Want to improve your conversion rate? In this guide, we’ll show you how to do a deep-dive analysis and improve the funnels that fuel your business.
What good is a sales funnel without a hefty conversion rate?
The reason that you created your sales funnel is so that you could generate leads and make sales on autopilot.
You’ve probably done lots of research into conversion optimization. Maybe you’ve even talked with other successful funnel hackers.
And while you’ve learned a lot…
Something still isn’t working.
The good news is, you’re not alone. Creating high-converting sales funnels is a process that takes practice. And a low conversion rate isn’t a sign that you’ll never succeed… it’s just a sign that something needs to be fixed.
In this guide, we’re going to show you how to analyze your sales funnels and improve their conversion rates.
Understanding The Sales Funnel (and Why Your Business Needs One)
Before we explain how you can analyze your sales funnel and improve it, let’s talk about why your business needs one in the first place.
First, let’s clear the air about what a sales funnel actually is.
A sales funnel is a series of pages that guide people, step by step, toward taking a valuable action for your business — registering for an event, opting into your email list, or buying a product.
A very basic sales funnel might look something like this…
The term “sales funnel”, though, is often confused with a marketing funnel, which is the entire path a person takes in your business, from awareness to return customer.
But a sales funnel is only a part of the entire marketing funnel — a very important part.
Well-built sales funnels can convert cold traffic into paying customers in one fell swoop (we do this all the time at ClickFunnels!). They can also take a less direct path, focusing only on lead-gen or customer follow-up.
And naturally, there are different types of sales funnels for different types of conversion goals.
But you might be wondering, how are these sales funnels different than websites?
Think of it this way.
A website is like a digital brochure. You hand it to someone and they can learn everything about your business that there is to know. They can browse around in whatever order they like, flip back and forth between pages, and see multiple product offers.
That’s fine for branding purposes.
It’s a well-documented psychological fact — called “analysis paralysis” — that having more options makes decision-making difficult.
And if there’s one thing that a typical website provides, it’s lots of options.
A sales funnel does the opposite.
It gives people only one path to follow, one product or set of products to purchase, and one decision to make.
Then, all of the sales copy and design guides the visitor toward taking that one specific action. For obvious reasons, this is far more effective than the typical website.
That’s why your business needs a sales funnel.
It’s the new, proven way to find success when building an online business.
(That’s why we have hundreds of people in our Two Comma Club — a group of homemade, online entrepreneurs who’ve generated more than $1 million with their sales funnels!)
Just look at what happened to Jaime’s at-home ecommerce businesses when she switched to ClickFunnels.
Sadly, 68% of businesses have not identified or attempted to measure a sales funnel.
But that just means you will have a competitive edge 😉
Building a Sales Funnel That’s Easy to Analyze
One of the most common mistakes in the online business world is building pages, funnels, and marketing processes that are mind-blowingly difficult to understand.
According to research by HubSpot, 43% of companies said that “proving the ROI of marketing activities” is one of their biggest marketing challenges.
So how do you build a sales funnel that is easy to understand, analyze, and optimize?
Here are some ideas.
UTMs: Traffic to Top-of-Funnel
UTMs are unique links that allow you to track where traffic is coming from.
This is really important.
If you don’t know where traffic is coming from, and if you’re not measuring the individual conversion rate of each traffic source, then you won’t know if you have a sales funnel problem… or a traffic source problem.
What do I mean?
I mean that where people come from when they enter your sales funnel really matters.
Maybe, for instance, it’s not your sales funnel that’s doing a poor job, but a specific Facebook ad. Perhaps the Facebook ad is motivating the wrong people to click, or maybe it’s not putting people in the right frame of mind before they visit your sales funnel.
That’s why it’s important to know where traffic is coming from and to attribute an individual conversion rate to each traffic source.
You can use Google’s UTM generator to create unique tracking links.
And here’s a helpful guide to creating and tracking UTM links in Google Analytics
Removing Other Links
Like we already discussed, a sales funnel is a series of pages that guide visitors, step by step, toward conversion.
And to be effective, sales funnels need to focus on only that conversion goal.
So we recommend excluding a navigation bar or any other type of website-browsing element on your sales funnel pages.
These don’t just distract from the one thing that your sales funnel is trying to accomplish, they also make data tracking and organization much more difficult.
Think about it: if you have links on your sales funnel that take people somewhere other than to the next page of your sales funnel, how will you make sense of the paths people are following?
The more links you add, the more confusing this gets.
So keep it simple, ditch your instincts, and get rid of those website navigation links.
Connecting Google Analytics
To create an analyze-able sales funnel, you’ll need easy access to important data.
Google Analytics is probably the best (and cheapest) way to set that up.
As a ClickFunnels member, you’ll be able to access lots of mission-critical metrics, like individual conversion rates, and average value per order, but Google Analytics will help you get more detailed data.
Here’s a video that walks through how to connect ClickFunnels and Google Analytics.
How To Do a Deep-Dive Analysis of Your Sales Funnel
Now that you know why sales funnels are so important for online businesses and you’ve built yourself one that’s easy to analyze, let’s talk about how to do a deep-dive analysis on it.
1. Find Drop-Off Points
Like a car engine, a sales funnel is made up of parts.
And if just one of those parts isn’t working correctly, the entire engine is going to seize up.
Fortunately, because sales funnels are well-organized into specific steps and pages, they are much easier to analyze than a website.
The first thing to do, then, is to figure out at which step(s) people are leaving the sales funnel.
You can do this really easily as a ClickFunnels member.
Just go to your funnel overview and on the left side, you can see the percentage of traffic that went through to each step.
In the example below, 100% of people visited the sales page, 21% visited the order page, 0% visited the OTO 2 page (which is an optional part of the funnel), 3% visited order confirmation (which means they purchased), 2% visited membership access, and 4% went to the membership area.
See how easy it is to see which pages are working and which ones are struggling?
In this case, we might consider better optimizing the sales page and order page in order to drive more people to Order Confirmation.
Which brings up an important point.
If there are multiple parts of your sales funnel that seem to be struggling, start at the top and work your way down.
You might find that fixing just the sales page or order page, for instance, gets the entire funnel running more smoothly.
Or you might find that another page still needs to be fixed, in which case you should continue on down the funnel, optimizing each page to drive people to the next step.
We’ll talk about how to do this in detail here shortly.
For now, just identify the first page of your sales funnel that needs a little love.
2. Consider Conversion Rate By Traffic Source
Before you fix your sales funnel, it’s extremely important to make sure that you don’t have a traffic problem or an advertisement problem.
If you’re driving the wrong people to your sales funnel or if your advertisements aren’t pre-framing their mindset correctly, then even a great sales funnel will struggle to convert visitors.
So make sure you know the individual conversion rate for each traffic source.
This means creating UTMs to track advertising campaigns and connecting with Google Analytics. If you find a problem with one of your traffic sources, either turn it off or try to fix it.
And if you find that one traffic source has a great conversion rate, then consider dumping more budget into what’s already working.
You can get our bestselling Traffic Secrets book for free; it will show you how to drive high-quality traffic to your sales funnels, no matter your budget or industry!
3. Use Heatmaps/Scrollmaps
Imagine that you find a problematic drop-off point in your sales funnel.
So… what’s next?
It can be difficult to just look at a sales page and try to figure out what’s wrong with it.
Beyond asking other experts for their opinion in our Funnel Hacker Forum (member-access only), you might also consider setting up a heatmap, click-map, or scroll-map on the page where traffic is dropping off — consider Hotjar, which easily integrates with ClickFunnels.
These aren’t perfect, but they can certainly provide you with valuable information about where visitors are looking, clicking, and scrolling.
That information can help you make important decisions about exactly how to optimize your sales funnels pages.
Which is exactly what we’re talking about next!
How To Increase Your Sales Funnels Conversion Rate
Now let’s talk about how you can improve the conversion rate of your sales funnels!
1. Optimize Drop-Off Pages
Assuming that there’s a problem with your sales funnel (as opposed to your traffic-driving strategies), your first priority is to fix the top-most page where people are bouncing.
If your sales page has a low conversion rate and isn’t driving people forward, then there are three fundamental things we need to look at:
- The Hook
- The Story
- The Offer
In his bestselling book Traffic Secrets, Russell Brunson — our founder and CEO — talks about the simple hook-story-offer structure for creating high-converting sales pages.
So let’s talk about how to optimize each of those pieces (or you can just watch the video below).
Pro-Tip: If you’re already using the hook-story-offer format for your sales page, you might consider using a heatmap tool like Hotjar (which integrates with ClickFunnels!) to figure out where you’re losing people’s attention.
Let’s assume that you’ve already caught someone’s attention with one of your advertisements and they’ve clicked through to your sales page.
What they see next is absolutely critical.
Your ad may have caught their attention, but if your sales page doesn’t keep their attention, then your conversion rate is going to suffer.
How do you do that?
Well, you’ve got to understand your target market and their fears and desires. The better that you understand your dream customers, the easier it’ll be to craft a compelling hook.
Visually speaking, the “hook” is the first thing that people see and read once they land on your sales page — it needs to pull them in and inspire them to keep reading.
Consider, for instance, our Expert Secrets landing page…
At ClickFunnels, our target market consists of entrepreneurs who want to forge their own path in life… they want to build online businesses that make them tons of money and give them tons of freedom.
And that’s why this heading is so inspiring to our audience.
(Of course, they want to tell their story, build a tribe, and change the world!)
Here’s another example from SmartBlogger, the go-to place for writers to learn about making money online…
Notice how this page’s hook empathizes with SmartBlogger’s target market?
“Writers don’t have to be poor,” it promises. And then it says, “The new way to make six figures as a freelance writer, working from home whenever it suits your schedule.”
That’s exactly the sort of hook that Jon Morrow’s audience won’t be able to resist.
Think of your own target market.
What is a hook that would be absolutely irresistible to them?
Here are three criteria to consider when crafting your hook…
- Is it relevant to YOUR target market?
- Does it create hope for the person’s future?
- Does it promise to help the person avoid future suffering?
Pain and pleasure are the two strongest motivators for humans.
If you want people to take action, then create hope for their future and/or promise to help them avoid pain along the way.
Here’s one more example of this…
Your only job at this point is to hook the person into the rest of your sales page.
Once you have their attention, it’s time to tell a story.
Human beings are storytellers.
We listen to other people’s stories, we share our own stories, we even take action because of the lessons hidden within a story.
After all, that’s really what a story is.
It’s a way of communicating an important lesson indirectly so that it’s more persuasive and life-changing for the listener.
That’s why it’s so much easier to accept the lesson behind a well-told story than it is to agree with an aggressive salesperson.
Both claims might be valid… but the story is always more convincing than the assertion.
Notice, for example, how our Traffic Secrets page transitions from hook to story…
We even show screenshots of people’s dashboards to story-show how the concepts inside of Traffic Secrets have had a real impact on people’s businesses.
So how do you tell a compelling story that seamlessly drives people toward your offer?
The key is to use what we call an Ephiphany Bridge Script…
Check out the below video to learn how this works…
And remember: the entire purpose of telling this story is to convince the visitor to take the next step in your sales funnel… registering for your event, purchasing a product, or opting into your email list.
This means that the lesson of your story needs to have a direct connection to your offer.
That is, the story you tell should indirectly teach visitors that they need your product or service if they’re going to be successful.
Here’s a high condensed example to show you what I mean…
Hook – Want to lose a ton of weight really fast?
Story – Believe it or not, I was really overweight two years ago. I kept having to buy new clothes because I kept gaining weight. But then I discovered this crazy process that allowed me to lose weight with just a few key changes to my diet!
Offer – This process was so powerful for me that I documented it, packaged it into an easy-to-follow 30-day program, and now I want to give it to you!
Notice how the story naturally flows into the offer?
That’s exactly how your epiphany bridge story should flow as well.
Maybe you have a great hook and a great story.
But here’s the kicker: if you don’t have a great offer — and I’m talking about an absolutely irresistible offer for your target market — then your conversion rate is going to suffer.
But how do you create a mind-blowing offer for your dream customers?
Well, we could explain it to you.
Or we could show you — check out the 9-minute video below to learn how Russell Brunson is systematically creating mind-blowing offers for his own businesses!
The best part is, his process is repeatable and easy to follow.
2. Consider Average Order Value
Conversion rate isn’t the only metric that matters when it comes to optimizing a sales funnel to pull max profits.
Average order value is also important — this is the average amount of money that a new customer spends after they’ve completed your funnel.
And we have a few tricks up our sleeves for improving the average order value of your sales funnels.
First is upsells. An upsell is when you offer an additional product to the visitor after they’ve already input their payment and shipping information, but before the visit the order confirmation page.
Here’s an example of what this looks like (these are a fundamental part of our Tripwire Sales Funnels)…
Upsells (also known as “one-time offers”) are extremely effective for increasing the average order value of a sales funnel.
Second is downsells. Imagine that someone rejects your upsell offer. A downsell is when you then take the person to a second page that offers them a slightly less ambitious offer.
Here’s what that looks like…
And the third trick is order bumps. When people buy, they often go on buying sprees, where they aren’t just in a mood to purchase one product… but to go all out and get everything they need to be successful with their new pursuit.
The best way to leverage that fact is by adding order bumps to your checkout process. These are products that customers can add to their order with just a single click.
All three of these tactics work wonders for increasing the average order value of your sales funnels.
And you can easily create all three of these pages and forms with ClickFunnels!
3. Create a Follow-Up Funnel
What do you do if someone leaves your sales funnel without purchasing?
After all, no matter how well you optimize your sales funnel… some people are still going to leave.
What’s the proper response?
You guessed it — following up.
In fact, we call these follow-up funnels and they’re a critical part of any sales funnel. A follow-up funnel is quite simply an email-based sales funnel with the goal of converting people who abandoned the original sales funnel.
These are critical for recapturing lost sales from people who need a little bit longer to consider your offer.
Here’s Russell’s full video presentation of what a follow-up funnel is and how it works…
Watch the video below to learn how to create follow-up funnels inside of ClickFunnels…
Ready To Improve Your Sales Funnel’s Conversion Rate?
You now have all the knowledge you need to build analyze and improve your sales funnels conversion rates.
Find the drop-off points, consider traffic sources, use heatmaps, and identify the real source of the problem.
Then optimize your sales pages, improve average order value, create a follow-up funnel, and segment your email list.
With that, you’ll be well on your way to building a high-converting funnel!