News: July 2011
Website marketing — conversation funnels
Once you have established your website and its objectives it's time to focus on converting site visits into business (or at least actions that result in new business being won over time).
A conversion is a marketing term that describes the final outcome of a website visit. For an e-commerce website a conversion is a sale from the online store. For a professional services website a conversion could be somebody subscribing to the company e-newsletter or filling out a contact form with an inquiry that can then lead to new business.
The conversion funnel focuses on the "sales process" - the steps a visitor must go through in order to be converted into a customer or newsletter subscriber. The idea is that your website may get 1,000 visitors a month. Of these, let's say 100 visitors make a purchase or subscribe to a newsletter or fill in the inquiry form, the conversion rate is therefore 10%.
Focusing on your website's conversion funnel allows you to improve drop-off rates by analysing the sales path and finding the bottlenecks and making the site improvements that result in higher conversions. For example, in order to get more visitors to fill in an inquiry form or subscribe to your newsletter, you could add a new button to the home page that stands out and calls the visitor to action with a message such as "Subscribe to our newsletter" or "Inquire now".
The company's sales team can then follow up on these leads and over time "convert" the leads into sales / new business.
When analysing your website's conversion rate its best not to measure your end result conversion rate without tracking the path that your customers take to conversion. This allows you to identify bottlenecks. For example a bottleneck could occur in that to subscribe to your newsletter the user must visit the "news" page, then click "newsletters" then click "subscribe". In this case the visitor must click on 3 different links in order to subscribe to the newsletter.
This bottleneck can be eliminated by moving the "subscribe to newsletter" button to the home page. Now the visitor only needs to make 1 click to subscribe to the newsletter, thereby eliminating the bottleneck and increasing the likelihood of the visitor subscribing to the newsletter by virtue of the fact that the process involved is now simpler. This results in more leads for the sales team and ultimately more business for the firm.