In this blog, you will learn what are purchase funnel? Different types of purchase funnels, the importance of purchase funnels, the importance of customer journey, create a customer journey map, align your content to customer journey maps.
Visual model or a framework which describes the customer journey from the moment of the first contact with your brand to the ultimate goal of purchase. The concept of purchase funnel is important when marketing your business as it provides a method of understanding and tracking the behavior of an average customer throughout the sales process. Whether people are attempting to sign up for your online service or purchase a product from your website, there will be a certain number of steps they will have to take in order to give you money. Funnels help you see this process easier, by giving you a visual representation of the purchase data between each step.
Every online business has steps that people must take to become a customer. You can say that ad-supported businesses are an exception – and that’s true because people who click on ads aren’t customers! Whether people are attempting to sign up for your online service or purchase a product from your website, there will be a certain number of steps they will have to take in order to give you money. Funnels help you see this process easier, by giving you a visual representation of the purchase data between each step. Funnel tracking allows you to begin isolating problems at any point in your visitors’ purchase paths so you can take meaningful steps toward optimization.
Let us understand the concept of traditional purchase funnels.
Purchase funnels help you see the sales process in more depth. It shows you the journey, the route, the road-blocks and speed breakers, the diversions, the red lights, and shortcuts that a user takes on his way to making a purchase of good or service, and how he arrives at his goals. It is a visual representation of each step of the process. The exhibit in this slide shows a generic traditional funnel. It is wider at the top, because that’s where most of your customers are beginning, and narrows towards the bottom because you keep losing people at each step of the sales journey, shown through the use of arrows on the edge of the funnel.
Unlike traditional purchase funnels, modern purchase funnel is more optimized and has some additional stages after the purchase stage. These stages are adoption, loyalty, and advocacy. It is not narrow at the bottom, as the funnel doesn’t end at action or purchase stage. It picks up again and widens through adoption, loyalty and advocacy stages.
Let us take an example of Irine Digital Factory. One of our personas is of editors of newspapers and magazines.
In the case of Irine Digital Factory, 2000 editors visit the homepage of our website each month, where we present an overview of our different digital publishing solutions and services. This is the awareness stage of their journey, where they are just getting to know about our brand, products, and services.
From there, 1500 of these publishers drop-off, and leave the website. Remaining 500 publishers proceed to the market use cases page. Here, editors are interested in our products and services, want to know how they can benefit from it, and decide to read more about it. This is the interest stage of their journey.
From the Market Use Cases page, 300 editors drop-off. Remaining 200 publishers visit our product specification and license plans page, and decide which license is best suits their requirement and business purpose. This is the Desire stage of their journey. Finally, 150 editors drop-off and 50 editors proceed to contact us page, and fill up the inquiry form or call us up. This is the action or purchase stage. These 50 publishers, after using our product for a while, tend to get used to it and develop a liking to it. They choose to stick to our product. They become our repeat customers. This is called Adoption stage.
Once these 50 publishers see good results and are impressed with our products and service, they choose to contact us for our other products and services as well, over alternate products of our business rivals. This way, by choosing our other product, they double up as our customers. This is called Loyalty stage.
Once our customers have developed a long relationship of mutual trust and benefit with our brand, they would become our brand advocates and would recommend our products and services to others, by word of mouth marketing or by sharing on social media. This is like a third party recommendation for our business, and the ultimate goal we should try to achieve. This would increase our customers multifold, without any additional expenditure on marketing. This is called Advocacy stage.
Funnels come in all shapes and sizes. In this example, the visual funnels can show us what steps and at what stages you can have problems. If people are not reaching the payment or high abandonment before the check-out page, there’s a definite problem. You can use funnels to test page variations. The copy and language used, identify bugs and browser issues. With Google Analytics, you can set up your own visual funnels. Depending upon your specific setup, they looking something like this.
Types Of Purchase Funnels
Types of purchase funnels are:
- 100% Purchase funnel – It would look like a straight cylinder.
- Wider top, narrow bottom funnel – A typical tunnel is wider at the top and narrow at the bottom.
- Optimized funnel – It has a more gradual shape, suggesting very little abandonment.
- Bulged funnel – It is a poorly optimized funnel indicating an issue.
- Drop-off funnel – It is also a poorly optimized funnel indicating an issue.
Understanding Customer Journey
Customer Journey Mapping (CJM)
Customer Journey Mapping is important because unlike sales funnel, CJM is not linear in nature. It helps you understand the type of content customers like and engage with at each buying stage. It helps you know where your customers are located, and where they consume content from. It helps you understand how your customers like to consume content. It helps you narrow down on exact moments which make conversions happen. It helps you define product roadmaps. It helps you enhance touch points. It helps you plan resource management.
In order to create a customer journey map, it is a good practice to interview your sales and marketing teams, and all other customer-facing in-house teams. You can also reach out and interview your customers. Ask them about their pain points, issues, nuances, bugs, and favorite and wanted features of your product. Ask them how they like to consume your content, and on what devices. Ask them about the overall user experience of your website or app.
You should also touch base with customers who are most likely to buy from you. See how you can help them in their current situation.
Components Of Customer Journey Map
Different customers go through different stages of a purchase funnel during a customer lifecycle. At every stage, they may have some doubts, questions, and goals. That’s why, as a first step, we need to know what stage customer or persona is at.
Funnel stage: This is the stage or phase of the sales funnel customer is currently at.
Note down all the questions your personas ask most often. Prioritize the questions that are asked repeatedly. Then try to understand the exact nature of their requirements on the basis of these frequently asked questions, and write down the goals and objectives of each persona.
Your customer journey map should identify customer goals clearly by customer stage, and then you’re able to see what touch-points are needed to help support customers in reaching those goals. If they are seeking education about a product and you fail to have an education resource touch point, that is a mismatch. Your customer goals should be laid out clearly because you can only accomplish your goals if your customers complete theirs. TouchPoints are basically ways you can interact with your audience and personas. You can drive an audience to your website through paid, earned and owned media channels. Make use of paid search and display ads, social media campaigns and search engine optimization.
Find out different ways you can engage and interact with your customers at each stage of the purchase funnel. In the Awareness stage, you can talk to them through webinars or podcasts. You can share product reviews, customer recommendations, and testimonials as third-party validation for your products and services. You can share news articles and publications. You can meet prospective customers in trade conferences, meet-ups, roadshows, tradeshows, and business meetings.
In the Interest stage, you can engage customers by sharing white papers, product manuals and literature, demo assets, best practice guides, success stories, case studies, user reviews, and pricing sheets. You can further showcase your Proof of Concept (POC) projects, prototypes and live projects to your customers. Newsletters and RSS feeds can also be very effective touch points.
Similarly, at Desire stage, you can ask customers to download the trial version, beta version or pre-release version of your products. You can also give them a sneak peek into new products features in the pipeline. You can also touch base with them by direct calling, emails, SMS campaigns, podcasts, road shows, technical pre-sales presentation, or through social media marketing.
Finally, in the Purchase stage of the sales funnel, you engage with your customers with a clear agenda of helping them achieve their goals. Effective touch points in this stage are product purchases, product subscription, product downloads and installs, product or service inquiries, orders, sign-ups, post-sales support in a form on corporate training, workflow set-up, installation and deployment, and client check-ins.
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