Conversion Funnel Optimization 101: How to Get Started

By on Jul 31, 2021

The history of the funnel in business and advertising dates back to 1898 when E. St. Elmo Lewis, an American advertising advocate, developed a model that mapped the theoretical path a customer takes from the moment a brand or product attracts their attention to the point of conversion or purchase.

This model has been referred to as the sales funnel, purchase funnel, buyer’s journey, conversion funnel and more but the end goal is the same – to track a customer’s path from stranger to customer. To build an online business for a client, you need to understand the journey that customers are taking and establish a conversion funnel that fits their services, products, processes and goals.

Understanding the Conversion Funnel

Lewis’ model (sometimes called the AIDA-model) consists of four steps: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.

Awareness is when a potential customer first becomes aware of a company’s offerings. In today’s digital age, this typically starts with a user realizing they have a problem and doing online research to find solutions.

Interest is when a potential customer shows direct interest in services or products. This could include following your client on Facebook, joining their email list or filling out a contact form on your website to learn more.

Desire is when the potential customer develops a favorable disposition towards the brand. They may already like what your client offers but this is when they start to like your client as a company by learning their mission, vision and values and reading other customers’ experiences with your client’s brand.

Last, action is when they take that final step to transition them from a potential customer to an actual customer. The funnel shape is an accurate representation since the number of users becoming aware of your client’s services or products is larger than the number of users who will eventually convert or take action with your client’s business.

Create Your Conversion Funnel

If you want to help a client build an online business, it’s important to create a conversion funnel that works for them. A conversion funnel has an ongoing mission of attracting, retaining and growing the target customer base. The funnel focuses on the ultimate customer so you need to think through the customer experience and continuously evaluate each step.

To understand the effectiveness of each step of your funnel, you need to determine your client’s conversion rate(s). A conversion rate is found by dividing the number of conversions by the number of interactions. If 500 users visit a specific landing page and 15 fill out the contact form, the conversion rate for that page is 3% (15 ÷ 500 = 0.03).

Your client’s conversion rate can also vary by marketing effort. For example, you may have a higher conversion rate of users who visit your client’s website through organic search (Google, Bing, etc.) versus users who visit your client’s website through paid advertising (Facebook ads, Google ads, etc.).

Knowing your client’s conversion rate for different areas of their marketing strategy can help you find opportunities for improvement. Is your client’s conversion rate low because they are not attracting enough users? How can they attract more? Are they attracting a high number of users but they aren’t converting? What is stopping prospects from taking action?

Attract Your Audience

Roughly 50% of prospects are not a good fit for what any given business sells. Focus on quality of customers over quantity. Attracting a lot of visitors to a client’s website is great, but if they aren’t qualified leads, the conversion rate will suffer. Creating valuable content marketing (blogs, case studies, etc.) and solutions for your client can help them connect with users across their conversion funnel.

When optimizing a conversion funnel, you want to focus on attracting users from various platforms. A search engine optimized (SEO) website with high rankings for targeted terms can help users naturally find your client’s company when doing online research. While free to rank, organic search can be highly competitive depending on the industry and keywords. To further compete with other businesses, you can put dollars behind your keywords with paid search advertising. The average conversion rate across multiple industries ‘ paid search Google Ads is 4.40%. And don’t forget you can use paid, targeted social media advertising as a supplement to organic social media or until you can grow your fan base.

Every potential customer is at a different point in making a buying decision. Some may have just started researching options while others may be ready to make a decision when they discover your brand. Having a multi-faceted attraction phase can help you attract and generate more targeted, qualified leads.

Educate Your Audience

70% of buyers return to Google at least two to three times during the course of their research, diving deeper into a company’s offerings to see how they can address their particular pain points. So, to build an online business, you want to create a content library or informative website that will help your audience find the answers to their questions.

Convert Your Audience

When optimizing your client’s conversion funnel, make sure that you are creating a positive experience for the ultimate user and delivering what is promised. You also want to set your client apart from their competitors. Whether through case studies or testimonials, highlight the benefits of services/products and how they deliver value to your client’s customers.

A common problem in this step is customer disconnect. For example, when a user clicks on an ad or a link expecting one thing and gets something different. The information you provide may be valuable, but if it doesn’t match what the user was expecting, it can lead to a negative impression of your brand and a lower conversion rate.

Learn from Your Audience

Your client’s current customers are a powerful tool for their business. Learning from their customer experience can help you improve for new customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is by reviewing customer data. Are more customers converting from organic search versus email marketing? Is there a marketing effort that isn’t converting any customers? This data can reveal how your client’s current customers found your company and can help you focus your marketing dollars in the right places.

Data can help you improve future marketing efforts and create a more positive experience for your client’s current customers. 83% of customers are willing to refer after a positive experience. B2B companies with referrals experience a 70% higher conversion rate.

Get Started Building Your Customer Base

Creating effective conversion funnels for your clients takes time, expertise and resources, which can be a challenge for smaller agencies. Fortunately, Umbrella can help. We provide a clear channel of growth for 2,500 marketing agencies by delivering leads, appointments, high-quality fulfillment services and marketing training.

Contact us today to learn how Umbrella can help you to build a marketing agency or expand the services and revenues of your existing agency.

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