5 Things to Consider When Creating an Automated Conversion Process
With the number of online business increasing daily, running an online company isn’t getting any easier. If you’re trying to maintain an effective business you’re probably dealing with high marketing costs, expensive sale teams that are cutting into profits and with today’s demanding consumer, customer support can be quite challenging.
Furthermore, if you add up all the numbers and calculate the amount of resources allocated per customer, you’ll probably be shocked by the figures, as your manual acquisition funnel may be costing you more money, time and effort than what it’s really worth. In addition, with constant pressure to stay ahead of the acquisition curve, changing priorities and an ongoing demand for company resources, your business might be encountering constant delays and setbacks that are squashing customer satisfaction, your innovation and your overall performance.
Just imagine if you could turn on a switch and automate everything – smarten things up and boost your online sales. How would it feel to develop an efficient self-activation process, an automated selling process where your prospects would land on your website, sign up, continue throughout your funnel and finally purchase your product? – and you wouldn’t have to walk them hand in hand throughout the process.
In today’s competitive industry an automated process isn’t optional it’s a must!
In this article, I’m not going to show you how the exact process should look like for each individual industry, but touch on 5 general elements that should be incorporated when developing your online self-activation process:
1. Know When to Ask For What
If your brand is Coca-Cola or Microsoft then you’re probably not going to have this problem. But if not, then the majority of your target audience have most probably never heard of your company, let alone would be willing to purchase your product or service at first glance.
Think about the following scenario; You search for the following term on Google – “iPhone cases”
Up comes 10 results, you look at the first one or two results and then decide to enter the third site. You look around, but if the website doesn’t look like Apple’s Store or Alibaba, you’re probably going to question the site you’ve landed on, look at the name of the company and ask: Who is this company? Where are they located? What do they do? Is it safe? Will I get my product?
Remember, you can have the best technology and well-designed brand in the world, but if your target audience doesn’t know who you are and what you do, then your traffic probably won’t convert. Many questions will surface in the back of your prospects’ heads and then they’ll probably leave your site and go to a competitor that they’ve most probably heard of.
Now, I am not saying that if you’re not one of the big companies, you can’t succeed. You just have to be clever about it – and if you want to automate the process then you really have to think outside the box. You’ll have to provide a certain level of trust throughout the whole process and understand that a successful automated process (funnel), starts when you first engage with your users – during your marketing campaigns.
Similar to most companies, throughout your automated funnel you will probably have to ask for different details, some more personal than others. Remember that each detail that you’re asking for will require you to evoke a certain level of trust. So for example, asking your user for an email address is a lot easier than asking him for a telephone number. Asking your user to purchase something using a credit card will require some hard work and convincing. If you want your users to do something, they have to do it willingly and not because you are forcing them to do it. And if you take a user through a process that he feels that he is in control, completely secure and his action was completed willingly, then your conversion rates will shoot higher.
This example will get you thinking:
If you’re a lead generation company, then you probably use forms to catch user details. Which process do you think would give you better quality leads, a website that shoves a form in the user’s face, as he lands on your website or an engaging button that requires the user to click to continue to sign up – Similar to the Apple website that requires the user to click to take action. If the user is clicking then he really wants to engage with your brand and not because you are forcing him to.
2. Remove Irrelevant Information and Exit Points
Sometimes I come across conversion funnels that are so horrendous that I am shocked that they even work. When developing a process that your users are supposed to flow through, try to keep them focused throughout the whole process. Don’t present them with irrelevant information that will get them thinking. Don’t show them elements or links that give your users the possibility to take an action which is not the one you really want them to do.
Let’s take a look at the following two examples. On both websites, Bplans and Mailchimp, you can easily sign up to their use their product. They both have signup buttons on their homepage that lead to an inner page with a form. The only difference is that MailChimp has a cleaner form that allows its users to focus on one thing – registering. MailChimp even removed their header to prevent their users from back-tracking. Everything on their page is conversion oriented and directs the user to sign up. The fields are vertically placed, allowing the prospects to complete each field and move on to the next one without getting confused. The page even allows you to view your password by clicking the small toggle. You’d be surprised to know that masked passwords are a real conversion killer. So many people get confused as to whether they entered their right password.
Bplans, on the other hand, also wants signups but it provides so many different exit points and clutter on the page that your eyes wander.
3. Are You Still Writing for Robots?
If it hasn’t been stressed enough in the past then I’ll say it again. Make sure your copy and main unique selling proposition are completely clear, luring and get people interested in your brand. Regarding the overall content on your site, make sure your users understand what they are reading. Don’t confront them with complicated terms or lingo that only an etymologist would understand.
Use dumbed down terms and correct wording that directs your users to take action. And don’t forget, you are not writing an academic journal, so don’t be afraid to start sentences with “And” and “But”.
Complicated jargon will only scare off your users!
Think about your insurance statements for a sec, do you really understand them? Do any of us really understand them? I know that when I have to meet up with my insurance agent, I am probably going to come out of the meeting completely confused. They through at me so many terms that it really makes it hard to sign and purchase a plan.
So the same goes here. Make the process easy to understand and let your users feel comfortable and in charge.
4. Do You Seem TrustWorthy?
Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re Apple or Microsoft then you’ve probably got ‘reputation’. This means that your users will have more confidence in your company and the chances of them engaging with your business or purchasing your product will be significantly higher. Well, that’s obvious, no? But what happens when you don’t have reputation?
To overcome this situation, companies add a bunch of trust elements at the start of their funnel, hoping it will be the solution to all their problems. For example, they emphasise the number of years the company has been around or show how many clients they have, by shoving a few logos on their homepage. Normally it ends there!
Internet users are a lot more sophisticated than what they used to be and will doubt each step of the process, not just the beginning part. Users want to know that the company they are going to engage with is reputable, established and gives them a trustworthy feeling throughout the whole process.
For a user to continue throughout the whole conversion process and complete your tasks (ideally to purchase your products or service) you will have to constantly maintain a certain level of trust
At the beginning of your funnel, you can use badges, numbers, testimonials, social elements and endorsements to increase trust.
Throughout your funnel, you will need to emphasise professionalism and security. Showcase your products or use technological solutions such as HTTPS. Make sure your users are aware that you work with secure payment methods and also make sure that everything they are going to purchase is transparent. Don’t tell them a price and then as they go to purchase your product bump up it up.
The “foot in the door” trick won’t always work.
One last thing, remember that your users don’t know your process like you know it, so try to walk them through it. This can be achieved by implementing widgets, walkthroughs, tutorials etc…
5. Don’t Forget to Test Every Step of the Way
Testing is a serious thing and one that must be taken into consideration, especially if you want to achieve the best. For this, your conversion funnel will need to be pretty flexible and customisable. If you can refrain from hard coded texts will require technical assistance to change at a later stage, do so.
If you can connect your process to a comfortable CMS that will give you complete control over design and copy – do it. Try to implement as many tracking events as possible, so for example track clicks on buttons, actions, paths and anything else that comes to mind.
Basically, measure everything and make sure you understand your metrics!
Try to measure every part of the process to understand where you can improve. For this, you can use an array of analytical tools, including Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Visual Website Optimiser, etc…
Furthermore, never settle for just “ok” as you can always improve your process. Conduct A/B tests or multi-variate tests on different stages of your process and always make sure that the sample size is significant enough to reach a decision.
Whether you decide to test call-to-actions, images or the layout of a specific page always make sure you give your tests enough time, whether you are aiming for leads, purchases or ROI.
Developing an automated activation process in any field isn’t an easy job and will require planning and testing. Try to define your goals ahead of time and put yourself in your client’s shoes. Need help with your conversion funnels contact us at techsors.com
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