The online user experience (UX) can increase or decrease sales, which is why we focus heavily on functionality and optimum performance. To maximize profitability, we shift our focus to revenue objectives and the most efficient path to them.
Often referred to in business plans as the Path to Profitability (P2P), your online or multichannel profitability plan will differ from the offline standard. Online, it would be better defined as the path to conversion. Your website’s ability to monitor & track visitors and influence their behaviour gives you a level of power that’s invaluable in your pursuit of a profitable business.
Your path to profitability can also be useful when you’re pitching to investors. In fact, entrepreneurs and investors told CNBC the path to profitability is more important than a company making money right away.
5 Steps to Optimize your Online Path to Profitability
Step 1: Figure out where you are & where you’re going.
- What is the purpose of your website and individual landing pages?
- What do you want to achieve with it?
- What do you want it to do?
- Is it a standalone web-based business or an extension of an offline business?
Step 2: What do you want your visitors to do on your website?
To answer that question, you must identify which actions result in the generation of revenue.
- Where will your profit come from?
- How much will sales and profit be?
- What features, tech, products or services are consistently feeding your bottom line, either directly or indirectly? Which ones aren’t?
Once you have your list, it’s time to get rid of the dead weight and focus on a more efficient path to profits.
Step 3: Create a path to profitability map of your website
- What pages on your site bring in the most money?
- Are your biggest revenue generators featured and easily accessible by website visitors? Do they have a call to action?
- Are your most important indirect paths to purchase featured, such as a newsletter, video or contact form?
- Where do you want to place the most important opportunities to purchase?
Step 4: Specific and Measurable Goals and Objectives
The ultimate goal of the visitor pathway is to get them to take the action you need them to take. The action could be a purchase or any number of ways to generate leads and subscribers.
In order to design an efficient path to profit, you need to have as much control and influence as possible over what your potential customer does on your website. That starts with knowing your goals and objectives, and then mapping the path you want visitors to take from the first page they land on. Your goals have to be well-defined and measurable, in order for them to create actionable data and result in consistent revenue.
You can find conversion rate and other visitor data by using a number of tools, including Google Analytics, data provided by your ecommerce platform, and session recording or heatmap tools.
Step 5: Ongoing Analysis and Tweaking
Like most things in online business, this is an ongoing process. Analyze what’s working and what isn’t by noting the calls-to-action, design differences, types of content and functionality that are working best for you and which ones flopped. Use those insights to generate new winners. If you have an existing site, apply what you’ve learned to mapping and restructuring customer pathways.
Once the obstacles have been removed and your revenue streams are flowing freely, you’ll find yourself with a high-converting website structure. You’ll continue to gain insights into your ideal customer and what a great online experience looks like to them. Track, tweak & repeat! It’s a key to online business growth that many miss out on, and the competitive advantage potential is priceless.
Have you taken steps to optimize the customer pathway for maximum profitability? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group to discuss it further.
You may also be interested in reading:
Maximize Online Sales with Outstanding Website Functionality
How to Find Info for Your Online Customer Profile (Avatar/Persona)
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Marie has an M.Sc. in Marketing and a certificate from the Ryerson Digital Media program. She's enrolled in one course or another most of the time and is always in the middle of a new business book (or three). Marie enjoys writing, traveling and volunteering at local events & trade shows.