Once we know who and what our site is for, we can start thinking about how its structure and content can be used to benefit our audience and achieve our business goals.
All websites aim to drive conversions. Whether you want people to sign up as a client, buy a product or drop by a physical location is up to you. Your website should be built to suit the needs of your particular business.
Setting up Your Site to Drive Your Goals
Your website is a marketing tool and understanding how it can be used to drive your overall business goals is important. You need to consider site structure, content and also how people use search engines to find your web pages.
Structure Your Site With the Sales Funnel in Mind
The sales funnel is a basic marketing concept. It is all about a buyer’s journey from their first interaction with your brand, right through to the point where they take action.
The top part of the sales funnel is all about building awareness of your business among a broad audience. At this stage in the funnel, consumers are just being introduced to your brand. Down the funnel, you’ll lose some users but others will move through to conversion. That’s why the funnel slims toward the bottom. How many people convert will depend on how effectively your website’s content and structure are put together.
When choosing your site structure, you need to create an intuitive navigation so users can find what they’re looking for. As well as an easy-to-use menu bar, every page on your website should feature a CTA, which moves people along your sales funnel toward conversion.
It is important to keep in mind that visitors to your website won’t necessarily land on your homepage and go from there. Google will lead them to whatever page is most relevant to their search terms. So think of every page as a landing page.
Whether someone lands on a blog post or a product page, you should use appropriate CTAs which will guide users toward an action that will help you achieve your business goals.
Considering What to Include in Your Content
When choosing content for your website, keep in mind that certain types of web pages relate to different parts of the buyer journey.
If someone lands on a ‘How to’ blog post, you won’t want to go straight for a hardcore sales pitch. They’re probably still in the awareness phase and not ready to buy. So this is the time to be helpful, insightful and make a memorable impression. To nurture your new lead, you could include a CTA which encourages further reading or a newsletter sign up. This way, you’ll be the first brand they think of when they are looking for your products or services.
On the other hand, someone reading a product page is probably further down the sales funnel. Whether they’ve browsed your site to get here or arrived directly from Google search results, they may be ready to make a purchase. So this is where some impressive, sales-focused information will be useful for both your users and your business.
People visit certain pages for certain reasons. If you’re in tune with your users and cater to their needs, it will be easier to create content that leads to conversion.
The Role of SEO in Goal Fulfillment
As it turns out, a customer’s journey through the sales funnel largely corresponds with a user’s search intent. So if you cater your content to suit the needs of your users, you’ll optimize both your sales funnel and your search rankings.
Google and other search engines analyze the intent behind each search query to show users pages that fulfill their needs. To improve your website’s chances of appearing in search results, your content and keywords should match with the search intent. If someone types ‘How to make pancakes’ into Google, they don’t want a product page or a sales pitch disguised as a recipe.
Different pages on your website will correspond with different types of search intent and this intent will depend on where in the buyer journey they are.
Why Is Search Intent Important?
Sometimes a user will arrive directly on your homepage, browse your website and convert. Easy-peasy! But most of the time, it takes users a while to move through the sales funnel towards conversion.
Some leads need to be nurtured over months and, often, they’ll use Google to find your site again and again. So it’s important to have content which will engage users at each stage of the buyer journey. It’s also important to optimize each page and piece of content for Google and other search engines.
For example, Mary’s Flowers specializes in wedding flowers and understands that wedding planning may take place months or days in advance. As well as having product pages for its range of wedding flowers and packages, the company uses its blog to build awareness among anyone who is in the early stages of wedding planning. It features articles like ‘Wedding bouquet ideas’ and ‘How to choose wedding flowers’.
To make sure some blog readers convert at a later stage, Mary’s Flowers offers newsletter sign ups and downloadable PDF versions of its guides. This way prospects might search specifically for the brand’s name when they’re ready to make a purchase. Alternatively, they might recognize it in future SERPs.
Even if your website isn’t designed to sell products, you can still use the sales funnel concept to drive other conversions like form submissions or bookings. Take a business like Windows by Jim as an example. Because the price of windows depends on many different variables, its website can’t finalize sales. Instead, it drives users to contact the sales team for an individual quote.
Windows by Jim also understands that choosing new windows is a big purchasing decision, so it may need to attract users to its website a number of times throughout the buyer journey. So it creates super helpful articles and guides for users in the early stages of the funnel. This content includes CTAs like ‘Read more’, ‘Visit the showroom’ and ‘View the catalog’.
Its product catalog, which targets people further down the sales funnel, calls on users to fill in a form to get a free, no-obligation quote.
Depending on what they search, a prospect might land on a different page every time they visit your site. For this reason, every page needs to have a CTA which drives conversions. Website owners need to consider two things when creating content for each web page:
What is the user looking for?
Where should I bring them next?
This will make your content relevant to users, increase your search rankings and optimize your sales funnel.
The Awareness Phase and Informational Intent
At the very top of the sales funnel is the awareness phase. This is all about introducing your business to new people and generating leads. This phase of the funnel corresponds with searches that have informational intent. At this point, it’s too soon to push for a sale. Searchers just want information, so you should focus on creating some great, informative content. If you run a food store, you might share recipes. Or if you specialize in Reiki treatment, you might create content for searches like ‘What is Reiki?’ and ‘What are the benefits of Reiki?’ If you want to drive people to take action at this early point, you can encourage them to sign up to your newsletter or follow you on social media. This will make it easier to warm up these leads and move them towards the bottom of the funnel.
The Interest Phase and Navigational Intent
At the interest stage of the buyer’s journey, people are aware of your business but still aren’t ready to make a purchase. Instead, they want to know more about your business and products. This often overlaps with searches which have informational intent and navigational intent - when people know exactly what site they want to visit. At this stage, you want to use your website to build trust with your new lead. So present a consistent brand message throughout core content, like the home, about and contact pages.
The Decision Phase and Commercial Intent
Once leads have reached the decision phase of the sales funnel, they plan to make a purchase but are still researching their options. So, it's no wonder that this stage of the sales funnel coincides with commercial search intent, which is when people use Google to do purchase research. Users in this phase may search for terms like ‘best protein powder’, ‘double glazing vs triple glazing’ or ‘mary’s flowers reviews’. They might then browse content like product pages, case studies, reviews and testimonials. People are about to make a purchase decision, so this is the time to include sales-focused CTAs in your content.
The Conversion Phase and Transactional Intent
At this point in the funnel, users have decided what to buy. They may already be on your website or they may Google a phrase like ‘buy red roses’, ‘discount sash windows’ or ‘buy bouquet mary’s flowers’. The results will throw up specific item pages from which users can quickly buy a product, get a quote or receive a callback.
Understanding Whether or Not Your Site Is Achieving Your Goals
Tracking specific metrics will empower you to easily gauge the performance of your website over time and help you see what’s working and what needs improvement. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are metrics which determine success for your business. They establish a link between your business goals and your marketing efforts. They should make it clear how your website is contributing to your overall objectives.
Choosing KPIs to Monitor Your Goals
The KPIs you choose will depend on your specific goals, but they should always:
Be measurable .
Track things essential to the success of your company .
Tie back to your business goals .
Be applied consistently.
Setting out KPIs for each stage of the sales funnel will help you identify which parts of your website are contributing toward your company’s success, as well as which pages need work. If sales on your website are down, the problem could be the checkout process. Or it could be that not enough people are entering the top of the sales funnel and becoming aware of your brand. Here are some KPIs which will help you pinpoint issues.
KPIs for the Top of the Sales Funnel
SEO is a great way to reach people who are unaware of your business and start them on the buyer’s journey. If your SEO strategy isn’t working, you’ll have less people entering the top of the sales funnel - and therefore less people converting later on. These KPIs indicate growing awareness of your business:
Search rankings: Tracking how many of your web pages feature in Google results helps monitor the quality of your content and keyword strategy. Good rankings are a sign that you understand user needs and search intent.
Organic traffic: This is the number of visitors that come to your website from Google’s search results.
Number of new visitors: If this number is high and growing, it’s a sign that your strategy for building awareness is working.
KPIs to Track the Middle of the Sales Funnel
Once people are aware of your business, you want to build up their interest. If your search rankings and organic traffic are great, you need to make sure these KPIs are performing to ensure visitors are moving toward conversion:
Number of returning visitors: This will tell you how effective your website is at building and retaining an audience online.
Page views: The average number of pages someone looks at during their visit provides an important gauge of how interesting your website’s content is. If this is low, you may need to look at improving your website’s structure, navigation and CTAs.
Bounce rate: This is the percentage of visits during which only one page is viewed. A very high bounce rate may indicate that your content doesn’t meet your user’s needs.
Email sign ups: Trackable in Google Analytics, this KPI can be an indicator of how engaging and helpful your blog content is. If this is a CTA anywhere on your website, this is an essential KPI to track.
Branded search volumes: The number of times your company name is searched each month indicates how many people know about and are interested in your business. If this is increasing, you’re doing a good job. This metric is available in most keyword tools. Alternatively, you can use Google Trends to keep track.
KPIs to Track the Bottom of the Sales Funnel
At the bottom of the sales funnel, your leads are ready to convert. This is usually the part which directly advances your business goals. Depending on your website, users may make a purchase, contact your sales team, get a quote or book an appointment. So, these are the KPIs to track:
Form submissions: The number of incoming submissions tells you about how successful your website is in building trust and guiding users toward conversion.
Purchases: High sales volumes can signal great content and navigation.
Shopping cart abandonment: This shows how many people leave your website in the middle of filling out a form or making a purchase. If this is too high, it may indicate that the process is too complicated.
You don’t have to track all of these KPIs, but it's a good idea to regularly monitor some from each stage of the sales funnel. This will provide a succinct and simple overview of your website’s progress, without weighing you down with hefty reports. All these metrics are easy to track, but they empower you to make valuable, data-driven decisions on how to improve your website. For tools and tips on monitoring these KPIs, check out the guide’s section on tracking your goals.