You’ve got a marketing plan in action and your traffic has picked up but no matter what you do, sales are stagnant.
What’s going on?
It could be a lot of things, but the bottom line is that you probably have some holes in your conversion funnel, causing customers to drop off. Luckily, finding and fixing those holes isn’t as hard as it sounds, it just takes a little detective work.
Before we get down to fixing things, let’s talk about what your sales funnel is. It’s the buying process, or the journey customers take from becoming aware of your business to becoming a buyer. It usually looks like this:
The goal is to move people through the sales pipeline and build a dedicated customer base. You shouldn’t expect everyone who becomes aware of your brand to make it to the “action” phase, but if very few people are making it through, it’s time to reevaluate things.
Finding the Drop-Off Point
The first step in fixing your sales funnel is figuring out where people are dropping off. After all, how can you fix something if you don’t know where the problem is?
Before doing anything else, you’ll want to take a look at your analytics. Are they making it to check out, then clicking away before completing the purchase? Or are they dropping off way before that point?
You’ll want to look at the data for at least two weeks, but preferably an entire month. Google Analytics makes this pretty easy: log into your account, create a conversion goal, set it up to track your funnel, and let it run. After a few weeks, you should have an idea of where the problem lies.
Another great idea is putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and use your site as they would. Is it easy to navigate? How simple is it to find what you're looking for? Where do you see room for improvement? Write it down. It’s also a good idea to have friends and family try this and report back to you.
While you’ve probably gotten some good information from your research so far, you can supercharge your efforts with user testing. This is where real people use your site and record their experience, giving you feedback along the way. It will cost you, but you’ll get extremely valuable insight into the way potential customers interact with your store, and any problems they may encounter.
Fixing Your Funnel
Now that you’ve found the holes in your conversion funnel, it’s time to fix them. How you’ll go about doing this depends on what you discovered in your research, but there are a few things that will help almost any hole you found:
- Take all of your feedback into account. If there’s an element in your sales funnel that’s turning people off, it’s time to change it or get rid of it altogether.
- Simplify your funnel. Look for ways to make the buying process easier, shorter, or more straightforward.
- Strengthen your calls to action (CTA). Tell people exactly what you want them to do (buy, subscribe, download) and what’s in it for them. Are you offering the last t-shirt they’ll ever need to buy or a cookbook that will teach them the techniques of a five-star chef? Include that in your CTA! (And if you don’t have calls to action, add them ASAP.)
If your sales numbers are lackluster, try some of the exercises and solutions we mentioned here. The key is to keep experimenting with different fixes until you find one that you and your customers are happy with.