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5 Steps to Create a Successful Website Conversion Funnel

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
I write Conversion Insider newsletter.

Is your business website attracting a lot of traffic but not succeeding at converting them? Then maybe it’s time you take a look at your website conversion funnel. 

Many business owners wonder, “Why is my conversion rate so low?” Low conversion rates are often a result of poor conversion funnels. A conversion funnel, also called marketing or sales funnel, is the process you create to attract potential customers to your website and guide them to take your desired action. That process includes only four stages, and while it may seem simple, it can make or break your online business sales. 

If you are looking for tips to optimize your online marketing funnel, you have come to the right place. I’ll share conversion funnel optimization strategies that proved valuable for my digital marketing agency.

These strategies will help you attract the right kind of audience to your website and create an enjoyable journey to boost conversion rates.

Table of Contents:
Website conversion funnel

What is a website conversion sales funnel?

A website conversion funnel is a sales concept that describes the different stages of a buyer’s journey. In other words, it is a way to visualize the path your visitors take from the moment they reach your website until they become paying customers. If you have a website, then you have a conversion funnel. Maybe you never pay attention to it, or it is not optimized, but you do have one.

Did you know that the average website conversion rate is less than 4%? Your marketing strategy can drive plenty of traffic to your website or online store, but if your conversion funnel is weak, it will be difficult to turn them into paying customers. Improving your user journey will maximize the profits you get from your marketing efforts. 

The inbound marketing funnel has four stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action. You want to break each of those four stages to find areas of improvement to enhance your conversion rates. 

First, a potential client becomes aware of your brand and your products or services. Second, you build interest in your offerings. It’s called a funnel because it gets smaller and smaller. Think about this: not everyone who becomes aware of your business will be interested in your offerings. Third, you create a desire for your service or product. And, as a last step, you ask for an action. As an example, the desired action can be a visitor purchasing your products or signing up for your email list. 

Stages of a website sales funnel

To optimize your website or eCommerce store conversion funnel, you must first understand each stage of the process in depth. So, let’s go a little further, analyzing each of the four funnel steps. 

Awareness

To have a conversion funnel, you must first push people into your sales funnel. That is making people aware of your products and services. This step of the process involves any strategy that helps your business reach a new audience. You have tons of options for making that happen; these are some of the most popular ones:

  • Social media: With the right strategy, a social media campaign can effectively reach your target audience. 
  • PPC advertisement: Pay-per-click ads allow you to aim your ads at users who are actively looking for your offerings.  
  • Organic search: Organic rankings also help you reach users who search for your products or services. Implementing a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial for this method. 

At this step, it is essential you target your efforts to attract qualified leads. Unqualified leads are less likely to move on to the next step of the funnel (even less to the action stage). Targeting your awareness stage strategies to your target customers is the best way to invest your time and budget. 

Interest 

Once you pull prospects into your sales funnel, it is time to build interest in your offerings. Your website content is the best tool you have for this step.

Learn what your website visitors want to learn about your industry, services, and products and what potential questions they may have. With that information, create quality content that positions your business as an authority and industry leader. You can write blogs, publish informative videos or guides, offer helpful resources, and any other content that helps your audience better understand your offering. 

Content is a crucial element of any good conversion rate optimization checklist. Don’t underestimate the power of quality website content. 

Desire

Now that you have your visitors’ interest, you must work towards making them even more interested in your services and products. Show them why they need what your business offers to awaken their desire. 

At this stage, I always remind my clients that people always seek solutions to their problems. Besides explaining how your product works or what your service is about, tell your audience about the specific problem your offer solves, focusing on how your solution is the best option among competitors. After you turn interest into desire, getting leads to become customers will be much easier. 

Action

We have reached the bottom of your conversion funnel. This is where prospects become customers by purchasing or hiring your services. At this stage, leads have done their research about your offering, and they are ready to buy.

This final step is your business’s ultimate goal, the action you want your leads to take. Perhaps they have taken smaller actors earlier, like downloading a free resource. But you want something bigger from them; you want them to buy.

Always remember that only a small percentage of your website visitors will make it to this step. However, by optimizing your sales funnel, you can increase that number and generate more profits.

5 steps to creating a successful website conversion funnel

Developing successful conversion funnels takes work; they don’t happen overnight. But if you put in the effort, it will be worth it in the long run. A good website conversion funnel will maximize your sales and profit, and here’s how you create one.

Customer journey map

Create a customer journey map

First things first. You must understand how users behave on your website. Monitoring your sales funnel will provide valuable insight into how visitors move through your website or eCommerce store. While visualizing the four stages of a website conversion as a funnel is helpful, the process can be much more complicated depending on your business goals. What you need is to map out your ideal customer journey process.

A customer journey map usually reveals:

  • Pages prospects visit on your website
  • How they behave on those pages
  • How your site makes them feel
  • Challenges users encounter at each stage of the process

As you start to craft your customers’ journey map, think about how they move from the first interaction with your website to becoming a client. Let’s say you have an online store; visitors arrive at your eCommerce website, check out your products, add what they want to the shopping cart, and complete the checkout process. Sounds simple? Ideally, their journey would be that way. However, as mentioned, only about 4% of visitors reach the final stage. So, keep in mind that you are mapping the ideal path visitors could take. 

Besides, not every user will take the same path. Some may directly reach your landing page through a PPC ad or an email marketing campaign; others may find your website on Google and start their journey at your home page, then move to your products page. While you can’t make a map for each possible buyer’s journey, I recommend you account for several of these.

Conversion goals

Set up your conversion goals

Like at any step of your business and marketing strategies, you must define clear goals. Your conversion goals will determine where you want your visitors to go and what action you want them to take. You can have multiple goals for your conversion funnel, but I recommend establishing a main one. These are typical conversion goal examples: 

  • Get sales
  • Create an email list
  • Get paid account subscriptions

The task of building a website that successfully converts visitors into customers becomes much easier when you have clear goals. 

Once you have your customers’ journey map and define your goals, you must find a way to track and measure them. For this step, I highly recommend you use Google Analytics; I use this tool to measure my company and my clients’s website performances and make improvements. One of the many benefits of Google Analytics 4 is that it allows you to set up goals and track metrics easily. 

The more information you provide to GA4, the more helpful this tool will be in giving you an idea of your website’s success. To get an accurate idea of how your sales funnel is performing, you must include a goal for each stage of the process.

Conversion funnel content

Build user interest through content

Your products or services can be top-tier, but that won’t matter if your website content fails to awaken the interest and desire of users. Your potential clients need to know about your company, offerings, and solutions. And the best way you have to show them that is through the content you create. 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to content for your website. What type of content to include will depend on your niche and target audience. As you come up with ideas to develop new content, make sure that you have content for each stage of the conversion funnel. Each type of content serves different marketing purposes; this is what I recommend you create for each stage:

  • Top of the funnel (awareness stage): Blog posts, email newsletters, tip sheets, how-to videos, guides and tutorials, glossary, introductory ebook, educational podcasts, infographics. At this stage, you have more room for creativity because your efforts focus on educating your audience instead of trying to convert them. 
  • Middle of the tunnel (interests and desire): Customer testimonials, case studies, free samples, advanced eBooks, demo videos, and catalogs. At this stage, visitors are evaluating your offering, so it is okay to be a bit more straightforward promotinally. All that content serves to show your potential clients what sets you apart from the competition.
  • Bottom of the funnel (action): Free consultation, free trial, coupon, estimate or quote, pricing page. This content should encourage your prospect to take your desired action.
landing page for a conversion funnel

Create a nice-looking landing page where customers will convert

Your landing pages are one of the most essential elements of your conversion funnel. A landing page is specially designed to capture leads and generate sales. Your company probably spends a lot of resources driving traffic to your landing pages through paid advertising and other marketing efforts. 

Landing pages are focused on conversion; optimizing your landing page will improve your website performance and increase conversion rates. I have already developed a complete landing page funnel guide with all the information you need to develop a series of landing pages for gathering leads and turning them into customers.

In short, you must optimize headline copy, colors, call-to-action buttons, user experience, etc. For example, you should tailor your landing page headline and copy to fit the message you want to convey. The language must be simple and direct but engaging. CTAs must be highly visible and stand out from the rest of your page content. Include action-oriented words to encourage users to take your desired action. You can also consider including an above-the-fold CTA for those visitors who don’t scroll down the landing page. 

Besides your page copy, you must also work on the landing page design. You must strategically choose the colors of your page to draw attention to the CTAs. All the visuals – images, videos, etc. – must be relevant to the message you want to come across. All those are basic elements of a website design checklist.

Monitoring website conversion funnel performance

Monitor your funnel performance

If you followed all the steps I just mentioned, you should already have a pretty decent conversion funnel that will lead your business to success. But the work isn’t done once you have your website funnel ready. You must monitor your sales funnel performance to determine if it is hitting your goals. 

You can measure your funnel performance with the following metrics:

  • Traffic: Website visits and page views.
  • Goals achieved: Email list sign-ups, product purchases, checkout process completion, etc.
  • Abandonment: Page or cart abandonment. 

For this crucial step, you can use different conversion funnel analysis tools, like the one I recommended above – Google Analytics. Monitoring your site performance will let you know you are on the right path to success and warn you about areas needing improvement or changes. 

Extra tips for optimizing your conversion funnel

Do you have a website or online store but are unsatisfied with its conversion performance? Luckily, you can do plenty to increase your website conversion rate. These are the top conversion funnel optimization tips my web design agency in Chicago applies to create efficient website conversion funnels. 

Research your audience thoroughly

Getting to know and understand your audience is a crucial spet to optimizing your sales funnel. Do research to find out what motivates them, what problems they have your business can solve, and how they interact with your products or services. To gain that data, you can conduct interviews or surveys, analyze user feedback, and check customer support notes and other data sources. 

With all that insight, your company can tailor its content, copy, CTAs, visuals, and all your sales funnel efforts to get the most out of them. 

Begin with a broad audience

When you start creating your sales funnel, I recommend targeting a broad audience and segmenting it down as you go. That will allow you to initially attract as many leads as possible and qualify them along the process. 

Create buyer personas

By creating fictional representations of your ideal customers – buyer personas – you can more easily understand your target audience’s needs, problems, pain points, motivations, and other relevant factors. Your buyer personas must include demographics such as age, gender, location, income, etc, and other relevant information such as lifestyle, goals, and buying habits. As you continue researching and getting to know your target audience and potential customers better, you can create more specific strategies to convert them.

Choose the right medium

The medium you use to convey your message will depend on your target audience and the funnel stage you are working on. You can use various mediums – videos, audio, and visuals. However, remember that less is more; try to deliver information clearly and quickly without overwhelming your visitors.

Add testimonials and reviews

Testimonials and social proof are valuable resources that can help you build trust with your potential customers along the conversion funnel, leading to higher conversion rates. 

Motivate customers to write product reviews

How can you get customers to leave reviews? Easy: ask them to do it. You can encourage your clients to leave a review by telling them these three things after they make a purchase:

  • Your company wants them to be 100% sure they are satisfied with your products/services.
  • If they aren’t, you want to learn what the issue was.
  • Once they are absolutely satisfied, you would appreciate an honest review.

For this, I recommend you have a system in place that asks clients for reviews a few days after they complete a purchase. That way, they have some time to try your product or service and can give honest feedback. 

Credibility is key

To build trust among potential customers, you need to show credible testimonials of the quality of your products or services. Always try to show as much relevant information as possible, like the first and last name of the reviewer. Some reviewers prefer anonymity; opt to display the testimonials from clients who are proud of telling about their experience with your company.

Leaks in the funnel

Identify leaks on your funnel to prevent losing customers

Sure, only a percentage of your website visitors come to the bottom of the funnel and become paying customers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to reduce the number of “leaks” to a bare minimum. What are conversion funnel leaks? Places throughout your website conversion path where prospects fall through. 

How can you spot those leaks? Where are all those potential clients going? The truth is your marketing funnel has holes at each stage. Think of each step – awareness, interest, desire, and action – as a filter, reducing the number of visitors that move on to the next stage. Only the qualified leads will continue down your funnel; those who aren’t interested will leave your sales funnel through the side. 

Should you just watch as they leave? No. While many of those who exit your funnel weren’t qualified leads, some of them might be. Maybe your website funnel didn’t effectively lead them to the next step. Fortunately, several tools can help you identify those leak points so you can work on them.

If you are using Google Analytics, one of the best ways to find those issues is by using the Funnel Visualization report. From your Analitycs menu, select “Conversions” and then “Funnel Visualization.” There, you can see how visitors move through your funnel and where they leave before reaching your end goal. If you see a large chunk of prospects leaving the funnel at high-conversion pages, that means you have some work to do. 

Use automation to keep leads in your website funnel

Regardless of how well you optimized your conversion funnel, most potential clients won’t make it all the way through on their first visit to your website. Most businesses agree that prospects require a complex sales cycle and are likely not ready to take significant action on their first visit.

So, if you don’t have a way to contact them and remind them about your brand, it’s up to them to go back and learn more about your offerings. The most interested ones will, but they are just a small fraction of the total visitors. The odds of leads returning to your online store or business website drastically increase when you reach out to them. How to do that? My bet would be through email marketing. You can reach them directly to their inboxes with valuable content that interests them. Here, automated emails become crucial. 

Most businesses send weekly or monthly newsletters to their leads or previous customers. That is an excellent start, but newsletters usually don’t take users to the conversion stage. A new potential client that has never acquired your services before has different needs from a regular one. On the other hand, with automated emails, you can consider those differences and send your leads more relevant content. 

A drip campaign is one of the most popular ways to do this. For example, after a user signs up to your email list, you can send them a confirmation email and a “thank you” message. Another effective method is sending cart abandonment emails. You can send a re-engaging email to shoppers who added products to the cart but didn’t complete the purchase.

Repeat business

Don’t forget about repeat customers

The game isn’t over once a user becomes a client. Let’s say a user spends a few months engaging with your content and email newsletters, they visit your website now and then, and finally, one day, they make up their mind and complete the purchase. You have accomplished your main goal. 

But things don’t have to stop there. Your company spent valuable resources and time to acquire that new client; you want them to stick around and become loyal customers. Especially since the probability of selling to a previous customer is about 60-70%, and selling to new clients is only 5-20%. 

When you consider all the efforts and steps it took to lead a user to conversion, those numbers make sense. The good news is the process of achieving a second sale will be much easier and quicker. You can send previous clients emails showing them products related to the ones they purchased. Do you offer a membership service? You can email them and encourage them to upgrade to a better tier. 

Final thoughts

Are you trying to improve your conversion numbers? Your best bet is getting to work on your website conversion funnel. Once you understand how the sales funnel works, optimizing it will be much easier. So, if you didn’t carefully read the first section of this article, I encourage you to do it. Then, you can start creating a sales funnel that guides leads toward the bottom of the funnel, turning them into paying customers.

Plus, with my conversion rate optimization tips, you can continuously enhance the conversion funnel, identifying leaks and solving issues that deter visitors away. Would you like personalized help to improve your business conversion funnel? Schedule a call with me; together, we’ll discover how to optimize your sales funnel to maximize conversions.

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