Gaining new customers on your website can be more complex than you initially envisage. It’s perfectly logical to think that pay-per-click advertising, remarketing campaigns and social media promotion should all help to deliver a return on investment – and while this may be true, it’s not the full picture.
To run a successful business, you must understand the four steps of the customer purchase process, known as the conversion funnel. When you understand these steps, you’ll be enlightened enough to know that just because you’ve got goods to offer, it doesn’t mean you’re in a position to make a sale.
So, let’s take a glance at the conversion funnel, its four stages, and how your understanding of it could help increase your profits:
Step 1: Awareness
It’s imperative that you raise awareness of your brand to put your products in front of prospective customers.
For most customers, this starts with a simple search on a search engine. To increase awareness of your brand, you’re going to need a high search engine ranking.
This means investing time (and perhaps money) in SEO to make your way to the front page of Google for searches relevant to your business.
However, social media can play a role here too. In fact, research shows more than half of consumers have made a direct purchase as a result of seeing an advertisement or promoted post on social media.
By taking a two-pronged approach and focusing on SEO and social media, you’re covering the most ground at the lowest cost.
Step 2: Interest
Once you’ve made prospects aware that your company exists, it’s time to create interest in your brand. For this, information is key.
A well-designed landing page should be able to impart as much information as possible without bombarding your prospects with jargon.
In addition to this, a regularly updated blog will cement your position as an authority in your industry, improve SEO and hold the interest of returning visitors.
Step 3: Consideration
Now, it’s time to provide an incentive for prospective customers to make a purchase.
In the previous steps, prospects may have signed up to your mailing list, followed your brand on social media or looked at your site – but none of this generates a profit.
What you need to do now is offer something your competitors can’t: think of things like a free demo, a money-off voucher, a one-on-one consultation or simply unbeatable customer service.
Think outside the box and aim higher than your competitors to offer more to your customers. The end result? See step four.
Step 4: Conversion
Now that your prospect is interested, it’s time to close the deal. Remember, even though a product has made it into the shopping cart, it doesn’t mean you’ve made the sale.
It might be worthwhile looking at the top reasons for failed conversions, and ensure your site isn’t falling short of any of the following:
- High shipping costs
- No guest checkout (requiring signup)
- Complicated checkout processes
- Slow website/errors onsite
Once you’ve ironed out the creases, you should notice an increase in conversions.
While there are many different variations of this funnel, the concepts are virtually always the same. By familiarising yourself with the basics of the four phases, you can generate greater profits.
Remember also that the funnel doesn’t have to end once a sale has finalised. Gaining a sale is great, but nurturing customers with aftercare or promotions so that they return to your brand helps to keep the funnel self-perpetuating.