Some companies design sleek, space-aged widgets with an eye firmly focused on tomorrow. Others offer services to make everyday life more comfortable and efficient. No matter the market, industry, or goals, however, sales make the world go ‘round. And while the concept of the sales funnel has long and extensive roots in the bricks and mortar side of business, many e-commerce companies still struggle in building an eCommerce funnel that is streamlined and perpetually engaging to the customer to maximize conversions.
Foundery 5 knows a thing or two about optimizing an e-commerce funnel and wants to lend companies our experience and expertise across the digital marketplace to help their e-commerce dreams come true. Keep these best practices in mind as you strategize for your own digital funnel, design your efforts around your core competencies and distinct strengths, and see your conversion rate reach the rarified air your team continually strives for.
Sales Funnel Basics
The sales funnel is one of the instances where a simple analogy is a perfect fit for the underlying concept. Think of your sales process as a funnel, with a wide mouth that captures leads and presents the opportunity for your team to engage with a potential customer. From there, the funnel narrows, making your sales efforts more focused and personalized relative to a specific customer's needs and goals as they proceed towards conversion.
Granted, every company is different, so an e-commerce funnel that might be extremely effective for one organization could be highly inefficient for another. In other words, while the basic premise of a sales funnel is universal across industry, a company should tailor it around its own process and strengths. This is particularly true in the varied world of digital commerce, where personalized messaging and product design is imperative to meet the expectations of a demanding, often fickle customer base that isn't lacking for choices in vendors.
Build Your Funnel Around Four Stages
As your sales team and decision-makers strategize around the design and deployment of a sales funnel best suited for your e-commerce solutions, four specific stages should serve as a foundation to build your e-commerce funnel around. Use these as a compass of sorts to guide the sales journey your customers advance through, always with conversions as the ultimate destination.
- Build awareness – A potential customer recognizes they have a problem to solve in order to reach a goal and have come across your company as a possible solution. Distinguish yourself as an industry and thought leader through content that is both educational and engaging.
- Foster interest – You've already made the potential customer aware of your brand and established yourself as an innovator in thought and action. Intensify those perceived traits through a distinct digital messaging strategy that incorporates a unique tone and further separates you from the competition, especially across the ever-important social media channels.
- Flame desire – Now you really have their attention. It's time to start discussing what makes your products or services different, better than the competition to leave the potential customer wanting more. Let them imagine how your company can make their business more efficient, effective, and successful. Real world context goes a long way towards flaming desire and amplifying interest in your products or services.
- Take action – All roads have led to this point and it's time to close the sale. Whether through your sales team, a mobile app, or website, you want the potential customer to feel like they would be missing out on a significant opportunity if they don't do business with your company.
Build a Better Funnel
By this point, you've sketched out the different drivers that propel customers across the sales journey. Now it's time to hone your focus and construct a funnel that will maximize conversions for your e-commerce firm. Trackmind suggests using a three-step journey to create the basic framework for your e-commerce funnel.
- Map the Sales Journey
Determine how potential customers find your company, whether it's through your homepage, a specific product page, or the many different forms of social commentary in the digital marketplace. The idea is to map their journey to identify the most effective, productive channels so you can devote sufficient attention and maximize effect. This not only includes determining which domains drive the most traffic but, from a broader perspective, how many touch points a customer potentially needs before making a purchase.
- Route Your Funnel to Conversion Drivers
Different forms of content serve as conversion drivers across the various stages of your e-commerce funnel. Create content customized for each of the four stages we previously discussed with a focus on the tone, information, and design that best serves a specific stage. Then partner that content with the appropriate channel – main page, product page, social media, and others – to strengthen its impact. Make sure to test the effectiveness as you go, measuring traffic, conversion rates, and any other key metrics you value to gauge that impact.
- Distinguish Between Visitors and Leads
As you know, not all traffic is created equally. In a perfect world, every visitor to your site would quickly become a lead that you usher down your sales funnel. However, that is not the case, so you must determine the point or points in your sales funnel where a visitor transforms into an actual lead. Understanding this point in the process allows you to identify critical inflection points where you should devote additional attention and resources to properly foster that lead.
Once you've strategized and deployed the different components of your e-commerce sales funnel, be sure to give the aesthetics and design throughout the various stages adequate attention. Each landing page, email, product page, fillable form, and anything you use throughout the sales journey should be consistent with your message and brand. Design everything to be intuitive, appealing, and naturally prompt the potential customer further down the conversion road. Of course, Foundery 5 is here to provide guidance and expertise along the way, helping you create an optimized e-commerce funnel that transforms leads into sales and leads you to the conversion promised land.
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