How to Make Your Website an Effective Sales Funnel
Congratulations on creating a beautiful website for your company. Now that your site is close to going live, you still must take the most important step in developing it: by making sure the site itself is a “sales funnel”. In other words, does your site also serve as a step-by-step guide for visitors to make a purchase?
A sales or purchase funnel is a marketing term that describes the customer journey towards making a purchase. It’s referred to as a funnel because at the beginning of the process, you typically start with a large number of potential buyers that eventually gets narrowed down to customers that want to make a purchase.
Basics of a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel for most businesses usually comes in four distinct steps:
- Awareness – This is the step where you make the customer aware of the existence of a product or service;
- Interest – In this step, you’re actively getting customers to express an interest in a product or service;
- Desire – Here, you are attempting to steer potential customers to a particular product or service, and
- Action – Encouraging visitors to take the next and final steps towards purchasing a product.
A good example is, if you own a retail store, an attractive storefront may lure in many potential consumers – that would be the first step (the widest part) of the funnel. Many of those potential customers will start browsing and be attracted to specific items – this would be the second step. For the third step, a sales associate will approach them, answer their questions and lead them to the fourth step, which is to make a purchase.
How Does This Apply to my Website?
Your business website should do the same thing as your storefront in terms of being a sales funnel. If your website isn’t getting customers to make purchases, it won’t do you much good. Each page of your site should not only showcase what your business has to offer, it should also be guiding your visitors towards making a purchase.
The first thing you want to do is to use payment processing software that makes it easy for customers to purchase your products. There are plenty of software packages out there such as Amazon Pay and Stripe that offer plenty of payment collection features for you to choose from. From there, there are several basic steps you can take to make sure your site will produce sales:
- Create a great landing page that brings in sales leads. We all know what they say about first impressions. Your landing page is the first page visitors will see and the first impression they’re going to have about your business. Your landing page needs to be visually appealing and showcase your company’s most popular products and services, as well as your mission statement, so that visitors will want to see more. It should also encourage visitors to sign up for alerts for new items, sales and discounts by leaving their email addresses. That way, you can generate sales leads for the future.
- Immediately feature special sales or discounts for your products. It goes without saying that consumers feel good when they believe they’ve gotten a bargain on items that they purchase. Therefore, the next step in your online sales funnel should be to take advantage of this tendency by making a front-end offer (any offer that brings in new customers). This offer can be free shipping, deep discounts or claims that you are running out of stock on a particular item to create a sense of urgency for consumers to purchase that item. While it won’t guarantee a sale, presenting a front-end offer ideally will make your site visitors mentally go into purchase mode.
- Invest in AI sales assistance software. Step three in creating your online sales funnel is to
take advantage of the fact that customers are generally more likely to make a purchase when they’re given personalized service, such as someone being able to answer questions and negotiate a discount. While you can’t personally do that with every online customer, there are many AI sales assistance software packages that are affordable and can help potential customers with this. Good AI software should also alert you when a customer asks a question that it can’t answer.
- Present upsell offers to customers right before they make a purchase. Encourage customers to consider upgrading or upsizing their orders with special discounts if they do so. For example, if your company sells frozen steaks online, let a customer know that they can also buy lobster tails for a discounted package price. If you sell clothes, you may wish to present an upsell offer by offering a matching shirt to go with a sweater that the customer is about to purchase. Again, this will appeal to the customer’s desire to get a bargain.
- Present a “down-size” option. You don’t want t0 lose customers because they can’t afford your products. If you find out through your AI bot that this is the case, you may want to offer the customer a down-sized option – a cheaper alternative to the product they want to purchase but can’t afford to or aren’t willing to pay the price for.
- Encourage repeat sales. If your sales funnel is effective and a visitor to your site does purchase your product, it’s important to remember to try and keep them as a customer. Afterall, customer lifetime value is a metric that represents the lifeblood of your business. Make sure that you keep your existing customer informed of any new sales or products that you are offering through email or text campaigns. There are plenty of great customer relationship management software packages out there that can assist you with this.
Keep it up!
Given how important your sales funnel is, you should always be evaluating it and examining ways to
improve it. If you see that your site isn’t attracting enough sales, you may have to make changes to both it and your business.
With the economy being as volatile as it is right now, you may have to consider lowering prices or offering more discounts to attract more customers. Perhaps you should consider hiring a web designer to spruce up your landing page to make it more attractive to web browsers. Either way, developing a strong online sales funnel should be a crucial part of your business.