Every business depends on its conversion funnel. The difference between making a healthy profit and barely breaking even is how well you go about its optimization. But what if you are optimizing, following the best practices, and it’s still not working?
Having a clear call to action, excellent copy, and organized well-balanced content matters. However, there is more to optimizing your conversion than website optimization.
It’s easy to throw your hands in the air and complain the lead generation simply isn’t working while you do everything right.
To succeed, you need to go beyond copywriting and page layout.
You need to start treating and nurturing your leads as individuals.
Do so without skyrocketing your costs.
And that’s why we are here!
What is the Conversion Funnel?
A conversion funnel (or a sales funnel) is a common way to visualize potential clients’ conversion path. Naturally, these leads are generated through a variety of paid and organic, natural, and orchestrated marketing strategies. However, the number of page visitors is very likely to be significantly higher as leads tend to drop off at various stages of the path, with only a few reaching the final destination. Hence the comparison to the shape of the funnel!
Why do the leads drop-off?
There can be many potential reasons for misalignment between the ad and a landing page, technical issues, lack of content, slow response time, etc. As such, every drop-off ends up affecting your final conversion rate. However, if you are able to understand and analyze their progression through the funnel, you can take action to fix and improve that flow.
When you google about conversion funnels, most of them are a variation of the AIDA sequence:
- Action (purchase, signup, subscription, etc.)
Each level brings around a new set of questions.
But in real life, things are never so simple. A conversion funnel is hardly a one-way street nor that straightforward. Your leads shouldn’t be wrangled and pushed through the same funnel like they are nothing but numbers without faces.
If you want your conversion funnel to truly function, to become stronger, you need to stop thinking that the path ends at check out. Marketing expert, Niel Patel, visualizes the right shape of the funnel as follows:
Things suddenly aren’t looking so straightforward. Looking beyond the purchase is essential. What happens after the sale can either:
- Change nothing
- Help you!
Still, there is even more you can do!
How Can Chatbots Help Optimize Your Conversion Funnel
They went from being the greatest hype to being the greatest of disappointments. Since then, they have been quietly rebuilding their reputation.
Quietly, until 2020 that is. The year when the pandemic trampled the world, chatbots got a chance to shine, and they took it.
This article will demonstrate how to use chatbots (be it rule-based or AI-driven) at every stage of your conversion funnel to help you optimize conversion and fix the leaks without hassle.
Acquisition Stage: Lead Generation
Raising awareness and generating leads is the first step on any customer journey. At this stage, the typical strategies include paid advertising, organically positioned top-funnel resources, and, of course, forms.
Conversational assistants may already come in handy at this early stage in a great number of ways:
Conversational Landing Pages
Web chatbots can be used in place of the traditional landing page with a single CTA button. When a chatbot is the single focus of a landing page, it channels the attention towards the conversation enticing engagement.
Leads coming to the page are encouraged to partake in the chat from the start while given the opportunity to “choose their own journey”. Employing conversational landing pages, we have seen landing page conversion rates to triple or even quadruple.
Click-to-Chat Social Media Ads
Social media (SM) are one of the most effective marketing campaign channels of today. Since these networks are often accessed via mobile, advertisers found chat format to be quite compelling in combination with SM ads.
Facebook encourages this approach by enabling brands to customize their ad CTA to “Click-to-Messenger” or “Click-to-WhatsApp”. Hence, when a potential lead clicks on the ad, he or she is automatically redirected to an automated Messenger or WhatsApp chat where they can see the product offering or learn more through a natural conversation.
Smart Contact Forms
A lot of businesses rely on their contact forms to capture new leads, especially B2B models. However, contact forms are not the most popular as people usually associate them with long waiting times. In short, they are impersonal and fail to inspire trust.
Chatbots provide a smart and easy substitute for these forms. Even if they ask the exact same things, the natural turn-taking approach is friendlier and feels more immediate. However, the most significant advantage comes from the bot’s ability to assess the lead on the spot.
Using the contact-form questions, the bot can refer the waker prospects to relevant content while fast-tracking qualified leads to speak with your sales team instantly. Your sales reps won’t have to waste their time with prospects who are not ready to buy and serve those who are quickly and efficiently.
Chatbot Banner Ads
Banner ads might not be winning the “user favorite” awards, but they work. It’s as simple as that.
The usual concern with banner ads is trust and UX. Chatbot banners are nothing else than conversational assistants integrated into the standard digital banner.
They allow the lead to engage and interact with your brand without leaving the original site with which they feel comfortable. Hence, you can capture a lead right there and then without even having to invest in a landing page.
Activation Stage: Lead Nurture
The lead generation and awareness stage is just the very tip of the iceberg for conversion funnel marketing. It’s also the easiest place to lose a large portion of the leads, provided you don’t give them what they came looking for.
There is always a reason behind a particular visitor landing on your website. The secret lies in being able to understand that reason and act on it quickly and efficiently.
No matter how a lead reaches you, as many as 96% of visitors that come to your website are simply not ready to buy yet. Another study by Invespcro showed that 80% of new leads never translate into sales. That stacks the odds against you. Big time!
But not all is lost!
The same study also revealed that businesses that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. That’s not all! On average, brands with developed lead nurture strategies also see a 20% lift in sales opportunities and a 45% increase in lead generation ROI.
Chatbots can help you create an efficient and personalized lead nurture sequence and boost your conversion rate. In other words, thanks to bots, you start anticipating what the prospects want and deliver it before they even ask!
For example, chatbots can be of aid in:
Did you know that 51% of marketers consider email list segmentation the most effective way to personalize lead nurturing? Segmentation helps ensure the right message goes to the right people at the right time.
Your lead generation chatbot can help you qualify the incoming leads during the first touchpoint already. That way, you can tell whether a lead is sales-ready or needs nurture in the first few minutes of the interaction.
The bot can then classify and export the lead’s data to an appropriate email list using qualifying questions. Hence, you will be able to trigger the proper nurture sequence almost instantly, while the leads and their interest are still hot.
Delivering Personalized Content
Yes, chatbots can help you segment. However, they can also help you provide prospects with relevant content in real-time.
Chatbot-driven content strategy is an ideal way to nurture the visitor into becoming a lead as well as nurture the lead into becoming a customer.
Under normal circumstances, users landing on your website have to browse through it on their own, looking for the bits relevant to them. Bots can save them the time spent searching. Better yet, virtual assistants can help resolve commonly asked questions as well as curate written and video content based on their indicated preferences.
Imagine a quick conversational quiz before showing off your offering of sports clothes! If you know the gender, preferred sport, style, and size, you can curate the content right off the bat. The same goes for B2B! If you ask a few curating questions at the start, you can load the landing page with relevant service instantly
Furthermore, in the case of messaging assistants (e.g., on WhatsApp or Messenger), you can bypass emailing altogether. Instead, you can use the bot to send nurturing notifications at the right time using a communication channel that feels natural and comfortable. Thus, eliminating yet another friction point!
With time, the data from the bot enables you to perfect your nurturing sequence and deliver what the potential customer wants before they even ask for it!
Action Stage: Closing the Sale
Next comes the sales stage.
Can a conversational assistant help here at this stage of the as well? From experience, we can confidently say YES. And it’s not just us at Landbot who claim so! According to an Intercom survey, chatbots managed to increase sales by 67% on average, with 26% of the sales initiating through a chatbot. In fact, 35% of business leaders claimed chatbots helped them close sales deals.
So, we know that chatbots can aid sales, now let’s look at HOW:
Did you know that (according to Invespcro) 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first?
You probably do know that. The problem is, you don’t have enough human resources to attend to every lead, so you want to focus on the highest quality leads. Sure! Good strategy.
However, even qualification takes time. That is unless you have a bot to do it for you in real-time.
As already mentioned in the previous stages, chatbots can be of great assistance when it comes to qualification, scoring, and segmentation. What we haven’t talked about yet is their ability to swiftly switch the hottest leads from an automated chat to a live one.
Indeed! You can build your chatbot scoring sequence to redirect the best leads to your sales reps instantly. In other words, your lead waiting time can go from one hour, half-an-hour, 10 minutes to almost ZERO.
Another exciting bit of data from the same research, 42% of consumers would be encouraged to buy if the sales representative contacted them at an agreed-upon time?
Being able to switch from chatbot to live chat seamlessly is essential. However, not all qualified prospects are ready to talk to a sales rep immediately. They might need some time to clarify their goals, clearly define pain points, and prepare questions. Alternatively, your sales team might want to have greater control over their schedule.
Chatbots that let you book meetings without having to exit the conversation. For instance, Landbot builder offers native one-click Calendly integrations, which enable users to secure a meeting with sales reps based on an up-to-date calendar.
Thanks to this integration, you can still pre-qualify leads and thus still control the quality of leads offered to book a meeting with an agent. Since the booking is a seamless part of the conversation, it still carries the impact of instant satisfaction and diminishes the perception of waiting time.
Though, if you want the leads to feel in a position of power, you can always give them a choice. Once they are qualified, you can ask them whether they want to speak to an agent now or make an appointment for later!
Managing Transactional Operations
Last but not least, chatbots can assist in the sales stage in the most obvious and straightforward way possible - by enabling transactions.
If the bot manages to work the lead into a buying decision, why add unnecessary friction by redirecting them to a whole new transaction page?
Most chatbot builders like Landbot offer transactional integrations such as Stripe. Hence, you are able to process payment inside the conversation without compromising the safety or smoothness of the transaction.
Post-Sale Stage: Support & Success
As depicted in the conversion funnel at the start of this article - the one that is not really a funnel but a cycle - your work doesn’t finish with a successful sale.
For a conversion funnel to reach its true potential, you must go on!
There is no running away from it. Customer support is essential in customer retention. Today, when customer experience is more important than price, more than ever!
Naturally, you can’t hire hundreds of customer support assistants to answer every whim or whine of your clients.
What you can do is build a support bot that:
- Answers frequently asked questions;
- Navigates customers to the right knowledge base materials on demand;
- Initiates bot-to-human handover for more complex queries.
The Future of Customer Support study by Capgemini showed that bot+human handled queries reached the highest customer satisfaction score (CSAT)! The bot is perfect for classifying the query, demanding the basic information, and sending it to the RIGHT agent. An agent who is not over-loaded because bots take care of all the routine questions and so give him or her time to deal with the more complex ones in peace.
Support sometimes isn’t enough. With some products, you need to invest as much energy in getting your customer to succeed.
For instance, at Landbot, we don’t want our customers to simply create bots, we want them to create bots that positively impact conversion, retention, sales, or whatever else their goal is. A fitness clothes and gear company might want to keep their customers motivated, so they keep exercising and keep buying their products.
If your customer succeeds in their goal thanks to your product, they are more likely to come back, stay or become your ambassador.
Chatbots (on the web or native/messaging apps) can be the source of reminders. Even better, they can become the coaches, the gurus that come along and share guides, the case studies, the TUTORIALS, the motivational words.
Having bots working 24/7 to encourage and lead your customers to success creates a sense of openness, proactivity, and care people expect - today more than ever.
Feedback & Referrals
Last but not least, we have good old feedback. Naturally, chatbots can help here.
After all, surveys are nothing more than long forms. And chatbots are legendary for turning long forms into something much more tolerable, enjoyable even!
Conversational surveys are engaging and, best of all, adaptable to any format from the web to mobile to messaging apps. Hence, your customers can offer their opinion as if they were chatting with a friend.
They are equally as handy at promoting referrals. For example, you can check out our webinar templates series, where we used an engagement chatbot template to generate a unique referral link for each new participant!
How to Build a Conversion Funnel?
Now that you know how chatbots can be beneficial throughout your conversion funnel. Let’s look at the basic steps of building one!
1. Map out your Ideal Buying Process
When you begin developing your conversion funnel, consider how visitors get from interacting with your ad/landing/site for the first time to becoming a customer.
For instance, a typical eCommerce website funnel could look like this:
As you can see, ideally, potential shoppers arrive on your website, check out product pages, add a product to their cart, and complete the checkout process.
It’s simple, straightforward, AND often, it doesn’t happen that way in real life.
Do keep in mind that at this stage, you are mapping out an ideal path.
Once you have that, you can branch out your thought process and identify the TOP paths towards conversion a user can take. For example:
Try to write down several of these.
Under normal circumstances, you would not be able to create separate funnels for each of them, but this is the moment to remember what we learned about chatbots!
At this stage, you can already start thinking about how to implement chatbots to personalize the funnel. For example, you might not be able to create ten different landings for the ten different types of leads you are likely to capture with a PPC. However, you can implement a single conversational landing page that segments the PPC leads in real-time, delivering each of the information they need.
2. Set up your Conversion Goals in your Tracking Tool
Once you have a clear idea of how you want your funnel to look like, you need to set a precise tracking system that will measure the users moving through our site.
The most obvious way is to set up conversion goals in Google Analytics (GA). Even if you are using other tools, you are likely to rely on GA to some extent. For instance, Saas businesses might want to track user behavior using Mixpanel. You can also use the native tracking system inside your bots that allows you to follow user progressions through flow and specific goals you set for it.
Make sure you set up and measure tangible goals for every stage of your funnel. There is no point in setting a goal that can’t be measured, after all.
3. Build & Nurture Interest with Content
Quality content is essential for pushing leads from one stage of your conversion funnel to the next.
In order to turn mare visitors to prospects, prospects to customers, and customers to ambassadors, you need to create compiling content for every stage. Content that will help leads learn about your industry, how your company can address their needs, and what sets you apart from your competitors.
Splitting the customer journey practices into stages helps you envision topic ideas and create relevant and structured content.
You can start with a basic content library, one that addresses each stage. Once you test your funnel and gather more feedback, you can begin expanding your repertoire and add more or improve existing content when the need occurs.
4. Identify Leaks in your Conversion Funnel
Unfortunately, the conversion funnel is not like a real funnel. When you pour water through an actual funnel, eventually, all of it passes through its narrowest part.
For the metaphor would be realistic, that funnel would have to be full of holes.However, even the leads that leak out of your funnel still need to go somewhere. It is up to you to manage where exactly.
Once your funnel is done, the ongoing work of covering the leaks begins. Thanks to chatbots, of course, the job doesn’t have to be that hard.
Naturally, you will never reach 100% conversion, but you can create a less straightforward funnel that doesn’t shun those not fitting the “ideal” mold. Instead of keep pouring new leads into your funnel via paid ads and wasting your money, learn how to better manage the leads you already possess. Don’t let them get away that easy.
Don’t stop once your conversion funnel is in place. Study it and work to identify the most severe leaks and friction points that cause people to lose interest or give up on you.
5. Optimize for Conversions
Once you know where the problems are, you can solve them.
It’s all about landing page conversion rate optimization.
Use the knowledge you gained from studying your funnel to create alternative paths and strategies to keep them engaged and interested. You can create more content or use a chatbot to navigate them through a slower, more “patient” path.
Just because a lead is not ready to convert yet, doesn’t mean they won’t convert ever!
The changes you make can be as simple as changing the color or position of a button or as complex redesigning the whole page or creating a separate chatbot flow for a new conversion path.
Building a conversion funnel is one of the most important things you will do for your business.
While chatbots are not omnipotent (at least not yet), they can play a significant role in helping you achieve the conversion rate your strive for.
The best way to start optimizing a conversion funnel is by testing new things.
Sign up for free and try to build your first no-code chatbot to complement your funnel today!