It’s essential to understand where your customers prefer to shop, the information they want, and the items they’re searching for. That should drive marketing strategy and website design.

Sam Wheeler, digital business consultant and SEO manager, Inseev Interactive

Sam Wheeler, digital business consultant and SEO manager, Inseev Interactive

With each passing year e-retail sales rise to new heights. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that e-commerce sales hit $453.5 billion in 2017, a 16% increase over 2016. As e-retail sales have risen, so too have lead-generating digital platforms, designed to help businesses capture the online consumer. However, the massive influx of such platforms has made it somewhat difficult for business to discern the most useful routes.

As you begin to renovate your digital sales funnel, keep these strategies in your arsenal:

Procuring Customers

As e-retail becomes the preferred spending route for shoppers, advertising tactics have to evolve. Instead of posting a billboard or placing an ad in the local paper, businesses wishing to remain competitive now need more data about their targeted consumer in order to grasp their attention.


It’s essential to understand where your customers prefer to shop, the information (or content) they prefer to consume, and the items they’re searching for. If you’re looking for better conversion rates, you’ll need to implement online marketing strategies that will turn clicks into sales.

Channel Organization

As e-commerce volume continues to grow, companies are in need of better analytics that delve into the attitudes and behaviors of their targeted demographics. Take a deep look into all of the online channels you use, and categorize them into three sections to help you further tailor your digital sales funnel:

Don’t overwhelm the consumer with a bevy of buttons at the top of the page.

Current Leads – In this category, place all the platforms and channels that you’re currently using to generate leads and traffic. Once you’ve inventoried all of these, separate the lucrative channels from the ones that don’t contribute much. This will give you the opportunity to pare down the options that you’re wasting time and resources on, and allow you to examine the useful platforms within your channels for any variables that seem to coincide with success.


Current Opportunities Are there digital platforms that your target demographic utilizes, but you have yet to tap? If your competition is currently utilizing these platforms, take the time to determine what they’re doing right, and what you can improve upon.

Snapchat is a great example of a new, maybe unfamiliar platform that some businesses can leverage within their social channels. As you attempt to break into these spaces, be creative and do something to set your company apart from the competition. This is the time for experimentation, so try varied techniques and determine what works best for your business goals.

Future Opportunities – It is important to keep in mind that just because your target market uses a platform (like Snapchat, for example) doesn’t mean that your brand needs to be present on that channel. There is no harm in testing it out, but if you know full well that your brand cannot benefit from being on Snapchat, then don’t invest time in that platform and instead focus your social media efforts elsewhere.

There is still valuable data that can come from these platforms, though. It is helpful to understand how your target market is using social media. This gives you insight into their likes and dislikes and can influence your marketing efforts in other areas.

Use Search Engine Optimization to Your Advantage

Your company can funnel as much money into a website as desired, but those investments will not pay off if the consumer is not exposed to your online presence. It’s essential to use advanced SEO tactics to ensure your website benefits from algorithm changes and increased competition.

Finesse Your ContentCrafting high-quality content is paramount. Varied styles of information and thought leadership can build awareness and bolster your brand across numerous platforms. Customers will elect to purchase from companies that are experts in their industry and show this through publishing high-quality and relevant content. In addition to being great for marketing, if other sites are linking out to your ‘thought leadership’, you will see a boost in organic search traffic as well.


The Power of Public RelationsSuccess is about relationships with your consumer and within your industry. Public relationships are an integral part of success, and you need to use all opportunities in your arsenal to improve your brand. Whether that be through offline events or by seeking out guest posting opportunities in reputable industry blogs and online magazines, these connections can bolster your organic traffic and create a stronger internet presence.

It’s important to also remember that engaging with your customers or potential customers is another important aspect of public relations. How you address customer questions and concerns online can play a major role in how consumers view your brand. For example, some companies choose to take the approach that Community Tax takes by using a live chat to connect with consumers right on their website. Other companies prefer to take the Zappos route in which they respond directly to both positive and negative reviews on social media. This resolves issues quickly and shows they care about their consumers.

Zappos-ExampleEnhance Keyword Use If you haven’t already, make sure to target the keywords that you are currently ranking for on Google. Google’s RankBrain is a machine learning AI that processes and has input on almost every Google search query. This technology is designed to cater search results based on what it presumes the user is seeking, rather than taking user commands for their face value. It’s important to understand the search keywords consumers are using in your industry and to decipher those that are applicable to your product offering. This will help you drive high-quality traffic to your site and generate lucrative leads.

Website Conversion


There are simple strategies to employ in your website design that will improve conversion rates. Most of these improvements can be done in-house for immediate effects:

Responsive Web Design

Websites must be conducive for viewing on a variety of screen sizes and devices. Creating a responsive web design means capturing one consumer using a laptop, attracting another using a tablet, and engaging with another tapping away at their smartphone. Online shoppers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to do their shopping, so this tip is a must for any company selling online.

While updating your current site to be responsive is a major undertaking, the potential benefits (in regards to the user experience as well as Google’s ranking factors) could be enormous. If you are not able to do a full site redesign, focus your efforts on your pages that are driving the most traffic and conversions as a starting point.


Guided Navigation

Make it easy for visitors to navigate your site. By orchestrating a path for the consumer to follow, you can seamlessly lead a potential customer from your homepage to your purchase page.

Let’s look at a few examples of navigation from the housing industry. Two are local here in San Diego and one is a national website. While Example A and B both have straightforward navigations with only a handful of choices, Example C has 3 different navigation bars with multiple options in each. This can be extremely confusing to the consumer as they are overwhelmed with options and may not be able to find what they’re looking for.

Example A


Example B

Example C

Don’t overwhelm the consumer with a bevy of buttons at the top of the page. If your website is large, simplify your top-level navigation into a few short ‘categories’ with each one having a drop down menu of additional sub-level options to choose from.

Simplicity on the home page is essential and if you can consolidate your navigation into a few high-level categories, you will see users your intended conversion journey to your sales pages.


Short Sign-ups

Our world is increasingly connected, with technology appealing to our desire for instant gratification. Your demographic values their time, and you should place emphasis on a timely website experience if you’d like to turn clicks into sales. When it comes to forms, keep them short and sweet. Take Lyft for example, you can seemingly sign up to become a passenger with only your phone number. However, if you actually want to make a purchase and take a ride, you have to provide more information.

Lyft-ExampleConsumers only want to spend a couple of minutes checking out. To accomplish this, the best practice in 2018 is an easy sign up form that captures the essentials: name, email address, and password. Follow this up with a ‘purchase form’ the customer can fill out when he or she is ready to purchase.

By breaking up the forms in two different sections, you not only are securing email addresses for future marketing efforts, but the consumer does feel like they are spending as much time on the forms, thus staying engaged with your brand for longer.


Imagery and Transparency

Customers can create a relationship with great imagery, so use high-quality photography and great graphic design to help sell your products. Imagery can draw a consumer in, and give potential customers a better idea of the benefits your product or service provides. In 2018, fun graphic artwork and action shots with physical products are great conversion tools. Look to MailChimp, Colorescience, and Chewy as examples.

Mail-Chimp-ExampleIf you are using stock photos, stop immediately. Modern consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials, want to see transparency in the brands they purchase from. Stock photos, unrealistic situations, and even a lack of product descriptions can hurt sales in 2018. Consumers want transparency in all aspects of the brands they interact with and your imagery and product descriptions should be reflect this.



Just as you’ll tailor your product to meet consumer need and desire, it’s important to do the same with your website. Running tests on copy, layout, imagery, and many other aspects of your website can help you determine what resonates most with consumers and what yields the most conversions. It’s important to note that the variation you think will win might not always do so. This is why it is so important to test before making any major changes to your website.

Pro Tip: Test non-lead generating pages as well. Leads can come from every page of your website and many companies miss these opportunities by discounting these pages. For example, funny 404 pages, such as the one below from Coinlookup, are an excellent way to squeeze out additional leads from lost users and old URLs.


There are literally hundreds of ways to improve your sales funnel in 2018. The most important piece of advice to remember when starting a ‘renovation project’ is that data and analysis are two of the most important aspects of any decision making process. Data enables you to make decisions based on research and industry trends, rather than making important business decisions based on a guess or a hunch. Analysis, on the other hand, helps confirm or negate your data driven decisions.


Inseev Interactive is a marketing agency that specializes in SEO, paid search and content marketing.