When you sell subscriptions (or products) online, your digital customers are commonly taking a number of steps before they buy your product or service. In some instances, a customer might come to your site and sign up for a demo as a direct impact from your marketing and advertising investments. In other cases, you might have customers who come back to your site repeatedly and just need a quick nudge before they purchase your service. In either scenario, the best SaaS companies are frequently obsessing over these customer actions in order to increase their bottom line. In this blog article, we’ll share how we track customer steps (or funnels) within Google Analytics in order to increase conversions.
As a SaaS company, we continuously monitor two types of conversion funnels: a marketing conversion funnel and a sales conversion funnel. Each funnel was created, and continuously tracked (or rather obsessed), for a particular purpose related to our SaaS business and each funnel was created using nothing more than Google Analytics. While there are tools like Hubspot, which cost money (and are also good for other things), you can get started with a Google Analytics conversion funnel and have enough information about where your customers are coming from, dropping off, and what is the best customer path to revenue with the smallest investment. This will lead to a great Customer Acquisition Cost number.
Getting started – How to Set up a Basic Conversion Funnel in Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives you the ability to track your customers as they click through your website. In order to get started, you must first identify the goals that you will want to track (think of this as the place where you want your consumers to end up). In our case, we have a number of goals related to marketing and sales. These include (but aren’t limited to):
Marketing funnel conversions (measuring the interactions that lead to brand awareness, community growth, and consumer engagement): a Thank You Page for a Blog Sign Up, an Email Signup Confirmation Page, a Confirmation Page for a ebook download, a video view page, landing page signups for more information, among many others.
Sales funnel conversions (measures the interactions that lead to a direct consumer purchase): a product signup thank you page, Landing Page demo signups, video views, email conversions, etc. that lead to an online purchase or a step before closing a sale.
Each of these funnels was created to show our SaaS company where different customers drop off while giving us the ability to go back and optimize those pages to increase our conversion rates. Let’s go through the process of setting your own sales funnel.
STEP 1: Create your Google Analytics Goal(s)
Any funnel you create in Google Analytics, must be directly tied to a goal. To create one, you will first need to Log in to Google Analytics, then choose the profile you want to add the sales funnel to, and then click on the Admin in the top right corner.
The Admin page will show you three columns, on the column at the far right titled VIEW, find the tab that lists “Goals” and click on it:
From here, you will add the settings of your sales funnel goal.
First, we’ll create a goal from a template: in this case, we want to measure demo sign-up conversions and have decided that a demo sign-up is part of our sales funnel. As a result, we select the “Acquisition” goal template as seen in the image below.
When selected, we click continue.
Under “Goal Description” we will enter the name: Demo Sign-ups and select the type “Destination”. Then we click continue.
On the third step, under Destination, make sure that the drop down is set to “Equals To” and then we enter the URL of where we want the customer to end up (i.e., the last page in the sales funnel). In this case, it is our thank you for signing up for our demo page or:
There is no need to add www.factivate.com for the webpage as part of the URL.
Next, we will need to assign a value to this conversion. A good way to think about this is to ask yourself what are the chances that after this demo a customer signs up? If we charge that customer a subscription of $50 and we believe that there is a 20% chance that the customer will sign up for our service after the demo, we assign a value of $10 for that conversion demo.
Finally, we come to the sales funnel. Quick tip: keep your funnel to less than 4-5 steps. This is where you will set up the navigation of the sales funnel. In our case, we will test our ability to convert demo signups directly from our home page so our funnel will follow the following:At first, you want them to land on your home page. Then click on the request demo button to navigate to a demo signup page, and finally, complete a form. In the end, it ends up looking like the image below:
Once you’ve completed the information, click on Create Goal, and your sales funnel is set up. If you’re worried about what Required means, you are not alone. Required means that nobody can enter the sales funnel except through the page in step one. If you want to keep your sales funnel more restrictive and only track certain behavior (because you’re A/B testing for example), leave Required as Yes.
Analyzing your Funnel(s)
Now comes the fun part. When you have complted all of your goals and funnels, you will now have some great insight on your customers. There are a few ways to do this. We will show you the Google Analytics way to do it, and our internal way of doing so.
Google Analytics Funnel: Go to the Home tab on your Google Analytics page. On the left-hand side, find the Conversions link and open it. Expand the “Goals” section to showcase “Funnel Visualization” and click on it. There, you will see your funnel analytics based on your goal. It will take some time for this data to populate since this might be a new funnel for most of you. That being said, let’s jump in and look at what your end result can be:
On the left hand (by the green arrow) you will see how many people reached that funnel stage and where they came from. On the right hand (by the red arrow) you will see how many people left. On the right of the red arrow, you will also see where your visitors went instead. In the middle, below the funnel image, you will see how many people converted to your next step. Each funnel step will show you this information until you get to the very last stage.
Once you’ve set up your funnel and your page has had some time to populate with data, your visualization report will display the single most important metric for you: the funnel conversion rate.
Funnel Conversion rate: this number relates to the percentage of visits that included at least one step before completing your goal.
Tracking your funnels for conversion rates and dropoff is critical to your marketing and sales goals. You should consider each step of the funnel as you AB test, learn from your visitors, and continue to measure the effectiveness of your funnel. In this case, the more data you can see in real-time, the better off you will be.
One word of caution: Google Analytics does not retroactively analyze your website information (their limit right now is 7 days) and will only start populating these funnels once you have set them up inside your account.
Congratulations! You now know the basics for building a sales funnel with Google Analytics and are ready to start tweaking your site and improve on your conversions right away.
If you’re looking for a simple way to get this done, Factivate has created some great spreadsheet templates that we use internally to track how our marketing and advertising investments impact our own funnels in order to drive growth. By combining this data, we are able to make accurate decisions based on context and not just on one particular step. For any SaaS company out there, I highly recommend that you take the contextual information into account when engaged in any type of marketing, advertising, or sales activity as it will help you zero in on a successful message, conversion path, and revenue opportunity.
Are you doing anything amazing with Sales or Marketing funnels that you want to share with other SaaS companies? Please tell us in our comments section.