• 5 Surefire Ways To Get Prospects To Take Action And To Optimize Your Conversion Funnel

    action button

    As we have gone through each post so far in this blog series, including Part 1 – Creating Awareness, Part 2 – Building Interest, Part 3 – Coaxing Desire, it’s clear that every step in optimizing your conversion funnel, and thereby optimizing conversion rates, is critical. Remove any one step and those that come before it are futile, and those that follow can’t happen.

    action button

    But getting your prospects to take action is where all your funnel optimization pays off. And that’s perhaps what makes it the most important – and frustrating – step in the funnel. All that potential built up throughout the funnel produces, on average, only single-digit conversion rates.

    The Story So Far

    Throughout this series we have used the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) conversion funnel as a model to show that you must optimize your entire funnel to optimize conversion rates.

    • Your conversion funnel is a seamless process with each stage blending into the next – you must start at the Awareness stage to improve rates at the Action stage.
    • Creating awareness isn’t just about numbers of visitors, “likes” and followers.
    • Content, delivered in the right context for your market segments, is king when it comes to building interest in your offer.
    • Interested prospects have an existing, emotion-driven desire for your product that you must coax from them.

    Why Don’t Online Shoppers Take Action?

    ecommerce conversion rate chart

    While there are no definitive overall numbers for offline and online conversion rates, our research shows that, on average, offline rates are in the order of 400% or 500% higher than online rates.

    We can discuss a multitude of reasons for the huge difference, but there is one overriding symptom of how we market and sell online that continues to plague and minimize conversion rates: we do not prioritize conversions.

    The proof isn’t difficult to find. According to the Adobe Digital Index’s 2015 Digital Marketing Survey, of the 81% of marketers who do not “make specific plans to mature” their digital marketing:

    • Only 22% of marketers are increasing their optimization budgets
    • Only 15% use A/B testing and fewer than 5% use multivariate testing – both of which are staple tactics to improve conversion optimization
    • Over 25% are increasing their mobile, content and social media marketing

    In a Hubshout survey to find the most “in demand” digital marketing services for 2015, “conversion optimization” didn’t rank in the top ten and “website analytics”, another basic tool to improve conversion rates, is the eighth highest ranked service, mentioned by only 10% of the survey’s respondents.

    hubshout digital marketing survey

    How to Optimize the Action Stage of your Conversion Funnel

    Considering the statistics above outlining the dearth of attention paid to conversion optimization, the first step is clear;

    1. Prioritize Conversions

    If less than 5% of your web visitors take your call-to-action, and a relatively small part of your marketing budget is specifically devoted to correcting that, then you need to take control of the situation.

    • Add structure to to your approach. Create a specific conversion rate optimization plan, set goals and analyze results. Conversion optimization is an ongoing process, not simply an “is it up or down?” number on a report.
    • Give someone the responsibility of improving conversion rates.
    • If your digital marketing is in-house, give one of the team incentives to produce higher rates.
    • If you use an agency, make sure they don’t over-emphasize traffic numbers to prove the value of their service. Make conversion statistics and analysis at least as large a part of their reporting as traffic and ranking.
    • Always be testing. A/B and multivariate testing that is.

    2. Focus on Conversions Well Before the Call-to-Action 

    We’ve talked before about the importance of shipping options for ecommerce customers. The lack of them is the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment.

    Adobe CMO found that, while 83% of shoppers are generally satisfied with ecommerce sites, the numbers quickly drop below 50% when consumers find there’s a question of choosing delivery dates, delivery times, flexibility in re-routeing packages and green shipping options.

    If your customers have an overriding concern, like shipping options, start addressing that concern ASAP in your funnel, like Paypal does in their email marketing.

    paypal email shipping promotion

    Lead generation and B2B sites can start improving conversions in the Interest stage of the funnel by segmenting their markets, developing personas and creating contextual content for them all.

    3. Build Trust

    As we mentioned previously, on-street shoppers are more prepared to buy when they walk into a store than online shoppers who land on an ecommerce site. Street-shoppers wouldn’t take the time to visit a store if they hadn’t already developed a certain level of trust in doing business there.

    It’s not as easy online to conquer the fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUDs) that stand between you and the customer’s trust. You can build trust in a number of ways, from showing social proof and client testimonials, to outlining your privacy policy and assuring security of information. Every step you take to instill trust increases the likelihood of conversion.

    4. Use Action Triggers

    If you look at the entire process of converting a customer, from awareness to action, you are really guiding them along a path to conversion. Every step they take is the result of something they learned that encouraged them to take that step.

    But, regardless of how successful you are at getting the customer to take all the steps that lead to the end of the path, there’s no guarantee that they will take the final step: take action.

    Action triggers are the final boost your customers need to take your call-to-action. Among others, action triggers can include:

    • Create a sense of urgency. Customers will take action now if they see the benefit of doing so now – like taking advantage of a limited-time offer.
    • Use benefit-driven copy on call-to-action buttons, like “Get Your Free Newsletter” instead of “Subscribe”
    • Be specific about what the customer gets from clicking on your call to action. Instead of simply “Learn More”, try “Learn More About Calls-to-Action”

    5. Market to Existing Customers

    There exists a segment of your market who, if all the studies are to be believed, will boost your conversion rates to extraordinary heights. But few digital marketers make that segment a priority.

    A 1875% Improvement in Ecommerce Conversion Rates: Let’s just look at some numbers that tell the tale of how marketing to your already-converted customers can literally spike your conversion rates:

    • 13% – The highest conversion rate we found for Amazon’s regular shoppers
    • 74% – The conversion rate of Amazon Prime members
    • 569% – The increase in conversion rates between regular Amazon shoppers and Prime members
    • 3.2% – Overall ecommerce conversion rate (marketingsherpa.com)
    • 60% – Average conversion rates for return ecommerce customers (Marketing Metrics via sweettoothrewards.com)
    • 1875% – The increase in conversion rates between the overall ecommerce conversion rate and the conversion rate for repeat ecommerce customers
    repeat customer conversion statistic graphic

    Time for you to take action. While your existing customers are a small fraction of your overall markets, the numbers above prove that they deserve more attention than the vast majority of digital marketers give them.

    In Closing…

    Despite the fact that we have discussed conversion funnel optimization through four blog posts in this series, we have barely scratched the surface. If you take away nothing else, hopefully at least these points will stick:

    • Conversion rate optimization must be the focus of your entire sales funnel
    • Market segmentation and context are key to optimizing every stage of your funnel
    • Your existing customers are gold

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4 thoughts on “5 Surefire Ways To Get Prospects To Take Action And To Optimize Your Conversion Funnel”

  1. Avatar Richard says:

    Well structured – part 4 has some nice use of numbers, but the 1875% has me confused. Are you saying that prime members who are also returning customers will be 18x more likely to buy?

  2. Hi Richard,

    First, many thanks for the good words. I’m glad you like the posts. To answer your question succinctly: no. According to the numbers I used in the post, Amazon Prime members are 5.6x more likely to convert than regular Amazon shoppers. The 1875% is the increase between the overall ecommerce conversion rate reported by Marketing Sherpa (3.2%) and the conversion rate for repeat customers (60%) reported by Marketing Metrics. Looking again at the numbers in the post, I can see how they might be confusing, so I’ll fix that.

    It’s worth noting that, depending on the numbers you use, Amazon Prime members might actually convert 18.5x (1850%) more than regular customers. I found a range of conversion rates for regular Amazon users. There is a response to a Quora question from a “former Amazonian” who says the site’s regular conversion rate averages around 4% and peaks at 8% during the holiday season. Compared to the 4% conversion rate, instead of the 13% rate I used, the 74% Amazon Prime conversion rate is 18.5 times higher.

  3. Avatar Richard says:

    Thanks for clarifying that Stephen. I understand what you are saying now. For these definitions are “Amazon’s regular shoppers” considered any visitors to Amazon, or any people who have purchased before at Amazon and are returning (credit card on file)?

  4. Hi Richard, The sources I used don’t specify whether the “Amazon’s regular shoppers” rates I quoted are overall conversion rates (all visitors – first-timers and returning) or specific to return customers. Whenever I see a rate without a qualifier (like “this is the rate for returning customers only” – or rates specific to a customer loyalty program like Amazon Prime), I presume it’s an overall rate – and that’s what I presume for the “Amazon’s regular shoppers” rates I quoted.

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