How to escape your conversion funnels and see what really makes you money

There are better ways to understand the routes your website visitors take. Richard Churchill, SessionCam’s Chief Product Officer, is here to point you in a new direction…

No matter how hard he tries, this man will never be a horse. (Image by Ryan McGuire)

Blinkers have got a bad rap. After all, they help horses stay on course and keep them from being startled.

But we’re not horses* and remaining focused on a single path isn’t the right way to understand your website visitors or how they become customers.

Obsessively analyzing the same old conversion funnels is what turns them from useful tools into blinkers. Your understandable desire to fix and optimize then ends up narrowing the way you look at the routes through your website. You’re left with no peripheral vision at all. Funnels fill the entire frame.

The light at the end of the funnel

You can’t be sure your visitors will stick to the pavements (Image by Ryan McGuire)

If you’re relying on funnels for operational monitoring, you’re wasting your time. It encourages you to think about traffic movement in the wrong way. Just because you have established funnels doesn’t mean they are your most valuable paths to conversion.

Funnels are brittle and break regularly. It takes time, effort and a significant amount of pain to get your figures back to a healthy state. If you’re relentlessly focused on the same conversion steps day after day, you inevitably end up missing the bigger picture.

You need to change the way you think of website journeys. Traditional funnels only take into account the steps you say are important.

Visitors exhibit a lot of different behaviors on the way to their goal. That’s why we think of website journeys as a graph, with many ways to align with the steps you’ve defined.

Your customers are cool (and confusing) cats

This cat wants to convert that fish into dinner. (Image by Ryan McGuire)

While we’re not horses, customers can be a little like cats. Despite the carefully paved paths you’ve built to get around the garden, cats will take the routes that suit them best.

Your customers are the same. Just because you’re focused on your carefully constructed funnels doesn’t mean your website visitors will follow them.

Ask yourself, ‘Am I too focused on the obvious areas that bring in money? Am I looking at how traffic flows outside my conversion process?’ I’m willing to bet you’re not. Conversion rate optimization is about discovery — working out what’s important and what your visitors are really doing.

It can be tempting to switch to a goals-based approach, especially if you conclude that it’s just too complicated and time consuming to identify the routes your visitors actually take. But there are usually too few metrics in place for you to compare paths to one another in a meaningful way.

Death to fragile funnels, long live smart journeys

Look at these happy customers. Go on, look how happy they are… (Image by Ryan McGuire)

That’s why we looked beyond funnels to build an intelligent guide into SessionCam. Key Journeys automatically reveals your most important routes to conversion and updates the results every day. You get a living picture of traffic flows through your website, while still being able to build and maintain funnels in the traditional way.

We’re moving away from relying on fragile funnels towards focusing on smart journeys. You automatically get access to hidden paths to conversion that you would never have found by sticking with your established funnels.

Be brave: Step away from the perfectly paved pathway and start following your customers on the journeys they are actually taking. The rewards are waiting for you there.

Learn more:

*If you are a horse reading this, congratulations.

… free yourself from funnel frustration and try SessionCam today.

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