Any marketing campaign can be understood through the concept of the sales funnel. A sales funnel is a marketing tool or set of objectives that leads a customer towards the decision to buy. Several actions must be taken by the customer to move from one stage of the sales funnel to the next. This concept is used to better target consumers at different stages in the funnel, and to improve assets that lead them to take desired actions. The stages of the sales funnel are:
Awareness Stage – A customer has his or her first encounter with the brand or product.
Interest Stage – The customer identifies a need that the product or service can satisfy, and develops an interest in the possible benefits.
Consideration Stage – The customer does research, comparing the product to other solutions provided by competitors.
Decision Stage – The customer has determined one product is the best solution for their needs, and prepares to purchase or negotiate with the company.
Buying Stage – The final transaction takes place.
Evaluation Stage – The customer uses the product or experiences the service, and makes a judgment on the quality received. They may leave feedback, discontinue use, or consider more products and upgrades from the original purchase.
Re-purchasing Stage – This is when the cycle starts again; the customer becomes aware of a new product or additional service by the company, and considers their next purchase.
For any type of e-commerce company, the website alone must move the customer through each of these stages. The customer may contact a representative or visit the store, but the bulk of the work rests in the effectiveness of the website to reach certain objectives and continue the momentum of the sales process. This is a significant challenge, as online sales are impersonal and there is not a salesperson to help answer customer questions.
Does your website effectively take the customer from awareness to purchase? To make your website an effective sales funnel from beginning to end, ask yourself the following questions:
Is your SEO campaign driving traffic?
80% of consumers start from a search engine to make purchases or research products. For your customer to become aware of a new product and reach the consideration stage, they have to be exposed to your website first. The goal of your SEO campaign is to drive traffic to your site, so that it can effectively do its job in providing information and buying options to consumers. Check your Google Analytics to see how many new visitors are reaching your site, and how many of your web pages are ranking for page one on your targeted keywords.
Is your landing page effective?
Once customers reach your site, are they welcomed and directed to the pages they need? The only way for them to begin the consideration stage is to be presented with the most important information upfront. Over half of users will spend less than 15 seconds on your site; the best way to get them to explore is to create a visually appealing, informative landing page.
Do you present front-end offers well?
The customer is trying to make the decision between choosing you and a competitor when they visit your website. In order for them to make the right decision, they need as much information as possible, from multiple sources on your website. When you list products on your site, include a detailed description, past customer reviews, and FAQs. This information serves as the replacement for your salesman in an online format.
Do you have a back-end upsell?
Once the customer makes a purchase, you want them to do two things: 1) leave a positive review, and 2) buy from your site again. The way to make these two things happen is in the upsell, after the purchase is finalized. Follow up with them, asking for their feedback, and include information about supplementary products or products related to their search queries.
Can you engage with customers from the site even if they don’t buy?
Not every visitor to your site is ready to buy. However, every visitor should become a lead, regardless of where they are in the sales funnel process. If they didn’t make a purchase, did they click on an item? Can you gain their contact information to follow up later? Your website needs to be effective in gathering contact information, as well as demographic data so you can better target and market to that user in the future.
Your website can be a comprehensive tool for lead generation and sales if you design strategically and incorporate effective SEO practices. The quality of information you present to the customer is crucial. Your online presence may be the only impression of your company that the customer receives. That first impression could lead to a final sale when you follow best practices.
The best way to create a lead-generating website is to be informative, up-to-date, and user-friendly. The details don’t matter as long as you make the journey through the sales funnel easy for the user to follow.
For more tips on attracting, nurturing, and selling, purchase a copy of Scale Up Your Profits! here.