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The Conversion Funnel

The conversion funnel (or sales funnel), is used to help marketers “visualize and understand the flow through which a potential customer lands on your site and takes the desired action (i.e. converts).” Marketers guide customers to action through the first four stages: awareness, interest, consideration, and evaluation. After that, the focus becomes retaining customers and developing a sense of loyalty and trust. There are six stages within the conversion funnel and potential customers can be garnered through efforts like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, paid ads, and cold outreach.

1 Awareness

This conversion funnel phase is when you’re trying to attract potential customers or shoppers to your site. During this stage, you want to show the value of your product and to provide informative content. You also want to build a relationship with your client. This is not an opportunity to hard sell or give specifics about your product or services. Prospects in this stage don’t know too much about your brand and are looking to learn more about your company – see here: your values and your goals. Use this as an opportunity to establish yourself and build trust. Giving product specific information here won’t engage this audience at all, so it’s more important to demonstrate your value more generally instead.

2 Interest

Once the awareness phase is over, this phase of the conversion funnel begins. Here you are trying to garner customer’s interest in your product. Make yourself stand out by highlighting exactly what makes you unique. If your offer or product is the same as your competition, what’s to make potential customers use your service instead. Your relationship began during the awareness stage, but during the interest phase, it is beginning to truly develop. More often than not in this stage, a customer will express their interest by following your social media page or subscribing to your mailing list. Content at this stage should seek to attract customers – it should compel them and offer solutions for them to achieve their goals.

3 Consideration

In this phase, you encourage potential buyers to purchase your product or service with incentive. Also known as the desire phase, you want your customers to crave what you’re offering. Show them exactly why they need what you’re selling. Salespeople make a significant difference in this role as they can make or break a customer’s experience, thus turning them on or off from your product. Additionally, increase desire by specifically targeting your customers – play on their pathos and strike an emotional chord or use logos and identify the reason they need your product based on data and extensive research. At this level, you must take the time to analyze what might convince your audience most.

4 Evaluation

Within this phase, the customer takes a deeper dive into the product. They begin comparing, testing, and contrasting this option with other potential solutions. By the end of this phase, buyers have begun using concrete terms. They want to know all of the nitty-gritty details including delivery deadlines if applicable, payment terms or pricing options. Often, this end of the phase will be broken into its own stage called the rationalization phase. Customers here know whether or not they are going to buy, they just need a reason.

5 Action

This is the final phase: when the customer follows through and makes a purchase. This stage is arguably one of the most important phases in the conversion funnel as this is your ultimate goal. Statistically speaking, only a small number of customers will make it to this level, but don’t let that discourage you. By improving the rest of your funnel, you’ll find that you can maximize the number of leads that progress. The best way to improve your engagement and conversion rates is also triggering a sale by creating urgency or offering a discount. In this phase, buyers will sign contracts or click the purchase button thus finalizing the deal with you.

6 Retention

Your customer has used your product, but that doesn’t mean the funnel is over. Once you gain a customer, you don’t want to lose them. Focus on maintaining their happiness in order to convert them into repeat customers and brand advocates. Most people are likely to believe their friends over ads on social media. By garnering a group of loyal followers, you’ll easily achieve all fo the benefits of word of mouth. Keep your customers engaged with your product or service by continuing to share content with them in the form of emails, offers, surveys and follow-ups, product guides, and assistance.

Marketing is always trial and error. There are so many ways to optimize and streamline your conversion funnel that it’s important to try different strategies to determine what works best for your business. Be developing an extensive marketing strategy based on your funnel, you’ll be able to gauge what exactly is giving you the results you’re looking for and what needs to be tweaked. Once you know your audience, you’ll also find that you’ll have an easier time to determine exactly how to get the most reaction from each stage of the funnel.