It’s time to throw away your sales funnels

Posted by Dave CollinsWebsite Usability

Why do we use the analogy of a funnel for our website visitors? Could it be wishful thinking?

A funnel is designed to conduct the flow of liquids or other substances into a container with a small mouth. Rather than pouring the liquid over the mouth and hoping that some of it actually falls in, the funnel channels the flow.

When taken literally, the funnel analogy assumes that all of your website visitors make their way to your ultimate goal before leaving, but there’s a good chance that this is not the case.

This girl’s funnel, however, seems to be more accurate.

Now that's a funnel

“The Octopus” © 2008 Dwight Sipler.

The bottle tops are poured into the funnel, and are then distributed between three exit points, aside from those that fall out of the funnel or get stuck in the piping.

Let’s assume that her ultimate goal is to get as many bottle tops into the third container as possible.

As things stand right now, the middle container seems to get the most tops, not because it’s in any way more appealing, but because this is the route with least resistance.

To get more tops into the third container, the girl has a few options.

She could make the other pipes narrower or less accessible.

She could make more pipes that lead to the third container.

She could adjust the design of the piping so as to ensure a greater chance of flow to the third container.

She could focus on the type of bottle top that is more likely to end up in the third container.

She could adjust the function and position of the other two containers, so as to ensure that some of their tops spill over to the third container.

If she really wanted to maximise her efficiency, she could do all of the above.

She could even close off the other containers completely.

The point is that the number of tops arriving in the third container is not entirely haphazard. While there is an element of random chance, this is vastly outweighed by the design of the pipes.

Little adjustments can make an enormous difference.

Go adjust your piping.

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