Article

David Olusola
David Olusola 4 March 2021
Categories Content, Ecommerce

7 Amazing Sales Funnel Practices to Increase Conversion

Building an effective sales funnel isn't rocket science. Here are some amazing sales funnel practices to increase conversion.

Let’s face it. Sales funnel isn’t a sales magic wand. Having a sales funnel doesn’t guarantee you more sales or a new revenue goal. You could have a sales funnel and still struggle to convert prospects to sales. In short, not all sales funnels are created equal.

There are practices to be observed to have an effective sales funnel. There is more to building an effective sales funnel than using a template. In short, there’s a possibility of having a sales funnel and still get a low conversion rate.

So, how do you go about increasing your conversion with a sales funnel?

In this guide, I will walk you through 7 sales funnel best practices that can turn your business into a sales machine.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel (also referred to as a sales process) refers to all the stages someone passes through before becoming a customer. It’s usually from the lead generation to sales closure.

Now let's quickly see the four stages of a sales funnel.

  • Awareness: This is when you just captured your customers' attention. It could be through a tweet, blog post, Facebook ads, and so on. At this stage, your prospects know what your business is about but hasn't picked interest.
  • Interest: At this point, your potential customers want to know more about your business. Why they should choose you above other competitors. This is where you should establish your expertise and help them make an informed decision through helpful content.
  • Decision: The decision stage is a very vital part of the sales funnel. Your prospect is ready to make a purchase but with several options in mind (including you). To win the sale, you need to build a convincing reason for them to make the purchase. Like free shipping, discounts, coupon codes, etc.
  • Action: This is the final lap of the sales funnel. All your hard work has paid off. You are able to make your customers take action by making a purchase. The goal of every business is to convert as many sales as possible. Retaining customers and turning 1 sale into 10 is the next step after this stage.

Why is Sales Funnel Such an Important Part of a Business Strategy?

Sales funnel is a vital part of the business world. Without a proper funnel in place, most businesses are close to nothing. A study by salesforce shows 79% of marketing leads are never converted into sales. This means most prospects never get to the buying stage. This is why having an effective sales funnel is important, it helps nurture your leads from one stage to the other, and end up converting them into repeated sales.

Also, research has proven that 96% of visitors are probably wandering around your site and won't buy anything on their first visits. 96% is a huge number, how do you get them back? By setting up an effective sales funnel process that helps you convert visitors into leads.

A well-structured sales process will help you:

  • Define your marketing strategy
  • Leads to better customer relationship
  • Generate more sales
  • And many more

Overall, if building a successful business with quality and repeated sales is what you crave, setting up a well-structured sales funnel is something you must invest in.

Now let's see some of the sales funnel best practices you can start implementing to gain more conversion.

7 Sales Funnel Best Practices to Increase Conversion

Below are the top 7 best practices to boost the conversion of your sales funnel. Ready? Let’s dive in!

#1. Use Captivating Headlines

Headlines are often underrated. Most businesses center their attention on content and landing pages but ignore the power of well-structured headlines. Like, how do you convince people to buy a book with an ugly front cover? Not easy, right?

This is the same with a sales funnel. Entice your audience with a captivating headline that will lead to them begging to know more about what you have to offer. For example, assuming you are using Google ads to build awareness to your business. The first thing to capture your potential customer's attention is your headline. 

A convincing and thought-provoking headline will make your headline more clickable. And that could lead to more sales. Coming up with captivating headlines can be a new experience for you.

Here are some tricks to come up with captivating headlines:

Consider these examples. Which of these headlines will you click when placed above each other?

a) How to get Clients for your Business

b) How to get 1000 high-paying Clients in 30 days

Surely, a lot of people will click the second (b) headline. Why? Because it's more convincing and builds curiosity.

Prospects looking to gain more clients will be much more interested in knowing how to get 1,000 high-paying clients in 30days than 'how to get Clients for your business.'

There are many ways to tweak your headlines for better results. Like:

  • Make a promise you can fulfill - Don’t just make a promise for the fun of it. Ensure you make a promise you can deliver on. 
  • Use numbers 
  • Add power words - Power words help you put your audience in the mood. You can add anxiety, fear, courage, hope just by choosing your words smartly.

A better headline will give clear and more specific information about your business.

#2. Create Educational Content

Just so you know, creating educational content makes consumers 131% more likely to buy from you.

Why?

Because you will build trust and be able to position yourself as an expert in the industry.

How you go about creating helpful content is knowing what your audiences are searching for. What's their most burning problem? What solution are they looking for?

The best sales funnel stages to implement this is the awareness and interest stage. You want to make sure your prospects are always learning new things from you. This will keep them coming back for more.

Beardbrand is a company that succeeds with this. Beardbrand is always dishing out quality content about growing a beard and this has been a great source of leads for their business.

Beardbrand’s guide on growing a thick beard ranks on page 1 for hundreds of keywords and generates lots of traffic.

#3. Leverage Reviews, Testimonials & Customers Success Stories

Business is built on trust. To create a successful sales funnel, you need to give your prospects reasons to trust your business than that of your competitors.

One of the pillars of an effective sales funnel is social proof. Displaying reviews and testimonials offer more than you could think of. It’s what you need to get your prospect to take the desired action, buy your product.

A typical example is SkinnyMeTea. I think no one does this better than them. SkinnyMeTea uses social proof to generate sales on autopilot. Their landing pages are filled with testimonials and reviews from customers.

Just have a look at this:

This happens to be one of their homepages.

SkinnyMe Tea goes ahead to add social proof even on the order page just in case you need more convictions.

Imagine your customers are at the decision stage contemplating if they would go for your offer versus other competitors. One thing to encourage them to finalize the payment is seeing reviews of other customers.

It even makes more sense to display the reviews alongside the number of reviewers. Like this:

The same goes for testimonials, awards, and customer success stories. They are trust-builders to distinguish your business from your competitors. 

A single testimonial from Disney can uplift your business reputation and lead to more customers. Also, an inspiring customer success story can convince other prospects to pay for your service. And many more.

The way you use reviews, testimonials, and success stories depends on your business model. The bottom line is: they serve as social proof that gives more authority to your business.

#4. Set Flexible Payment & Shipping Options

Why convince customers to get to the order page only to find out you only accept PayPal? 

A sales funnel is never complete without choices of payment options to choose from. Infusing one payment method won't help. Customers must be able to switch between different options because choices are different.

According to a study by WorldPay, eWallets are the most used payment option (36%), followed by credit cards (23%) and debit cards (12%).

This should tell you something about the importance of multiple payment options. Sticking to only a few could mean leaving some money on the table.

Also, if you deal with physical products, you should impose multiple shipping options and accept global shipping. Allow express shipments for buyers that want it, even if it means an extra fee.

In fact, recent statistics show that 66% of online shoppers are willing to pay more if you offer flexible shipping.

You have to put in mind that people who shop online do that to save themselves the stress of working in a store. So not offering flexible shipping defeats the goal.

In the end, setting flexible payment and shipping options is a way of optimizing a sales funnel to get better conversion.

#5. Use Strong CTAs

This sounds easy, but it's one of those few things that's often overlooked. Using strong CTAs will lead your prospect to the end of the funnel where you need them. You don't want to risk pushing your prospects to the last stage of the sales funnel only for you to lose them due to an unclear CTA (call-to-action).

At the last stage of the funnel, you want your prospects to take action so you must use a clear and straight to the point CTA (call to action).

See some examples of what I classify as clear CTAs:

  • Start My Free Trial
  • Schedule an appointment today!
  • Add to Cart
  • Download Now
  • Join today!

All the above CTAs are clear enough to lead a prospect in the right direction.

A good example of a strong CTA is in Nexflix's homepage, they encourage prospects to ‘try it now.’ Simple, short, and sweet.

#6. Offer Upsells, Downsells, and Cross-Sell

Out of every sales funnel optimization techniques, upsells, downsells, and cross-Sell holds much power. They can increase conversion and lead to more sales. Upsell is upgrading your customers to a higher-value and higher-priced product(s) after they made their first purchase. 

After converting a prospect to a customer, you can introduce another expensive and higher value product to them as an Upsell. This product is usually an upgrade of the first purchase and tends to make you more money.

Downsell is the complete reverse of Upsell. It's when you offer a cheaper alternative to customers after they show no interest in the initial product. You don't want to lose the customer, so you suggest a cheaper alternative.

While Cross-sell is to sell related products or services to existing customers. For example, a car dealer will suggest that the customer purchasing a car also buy spare tyres. 

Upsell, down-sell, and cross-sell are very effective marketing tactics. If you haven't started using them, you better do now or keep losing money to your competitors.

Upsells in action is using the free plus shipping model.

The free plus shipping funnel is a popular funnel used for digital products or inexpensive products, where the product is free but customers only have to pay for the shipping.

This type of offer is always interesting and attractive to the prospect and they hit the Buy button fast.

The revenue made from this type of offer is used to cover the cost of ads (sometimes you could have some extras).

Where the real profit comes in is upselling your customers to a high-priced product.

You see this, it isn’t the end goal:

This is a bait product (free plus shipping) by Lewis Howes. After taking the bite, you get introduced to his membership course which costs more.

#7. Offer Order Bumps 

An order bump is similar to upsell but isn't the same. An Order bump happens before a buyer finalizes a purchase on the check out page. It's the process of including additional products to the original one before the buyer clicks on "pay now".

This is a smart technique to increase customer's purchases and make more sales off a single customer. An Order bump is more like displaying related or similar products to the original one to lure customers into buying them together.

The concept of order bump is not new, the majority of ecommerce sites have mastered its use. For example, Apple regularly uses order bump on their checkout page. When a customer is paying for an Apple product, a good supplement to the product will show as an order bump.

Like this:


Even marketers leverage order bumps to increase sales. 

Piggybacking on Lewis Howes’ bait product. On your way out, completing the purchase, you are introduced to an order bump to increase your bill.

If you’re yet to be leveraging order bumps, then you should look into that.

Wrapping Up

Every market is saturated. The only way to survive in a competitive marketplace is by creating an optimized sales funnel. Understanding a sales process is hard. It takes lots of tweaking and measuring to reach a solid conclusion of what works and what does not.

Just putting a sales funnel in place doesn't equal better conversions. But incorporating sales funnel best practices listed in this article will shoot your conversions to the sky. Keep in mind, no one has everything figured out. Even the best marketers also experiment to know what works.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experiment with your landing page, offers, etc. In the end, you don’t want to appear salesy.

So, tell me your experience with the sales funnel? What are the best practices that have produced better results?

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