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How Many Steps Should Your Sales Funnel Have?

Are you trying to understand how many pages, or steps, should be in your company's sales funnel? Or whether one step belongs in front of another? Ultimately, the main objective of any funnel is to get your visitors to complete a desired action, such as subscribe, request a quote, or make a purchase. The best first step to achieving this goal is to discover a simple purchase process that still enables you to collect all the visitor information you need to reach your business goals (one of which may be to build out segments with this information). A simple purchase process is less likely to overwhelm visitors, and this, of course, can result in decreased site abandonment and more revenue for your business.

There are two main points to consider when constructing a funnel: length and organization. Length deals with how long the funnel will be, or how many steps it will contain. Organization addresses how these steps will be presented and formatted. Let's examine each factor separately and get you on your way to producing a straightforward funnel.

Funnel Length

Depending on your industry, funnels can be anywhere from two pages long to several more. The longer the funnel, the more likely it is visitors will leave the site before making it all the way through. The solution, though, isn't to automatically make your funnel shorter! A two-page funnel that requires each user spend more than five minutes filling out all the required information can still be too tedious to finish. The key is to balance the number of pages in the funnel with the time necessary to finish each.

First, know what information you want to obtain from visitors. This can include information necessary to convert them, e.g., an email address is the conversion metric is blog subscriptions, or auxiliary information that will help you find new segments or sharpen your targeting.

Next, break the questions or fields that request this information out into categories. This makes it easier for visitors to give their answers. For example, you should ask visitors for their age, gender, and location in a section that is solely dedicated to demographic data (which you can title something user-friendly, like, "Tell Us About Yourself"). Meanwhile, you could put other questions about their shopping habits--e.g., "What's the main reason you visit our site?" or "How often do you see yourself making a large purchase?"--in another section.

Finally, pair small sections together when sensible, so as many sections steps as possible can have a similar number of fields. This may mean you don't get to ask as many questions as you'd like, but can you can always shore up customer data with quantitative and qualitative research.

Funnel Organization

Now that you know how many pages or steps your funnel should have, start thinking about how you can organize them. Which pages should come first? What's the optimal page flow? How should they be formatted and styled? These can be tricky questions to answer, and the solutions vary based on your industry, business goals, and platform (desktop or mobile?), so don't be afraid to test to get clarity. A generally good rule to follow no matter what is to put an obvious CTA or link to the next step on each page in the funnel.

Put yourself in your visitors' shoes. If you were a customer on your business's site, what would you need to know before you felt comfortable or motivated enough to convert? Empower visitors with knowledge. If the conversion you're looking for is a purchase, make sure users know product specs--it doesn't matter whether it's a jacket, new insurance, or a trip to Europe. Heighten their confidence by showing them competitor prices, or including shipping information if applicable (the lack thereof is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment).

With higher satisfaction and confidence in their purchase decision, visitors will be more wiling to input their personal information. Then, you can present them with payment methods.

By ensuring each step in the funnel is easy to understand, you can encourage visitors deeper into the funnel. While you might think you already have an ideal purchase process, there's always room for improvement! Also, visitors' preferences are constantly changing, so you should keep testing different lengths and organization methods. Share your ideas and findings with fellow optimizers in the comments section below!

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