We see every website in terms of a funnel – a series of steps required to get a new customer to purchase your product (or take some other ideal action, like installing an app), and even further, through repeat purchase/use and referral to others.

The reason it’s important to break down this process into individual steps is that it helps learn where the problem areas are that need to be solved. If all you know is that people aren’t buying, you have no idea how to solve the problem because there are so many potential tactics to try. This is just one of the reasons why we emphasize a data-driven approach to marketing decisions: if the granular data doesn’t exist then suddenly discussions around performance and planning turn subjective.

Once you know how many people are at each stage of the funnel, you can determine where you have bad conversion rates, i.e. the number of people who go from one step in the funnel to the next.

We thought it might be useful to share a map of sorts, to help brands understand the tools/tactics at their disposal when trying to solve their user acquisition woes:

Customer Acquisition, Retention, and Referral Funnel

It will come as no surprise to you that we perform most of these tasks for our clients (we don’t do site design and infrastructure). Here are the main takeaways when you lay everything out like the above:

1. Audience testing/optimization is hugely important, since it represents conversion rates at several stages in the funnel.
2. Using unpaid social media to get new customers? Nope. Social is where you engage with your current customers or brand evangelists.
3. Lots of traffic but nobody is buying anything? Hopefully you have your analytics set up properly and can identify which stage of the funnel is the culprit, but either way you have several tactics at your disposal: site optimization, retargeting, and email automation will surely aid conversion rates.

Hopefully this graphic is useful as you troubleshoot your marketing funnel, and helps allocate resources for future initiatives.


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