Introducing the marketing funnel
The marketing funnel is a graphic describing the customer journey on a website. It maps out the stages that users pass through, from awareness to purchase.
A number of users enter the first stage, and they decide whether to continue to the next stages or not. Some people will abandon the funnel. At each stage in the process, there will be users who leave the site. Fewer and fewer visitors will enter the next stage down the decision-making process, which explains the cylinder form of the marketing funnel.
Note: The illustration above represents a linear marketing funnel. Users follow the traditional path to conversion, passing through the four stages of the customer journey.
However, bear in mind that there are also non-linear funnels. That is, users can skip some stages of the funnel, and go directly to the Desire phase, or Action phase. In this case, the traditional model doesn’t apply.
In this article, we’ll speak about linear funnels.
We’ll take each funnel step and see what page level corresponds to it, within a website structure. In the end, you’ll be able to configure a sales-oriented website based on the marketing funnel. The site structure will bear the imprint of users’ stages to acquisition. You can make a website design strategy based on this data.
Marketing funnel stages and their corresponding website structure
First, it’s awareness. People get to know the brand, and they get aware there’s Company A on the market. Those people come to the website after they’ve found an interesting Google search result, they’ve clicked on another site’s banner or they’ve seen an ad in social media (the list might continue…).
At this stage, lead generation takes place.
Note: leads are different from prospects. A lead is an unqualified contact. Leads are then qualified into prospects.
Leads 🡪 Prospects 🡪 Customers/Clients
So, Awareness is the stage where lead generation takes place.
The first buying stage needs first-level pages on the website.
The very first level of a website refers to the homepage. This is the central page where all the other pages spin from.
The homepage needs all items that help users know your brand (at a general level): logo, brand name, title, tagline, overview of the company activity that reflects into products/services, unique value proposition (“why choose us instead of others?”), whatever serves to introduce the company to users.
This is an example:
Second, it’s interest. At this stage, there’s lead nurturing. You inform the prospective customers about the company and communicate with them. They should find reasons to stay on site and browse its pages.
The pages that fall under this category:
- About us page
- Services page
- Product page
- For ecommerce sites – category pages
The main menu links to the above-mentioned pages. Users have direct access to information about the company expertise area, products or services. It’s the stage where users collect any useful data that might justify their interest in the company products/services.
Third, the desire stage: users have mentally made their selection, and they continue to collect data that backs it up. They might draw information from pages such as:
- Pages with product details (for ecommerce websites)
- Specific page with testimonials that can be used as social proof
- Contact page – that signals users want to get in touch with the company team and find out more about the offers
- Shopping cart page where users have added one or more products
These are second-level pages that help users advance in the decision-making process, towards the final stage and the conversion.
The acquisition stage is the last step in the decision-making process. It’s here that prospects turn into customers/clients.
Within the website structure, you’ll find pages corresponding to this stage:
- Checkout page (for online purchases on e-shops)
- “Thank you” page (this is the page that appears after the online payment has been made)
Chances are few people that have entered the awareness stage will come to this point. That’s why it’s highly important that the checkout process should be smooth and not have obstacles that impediment closing the transaction.
In developing a website design strategy, you should take into account the role of each page within the greater context of users’ behavior. The website structure should mirror the steps visitors take to purchase and facilitate the process through clear navigation paths. Will you give it a try?