Nowadays, all business and sales operations expanded or even moved entirely online. That is why shaping an efficient online sales funnel, which is the process of turning a prospect into a customer, has become an important competitive advantage in digital marketing.
It is called a sales “funnel” because it includes several stages, acting as filters on the pool of prospects who come into contact with your business.
At any stage, the prospect can exit the sales funnel. It all depends on the steps you take to bring the prospect closer to the final purchase decision and then persuade him to choose renewal.
Key elements of a sales funnel
- Awareness: a prospect finds out about your business.
- Interest: the prospect’s attention is hooked, and he wants to gather more info about your business.
- Sales: the prospect decides to buy or turn around and go. In this stage, he will assess competition, may negotiate and will make the final purchase decision.
- Retention: the customer may decide now to drop the product/service or continue using it.
Why do people leave my online sales funnel?
A website’s average conversion rate varies by industry, from 2% for non-profit organizations to 10% for financial services providers. If your website conversion rate falls behind the market benchmark values, you’re most likely doing something wrong.
Let’s see what the most common mistakes are in building an online sales funnel and how you could avoid them:
Your website lacks readability
Adapt your content to the human eye to ensure readability:
- Use high contrast between text and background colours
- Set font size to a minimum of 12 px for the main copy
- Make content scannable, using headers, bullet points
- Favour standard fonts over the fancy ones
You are overdoing it with advertising
Very few enjoy online advertising, but pop-up ads are by far the most disruptive. 81% of Internet users have closed a browser because of a pop-up ad, according to Hubspot. Pop-ups can help you increase retention on your website, though, if used wisely. For instance, you can use mouse tracking solutions to anticipate a user’s intent to leave your website and, when this happens, display a pop-up prompting him to remain.
“81% of Internet users have closed a browser because of a pop-up ad”
Your website is not mobile responsive
Ever since 2016, web traffic on smartphones exceeded the traffic on desktop computers. Not being reachable on mobile means ignoring more than half of your prospects.
Your registration flow is complicated
You need people to sign-up to be able to open communication with them in the future. Use social login to spare your users the hassle of long, complicated forms and passwords.
“If a visitor doesn’t find what he was looking for within 3 seconds, you have failed”
Navigation on your website is not intuitive
The “3 seconds test” can help you assess navigation on your website: if during this time, a user didn’t find what he was looking for, you’ve failed. Easy navigation comes from good design, good content, effective information architecture and use of web conventions the average Internet users are familiar with (for instance, make links look clickable by using blue or at least a different colour than the rest of the text).
Your website loads slowly
3 seconds is also the time people will wait for your website to load. A higher loading time determines 40% of Internet users to abandon a web page, as shown in a survey by Akamai and Gomez.
Page speed is a factor in Google’s search algorithms, which should be an extra motivation for websites owners to focus on improving it (assuming that the first motivation is to offer users an optimal experience).
“Create a style guide to ensure consistency in how you build your content and visual identity across all channels.”
Your site is not in line with your brand voice
Build your website in line with your overall brand identity to make it “speak” to prospects, current and old customers. Create a style guide to ensure consistency in how you build your content and visual identity across all channels.
Your offer is not compelling
There are few marketing tactics to help you gain users’ attention in the short time they spend on your website:
- Educate the users: offer studies, surveys, white papers to help them gather info in the awareness and interest stage
- Offer them free trials/demos to facilitate the purchase decision
- Provide them evidence through testimonials and reviews
“Highlight the most powerful benefit instead of describing all the features.”
Visitors don’t see the benefit
You can be more compelling if you highlight the most powerful benefit instead of describing all the features. Use appealing words like “save”, “free”, “instantly” to put the focus on the customer’s gains.
You don’t have an effective call to action
A call-to-action (CTA) is the key to opening the door to your business for a prospect. Here are a few ways to make it more efficient:
- Place it in a high visibility spot
- Use buttons as CTAs
- Use the first person rather than the second person (“I want a demo version” instead of “Ask for a demo version”)
- Use light animation effects or graphic elements to enhance the CTA
- Push user to a straightforward purchase flow (sales contact, paying platform)
“Avoid overly “salesy” words or words that may set unrealistic expectations like “the best”, “buy”, “the cheapest”, “click here”.”
You don’t deliver what you promise
No matter how much you want to hook your website visitor’s attention, your product or service presentation should include only what is real. Avoid overly “salesy” words or words that may set unrealistic expectations like “the best”, “buy”, “the cheapest”, “click here”.
Your website is more than just a part of your online identity. It can turn out to be an effective sales channel if you use the right mix of marketing tactics, features, design, and technology meant to help you attract many prospects and determine part of them to make the purchase decision.