How B2B Conversion Funnels Can Lead to Effective Customer Journeys

Jul 13, 2021 9:20:03 PM

By Cathy Cain-Blank

Of course you want a website with engaging, high-quality content that attracts a steady stream of visitors. But have you wondered how your business can position the right content in the right stages to the right visitors? The answer is, through “conversion funnels.”

If you already have a conversion funnel, great. You only need to optimize it to create better customer journeys. If you don’t already have one, it’s time to get started.

According to a HubSpot survey, 69% of marketers feel their top priority should be converting prospects/leads into customers. However, building a conversion funnel is not an easy task and you won’t be able to accomplish it overnight. It’s something you need to carefully assess, evaluate and plan in order to create impactful customer journeys.

What Is a Conversion Funnel?

A conversion funnel (or sales funnel) helps organizations visualize, understand, and plan processes through which a prospect or website visitor will follow when they visit your website. The process is called a “funnel” as it is used to guide customers toward the conversion point. It also helps with:

  • Engaging leads
  • Responding to questions about your business
  • Resolving issues
  • Organizing leads into segments to build customer touchpoints that encourage each type of audience to convert

What Is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey is the entire path a prospect travels to reach the end of the conversion funnel and become a customer. It also includes stages after conversion (advocating, retention, word-of-mouth impressions, and so on).

Unlike a linear conversion funnel, customer journey maps depict different paths prospects or customers take starting from the time they discover your business until they make a purchase.

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you’re a travel blogger who sells travel guides. Here’s how customer journeys can differ for your business:

  • Customer X sees your social media post, clicks the link, lands on your blog, reads a few posts, subscribes to your weekly newsletter, gets a special offer, and purchases one of your travel guides.
  • Customer Y finds your travel guide on an online store, purchases it, reads it, visits your website, and subscribes to your weekly newsletter.

The final steps for customers X and Y are almost the same; it’s the journeys that differ.

What is the Difference Between a Conversion Funnel and the Customer Journey?

In simple words, conversion funnels help business owners identify where customers are in their buying journey and how to keep them engaged. On the other hand, a customer journey is a broad concept. It typically defines how prospects behave before they find your brand and after they become customers (post-purchase).

How to Optimize B2B Conversion Funnels to Build Better Customer Buying Journeys

Research shows that 50% of B2B prospects aren’t ready to make a purchase when they’re converted into leads. To guide them properly through the conversion process and improve their buying journey, you need to optimize the conversion funnel.

A traditional conversion funnel comprises 3 segments: Top of the Funnel (TOFU), the middle of the funnel (MOFU), and the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Each of these segments can be optimized to increase the number of prospects who convert into customers.

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

This is the phase where awareness is created. A prospect enters TOFU when they engage with your business (through an ad, email, social media, or your website).

How to optimize:

  • Analyze every channel that brings in prospects to see which one attracts the most people.
  • Consider sending out a survey to ask customers how they found you.
  • Assess how prospects find different brands and see what you can do to attract them the same way.

Type of content you can use for optimization:

  • Blogs
  • E-books
  • Infographics
  • Video content
  • Whitepapers
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

This is the phase where prospects consider whether they want to engage with your business and learn more about it. They may follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletter.

How to optimize:

  • Study how prospects/website visitors behave on your site.
  • Find answers to the following questions to improve the way prospects/website visitors engage with your website/business:
    • Is it easy for prospects/website visitors to navigate your site or subscribe to a newsletter?
    • Is your website content authentic, engaging, and relevant?
    • Do you have frequently answered questions (FAQs) on your website to answer the questions of your prospects/website visitors?

Type of content you can use for optimization:

  • Case studies
  • Email campaigns
  • Free templates or guides
  • Product comparisons
  • Webinars
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

This is the phase where prospects convert into customers. They reach this phase before purchase. At this point, you can encourage them to convert by offering special discounts, providing a free trial, or simplifying the buying process.

How to optimize:

  • Ensure product/service pages are completely built to provide prospects/website visitors with all the information they need to make an informed purchase.
  • Test your payment checkout processes to identify bugs and fix them.
  • Send reminder emails to prospects (website visitors) if they left products in their shopping cart.

Type of content you can use for optimization:

Properly planning your funnels with content takes time. For best results, don’t rush the process! And depending on the response, be prepared to modify your content and/or offers to ensure you’re delivering a meaningful, effective customer journey.