Part of owning a business is understanding ways to get your product or service in front of your desired customer so that you can make a sale (or so they’ll sign up, join, etc.). If you’ve spent much time at all learning about marketing analytics, then you’ve probably heard the term “funnel” a great number of times.

If you’re curious to know what exactly this mysterious thing is and how it can help you grow your business, then keep reading!

What is a Funnel?

Remember this: You want the visitors on your website to take some kind of action. This is the entire purpose of your site. Maybe you want them to buy from you, sign up, fill out a form, enroll in your class, etc. 

Regardless of your particular desired action, when someone does something that you want them to do on your website, it’s called a “conversion.” When someone buys from you, it’s a conversion. When they sign up for your class, it’s a conversion. The visitor “converts” from browsing to taking action, and a funnel is the steps a visitor needs to go through in order to accomplish this conversion.

This is easy to understand if you look at an example, such as the Amazon purchase funnel. There are a few simple steps that a visitor has to take before purchasing a product (or, making a conversion). They must:

  1. Visit Amazon’s website
  2. View the product
  3. Add the product to the cart
  4. And complete the purchase.

While there are other possible steps that can be taken in between each of these steps (visiting the “about” page, viewing other items, clicking away from the site altogether to name just a few possible steps), they don’t need to be counted as steps in the funnel since they aren’t necessary steps. The essential process a customer must go through to reach a conversion is referred to as a “funnel” since at it’s beginning (step one) there are a lot of potential customers who will enter but not necessarily convert. As people get through steps two, three, and so on, the size of the crowd thins (or narrows), until they get to the “commitment” portion, which is the sale (the end of the funnel) and it is quite narrow compared to step one.

Only the most interested of customers will make it all the way down to the last step of the conversion process (the bottom of the funnel).

What’s the Point of a Funnel?

When you hear someone say “widen the funnel,” they mean you should cast a larger net for your first step of the conversion process. This entails marketing got larger or new audiences, increasing your brand awareness, and just getting more visits to your site. The more people who are in your funnel to start with, the more likely it is to find someone who goes all the way down to the commitment stage. 

It’s important to know that funnels are useful for more than just selling products or services! You can track your newsletter sign up, page conversions, and more by using a funnel! The key is in figuring out your goal, what you want your visitors to do on your site, and then creating a funnel to help your page visitors do what you want them to do.

Real Life Funnel Examples

Marketing funnels are actually everywhere, not just online. Think about it. There is a funnel process for retail as well as eCommerce stores. The process for each is remarkably similar if you look at it:

  • Retail Store Funnel
    • Customer sees advertisements for store
    • Customer enters store
    • Customer views products
    • Customer adds desired product to cart
    • Customer completes purchase with store clerk
  • eCommerce Store Funnel
    • Customer visits website
    • Customer views products
    • Customer adds desired product to cart
    • Customer completes purchase at site checkout
  • Social Media Funnel
    • Customer clicks an Instagram ad
    • Customer reads landing page copy
    • Customer gives you their email
    • Customer buys a product/subscription

Making sure your website is easy to use for your page visitors includes making conversions an easy process. Decide what you want a person to do when they visit your website and then bring as much clarity and simplicity to these actions as possible. This will help ensure that you receive the most conversions possible.

I hope this information has been helpful! I want to hear more from you. What do you wish you understood better? What areas are you struggling with in your business? Hit “reply” and let me know! I love hearing from you and want to help however I can. 

Have a great week!
Robyn Bennett 

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