Easy wins to optimize your funnel

Mark Collins shares more of his insights into funnel optimization and how you can be converting more users to your product.


Image by @mike_van_den_bos

For many companies, the length of the funnel seems like a daunting issue. There is a constant battle of wanting a seamless and rapid experience while trying to glean as much information about the customer as possible. If you shorten the funnel you lose the quality of data, your ability to understand the customer’s needs is impacted. On the other hand, making your funnel too long and inquisitive can lead to greater drop-off. 

There’s limited benefit to requesting multiple sets of customer info, asking qualifying questions, and having a perfect view of your lead if they drop off during the form or flow. The barrier to their needs being met was too high.

Technical Optimization

At Zip, one of their many learnings through their funnel optimization process was that the stack they were using was incredibly important. The funnel completion rate was bought up considerably once the tech stack was upgraded. While A/B testing, changing copy and image assets made percentage impacts, their experience for the user could be improved with functionality and performance improvements. 

The funnel becoming mechanically quicker helped the process. The technical and performance requirements are just as important as the more conventional funnel optimization tactics.

Image by @cbpsc1

Necessary Steps

Within Zip’s context in the fintech space, credit checks are required, and many other organizations have synchronous processes that will undoubtedly hold the customer up. The most common thought to an issue like this is to try to trim the fat with the rest of the flow, reduce steps or change the order. 

The issue will still be there, the customer will be “held up”. 

Image by @nordwood

At Zip, in a step where a customer would need to enter their banking details and have them verified was often a source of customer frustration, and then drop-off. Zip avoided trying to change the order of steps, or edit the verification page for easier data entry. Instead of keeping the customer held on the page while the data was pulled, the process was kicked to the background and kept them moving through the flow.

This led to a double-digit improvement in the performance of the flow.

Quite the optimization!

While you wait

This optimization breakthrough offered more than just the uptick in performance, it began the discussion as to what else you could show a customer during a loading or verification step. 

The most important is having the customer progress through the flow, keep them moving. If you’re unable to keep them moving, create the appearance of movement. Many web experiences highlight a loading process where it uses an animation to inform the customer that Step 1 has been completed, then Step 2. This may not even be happening, but it is emblematic of progress being made. Something is capturing their attention rather than just waiting.  

Just don’t let them see a pinwheel. The pinwheel has connotations, it’s a stone’s throw from being an error. This impacts the customer interactions tremendously, especially one that may still have some doubts about the product. The pinwheel causes doubt. Doubt is kryptonite in the funnel. 

textImage by @dav420

The processing time could be the exact same as if you’ve just held them at the step. The perception of that time for the customer will be different. You have this opportunity to brand the experience. For many companies, these mandatory steps are seen as a threat. They’re mandatory, they’re not going anywhere. It’s a chance to engage the customer more, you know they want something to entertain them. This can be a moment for brand storytelling.

At Upflowy we’ve ensured that while your customer is seamlessly progressing through the flow we have space in the frame for your content assets to keep a customer engaged, or space for additional sales copy to reinforce a value proposition.

Image by @seibelhayley

Mark also noted that speed won’t always the experience better, there is a point when fast becomes too fast. If you’ve had something quite complicated become verified instantly suspicion is raised. Minor transitions can be added to help satisfy the expectation of the customer.

In an episode of the Net Positive Podcast with Alex Robertson about Optimising Onboarding Flows, he mentioned a common practice of inputting lag into the flow where customers would expect a short verification wait. Instantaneous verification would not have been trustworthy to the average customer, and they needed the extra seconds to adequately verify their information.

Experience the flow, don’t just screenshot. 

Time is important, but the experience is pivotal too. The common practice for many companies when iterating flows is screenshots. It’s a fantastic opportunity to help create better and more engaging copy, but it lacks the interactive experience that a customer will go through. Loading time isn’t realized, how different buttons feel, or just the overall performance of the flow.

Mark recommends that video and screen recordings are the best methods to ensure the experience is still captured for review and analysis. The viewer can really feel it, they can understand the loading experience or see if the transitions hold for half a second too long. 

“You’ll never notice that janky or strange moment that could affect a customer”

Image by @mbaumi


Delivering value to the customer


To create a positive experience for the customer, the performance and step optimization make it easy. It is unlikely that performance issues will really grab someone, or keep them excited for the purchase. The optimization is more about limiting the chance of that feeling from fading. 

The motivation of the customer is the sweet spot. The primary motivation is driving them through the funnel, it is what is taking them to the purchase. If that’s the case, why leave the sales copy to just the landing page. Reinforce that feeling, encourage that sensation of excitement towards your product. 

“They’re not a customer until they’ve completed the funnel”

Empathy Mapping

An ideal situation is to have a customer journey created for each stage, acknowledging the feeling that they would likely have at each moment. The empathetic perspective or lens can inform more messaging, different copy, or reduction of components within a step. Your funnel can be treated like a product, but it’s vitally important to treat your customers with an awareness that they are people. 

Have that perspective for the first sense of excitement that triggers their response. What pushed them to finally enter your funnel? Highlight and concentrate that feeling to accompany them all the way through the funnel.

Image by @alexkixa

Final Thoughts

The funnel can be optimized in a multitude of ways, you can make it a seamless experience, make the technology faster, and the transitions quicker. You’ll create an effortless time for the customer. Mandatory steps can become engaging as you distract the customer with fun animation, or acknowledge their progress so far. Finally, you can hijack their original feeling about your product and keep stoking the excitement that drove them to you. If you’re looking to do all three within your signup experience, Upflowy has the tools, analysis, and functionality to make it happen. Sign up here.

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