In order to get the maximum benefit from your funnel, it is essential to carefully craft user experience to ensure that users stay on task and continue to move through the funnel.
This can be done by providing just enough information and options at each stage of the funnel to tweak interest and keep curiosity alive so users will go on to the next stage.
Experience, Flow and Journey
Guiding users through the funnel is best carried out by creating user flows. A user flow can be defined as a path that you want your visitors to follow through your website in order to achieve a particular objective.
It is a strategy that guides your website design, based on your objective and the objectives of your targeted users, on what they want or need and the means to satisfy these demands.
User flow consists of a sequence of actions that need to be completed in order to achieve the objectives you’ve identified and defined.
These objectives could be inducing a customer to purchase, sign up for a free demonstration, or an e-book download. This process is also called the user journey.
There are two goals that lead to successful user flows:
- To induce the prospective customers to continue to progress through the various stages of the conversion funnel.
- To minimize churn at each funnel stage.
We need to realize that when we talk of a marketing funnel, it is not the same thing as a physical funnel. There is a basic difference between the two.
Whatever you pour into a physical funnel, comes out at the other end without any loss. With a marketing funnel, there are exit points at every stage where you can lose your customers if you don’t provide them with enough incentive to pass on to the next stage.
It is in your best interest to keep your customers away from the exit points and flowing through to the next stage. The lower the churn, the higher the efficiency of your user flows and the marketing funnel.
There are some other factors that you should bear in mind when creating your user flows. These include the following:
- User flows should be designed before putting together any marketing automation campaign. Your website and marketing automation has to be based on the user flows and not the other way around.
- User flows should be created keeping user experience in mind. It needs to be highly logical and emotionally compelling to be effective, and get users to advance to the next stage of the scheme.
- While designing your website, create the user flows to maximize your conversions by ensuring that the user journey ends in fulfilling user desires. The flow should take customers smoothly and almost seamlessly through the entire process of the funnel, from creating awareness, to promising to fulfil the needs with which they came to the website, to fulfilling the promise by delivering the means to satisfy their needs or desires.
Mapping Out User Flows
When deciding what your website will look like, you should start with your business objectives. These are the goals you are aiming to achieve through your website.
Your goal is to convert as many customers as possible. You need to achieve this goal by encouraging customers to sign up for emails, newsletters or special offers, and then getting customers to make purchases.
This brings us to the problem of getting people to visit you. But, people don’t just visit your site on their own and then do the things you want them to do right away.
This takes planning, and you need to guide them through the journey and toward the desired actions.
Identifying the User Needs and Desires
When you sit down to design your website, the first thing you need to pay attention to is user flows. While designing user flows, you should first focus on mapping how visitors will get to your site.
Unless they know your site or are guided to it, they might never find it among the billion or more sites floating around on the Web.
You have to start designing user flows from the first page of your website itself, which is what customers see first when they discover your site. You probably want to address those flows first, as they impact the majority of users.
Here is an example of some typical user flows:
- A user spots your website through paid advertising. This could be an ad on social media, Google AdWords or a banner ad.
- A user becomes aware of your website and business through another friend’s post, or a share or a like on social media.
- A user discovers your website while conducting a deep organic search via a search engine.
- A user becomes aware of your site when it is mentioned in a news article, blog post, or social media post and visits your site.
You also need to focus your attention on the typical entry points of your funnel. These are:
- Organic search – A query is generated by a user; during the search, the user stumbles upon your website and clicks on the link and is guided to your website. The search is normally generated using keywords or phrases. Organic searches often uncover deep links that users can click to visit.
- Social media – Often people follow leads or posts from their friends or their network on social media and are guided through to your website.
- Paid advertising – Pay per click, AdWords ads, banner ads and other promotional activity often guide visitors to your website or landing pages.
- Press or news item – Sometimes people hear about the business from news reports, articles or even blog reports that they read. They want to find out more about you and your business and click on links to be guided to your website.
- Email – Another good entry point is via emails or newsletters sent to clients. The users see links in the mail or newsletter and click on them to check out the website and are directed to the landing page.
- Direct link –This is the rarest form of entry method and only happens when a visitor visits your website regularly over a period of time and remembers your URL well enough to type the URL in directly to visit your site.
You may notice that in each of these scenarios, the visitor is looking for something similar to what you have and is guided to your website. Each visitor has specific needs and desires that have to be fulfilled, each has different expectations and needs to be dealt with accordingly.
You need to match the objectives of your business with the needs of your visitors. Not all visitors can be treated alike. Each visitor is unique and has unique needs and expectations of your business. So you need to treat each person differently.
The needs of your visitors will depend upon the entry point that they used to access your website.
Are User Flows Effective?
Just creating user flows is not the end of the story; you need to evaluate the performance of your user flows to see whether they are working or not.
You should specifically note the following:
- Take a look at your churn pattern and see whether there is churn in an area where you don’t expect to see it.
- Pay attention if you notice less churn than you had initially anticipated.
- Take stock of your conversion funnel and see whether it encompasses the entire journey of the customer or is giving you just half the story. You need to become aware of any missing steps and rectify the funnel.
- It is extremely important to test the user flows and your website layout and content to make sure that all the elements are working to your best advantage. Ensure that the calls to action, product information, benefits that a user will derive from the product, and value proposition are all in place and performing as they should.
- A great idea is to use Google Analytics to pinpoint areas that you need to focus on and where your users drop out; once you have identified problem areas, you should take action to plug the leaks.
- Once your user flows are complete, you need to conduct user testing, keeping track of how people use your site and noting their comments. While conducting this exercise, ensure that your test subjects match your ideal customer profile.
- Conducting user testing will help you better understand your users and how they use the site. It will help you to identify any bottlenecks and sources of friction within your user flows, so you can work to eliminate them.
It is important to understand that the idea is not to convert every visitor. It is best to concentrate on designing a user flow that guides the right visitors toward the essential experience that you wish to impart to them.
Once conversion has occurred and visitors have engaged in monetization behavior, their experience while using the site should enable them to recommend it to their friends and others and discuss their experience through social media or other means, which should help drive new visitors towards your funnel.
Before you start creating your website or automating anything, you need to design your user flows and map them out in detail using a white board or paper.
Review the steps that you want your audience to take through your conversion funnel, and thoroughly familiarize yourself with it. You need to do this before you start any marketing campaigns or activities.
No matter how carefully your plan your user flows, ultimately, it is just speculation, a hypothesis that needs to be tested and continuously tweaked to be efficient.