Posts by: James Garnier

12 List Building Tools to Rapidly Grow Your Email List

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Introduction

Building an active and engaged email list should be a top priority of every website owner. But how do you do it?  When it comes to email list building, there are several tools out there that can help you do this. We’ve analyzed the top 12 and how you can use them.

Never underestimate the power of building an engaged email list. This list will be the first to receive special offers, blog posts, webinar invitations, new product launches. They will be loyal fans, brand advocates and therefore highly likely to convert.

If you’re actively sending traffic to your website it could be argued that this is of little value if they aren’t transacting with you or at least giving you their contact information.

From pop-up customizers, to lead magnets and even marketing automation software, it’s never been easier to quickly build an email list.

You just need the right tools to do so. Here are our top picks.

Why You Need To Build Your Email List

With over 3.9 billion daily email users registered and 47% of marketers stating that email marketing is their most effective marketing channel, it’s obvious that email list building is now an essential requirement for any modern business.

In a study by DMA, they found that 91% of marketers rated email marketing as an important part of their marketing strategy.

By actively building your email list you’re building an audience that wants to find out more about you and stay up to date with your latest offers and news. These are essentially “warm” leads that have a much better chance of converting than a brand new click from a Paid Search ad.

When you build your email list you’ll be able to consistently find new leads, nurture prospects, and eventually convert visitors to customers.  

While building an audience on Facebook or LinkedIn is a quick way to get in front of potential customers you’re essentially “renting” the audience. But by building your email list they are yours and can become one of your greatest fixed assets.

This is because email marketing is one of the best ways to nurture an engaged audience. This engagement is what boosts business revenue through increasing customer lifetime value. 

Research shows that for every $1 spent on email marketing, expect an average return of $42. This is the highest return on investment for any digital marketing channel.

Added to this, further research has shown that almost 50% of customers actually want to hear from their favorite brands every week.

So to summarise:

  1. Building an email list gives you an engaged audience that’s fixed. They will always be there ready to receive product updates and special offers.
  2. They do want to hear from you
  3. You will likely get a positive ROI on email marketing activity

So the next question is, how do you go about building your email list?

Give Them a Reason to Sign Up & Stick Around

If you’re a well-established brand customers may willingly sign up to get the latest news and offers from your brand. If you’re a smaller business you may need to incentivize them a little bit.

It’s important to show visitors a reason to sign up, and this could come in many forms. Research from GetApp has shown that 22% of newsletter subscribers do so to get deals or special offers, 21.4% to get news updates and  21% do so to get interesting articles or content.

Offering discounts to new subscribers is a common way of incentivizing visitors to sign up for your newsletter. And it works.

We recently ran this type of campaign for our client Daily Steals which resulted in a 28% uplift in lead capture.

It will be important to decide on what incentive you want to offer before you start creating your list building strategy. But you’re not done there.

Once you’ve given them a reason to sign up, you need to consistently give them reasons to stick around. This is where nurturing your audience so it’s as engaged as possible is vital.

Statistics show that out of 14.5 billion emails sent per day, 45% of those are spam emails and further data suggests 73% of all emails are unwanted promotions for sales or products. 

Added to this in 2019 Americans were estimated to have lost around $703,000 by falling victim to email scams. So, when you do start collecting emails make sure you do it in a compliant way and adhere to any legislation such as GDPR.

You don’t want to be sending emails to people who don’t want them, or that are completely irrelevant to their needs.

So once they are in your database what are the next steps? Do you have a welcome email sequence set up? Do they go into a specific segment purely for offers? Do you introduce other product categories they may be interested in?

Having these next steps laid out will make sure you’re on the path to an engaged audience.

Once you have your strategy nailed down you’re going to need a tool to help implement it effectively and help you grow your email list.

16 Of The Best Email List Building Tools

If you’re a budding entrepreneur or business owner it can be hard to know which list building tool to choose from with so many available. 

We’ve comprised a list of our best-rated list building tools and an overview of their features to help narrow down the selection when it comes to growing your email list.

Yieldify

Lead capture is one of our core product offerings, and we consistently get our clients more signups, grow their customer database and revenue.

Yieldify offers on-site behavior segmentation that allows you to gauge customer intent for optimal levels of engagement. 

Whether your message is a discount code, your unique value proposition, or value-added services, it triggers at the perfect time to deliver a high impact.

As a fully managed service, our team will lay out a complete email list building strategy for you. A team of designers will also ensure you have an eye-catching sign up that sticks to your brand guidelines.

Some of our results:

Email Marketing Software

Mailchimp

It’s estimated that on average, out of 306 billion emails sent a day, 1 billion of those are sent using Mailchimp. It’s an impressive stat for an equally impressive platform.

Mailchimp contains many different features that make growing your email list easy. 

Mailchimp allows for complete customization and personalization of the emails you send to subscribers and has easy segmentation features that mean users can be categorized into relevant campaigns based on their behavior. 

Crucially though it features integration with WooCommerce and other eCommerce platforms. 

The plugin allows you to create targeted landing pages, overlay popups, and embedded sign up forms within your eCommerce platform and automatically integrates the designs with the brand theme. 

Mailchimp even optimizes all of its user-created landing pages, popups, and sign up forms to be of the highest quality to maximize conversions, and pre-personalizes the emails in advance once the email addresses have been captured. 

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is an email service provider with a focus on marketing automation and is a tool specifically designed for eCommerce businesses.

Klaviyo also offers A/B testing tools as well as segmentation that groups users by their behavior, open or bounce rates, and even their demographics like age or location.

Due to Klaviyo being designed with eCommerce and online business in mind, it also seamlessly integrates with Facebook to maximize social media marketing. 

Segments or email lists can be transferred into Facebook as pre-designed Custom Audiences. Once a Custom Audience is inputted it can be targeted on the platform with relevant adverts.

Segmentation was a key element for Yieldify when working with travel and transport website BusBud.

We identified that a substantial fraction of new visitors were not progressing past the top of the funnel. Off the back of this, we developed a strategy aimed at optimizing lead capture. This would allow Busbud to continue to engage abandoning visitors via email until they were ready to make a purchase.

Upon exit, new visitors were shown a lead capture overlay offering messaging that was hyper-personalized to that singular user. The message included route, price, and market appropriate translations, all triggered in real-time.

This strategy allowed us to increase BusBuds’ email marketing revenue by +40% and due to the personalized approach, we achieved +100% higher email open rates than the industry average.

Contents & Giveaways

Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is a unique email list building tool that is entirely focused on the creation of contests and giveaways across your website, social media pages, and blogs. 

Giveaways work especially well in list-building strategies because users must either enter an email address to participate or enter one to claim their reward should they win. 

Rafflecopter contains features like custom theme designs, email list integrations, and abilities to track metrics such as the number of entries originating from social media networks. 

Whilst these are limited to paid accounts only, free accounts can still set up and run a giveaway which is a useful feature to determine whether that particular type of campaign would work for the business.

Landing Page Builders

LeadPages

Landing pages or squeeze pages are dedicated pages that place the reader’s entire focus on your email opt-in. However, to create landing or squeeze pages that convert and grow your email list, the pages must be correctly designed. 

LeadPages is a landing page and squeeze page builder that doubles up as a comprehensive list builder. 

Its emphasis on good user experience means it packs features like optimized UX templates, dynamic copy tools, offer overlays, and a checklist of tactics to include like the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and social proof.

As well as landing pages, there is the option to create opt-in forms designed for specific campaigns like loyalty programs or pre-sale notifications, as well as alert bars, and popups like welcome popups and exit-intent popups.

One of the best selling features of LeadPages is its ability to also supply detailed analytics reports which offer real-time conversion optimization tips.

Overlay & Pop Up Builders

Hello Bar

Another list building tool that can speed up the growth of an email list is Hello Bar. HelloBar is a popup tool that creates exit-intent popups, timed popups, and floating sign up bars.

Exit-intent pop-ups are especially important for retaining visitors who could be about to leave your site without converting. 

For eCommerce retailers, exit-intent popups recapture visitor engagement by offering value. Exclusive discounts, access to pre-sales, or free content giveaways like gift guides, meaning you can prevent abandonment and instead secure an email address.

Alongside deploying exit intent technology to correctly time popups, Hello Bar also recognizes the importance of great copy.

Even when offered value, visitors still need to engage with the messaging they’re greeted with. HelloBar takes this into account by giving users access to a team of dedicated copywriters who will review the website’s goals and suggest optimizations geared for high conversion rates.

Exit-intent popups helped Yieldify boost French home retailer M6 Boutique’s conversion rate by 13%. 

Yieldify targeted visitors predominantly on the cart page and triggered exit-intent popups when the visitor showed abandonment intent. 

The copy offered enticing free delivery carts with just one item and a singular delivery charge for carts with two or more items. This incentive helped reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions simply by offering value.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a list building tool that is designed primarily for integration with WordPress and WooCommerce.

In a single plugin, Thrive Leads collates multiple variations of signup forms. A drag and drop editor means that each form can be designed and optimized depending on the campaign that it relates to. 

Thrive Leads offers ten types of signup forms and alongside traditional options such as embedded and inline forms, Thrive Leads also provides Screen Filler Overlays, Content Locks, and Scroll Mats.

Overlay options such as Screen Filler Overlays, Content Locks, and Scroll Mats cover entire pages to remove distractions, focusing your visitors’ attention solely on acting like subscribing. You can view all the different options you have here.

Online retailers can deploy entire page overlays to encourage access to exclusive content like loyal customer programs or exclusive sales. 

To support the multiple signup forms, Thrive Leads also includes a dashboard that reports important metrics. This lets you track the performance of campaigns over time and subsequently identify where your most valuable traffic originates from.

Sumo

Sumo is a list building tool that prides itself on being exactly that. Sumo provides a variety of concise, effective list building popups. 

What makes Sumo unique from other list builders is the technology built into each type of popup. Its popups contain technology such as Smart Mode, a feature that detects when a user hovers the address bar and thus looks to be leaving. 

Smart Mode popups then recapture the abandoning visitors’ attention by overlaying the entire screen with a shaking animation. 

As well as Smart Mode popups, Sumo provides other nonintrusive options such as a scroll bar popup. Upon a visitor scrolling through a percentage of the page, a popup will appear in the bottom right corner. 

This form of popup works at its optimum when coupled with pages containing engaging content, or that can help identify user intent. 

For example, a user scrolling through a seasonal fashion trends guide is displaying clear user intent that they are interested in owning a seasonal piece. In this scenario, a scroll bar email capture popup with a CTA offering to be informed once a presale begins, or to be sent personalized recommendations could provide an easy and effective email capture.

Quiz & Survey Builders

Interactive content may not seem like one of the most essential list building tools, but it truly is underrated when it comes to lead generation.

Interactive content allows for effective engagement with your audience. Opportunities to share competitions, giveaways, and contests on social media platforms can result in more subscribers – especially if the interactive content is gated to require an email address before entering.

Typeform

Typeform is a web-based platform you can use to create anything from surveys to apps, without needing to write a single line of code. It helps make collecting and sharing information comfortable and conversational. 

Typeform will allow you to create engaging quizzes and surveys for website visitors that can be used for email capture.

Typeform also integrates with popular email marketing software such as Klaviyo, ConstantContact, MailChimp, and more.

Outgrow

Outgrow is a content creation tool that allows you to make contests, surveys, giveaways, and quizzes. These can be customized to almost any brand and campaign.

Interactive content like quizzes and calculators can help eCommerce retailers with their personalization strategies. 

For example, by creating a quiz that matches a visitor with their best-suited fall look, retailers can then implement a signup feature to be notified of outfits or products the visitor would be interested in.

Other worthy mentions

SignUpAnywhere

Whilst building your email list using your website visitors will always be important there are offline methods that shouldn’t be overlooked. One of which is QR codes.

SignUpAnywhere allows you to easily create simple and engaging forms that can be accessed from QR codes.

These QR codes could be placed in-store, on menus, in magazines, or in any form of print advertisement. 

SignUpAnywhere will allow you to easily export this data into a spreadsheet or if you use MailChimp or Campaign Monitor data can be sent automatically to your account.

ChatBots

ChatBots also present another way to build your email list. You’ll still have to come up with a strategy here that takes into account timing and the incentive used.

However, as your visitor is already actively engaged with you in chat you have a slight advantage here as you may know what they are looking for.

In the example below electric bike builder COWBOY uses a chatbot to ask the user for their email once it knows that they are interested in the brand and when their bikes will become available in their city.

In Summary:

To summarise, email list building tools are necessary for growing eCommerce email subscribers.

The right tools enable retailers to engage with their visitors, driving and converting new business.

Enticing new subscribers couldn’t be easier with easy, incentivized sign up opportunities. 

Overlays, pop up and sign up forms can all display the right messaging to the right people at the right time, effectively growing your email list.

Holiday Marketing Statistics: 5 Takeaways from 2020

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Find out the key holiday marketing statistics from peak season 2020 and discover our top tips to beat the Q1 slump.

2020 was truly a year for change, especially when it came to the eCommerce sector.

With COVID-19 acting as a strong catalyst for growth, retailers witnessed website traffic and consumer demand reach unparalleled levels. This was amid a monumental shift in shopping behavior as the world’s population became locked down at home in a bid to control the coronavirus.

With this in mind, we felt it fair to assume that peak season was likely to be one for the record books. So, in October Yieldify commissioned a research study, gathering opinions from 400 eCommerce leaders and 2000 consumers* to predict what might happen in the coming holiday season.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how those predictions matched up to reality. Starting with the top 5 holiday marketing statistics and takeaways:

1. Despite an uptick in website traffic to eCommerce stores, conversions decreased by 2% year-on-year. Thus, underlining the crucial need to deploy conversion rate optimization tactics. (Data source: Yieldify)

2. Consumers continued new exploratory shopping habits. 58% of Cyber Weekend purchases were made by new visitors vs the 29% predicted, which presents a retention challenge to retailers post-holiday season. (Data source: Klaviyo)

3. Higher consideration was given to online purchases this year, averaging 6.3 online sessions vs 5 in 2019. With more touchpoints to contend with, customer journey mapping will be more relevant than ever. (Data source: Yieldify)

4. Discounts declined in value and popularity in 2020 with 5% fewer emails featuring discount-related subject lines and 30-39% discounts yielding the most consumer interest. Proving that marginal sacrifice, while effective, is not critical to success. (Data source: Yieldify & Klaviyo)

5. Finally, email marketing proved a crucial channel for Cyber Weekend. Over 165 million emails were sent on Black Friday alone, which were directly responsible for 537,000 orders placed. This adds emphasis to having an effective lead capture strategy all year round. (Data source: Klaviyo)

A season of higher clicks but lower conversions

In line with all expectations, consumers hit eCommerce websites hard over the holiday season and sales skyrocketed.

According to an analysis by Digital Commerce 360, for the five days beginning Thanksgiving Day through to the following Monday, also known as “Cyber 5,” traffic rose by 26.4% versus 2019. This caused a 35.7% uplift in online site visits versus 2019 when looking across November and December as a whole.
However, amid this onslaught of new visitors came high competition between brands. Visitors approached purchases with higher consideration, and securing conversions took an average of 6.3 sessions versus 5 in 2019.

So yes, opportunities were rife to significantly increase revenue. But this placed retailers under intense pressure to make outstanding first impressions with their new audience or risk abandonment.

Overall, eCommerce websites saw a 2% decrease in conversions, suggesting that not every onsite customer journey was up to the task.

The holiday marketing tactics that did work

While it’s true that overall conversions decreased, there were a whole host of tactics that eCommerce retailers deployed successfully.

In fact, the results for 2020 further highlighted the importance of having the right marketing tactics and conversion rate optimization strategy working together. It’s clear that success simply cannot be guaranteed from sheer acquisition alone.

Back in October, our predictions showed that marketers placed high importance on email and website personalization to drive conversions. Now let’s take a deeper dive into how these tactics worked out for brands during the holiday season.

Email marketing

Over Cyber Weekend, email activity for eCommerce brands was off the charts. Record volumes of emails were sent to consumers and Black Friday proved the most popular. Klaviyo emails hit over 165 million inboxes in a single day.

And the result? Just short of 5 million orders were placed during October and November. All of which can be directly attributed to those emails sent.

Klaviyo’s client, Angel Jackets, echoed this sentiment. They saw great success from their ‘step into the New Year in Style’ email campaign.

“Email marketing worked out great for us. We use Klaviyo for email promotion. We sent a year-end email to our customers and mentioned – step into the New Year in Style. Not only the sales were good, but the click rate was also above expected.”

Syed Ali, Angel Jackets

Top tip for Q1: Make money while you sleep by using marketing automation for welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and more. Then, hone your approach through A/B testing, experimenting with different content, subject lines, or timing of emails in a series.

Website personalization

On the Yieldify side, we implemented a whole host of holiday eCommerce CRO strategies for our client base. These ranged from list building strategies, wishlist campaigns, social proof, gift guides, and checkout reminders.

One particularly effective way we saw retailers driving urgency and in-session conversions was utilizing countdown timers.

This worked because many holiday visitors were shopping with a date in mind and were mindful of delivery delays as a result of COVID. This made counting down to delivery deadlines an incredibly effective tactic to nudge procrastinating gifters to convert.

By targeting users that had an item in their basket with a campaign visual such as the above, conversions increased by 8.5% on average.

Top tip for Q1: Effective conversion rate optimization (CRO) depends on segmenting and targeting accurately. Use behavioral segmentation to combine dozens of attributes to effectively launch messages that move your user towards conversion.

Getting more juice from the squeeze of each customer interaction

Simply put, the post-purchase experience is arguably just as important as the initial conversion. This is the key opportunity for brands to capitalize on that initial success, encourage repeat purchases, and drive higher customer lifetime value (CLV).

While 42% of Cyber Weekend purchases were made by repeat buyers, a huge 58% were made by first-time visitors. This presents a challenge post-holiday season of turning those visitors into long-term loyal customers who, according to Barilliance, are:

  1. 65.2% more likely to add an item to cart than a first-time visitor;
  2. 73.7% more likely to convert than first-time visitors;
  3. Projected to spend 16.2% more per transaction.

A tactic that we saw used successfully to do this was triggering campaign messaging on the confirmation screen as shown in the below example:

By targeting users at the very last point of the purchase journey, retailers could encourage repeat purchases while still in-session.

The ultimate goal here is to dissuade the customer from leaving your website for as long as possible by capturing their interest at the exact moment where you have the customer’s full attention.

On average, 4% of users converted a second time, while still in-session, when shown a variation of the above message.

But what about AOV?

When you consider that the average order value for eCommerce retailers decreased by $7 across the holiday season 2020 – a boost of 16.2% from returning visitors sounds particularly enticing.

And increasing AOV for both new and returning users can be as simple as featuring a progress bar.

Progress bars are a great way to help shoppers track their acquired offers, and encourage them to continue spending more to get more.

Brands that deployed this tiered tactic not only increased AOV but also saw uplifts in conversions. Thus, making it a perfect tactic to bring through to Q1 strategies.

Top tip for Q1: Lifetime value might center around what a customer does on your website, but making sure that they return is half the challenge. Use email Remarketing to send smart, behaviorally-determined cart abandonment emails to ensure that you’re always front of mind.

Have we witnessed the death of the discount?

Following on from the tactics that worked, next, let’s look at the effectiveness of the messaging used – specifically discounts.

In our peak season analysis, we predicted that approximately 30% fewer brands would be offering discounts.

And for those that did, the discount amount was projected to be less than in previous years. The most popular discount levels for 2020 came in at 11-20% and 21-30% off.

Peak season 2020 discount statistics

These assumptions were supported by a post-holiday analysis of the email subject lines sent through Klaviyo during peak season.

While discount messaging was still popular, 5% fewer discount-orientated emails were sent. Also, across October and November, the percentage of non-discount focused subject lines came in at 69.8% and 63.8% respectively.

But did this Scrooge-like take on discounts pay off?

According to our latest data insights, yes!

Looking at the average click-through rate and average incremental click sales uplift, it is clear that offering 30-39% was the sweet spot to hit. This was far less than the stereotypical 70-80% off headlines seen in previous years. In fact, interest steeply fell when retailers offered 40% off or more.

As we move into Q1, more and more brands are starting to move away from margin giveaways, and with consumer demand remaining strong for eCommerce it’s hardly a surprise.

But what other incentives can retailers use?

Ultimately the answer to this will vary from brand to brand and the challenge is to experiment until you find the one that works best for your audience.

In the below example of our client, female fashion retailer Petal & Pup, incentivize visitors to share their email address in exchange for email alerts of new arrivals.

Petal & Pup case study

With 100’s of new styles being added to the website every week and the nature of fast fashion, where items sell-out exceptionally quickly, this messaging is spot on for their audience.

In just three months, Petal & Pup achieved a 116% increase in leads captured per week. Thus, supercharging new customer acquisition to fuel future email engagement. 

Another solution for avoiding margin sacrifice unless absolutely necessary is switching up the exact time at which discounts are being presented. For example, try running tests across different points of the customer journey such as upon exit intent or upon a certain number of sessions instead of upon entry. The results might just surprise you!

Top tip for Q1: Many eCommerce retailers deploy thresholds on their sites, encouraging users to spend a little more to unlock discounts or perks such as free delivery. The problem is that many users never see them. Use content personalization to bring these messages front-and-center at the ideal moment.

In conclusion

After reviewing our selection of holiday marketing statistics, the tried and tested solution to overcoming the Q1 slump is simple: Effective customer journey optimization that combines both website personalization and email marketing together with one clear goal – revenue.

With visitors spending more sessions on-site before converting, the number of touchpoints has risen. To succeed, you need to optimize these touchpoints to encourage conversions, shorten the purchase cycle, and secure the all-important next sale. Ideally, without the need for a discount.

As the world continues to change throughout 2021, one thing is certain and that is that further change is coming for eCommerce retailers. Ultimately, it will be the retailers that can react to evolving consumer trends the fastest, with proven marketing strategies such as those we referenced, that will see the best results.

Happy 2021 everyone!

* 3 online surveys were conducted with a panel of potential respondents. The recruitment periods were 8th July 2019 to 31st July 2019 and 31st July 2020 to 21st August 2020. A total of 400 respondents completed the first two surveys. 200 respondents residing in the UK and 200 respondents residing in the US. Only senior marketers or eCommerce directors at retailers with an eCommerce presence were eligible to take part and complete the survey. A total of 2000 respondents completed the third survey1000 respondents residing in the UK and 200 respondents residing in the US. All questions within the survey were verified to be MRS compliant by a marketing research company specializing in online and mobile polling.

How To Create a Successful Ecommerce Sales Funnel + Tactics to Test Out

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Do you have a robust consumer-focused marketing model? What does your customer journey look like? Can you tell me about re-engagement paths?

Let’s set the jargon aside for a moment and think about jam instead. To make jam, you need fruit and a whole lot of sugar. You boil the sugar and the fruit together for a set amount of time, and then you pour the hot mixture through a funnel into sterilized jars, which you seal to secure your confection.

“I didn’t come here to learn to preserve raspberries!” I hear you, “How does this relate to ecommerce?”

The answer? It’s all in the funnel.

Your business is a Mason jar, and consumers are the jam. You need a sales funnel to bring them in, and we’re going to teach you how to create one. 

In this article, we’ll learn about:

  • The buyer’s journey.
  • Typical barriers to purchase.
  • The four main stages of a sales funnel.
  • How to optimize each part of your marketing model.

By the time you reach a conclusion, you’ll be a pipeline marketing maven. 

Let’s get started.

What Is an Ecommerce Sales Funnel?

Simply put, an ecommerce sales funnel is a visual representation of your customer journey. Consumers enter the top of the sales funnel and move down, stage by stage until they (hopefully) become repeat customers.

Some consumers slide through the funnel quickly, going from a lead to a fan in the blink of an eye — they see something they want; they buy that thing; they become a brand advocate. Other consumers navigate sales funnels like three-toed sloths, taking months or years to reach your checkout page.

So, which consumers do you target? The answer: both. If you craft your sales funnel carefully, it’ll act as an effective conduit for quick decision-makers and procrastinators.

Every business has a unique sales funnel — but basic pipeline anatomy stays the same across the board. If you sell low-cost items (for example beauty products, apparel, toys, or pet products), your sales funnel will probably be fairly short. Why? Because the cost won’t be such a barrier to purchase. Using the same logic, if you’re in the luxury market (high-end watches, expensive jewelry, cutting-edge tech, or vehicles), your sales funnel will likely be longer.

Do You Need a Sales Funnel for Your Online Store?

In short, yes — you absolutely need a sales funnel for your online store. 

Winners keep score, and successful businesses invariably think about where their customers come from. A well-planned sales funnel can help you drive traffic to your site, improve your conversion ratio, build your customer base, and grow brand awareness.

You need data to build a funnel. Before you begin, think about where your leads usually come from. Do people interact with your company on social media? Can you capture consumers via Facebook or Twitter ads? If you figure out where your potential customers “live,” you can target them appropriately and usher them into the top of your pipeline.

4 Stages of an Ecommerce Sales Funnel

We mentioned sales funnel structure earlier. Now we’ll look at four main funnel components, and then we’ll talk about tactics you can use to optimize your marketing strategy.

1. Awareness stage.

Consumers in the awareness stage are brand new on the scene. They found out about your company via Google (this is where SEO tactics pay off), or a paid Facebook ad, or an influencer. Are you a legitimate company, or are you running a scam? Do you sell a product they might like? Do they have a problem you can fix? These folks don’t know yet.

You need to make a great first impression — and fast. You need to educate these folks about your business and favorably position your brand. Think of yourself as a gardener: this is the seed-planting phase of your marketing plan.

Tactics to try out:

Use social media: Social media sites aren’t particularly effective ecommerce sales platforms, but they’re fabulous places to find new leads. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer two main marketing tools: paid ads and pages, or profiles. You can use both avenues to grow brand awareness and boost your business success.

In a recent survey by Blue Fountain Media, 90% of respondents said that social media helped them gain considerable exposure for their companies. Search engine rankings, brand reputation, inbound traffic, conversion rate, and brand loyalty all improved after social media marketing campaigns.

“Successful companies in social media function more like entertainment companies, publishers, or party planners than as traditional advertisers.” – Erik Qualman.

Create ranking blog content: Starting a new blog is a fantastic organic marketing strategy. You don’t need a massive advertising budget to create high-quality content — you need to find your unique brand voice. Consumers regularly subscribe to blogs they find interesting, and they share posts they find relatable. If you produce good content and position yourself as a thought leader, you’ll naturally drive traffic to your ecommerce site.

Blog posts make great advertorials, too. In a nutshell, advertorials are advertisements disguised as editorial content. They read like journalistic articles and blend in with host sites — magazines, blogs, online newspapers — where they explain expensive or complicated products. Successful ecommerce companies often use affiliate blogs as advertorial hosts.


Create look-alike audiences for Facebook ads: When it comes to marketing, big data is your friend. Imagine marketing your product to 100,000 clones of your best current customer. Science fiction? Actually, no. Facebook Lookalike Audiences make it easy to find people whose characteristics match your existing consumer base.
Facebook Lookalike Audiences are easy to set up.

You begin with a source audience — a custom group you create with page fan, pixel, or mobile app data. Facebook AI analyzes that source audience and then delivers your Facebook ad to a brand new similar audience. Hello, increased conversion rate.

2. Consideration stage.

By the time they reach this juncture, consumers know who you are and what you sell. 
They’ve identified a need — a “pain point” — and they’re looking for solutions. They begin to think about buying your product. They might decide to subscribe to the RSS feed on your blog or your newsletter. If you offer a paid content upgrade, you’ll see an uptick in interest at the consideration stage.


This is the mid-funnel phase. You have to work a little harder to get results — a call to action won’t cut it here — but you’re one step closer to checkout. You need to show these people customer testimonials, curated product descriptions, and other compelling content.

Tactics to try out:

Utilize social proof: What is social proof? It’s essentially peer pressure wrapped up in a tasteful bow. Tooting your own horn is one thing, but when real consumers praise your product, you gain genuine street cred. Trustpilot or Google reviews, on-site testimonials, and social media comments are all forms of social proof. 


For best results, display as much positive social proof as you can on each product page. Respond to complaints and tackle customer service issues promptly to build a good reputation. The more successful you look, the more successful you’ll become.

“When people feel insecure about something, they look around for validation. Show them that other people trust you.” – Francisco Rosales.

Optimize product pages: Great product pages drive conversions. According to a recent study by ecommerce experience platform Salsify, consumers across the board expect to see at least six good-quality images and two videos per product. Use crisp, clear, professional-looking images, and make sure they’re optimized for online use so that they load quickly.

To bump up your SEO strategy, write unique product descriptions — and make them interesting and relatable. Begin sentences with action words; tell readers how your products will improve their lives. 


If applicable, use drop-down lists and radio buttons to make customization intuitive. Make essential information (dimensions, shipping costs, etc) easy to find, and end with an enticing call to action (CTA

3. Purchase stage.

Consumers in purchase limbo want to buy — but they’re not 100% convinced they want to buy from you. Not yet, anyway. 

Your job at this stage is to make the decision as easy as possible for them. You need to prove that you’re better than the competition: you offer better products, or better shipping options, or better aftercare, or better prices.

Try adding an exit-intent popup to your page. These clever little ads appear when consumers try to leave your site: offer a discount, free shipping, or a time-limited bundle proposal to give your conversion rate a lift.

Tactics to try out:

Reduce checkout friction: Evaluate your checkout process. Is it frictionless? Are there nasty surprises lurking in the shadows? A 2019 survey by the Baymard Institute found that half of the customers abandoned their shopping carts because of unexpected shipping fees and other unplanned expenses. A further 21% left because they found the checkout process too long and complex.

Nix hidden postage costs, enable an easy-to-navigate payment gateway, and, if you can, offer a variety of alternative payment options — PayPal, Apple Pay, Klarna, and cryptocurrency. Encourage account creation at this stage, too. Eliminate as many form fields as possible, and only ask for essential information. 

If visitors don’t complete checkout, send them abandoned cart emails enhanced with coupon codes.

4. Retention stage.

Your sales funnel doesn’t end with a customer’s first purchase. Repeat customers are an invaluable part of ecommerce success — after all, it’s much cheaper and easier to retain a customer than to attract a new one. This vital, final part of the marketing pipeline keeps your consumer base coming back time and again.

Points-based loyalty programs, value-driven client accounts, subscriber-only special offers, and periodic customer retention email series all help maintain a healthy connection. If you run a larger company, consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to nurture rapport.

“Loyal customers — they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you: they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell.

Tactics to try out:

Implement cross-sells and upsells: Don’t be afraid to use personalized email marketing to offer existing customers upsells, cross-sells, and add-ons. You can use your subscribers’ purchase histories to hone product recommendations, reach out, and ask for feedback. Many big-name brands send follow-up emails every 30 days — not too often, but not too infrequently, either.

Many popular SaaS ecommerce platforms support loyalty plugins. To get started, simply install the app, tailor your loyalty program, and promote it as much as possible. Many ecommerce retailers also create referral programs.

Best Practices for Your Ecommerce Sales Funnel

Let’s end this guide with a sales channel strategy best practice recap. Implementing these tips will help you maximize conversions on your site:

  • Make sure your navigation is easy to follow: Create easy-to-use menus that take customers where they want to go. Optimize your site search to help visitors find the products they’re looking for.
  • Make it easy to buy: Streamline your checkout, eradicate unexpected shipping expenses, and offer consumers multiple payment options (PayPal, Apple Pay, Klarna, and cards).
  • Remove hesitation: Erase as many barriers to purchase as possible. Offer free shipping and free returns, answer presale questions with a chatbot, and display security badges in a prominent location.

Wrapping Up

To create an effective sales funnel, you have to understand how each part of the buyer’s journey works — and why. A well-planned marketing pipeline can help you gain new leads, retain existing customers, and build brand awareness for a brighter future in ecommerce.

Business intelligence tools and analytics can help you understand which marketing tactics are the most successful for building a strong sales funnel.