Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Online Sales Funnel-Understanding the concept

The concept of the online sales funnel

We should start to explain the very nature of the online sales funnels with the basic idea staying behind online marketing. Online marketing has one primarily purpose-to create an impact on web visitors and consumers and make them take actions like buying a product, filling some fields with required information in order to register at your website or incorporate the services your company provides.
When consumers take actions such as these mentioned above, they simply engage in this process and we as marketers are supposed to recognize the buying signals that consumers pass through while looking at an e-commerce website. Based on the buying signals left by consumers when they go though their process of taking a decision to purchase, we become able to discern and measure them and their importance. The buying signals your web visitors or customers show when passing through the content of your site, in general, create a “path” consisting of buying steps or said in other words, they build a “funnel” which is called “online sales funnel”.

Online sales funnels
The online sales funnel does almost the same which the traditional sales funnel does. The people visiting your website are being collected, qualified, tracked and after that, in the best possible situation, converted into customers. Your online sales funnel shows the steps and actions they take on your site by giving you precious information about what actually is happening there.
We all should keep in mind that the more we understand how the funnel works, the more effectively we will be able to test it and optimize it.
The online sales funnel shows a summarized “road” of the buying process. If you remember the last time when you purchased a product from an e-commerce website, probably you were in an online sales funnel. Lets say that you saw a Facebook add, got yourself interested in it and did some research about the company and the company products,  then you decided to visit the website and went through looking different pages of it, educating yourself with information about the products provided there, and finally you took a purchasing decision. This is just one example situation but obviously, we all sometimes find ourselves participating in an online sales funnel.

In Details
The Top of The Funnel 
The largest part of the online sales funnel, is the top of the funnel. This is where all the web traffic is being collected from various sources like:
  • Organic search
  • PPC ads
  • Banner ads
  • Social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
  • Email marketing
  • Online PR
  • and others

The engaging process
The traffic has to be qualified which is happening at the next step of the funnel. When qualifying, we should keep in mind that a considerable part of the traffic who was on the top of the funnel will drop off and only one small part of it will continue to browse. The main goal here is to make as many visitors as possible go to the next stage of the funnel and avoid losing them (bounce rate).
Proactive live chat, automated chat triggers and even lead scoring are useful tools and strategies to engage better with your visitors and effectively encourage them to continue with their visit.

The last step of the funnel is where the traffic left from the other levels of the funnel is being engaged, convinced and at last converted into new customers. Strategies like email marketing automation, banner remarketing are developed and designed with the idea to automatically convince and convert traffic. Which is also highly related to the term  ‘online sales funnel’ and what stays behind it.

Understanding your online sales funnel will help you understand how to use tools such as conversion rate optimization, email automation, live chat triggers, email marketing and social media marketing and how to optimize them and in some cases will open your eyes about new effective marketing trends.  Knowing the concept behind an online sales funnel will help you strategically use online marketing tools to strengthen your funnel and therefore achieve and exceed your digital business goals. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Web Sales Funnels - Introduction

Web Sales Funnel

The Sales funnel takes a significant role of the e-commerce website a company uses as a online sales channel. 
The better you understand your online sales funnel, the more you will be able to see what in your marketing and sales activities is not working in the way you expect to.
The focus of the sales funnel is on the core reason why you want visitors come to your website. Apparently, marketers do some great efforts to generate traffic to company websites. Once the people land on the sites, they are being supposed to take some specific actions and achieve our website goals.
By saying “website goals” clearly we mean actions web visitors make on your website and you are interested in seeing them being achieved. Site registration, placing a product in the shopping basket, sending a request for more information via the web contact forms published on the site and buying a product can be good examples for website goals.
Depending on the structure an online business has, websites have 2 step funnel, 3 step funnel, etc. 

How Sales Funnels work
As we mentioned above, the better we structure our sales funnel, the more efficient our efforts will be.
In most of the cases, e-commerce company websites have their sales funnels divided into three logical levels. 
On the top of the funnel is the stage of the “Visit”-when people just land on your site. They may come from traffic building campaign, from Google search, facebook, etc. At that level they decide if they will remain on your site or switch to the next one.
The second logical level is the “Browsing level”. At this stage, people decide to go and look through different pages on your site. 
Finally, comes the level where your website goals are being accomplished.

In order to realize better how sales funnels operate, we should add that web-sales funnels are also divided into two flows: organic flow and campaign flow. The organic flow represents traffic coming from organic, SEO search. The campaign flow shows traffic coming from any marketing campaign you launch over the Internet: from clicking on Google Adwords adds, Facebook adds, PR materials published on online media channels, email marketing campaigns.

When visitors pass through the sales funnel’s levels-when they purchase, engage or make a call to action-this is where we already have the ability to visualize their path as they look at a PR article advertising your services, for example, as they visit your website, see the information they search for and convert into customers.

A well-developed sales funnel gives you the opportunity to find answers to important questions like:

  • Why are people staying just few seconds on my site after landing there?
  • Why am I losing visitors at that specific page?
  • Why am I losing visitors between the sales funnel stages?
  • Is the user experience people have on my site poor?
  • Is the way people find how to contact me on my site not well-structured and a lit bit complex?
  • Does my website structure influence consumers to take action?
  • And much more.

What a company we work with says about their Sales Funnel insights 
“Our company provides nanny services. After starting working with Deskgod, we were able to literally see our own web-sales funnel right in front of our face.
We see the traffic coming from campaign and organic search and we are able to track who proceeds to the next levels of the funnel.
At the end of the day, we can track and successfully interpret how the website goals, registrations in our own case, are being or not being reached. We can work on creating strategies for better customer engagement and avoid high abandonment rates. This gives us precious information what is working and what is not and where is the broken piece of our business and customer strategy so we can adjust to what the visitor is searching for and expecting to receive from the interaction with the website.
You are logging in your account and the information is waiting for you to see it right there! At the dashboard!”

Johnson, Chl.,
Customer Relations Manager