updated: September 23rd, 2009 / Ross Johnson / 0 Comments

Structure Your Flow for Conversion

Optimizing Landing Pages” is an on going series that will total 20 posts. The series is written by 3.7 DESIGNS and Ross Johnson to help web professionals build sites that achieve specific business goals. This is post 4, and the topic is “Structure Your Flow for Conversion.”

Any website that wishes to achieve conversion needs to have a plan and strategy for proper flow to the conversion point. This means that any users who lands on your site should seamlessly move through the information on your site resolving any questions they need answered and moving through the AIDAS funnel until they convert.

The major reason we must develop a flow on our sites is to maintain proper momentum through out the sales funnel.

Why is the momentum important?

Momentum is what keeps a user interested and dedicated enough where they will take the time, effort, and money required to convert. Thing about it from your own experience. Have you ever found a product while shopping that you were very excited about, only to be unsure if you wanted it by the time you reached the counter? Maybe you ended up putting that product back.

That happened because you lost momentum during the shopping experience. Despite feeling like the product was going to solve a problem or fit your needs initially, by the time you went to purchase it you were no longer sure.

Planning your Flow

In order to plan the flow of your conversion funnel you must look at the following key areas:

  • The Driving Point
  • Points of Resolution / Waypoints
  • Conversion Beacon
  • Conversion Point

The Driving Point

The driving point is the first action that a user takes that indicates some level of interest in your product/service. This may be clicking on an advertisement, search listing, typing in your URL etc. Something has caused the user to take the time to visit your site (and hopefully not by accident). That something is the driving point.

Your goal from the driving point is to grab the users attention and interest, and guide them into the sales funnel.

Points of Resolution / Waypoints

The driving point is what will get the users excited. This is where you would initially see the product you saw while shopping and start to examine it with the thought of putting it into your shopping cart. Keeping the momentum going from the driving point through points of resolution and waypoints will mean the difference between conversion and exiting users.

Points of resolution and waypoints are non-linear pages that answer questions that the users have that must be answered before they will convert.

A user may or may not view one or all of the pages you craft as points of resolution. There will be no particular order to the viewing of these pages either. It is important that the pages are easy to find in the event that a user has a question that one of them will answer.

As soon as they have to start hunting for the answer to their questions they will just as quickly begin to assume that your product/service is lacking in this area and that’s why they can’t find information on it.

Make your waypoint pages easy to find using in text links.

Conversion Beacon

From every waypoint / POR page you should have a call to action that leads the user to your conversion beacon page. This will keep the momentum and flow of the process high, as the user will not ever have to think about the next step. As soon as their questions and objections are resolved they can effortlessly step into the next step of the process with out hesitation.

The conversion beacon is the first step in a linear process that leads to the conversion point. The most common situation would be clicking on “checkout” on an e-commerce site. From that point the user must walk through several steps before actually converting.

However this could just as easily be clicking to a contact form where the user must fill out the form as the second step of the process.

Conversion Point

The conversion point occurs when there is no doubt that the user has in fact converted. In most situations this is a confirmation page, either displaying order data or noting that the contact form had succuessfuly been completed and sent.

Conclusion

By planning the flow of your site for conversion you can map out how to lead users from the driving point, through the points of resolution, into a conversion beacon and finally taking action and converting. Failure to plan out these steps almost always results in a user losing momentum somewhere along the pathway and losing interest.