If you’ve read even a few marketing articles, you’ve likely come across information about conversion funnels or sales funnels. You may even have intimate knowledge of the steps your specific buyers take in their journey from first visiting your website to becoming lifelong customers. However, incorporating that knowledge into the design of a responsive, engaging page isn’t always as simple.
In a recent Conversion Rate Optimization Report, researchers found 63% of companies lack any structure to optimization and may miss out on crucial opportunities because they don’t have a reliable method of getting from Point A to Point B. When incorporating your sales funnel, you must focus on quality as well as usability.
Fortunately, there are some specific steps you can take to ensure your site design stands out while still converting users into leads. Here are six fundamental factors in an effective conversion optimization approach.
1. Lose the Distractions
When the user lands on your page, you want to move them pretty quickly from the top of the sales funnel to the middle. Your goal is to eliminate visitors who aren’t interested in what you have to offer, but are taking up valuable bandwidth on your site. Not everyone who lands on your page will become a customer. Cut the distractions and narrow the visitors into the next phase of the buyer’s journey. Everything on your landing page should point the user toward information about a specific product or service.
The Disney+ subscription service has one goal — to move site visitors into the second phase of the sales funnel. They present two options above the fold. One option is to subscribe to Disney+ and the other to that service plus Hulu and ESPN+. People who aren’t interested in subscribing will likely bounce away from the page at this point, saving Disney bandwidth and putting the focus on people who are interested in their service.
2. Select the Right Images
If you want to get your site visitors to hang around and move them through the sales funnel, use images to showcase what you sell. Your photographs should be highly relevant to what you’re selling, so people know what you’re offering at a glance. You can also use graphics to point people toward a call-to-action (CTA) button. An arrow, a person looking toward the CTA or other elements that naturally draw the eye can help move the user along subtly.
3. Outline the Steps
Use your landing page to lay out the steps the user will go through to sign up as a customer. People are incredibly busy, so try to keep the process short and simple so they don’t feel overwhelmed. A headline and a few words for each step are all you need to highlight the process, and each phase of the funnel should be short and to the point.
MenuDrive offers a simple outline of “How it Works” to show potential leads how easy it is to sign up. They lay out a five-step process that starts with the option of phoning or emailing them. There is also a CTA button that says “Sign Up” and allows the user to fill out a simple form. It guides users through each step of the process.
4. Know the Funnel Layers
If you aren’t already familiar with the funnel layers, study each stage and then tie it into your customers and their needs. Sales funnel phases include the following.
- Awareness: The audience becomes aware of your brand, product or service.
- Interest: They want to know more about your product because you’ve grabbed their attention. They might then move to a “learn more” link.
- Desire: You’ve piqued their interest and shown them why they need this solution. They see how it can solve a problem or pain point.
- Action: The person does what you want them to do, whether that’s making a purchase or signing up for a mailing list.
Once you understand the layers, it’s easier to apply them to your website.
5. Offer a Video or Demo
Once users move toward the interest phase of your funnel, it’s time to dig into the specifics of your product. Highlight the features of your offerings through a video. If you sell an online service, a demo allows users to try out some of those features and see how they might work. You can provide this directly on your site or via a free two-week trial. The key here is to show how you make their life better or easier.
Tray.io offers an online demo so you can see how they can automate your workflows. Because clients might not have tried this product before, the demo lays out how the software streamlines processes. This try-before-you-buy approach works well for software and IT companies.
6. Learn the Marketing Lifecycle
Some marketers are dumping the “funnel” in favor of a marketing lifecycle that interconnects all the phases of the buyer’s journey in a sort of figure-eight formation. The idea is that once a person is aware of your company, you need to stay with them and guide them back to the different phases as needed. Rather than a one-time funnel that you move them through, the lifecycle is about long-term customer relationship building.
Design for the User
As you come up with pages for each phase of the buyer’s journey, always keep in mind the needs of the user. What pain points are they dealing with, and how can you solve the problem or move them closer to a solution? Spend time surveying your customers and running tests to see which issues they care about, and you’ll wind up with a design and a sales funnel that is on target and moves general visitors toward becoming lifelong customers.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.