The process of scoring new customers online is evolving at break-neck speeds. Ongoing revisions to Google’s search algorithms drive online marketers back to the drawing board multiple times a year. Beyond generating traffic, building visitor trust is becoming an even bigger priority.
The never-ending news cycle of hacking and data breaches at major firms is fueling a game of cat and mouse between hackers and developers. Where does it end? Nobody really knows, but the good news is customer experience and quality of service is consistently improving.
SEO has become far less technical, shifting more towards content quality (both on-site and off-site). Google treats every search phrase as a question that requires an immediate answer. The websites that provide the best answer to the searcher’s query will organically rank the highest. But creating an amazing customer experience is about more than simply getting the visitor to your site.
Let’s take a dive into the technical requirements of a modern sales funnel.
1. Organic Ranking
Climbing the search engine rankings is a challenge. Some reports indicate that as many as 571 new websites are created every minute. How do sites cut through the clutter? Welcome to search engines. There are two categories for search engine marketing: paid search and organic ranking. Pay-per-click campaigns fall under the umbrella of paid search, while viral, useful blog articles, infographics, YouTube videos and landing pages that perform well organically fall under the umbrella of organic ranking.
The end goal is to get motivated consumers to your website, without crossing into the dangerous waters of black-hat SEO. Per Single Grain, the process of performing well in search results requires two things: data-packed, compelling content and the expertise necessary to promote that content. Or, as they put it, “Content is the fire. Promotion is the gasoline.”
2. Conversion Activity
Once you’ve scored some eyeballs on your website, it’s time to convince them to make a buying decision. For most sales funnels, this part of the process is all about generating a potential customer list. Start by answering their original question (the reason they’re looking at your site). Then, encourage them to sign-up for an email list, or trade their contact details for an in-depth white paper that further builds credibility with the customer.
This step shouldn’t necessarily be about sales. Gaining their contact information, and establishing your bonafide as a credible solution to their problem is a solid start. Encouraging the potential client to get in touch, whether via email or a friendly chat is key.
3. Good, Better, Best
Next, you’ll want to invite them to review the options available to solve their problem. At this stage, you’ve established credibility and the client is motivated to pursue a purchase. The strongest solution I’ve seen for closing the deal is offering a good, better, best layout of solutions.
Depending on the viewer’s budget, they can select the option that meets their needs. If you’re able to offer a limited-time sale to sweeten the deal, you’re likely to score an instant conversion from viewer to customer.
4. One-Click Checkout
Now it’s time to make their purchasing decision easier. You’ve closed the deal, and all that’s left is processing their transaction. There are more than 25 payment processing options available for virtually any e-commerce platform. The key considerations are:
- Security (an SSL certificate is virtually mandatory at this stage)
- Ease of Processing (model Amazon’s “one click purchase” button)
- The transactional fees charged by the payment processor (these come out of your pocket).
- The variety of payment options (zero-percent promotional financing, etc.) available to your customer.
5. Instant Contact
Accessibility is key. When a question pops up, your team needs to be all hands-on deck, ready to answer customer calls, chats or emails. Potential clients want to know that there’s a human presence behind the website. Sure, the funnel may be digital, but it’s catching and directing humans. If your company fails to offer a timely helping hand, all the effort spent educating your customer might benefit the competition.
Tawk.to is a powerful, free on-site chat tool that my team utilizes to communicate with clients. The accompanying iPhone app allows our team to look like we’re in the office, even when we’re out enjoying a beer with friends. Yes, we have had some interesting chats with site visitors, why do you ask?
The modern digital sales funnel starts with answering a question. Then, through education, it gently nudges the customer towards providing contact details. And, as the customer begins to convert, an easy-to-digest range of options are presented. Finally, the credit card is charged and the satisfaction of your new customer lies in the hands of your team.
So, only one question remains. What will you do with your new, persuasive digital superpowers?
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.