The website customer conversion theory
When in marketing an analogy of the 'funnel' occurs often - that is the process of channeling potential new customers into your businesses with the final goal of buying your product or service. This traditional approach is flawed and indeed wrong!
There are 3 major flaws in the funnel analogy.
1. The funnel is often presented as one potentially useful analogy for marketing. It is in fact, the primary analogy. All marketing should influence a decision.
The funnel is a remarkable way in beginning to think and understand the process. The problem is that just thinking of the funnel confuses us and keeps us from getting the highest and best yield in our marketing communications.
2. The funnel analogy distorts reality. People are not falling into your funnel, they're falling out. The funnel therefore must be inverted (twisted 180).
Remarkably over 10,000 path tests have been conducted to understand this process in greater depth by the worlds largest internet research and development agency in the USA. The goal being to understand the paths that people move through in their mind before they say 'YES', a sale.
It's imperative therefore to overcome resistance such as competitive noise, distractions, and many other factors that keep people from moving all the way through the funnel to the final conclusion.
3. People don't travel down the centre of the funnel. People are climbing up the sides.
This reflects the multiple paths that should be mapped to understand your potential maximum yield.
The Micro Yes Process
At the top of the funnel lets place what can be called a 'macro yes', the equivalent of a close or a sale. What we need to realise is that final yes is the sum of a whole series of 'micro yes's, the journey through your value proposition. Each 'micro yes' is essential before you achieve a 'macro yes', the sale.
One single micro 'no' can keep someone from reaching the final conclusion of the macro yes. It stops all the progress - so you can't afford a single no.
Too often we distort this in our mind and try to amend a single micro yes. Such as we may try to optimise the move from an email to a landing page when in fact there are a whole series of micro yes's that must be achieved from the email to the landing page, on the landing page, filling out the form. And if you're capturing leads even after you capture that lead the micro yes is in the sales call, field sales, etc. There's still a series of 'yes's' that must be won.
In the end marketers collect yes's. These micro yes's add up to the macro yes. If you're going to squeeze the best return out of any process what you've got to do is to take each one of those micro yes's, each decision point and win a yes.
A yes might be as simple as moving from the headline title, down to the opening paragraph, from the paragraph to a set of bullet points, from the bullet points to the call to action, from the call to action to a piece of information entered into a form, all the way through to a confirmation.
Structure of thought sequence not structure of website
Until you map the micro yes in your mind as someone who's your target audience, you can't appreciate or redesign the landing page visual clues, the path to the macro yes, the highest possible return.
If there's an issue with a micro yes then you're leaking conversions form your funnel, which translates into lost money untill that leak is fixed, stopping the bleeding.
Virtually all websites have leakage by some degree, but you can't see the leak if you just look at the webpage because people don't buy from companies they buy from people. So you've got to understand the mindset of your target audience - you don't optimise a webpage you optimise a thought sequence. And if you look at the thought sequence there's going to be some point where you're asking for a step, asking for a micro yes, it stops and it shows up in your conversions. It's because at this point the perceived cost is outweighing the perceived value.
The negative outweighs the positive.
So what do we do - we tilt the balance so that the positive outweighs the negative, the value outweighs the cost. This needs to be done at every single micro yes.
We need to see deeper into the mind of a target customer to maximise the yield. What happens as you adjust the perceived value to a positive from a negative throughout the micro yes procedure does more than fix one place, a juncture, a decision point. But it should in every case produce a learning! The goal is to get a learning not a just a single conversion lift. A lift might get you higher conversions that may satisfy your targets to some degree but a 20% lift is only good when that's the best that can be achieved. What if there's a 60% lift there and you're leaking 40% even after you've tested your landing page and felt satisfied.
Adequacy is the enemy of excellence.
Every path needs to be tested - every adjustment to the micro yes - as a means of discovering more about the customer. As we move through it the customer theory becomes more robust.
The value of customer theory
What we need to know is enough information about the customer to predict their behaviour. We are keenly interested in information to enable us to predict your customers behavior. We can translate that into a yes. When we create the right offer, and present it to the right customer, we can win a macro yes - which is a sale. This cannot be done with one punch but only by thinking of every step in the mental sequence towards a macro yes. As we do that our understanding of the customer grows.
This builds Sustainable competitive advantage - this occurs with a fuller understanding of the customer!
This may come across a little abstract, but this sort of thinking has had dramatic affects on conversions for 1000's of websites presented by the largest internet research and development agency in the USA. This is the way we think and the way that websites should be designed and optimised to achieve the best conversions and sales profit.