Update: I have written an updated and more advanced version of this sales funnel article (with analysis) for this year.
First, I was searching online the other day for great examples of website sales funnels that work. To my surprise, the search results were terrible, no matter what I typed into Google. Has no one written about this topic before?
Second, I spoke with an entrepreneur friend of mine Casey Bunn of RSVPhere.com. She asked for my input on how to improve the website since her strength lies with the sales-end and big-picture vision for the business.
So in addition to trying to solve my own problem in searching for examples, I’m writing this for you Casey, so check it out!
These are some of the strongest examples I know that I have each converted 10′s of thousands of customers, and in the case of mint.com, convinced millions of people to link-up their online bank accounts which seems like more of a stretch than just whipping out a credit card.
- Grasshopper.com (3 steps)> Homepage (What it is, video or image, and bullet points–which are very nice on the eye since it makes the page easier to skip)
> Features / Learn more page
> Sign-up Instantly (note how the entire form is on one single page)
- CrazyEgg.com (2 steps)> Homepage (with a nice demo link positioned boldly off to the right)
> Pricing and Sign-up page (linked to directly from the homepage making the feature page optional)
> Note: notice how on their pricing page, when you select a package you are moved down to the pricing in a very “smooth” fashion.
- SendGrid.com (3 steps)> Nothing too amazing here, except that it’s a solid sales funnel.
> Nice creative flare on the “Silver” (most popular) package.
> The Sign-up form design could be greatly improved, it’s unattractive to my eye.
- Mint.com (2 steps)> Beautiful, sleek, highly optimized to inspire confidence and get all your financial data. Enough said.
- Chargify.com (4 steps)> Also built and owned by the Grasshopper.com guys.
> Nicely styled branding.
> On the pricing packages page, the size of larger packages increases (like a bar chart)
- Wufoo.com (3 steps)> Great branding, very clear examples of what they’re selling
> Sign-up page has on the spot validation (as you’re typing, it check if an email address is properly formatted for instance)
- BasecampHQ.com (2 steps)> This one is particularly great on the pricing front. It’s a nice, steady increase from $12 to $24, $49, and finally $99. It doubles each time, making it that much easier to upgrade from one plan to another. With other websites your cost form one plan to another might triple or more, which makes the purchase decision that much more difficult.
- WildFireApp.com (2 steps)> Dead simple value proposition + explanation (more twitter / facebook peeps, ok, I got it, sweet)
>Nice video and crazy-awesome third party validation (Coca-cola? Forbes? Facebook? I’m down!)
> Their sign-up page meets the expectation they set (only 20 seconds to sign-up) and something about it is so simple, contained and convincing. The three copy sections on the right side of the page certainly must help.
- VirticalResponse.com (2 steps)> I honestly hate this design, but without a doubt this website is highly optimized to drive as many conversions as possible.
> Email marketing space is a very competitive space nowadays, so you have to get every edge possible now.
- SEOMoz.com (2 steps)> Nice, calm colors. Sleek, modern.
> Robot = personified branding
> Free trial requires credit card (limit the number of “tire-kickers”)
> Really smart idea: place the talk to us / leave a message button right next to the credit card form in case customers have a question. This makes sense since the credit card form likely has the highest abandonment rate of any other part in the sign-up process.
> Last, notice at the top of the sign-up page, navigation has been hidden. This likely helps to increase the sign-up abandonment rate.
- BONUS! — NetFlix.com (2 steps)> Very powerful value proposition + risk reversal
> Free trial makes it even more compelling
> Note how they request for Credit Card information in step 2 but at least they already have your email address on file in step 1 so they can follow-up with you if you balk and drop out of the process.
> On second though, it looks like they’re A/B testing the above point
What are the key elements that all (or most) of these successful sales funnels have in common?
- Free trials (which naturally will always convert higher, but I recommend using credit card forms with these to keep out the “tire-kickers”)
- Strong, straightforward value propositions on the homepage, in big, bold text.
- Purchase / sign-up page is separate from the homepage (feel free to challenge this though?)
- Sub-pages, in case a visitor has questions or wants more details.
- A clear call to action (BABBs –> big-ass-bolded-buttons in many cases)
- A visual example of what it is that’s the business is offering.
- Generally speaking 2-3 steps to purchase is optimal. I would venture a guess that the 2 step-ers convert the highest though (like Crazy Egg and Netflix)
- Clear, simple pricing.
- Bullet points rule / paragraphs are scary.
What other commonalities can you think of that aren’t listed in the bullet points above?
Here’s one that should be (but that more website DON’T do because they are none-the-wiser: check out PetoVera.com‘s homepage and how the main content is restricted to only people who enter in their email address. This allows us to follow-up and form a relationship and it filters out anyone on our website who isn’t “serious” about what we have to offer.)