post client reviews so customers know your products are truly top of the line.
Staying in Contact
Transforming visitors into subscribers is the first step toward staying in contact with customers. Email auto-responders can help with this, allowing you to inform sales prospects about upcoming sales and other events. Additionally, you can tailor communication to particular groups of clients based on their specific needs and demographics.
For best results, ensure that your email messaging directs customers to your social media presence and encourages them to participate. You can also offer incentives and discounts for a limited time, so customers feel compelled to make an immediate purchase.
Supporting Your Sales Prospects
The fact that customers are visiting your site doesn’t necessarily mean they’re purchasing your goods and services. If you want them to make a purchase, then the goal is to help shoppers feel confident about purchasing your goods while providing incentives to do so now rather than waiting until the future.
To convince sales prospects to click “purchase,” e-commerce sites need to provide the proper levels of support. Along with a phone line for clients to call, you may want to provide live chat support on the website. Additionally, it’s helpful to offer a frequently asked questions page with basic info on shipping and return policies. When customers feel informed, they will feel comfortable enough to complete a purchase.
Of course, web visitors can’t become paying customers if you don’t offer an easy way for them to purchase goods online. Choose an online shopping cart service that is secure, easy for customers to navigate and can integrate with your payment processing service.
As an added bonus, many companies offer pre-designed payment forms that are mobile-friendly, as well as easy integration with financial management software (e.g. QuickBooks Online).
It’s important to realize that a sales funnel isn’t a static creation. Businesses need to constantly analyze their funnels based on audience responses and research from their marketing departments. By aligning data from the marketing department with sales feedback, you can create the most effective e-commerce funnel for your web business.