It’s no secret that website traffic is the lifeblood of your average small business.
Building a high-traffic website isn’t easy, but the rewards are too good to ignore.
However, looking at the marketing numbers, it seems that the majority of small business owners are still working on developing efficient and sustainable strategies that contribute to a steady stream of customers.
Consider the following statistic from MarketingShepa’s B2B research:
- 68% of organizations have not identified their funnel.
- 57% of organizations identify ‘converting qualified leads into paying customers’ as a top funnel priority.
- 65% of marketers have not established lead nurturing.
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.
As the old saying goes “Fail to plan. Plan to fail.” By failing to define a conversion process, you’re wasting opportunities to convert the traffic that has taken time, effort and money to build into sales.
Sounds like we need to take a closer look at what a website funnel is and how you can use it to monetize your website traffic more efficiently while improving lead generation.
What Is A Website Funnel?
As with an actual funnel, a website funnel’s purpose is to direct the flow of something from point A to point B. In this case, we’re directing the flow of website visitors through a sales process which aims to move them from being visitors to becoming leads, from leads to becoming prospects, and from prospects to becoming customers.
However, website funnels are flawed, they leak. After all, not every website visitor becomes a client. The percentage of website visitors who take the desired action is referred to as the conversion rate.
By optimizing the performance of the funnel at each stage marketers are able to improve the monetization of website traffic.
Building a Simple Conversion Funnel
Before you begin, it’s worth remembering that building an effective website conversion funnel takes time and effort and should be an ongoing, long-term initiative.
The upside is that if you’re marketing any product or service online you have already begun, because you have a funnel in place already. You may just need to define it more clearly, understand it, analyze it, and to improve it at every level consistently.
The image below is a generalization, but a fairly accurate representation of the various stages of a typical website sales funnel. Let’s examine it a little bit more closely to understand how it works.
STAGE 1: Lead Generation
The primary goal in stage one is drive as much relevant quality traffic as possible into your website sales funnel. By generating more leads from your existing traffic you’re making a positive impact on sales, even if you do nothing else and conversion rates stay the same.
As the infographic suggests, you can deploy a number of lead generation strategies at this stage including, but not limited to:
- Email MarketingCreate an attractive opt-in offer and autoresponder series to capture and nurture leads. Encourage referrals and sharing to grow your list.
- Search Engine MarketingLeverage the powerful one-two punch of paid and organic search to maximize your exposure to potential leads who are already looking for information related to what you have to offer.
- Social Media
Put the power of social media to work. Use it to post frequent, quality content updates in order to engage your prospects and build a relationship with them.
STAGE 2: Improve Conversions
The primary goal in stage two is to move your prospects and leads further through the website funnel towards becoming customers and to improve the conversion rate. In the infographic, the two key aspects identified in the funnel are:
- A Well-Designed Website
Successfully moving your prospects through the next part of the funnel will depend on how effective your website design is.
A well-designed website provides something for prospects at every stage of the buying cycle, whether they’re just starting out with research to a solution, or are ready to make a purchase.
With help on getting your web design right, here is a video in which I explain The Anatomy of an Incredibly Effective Website:
For many businesses the move to ecommerce is a logical addition to a well designed website and a crucial undertaking if you’re seeking to realize the true monetization potential of your website traffic.
This online environment can not only help to generate sales, but encourage repeat purchases and referrals as well, further boosting your website funnel’s efficiency and traffic monetization.
STAGE 3: Repeat Business
The goal of stage 3 in the website sales funnel process is to create more meaningful-long-term relationships with customers and encourage repeat business. However, its hard to personally guide each user through the sales process and give them personal attention. For this reason, it’s necessary to employ some marketing automation to help get the job done.
The infographic above highlights three great options for automating your customer relationships:
- Using Auto-Responders
An effective autoresponder series is not only useful for keeping your users engaged and building a relationship, it’s a fantastic tool for increased monetization if you include compelling upsells, cross-sells, and promotions.
- Creating a Lead Database
Set up a leads database and gather the demographic data required to segment your users for more targeted follow-up marketing campaigns.
- Implementing Lead Scoring
Once segmented you have the ability to begin “scoring” your leads to prioritize your high value relationships and create more targeted communications and campaigns for each of the relevant segments.
STAGE 4: Increase Revenues
Now, at the end of the funnel it’s time to convert and monetize the remaining prospects.
Some viable sales techniques and strategies are available for this, including:
- Utilize clear calls-to-action on your website to guide visitors down the conversion paths you’d like them to take.
- Understand your prospects and their problems or needs and build out customer profiles for each of your main segments for more targeted campaigns.
- Focus on communicating the benefits of your product or service, not the features.
- Don’t be shy, ask your users to make purchases. Be persistent, but not to the point of being perceived as pushy or annoying.
- Incentivize the actions you want users to take, especially sales or repeat sales.
- Utilize your segmentation to create more compelling upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
A Defined Website Funnel Is Essential for Success
If you’ve not done so yet, make defining, documenting and tracking of your website sales funnel a priority.
Begin working at the top by increasing the number of leads you generate – a.k.a. Widening the funnel and then moving systematically through the other stages of your funnel process in turn. If successful, you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.