How to Improve Conversion With a Narrow Sales Funnel

September 2, 2011

The good people over at Kissmetrics have a great blog post on losing sales by giving your prospects too many choices. As usual, we think they’re marketing advice is insightful. Aside from recommending their post, which goes into great detail about the different ways to boost conversion rates by giving the prospect very specific goals to achieve, we wanted to expand a bit on the idea of narrowing the sales funnel.

Often when a new client signs up with us for conversion rate optimization, it’s some time convincing them that the best way to create sales more efficiently is by limiting their web visitors’ options. After all, the Internet age is all about an infinite supply of personalized choices! Isn’t the best marketing approach to give the web visitor as many choices as possible and hope he/she chooses the one that they’re looking for?

However, this is NOT the approach that works. After years of testing conversion rates, nearly every web marketing study proves that the best way to increase sales without spending more on advertising is to make sure that the web visitors you get are converting to leads and/or customers at a 3-5% rate. That may not sound high, but if you get 3 new customers out of every 100 visitors to your site, your business will be booming!

The best way to increase conversion is to create a very focused sales funnel. Don’t think of it as limiting your prospects’ choices, but rather presenting them with the exact information they’re looking for and guiding them to the action they’re looking to take. Your sales funnel does not exist in a vacuum. Your prospects didn’t get pulled into your sales funnel by accident. Either they were searching for your product or service (and found you through an organic search ranking or a paid ranking) or they were recommended your business via social media. However the prospect found you, he/she ended up on your website or a specific landing page because they actively sought something you’re selling. For this reason, you want to give your prospect exactly what they’re looking for, some value exchange or reason to convert (free trial, 15%, etc.) and a direct guide through the process.

The truth is that your prospects don’t want a bunch of options. Once they’ve landed in your sales funnel, they’re ready to buy and you need to do everything you can to focus on closing the deal. The reason some of your prospects opt-out of the sales funnel is because they: a)get distracted by something else they see online; b) don’t sense your product is the best value they can find: or c) they don’t immediately find the next step in the process, get frustrated, and leave.

The sales process is a very complex and delicate thing. That’s way getting 3% conversion is a really strong number. There’s so much that goes into someone looking for your products or services, finding you, considering your business and, ultimately, buying from you. The key is to simplify the process, not make it more complex by cluttering it up with unnecessary information.

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