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Oct 12 2019, by Sheldon

Funnel Funnel Toil and Trouble – What are website funnels and why are they important?

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Imagine for a moment: Your friend told you about a really topical event that you’re interested in – let’s say it’s a Halloween Spooktacular party. Naturally, you find yourself on the internet trying to research very specific information about it: Where and when, if you can pre-purchase tickets or register, etc. You’re sifting around some website, clicking here and there and going deep down a rabbit hole.

However, it feels like you’re wasting time.

There’s no events page, so you try clicking on the blog section, because hey, maybe there are random events mixed into their updates? You’re still not really sure where to go, but you keep clicking and eventually you’re on page 5 of their archives with no luck. Eventually you find some information on the bottom of a tertiary page largely about something else. Great, but you’ll take what you can get, right? However, the information is vague and it doesn’t seem like you can register online or really even contact anyone. There might be a Facebook event out there for it, but by now you’ve lost interest. You don’t really even know what the event is called anyway, so it’s hard to search for. The Halloween comes and goes and you forgot all about the Spooktacular party.

This is happened to all of us to some degree. As a consumer or end user this is frustrating, demotivating and really makes you think twice about attending an event put on by this organization. It was too hard to find information and it didn’t seem like it was given a lot of attention, so it gives the impression is that this event was an after-thought and probably wouldn’t have been any good anyway.

As an organization – this is an even worse scenario. Not only could this event plausibly be something that could bring in revenue in the form of event admissions, but you’re losing the opportunity for a user to engage with your brand, become involved and even become a champion for you. Instead, they’ve had a negative experience and your brand has become weakened. So how do you stop this from happening?

Enter: the funnel

A website funnel is a concept that you can use to help users find their way to an end goal. Usually it starts by clearly presenting a path (or several paths) that a user can take, and guiding them towards committing an action. An example could be advertising the Spooktacular on your website for awareness, and then creating an easy way to the user to find out more information and then RSVP on the spot. It is specifically a well thought-out chain of pages and interactions, in contrast to the alternative: Just populating some information about the event somewhere and hoping users with search around for information and show up.

Know your audience

The first thing we do at Weight Creative (during the planning phase) when building a funnel – or damn near any project – is figure out exactly who we are going to target with our messaging. If your first instinct is “everyone”, you are wrong. It’s important to have a very segmented and clear view of what your typical or ideal audience member is, since what could be enticing to one type of person could be very off-putting to another. For instance, if you were in the business of selling cars online, you would showcase a different kind of car to my mother (a baby-boomer who cares most about safety and reliability) than to me – a 29 year old male with an active interest in vehicles and going fast. You would certainly tailor your message towards promoting very different key features initially, and you would use a very different vocabulary. Likewise, knowing this kind of information will allow you to tailor your messaging accordingly and you should think wisely about who you want your message to appeal to.

Home page and hierarchy

Initially when I land on the website in our theoretical hunt for the Halloween Spooktacular, the first thing that should have happened was that I should have been greeted by a great call-to-action. This could take the form of a short and sweet text blurb that is directly talking to me about the thing I’m interested in. For example: “Our awesome event is coming up the week before Halloween! Only 14 tickets remain! Register now to get a free pumpkin!” with a button that says “register now”. The take-away here is that your audience should feel urgency, the text should be short and digestible, and importantly it should inspire an emotional response. Using a special offer or promotion is a great way to do this as well.

It is also important to consider where this call-to-action is on your homepage. Your best bet is to make it as close to the top and as high up in the design hierarchy as possible. If you have a slider or banner on your homepage – this is a great spot. Secondarily would be just below. Thirdly, down the page even further. You get it.

Another key aspect is that you are placing information just one click away. The user just simply has to click the register now button, and they have pretty much reached their final destination in terms of finding information. This is in contrast to putting up an event page, where a user might have to navigate from your website’s homepage to the events section from the top menu, find the event and then click on it.. and then maybe even click through again to the facebook event etc. Reduce clicks and navigation at every point you can.

The destination

A user has gone through your home page, and they have decided your Call To Action is awesome. They click the button to find out more and register. Now what?

Here is our change to build more excitement and deliver critical information. Build engagement with enticing photos, quick bits of information – anything that speaks to your audience, builds trust and adds value. Adding in testimonials and a special discount or offer if you haven’t yet (or just restate it) will also do wonders.

Also, it is worth stressing that you need to make sure this page clearly and concisely lists all logistical information that is necessary and available (time, place, price, whatever is relevant). Never make your users hunt for anything that is of necessity to them.

The conversion

Finally, while the user is on this same page, it’s vital that they are able to quickly and easily make some kind of commitment – register, sign up, make a purchase etc.

In order to reduce clicks, your best option is to include a payment portal or sign up form right on the page; ensuring it is as simple and as inviting as possible. You want the user to commit this action with as few clicks or barriers as humanly possible, so embedding the action on the page is far superior than alternatives such as using a link to push the user to yet another webpage, which is what could happen if you only host the event on Facebook or on a third party site like Eventbrite, Eventzilla or Ticketmaster. However, if your third party site allows your to place a payment portal or equivalent within your own page.. awesome. You should be doing that.

Conclusion

Removing as many barriers to entry as possible, reducing clicks, and ensuring information is easy to access and intelligently laid out are the basic foundations of a great website funnel. Compared to other tactics, this is one of the easiest to implement on a basic level and will do wonders to improve your conversion numbers. Moreover, it is possible to take the lessons learned here and drill down into them granularly – testing different funnels aimed at different users, creating specific landing pages and pairing your funnels with paid media in order to push users towards your goals. Experiment and see what works best for you!

You might be realizing there’s a lot to do!

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The proof is in the pudding!

Here’s what Julia Drost of Population Services International has to say about working with our team; “I had the pleasure of knowing Weight Creative’s great work from my previous organization. After working through a very frustrating and cumbersome process of producing collateral at my new organization, I knew that we could find a better way to take on this challenging task; one that delivered a superior product at great value and with far fewer headaches on the client side. Weight immediately came to mind and I couldn’t have been happier with our collaboration to date.”

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