How to increase your conversion rate: the complete guide

 Are you looking for ways to increase conversions at every sales funnel stage? We’ll walk you through the different sales funnel stages and share some tips for improving your conversion rates throughout your funnel.

Before we dive into tips to increase conversions, let’s first agree on what a sales funnel is and what you’re trying to optimize for each sale funnel stage.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

Sales Funnel Stages

A sales funnel is simply a way of visualizing your prospects’ buying decisions at any given time. At the top of the funnel, many people are not yet ready to buy. They’re just starting to engage with your business. As they get further down the funnel, they become more interested in buying from you. Eventually, the most engaged people are funneled to the bottom of your funnel to become sales and repeat customers.

Sometimes, it’s easier to visualize the funnel stages by looking at an actual sales funnel chart.

In most sales funnel presentations, you’ll see a chart similar to the one above, but we think it’s easier to understand the funnel when you don’t use the buzz words for each stage.

A better way to visualize a sales funnel is by thinking of it as a ring where prospects move from the ring’s outer edge towards the inner edge of the ring as they become more familiar and engaged with your business.

You’ll get more leads at the beginning of the sales funnel than at the end. The actual number of prospects in your funnel will decrease the closer you get to a sale. This is natural.

Sales Funnel

Your conversion goals also change as the prospect moves through the sales funnel stages.

  1. Attract the community that is unfamiliar with your business.
  2. Engage those who now know you exist.
  3. Educate those committed to making a purchase.
  4. Convert customers who are ready to buy.
  5. Re-engage your core fans who have already made a purchase.

Too often, businesses attempt to sell their products or services immediately after meeting a potential customer. Instead, think of converting your customers into buyers by having them move through your sales funnel one step at a time.

Let’s look at each of the sales funnel stages and the marketing techniques you can use to increase conversions in each stage.

Step 1. Increase Conversions in the Awareness Stage

Your goal: Keep them coming back

Unless people know who you are, you can’t sell them anything. They won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you. You need to get your name out there and establish your business as an industry leader.

The most common awareness stage tactics for attracting new prospects and establishing an authoritative presence are:

1. Blogging

Internet marketing is not rocket science. Write about anything related to your product or industry. Don’t worry if your knowledge isn’t perfect.

For example, if you sell privacy fences, your site’s readership will likely be interested in backyard barbecues. Don’t create content that doesn’t match your product.

Publishing blog articles on your website will help your site be found in search engines. When prospective customers search for solutions, they can go to your website instead of your competitors.

2. Social Networking and Publishing

Consumers today rely on their social networks to find advice, referrals, and reviews. They expect a business’ Facebook page to be active and responsive to questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter. They look for tutorials and how-to videos on Pinterest and YouTube. They want to see a behind-the-scenes look at your business on Instagram. Social proof builds trust and increases conversions.

Social media can also indirectly influence your search engine rankings. For example, if you’re using Twitter to promote your products, people who follow you may see your tweets and click through to your site.

3. Pay Per Click Campaigns

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns allow you to pay websites for sharing your advertisement. You only pay when people click on your ad or when your ad appears on someone’s screen.

You should use PPC campaigns to drive traffic to landing pages where you’ll convert prospects by capturing their email addresses.

4. Traditional Public Relations

Don’t forget about old-fashioned public relations when trying to reach out to your customers. Even though print publications, television commercials, etc., can still be very effective, they’re not as effective as they used to be. It’s especially true when combined with email marketing.

A prospect may be technically offline, but with mobile phones always within reach, the opportunity for immediate action still exists. The SMS call to action in the television commercial below generated 52% of the total entries for the content, even though it ran in only 25% of the ads.

Step 2. Increase Conversions in the Consideration Stage

Your goal: Get their email address

Once someone has become familiar with your business, engage them. Encourage visitors to make small commitments to your business even before they’re ready to purchase.

The best way to do this is to offer a lead magnet that helps solve their problems in exchange for their email address.

A lead magnet is essentially a valuable bribe offered to visitors in exchange for their contact information. Small commitments like this build to larger ones, like ultimately purchasing your product.

5. Landing Pages

A landing page on your website with content that addresses one specific problem. Its purpose is to capture your prospect’s contact information or make a sale. It should include a single call to action.

Create a landing page to send your traffic to, and you’ll see b website conversion rates.

The landing page focuses solely on getting your reservation booked, without even the addition of site navigation that is present in the top right corner of their standard homepage.

A specific landing page and call to action are more relevant to the visitor’s needs than your homepage and are more likely to convert.

It also has ready-made landing page blocks specifically designed to help you generate leads and boost conversions like opt-in email forms, contact forms, testimonials, videos, CTA buttons, pricing tables, etc.

6. Calls to Action

For every page of the site, ask yourself, “what do I need this reader/visitor to do?” Do they want to schedule an appointment? Fill out the contact form? Download a paper? 

Decide the action you want your customer to take and add a clear call to action multiple times on the page.

Upgrading your content with multiple calls to action is a great way to offer multiple options for people to take action without displaying multiple opt-in forms. Upgrades are techniques you use to give your readers a chance to receive exclusive bonus content by signing up for your email newsletter.

You should provide a simple link or an opt-in form within your content to offer an upgrade. When someone clicks on that link or form, a page where they can choose to upgrade their account.

7. Forms

Contact forms or comment forms are accessible but often overlooked opportunities to add subscribers to your list. Many sales funnels end with a single call to action, leading to a form where people can sign up for a free trial. If they want to subscribe to your email list, include a subscription form on your contact page.

Step 3. Increase Conversions in the Preference Stage

Your goal: Pre-qualify the prospect.

Okay, you’ve got the attention of your prospect. Now what?

The next step is to educate them about your product or service. Customers have questions, and your job is to answer them.

You want to help prospects understand whether your product matches them, but you don’t want to lose sight of whether they’re a good match for you.

8. Email

You can begin to introduce yourself to potential clients and build trust by sending them an email. Automate emails to your subscribers with answers to the top 10 most often asked questions about your service, so they don’t have to ask them again. If you’re not already doing email marketing, this is an excellent way to get started.

9. Autoresponder Series and Drips

Drip marketing is an email marketing strategy that sends pre-written emails to customers or prospects. An autoresponder series is a powerful tool for moving a customer from the Crowd stage to the Committed stage.

10. CRM and Sales Integration

Customer relationship management (CRM) is software that helps companies track interactions with their customers. It’s a tool to help identify prospects in your sales funnel. Using cookies and retargeting cookies and retargeting, you can use your customer relationship management (CRM) system to identify which emails prospects should receive next.

Cookies let you use the information you already know about your customers to improve the content they receive from you and offer personalized offers. You use email marketing and CRM software to send personalized messages to existing customers and create special promotions for them.

Using cookie detection allows you to target any browser cookie to easily focus your campaigns and increase your conversion rate.

Step 4. Increase Conversions in the Purchase Stage

Your goal: Make the sale

It’s time to make the ask. The average customer needs to be offered the sale SEVEN times before they’re ready to purchase!

Give your customers clear opportunities to purchase and do it often.

You can make the sale by using these strategies:

11. eCommerce Promotion

If you’re selling a product, you have to consistently offer that product for purchase. Don’t assume that customers will find your checkout or figure out what to buy just because they’re visiting your website.

Make it easy for customers to find your products and services and optimize your checkout page by using online chat, offering free shipping, etc.

Send out emails to your email list with new products or special offers. Set up email marketing campaigns around holidays. Give them a reminder and an opportunity to buy your product by placing your product in their line of sight and making a clear call to action for them to click through. These simple techniques will help you increase sales immediately.

12. Targeted, Transactional Content

Many eCommerce platforms integrate with email marketing providers so you can email promotions to both prospects and existing customers.

Use that integration to send out automated emails to prospects who have reached their end of a drip campaign, offering them new products. You can offer free delivery to customers who abandoned their shopping carts without buying anything or discounts to customers who view a particular product several times before buying.

If you want to learn more about using your email marketing provider’s integration with your eCommerce platform.

13. Social Monitoring

Identifying keywords that relate to your brand can help you identify potential customers looking for your product.

Small change, significant results.

Step 5. Increase Conversions in the Loyalty Stage

Your Goal: Make a sale again

It is easier to get someone to buy from you than to convince them to switch to your brand. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into acquiring a core customer, so it would be a shame to let them go now.

Remember those who have already purchased by offering:

14. Referrals

Ask your customers if they know anyone else who would benefit from your product and offer a discount on their next purchase if they refer a prospect who becomes a customer.

Uber does a great job of this with its referral program. When you refer a friend, you and the friend get a free ride.

15. Resells

Resell existing customers the exact product they’ve already purchased. Many customers just need a gentle nudge in the right direction to re-purchase something they’ve already experienced.

16. Upsells and Cross-sells

Entice the customer to purchase more expensive items, packages, or add-ons during and after the sale. During the checkout process or as a follow-up email after the initial purchase, you can do this.

17. Reminders

Give your customers a helping hand by reminding them of important dates related to your product.

18. Gratitude

Don’t forget to simply say thank you!

Sending an email to a customer on the anniversary or birthday of their purchase thanking them for their business can go a long way toward building loyalty. Offering a coupon or freebie on that anniversary can go even further!

You can easily use intelligent tags to greet returning customers by their name or just show them a popup that includes the product they’ve added to their cart.

Intelligent Tags help you keep visitors engaged and, using the information you already have from your email marketing system, can show targeted cross-sells and upsells to boost revenue.

Wrapping Up

You now know more about your opportunities to convert visitors into leads and then into customers. Focus on making smaller conversions and walking your prospects through your sales funnel stages. You’ll not only improve your conversion rate, but you’ll likely create a much more engaged customer base.

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