Sales and marketing are long and involved processes. Only through repeated testing can we discover ultimately how effective a marketing campaign might be. But a lot of thought has to go into a marketing plan. It’s important to understand how your customers go from discovering your existence to converting.
A conversion can mean many things. It could be a purchase, a click, a subscription to a newsletter, or any action that you want your prospective customer to take. With something as vital to your success as conversions, you can’t just throw your hands in the air and hope that your customers will find their way to you on their own. Yet still, only 69% of marketers feel that converting leads should be their primary concern.
You have to create a map for success and optimize that path to boost your conversion rates. These blueprints of the customer journey are called marketing funnels.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
Marketing funnels direct the user through a predetermined set of steps on the way to a conversion. This process should be linear and clearly defined.
A lot of careful planning goes into them. Typically, a standard funnel is composed of three steps.
- First, there’s awareness, wherein the customer first becomes aware of your brand.
- Then comes consideration, where the prospect compares your product or service with those of your competitors. This is the stage where the most nurturing is needed in an attempt to sweeten the pot and nudge the consumer toward conversion.
- Finally, there is the decision stage, where the customer makes a decision to convert or walk away.
According to SalesForce, 79% of marketing leads never convert. That number seems high but not shocking when you also consider that 68% of companies have not identified or even attempted to create sales and marketing funnels.
These funnels should be optimized for maximum results, but a lot of work goes into using marketing funnels to maximize conversion optimization. Before optimizing your conversion rate through funnels you must first have a clear understanding of what your funnel is.
So what is funnel analytics and how can you implement it into your marketing plan? To answer that question, we have to understand how a funnel can be measured.
How is a Funnel Measured?
Funnels have to go through intensive testing to find out if there are any hiccups along the way.
One of the most effective ways to gauge the success or failure of a marketing funnel is through A/B testing. This process allows you to test the performance of two or more different pages at the same time.
This is done by creating alternate versions of pages and gauging how people are able to interact with them. The differences between the test pages could be relatively simple, such as color changes, different text, or even subtle variations to the language used in the site’s calls to action.
Another effective way to gauge the effectiveness of your funnels is through Session Replays, which create video reenactments of how your customers browse through the business website.
Through session replays, businesses are able to see each step in their marketing funnel by watching recreations of a user session. You can follow a user’s mouse clicks, scrolling, and more, which can help you determine where you’re losing customers.
Make sure that you’re constantly checking your crash reports and the overall website functionality to determine what’s driving people away.
It’s also helpful to create different marketing funnels from different advertising ventures, as the audiences that various platforms pull in could have different buying habits.
Linear funnels are the first of two different varieties of funnels that we’re going to talk about. As the name implies, events take on a linear progression. Customers move from one point to the next in a predetermined sequence that can’t be altered. In this instance, events do not repeat.
This funnel is far easier to evaluate with analytics. With each prospect taking the same steps, you can easily see where they are falling off. If you notice that there is one step in which you’re losing most of your audience, that’s the area of your marketing plan that needs some work.
When moving through a linear funnel, users can perform steps in an irregular manner, but all of the steps have to be hit before a conversion is made.
Any Order Funnels
When moving through any order funnel, prospects can take any route that they choose to get to a purchase decision. The focus of such a strategy is more end goal oriented. It doesn’t spend a lot of time working on how a prospect actually gets there.
In any order funnel, once the user passes the first event (typically awareness) it’s up to them how they proceed toward conversion. While there is a lot of flexibility in such a plan, it becomes more difficult to pinpoint drop off points when trying to apply analytic tools.
However, any order funnel can include various events which can all be tested with an analytics tool and analyzed to determine their overall effectiveness.
Why Do Funnel Analytic Tools Help?
Funnel analytic tools are important to the marketing and sales process as they help you gain an accurate understanding of how and why your customers are converting or leaving without a purchase.
They give you invaluable insight into the customer journey and help you determine how your customers are getting from one point to the other.
An ideal funnel analytics tool will help you improve the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaign and propel your business forward.
When looking for a funnel analytics tool, one should make sure they include certain key features.
- Your tool should allow for heat mapping, which showcases your user data in the form of a map or diagram. These heat maps are typically organized according to color.
- Ensure that you’re tracking your conversions and drop-offs. You should also be able to see every click and scroll from a customer’s session.
- A funnel analytics tool should give you the ability to make visual improvements to your website without technical experience.
- You need to be able to determine your website visitors’ behavior and use that knowledge to target them. A good analytics tool will give you the ability to target based on a number of criteria including language, geolocation, device, and page visits.
- Finally, it’s important to have a tool that fully integrates with the system that you’re using. This includes the plethora of funnel analytics tools which are offered through CRO suites like Freshmarketer. You want to be able to bring all of your visitor data together so that you can determine your best course of action.
It’s imperative that you develop an understanding of the journey your customers go through. This helps you develop funnels that make converting easy. You don’t want to lose out on potential business because users were confused by your process.
Have a clear cut idea of what kind of funnel you’re looking to create. And map it out from start to finish. This will help you formulate real-time data that shows the success or failure of your process. This helps you find weaknesses in your website and marketing platforms.
Feature Image Illustration: Rajesh