- Raphael O'Donoghue
Digital Marketing - Conversion (3 of 4)
In this third article on digital marketing we continue the story and look at the conversion process. Previously we looked at efforts to drive traffic to your website through creation of compelling content and through its optimisation and promotion. In this article we will consider the process of conversion – having brought visitors to your website how do you engage them to take the next steps in developing a relationship with your firm.
From the first article we emphasised the importance of the business case for a digital marketing strategy – to attract visitors, convert them into leads or sales, and nurture and retain those new prospects/leads and clients. We also looked at the range of digital marketing tools and channels including Search (Paid/Organic) / Blogs / Social Media and E- Mail, to list a few.
Once traffic arrives on your website there are two critical elements which can influence your chances of successful conversion – your Landing Pages, and your Calls to Action (CTA).
For all your digital marketing channels it is vital that your landing pages are optimised for conversion. These are pages people will arrive at when either clicking your ad, post, or e- mail link. They are the tools that deliver visitors to the next level of engagement.
Remember again it’s not about you anymore. To quote Dale Carnegie "the only way on earth to influence the other fellow is to talk about what he wants and show him how to get it". In order to deliver for your client and prospects you need to understand who they are and how they think. Even today many websites simply talk about themselves on their homepage – Welcome to our website...
Ultimately the conversion process is about making your pages instantly actionable.
Landing Pages and Calls to Action
David Krug’s seminal book on website usability ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ highlights somecritically important aspects of how users interact with websites. The basic tenets of web design should apply to all your pages – consistent and clear visual hierarchy of pages and navigation, break pages in to clearly defined areas – and make it obvious for visitors what is clickable
Hence the importance of a seamless link from where they originate to the landing page to ensure visitors sign up, download or complete a form, survey or whatever your conversion targets are.
The landing page(s) deliver your first messages and therefore should be optimised to encourage conversion, not simply facilitate search of your site. On your landing pages the most obvious CTA remains a clear graphic or button, instead of relying on a hypertext link –remove ambiguity on what needs to be clicked:
The Action button is above the fold
Positive actions messages - not about you anymore
Compelling headings and graphics - why should I click
Make it clear what to click
Think more like a newspaper editor – what is important and what requires prominence. It should not come as shock that visitors to your site are not going to pour over every finely crafted word on every page.
In addition to the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor (WIIFM), consider your calls to action on landingpages – it should be clear to each visitor - ‘what do you want me to do’. People only tend to scan websites and quickly move through and move on. A quick reflection of your own online habits might quickly illustrate the point. Ensure your calls to action are simple, compelling, instantly and understandable, and that your landing pages – are optimised for conversion.
Take a leaf from a B2C retailer like Amazon – the consistency of the site navigation and calls to action for each item – allowing you to increasingly engage, preview and read and create recommendations for virtually every item.
Are Professional Services Different?
Some may feel that the delivery of professional services does not lend itself to the same modern approaches of B2C enterprises. While there is bound to be the need to tailor messages and channels by the nature of the services offering it is useful to recall Alfred Taubman’s famous quote that ‘there is more similarity in the marketing challenge of selling aprecious painting by Degas and a frosted mug of root beer than you ever thought possible’.
From a professional services perspective we may simply define the conversion process with some simple initial engagements: these could range from newsletter signups, downloads of your brochure, registering for a seminar/event and sharing of content from your posts/pages or content. There are also some other softer conversion goals that may also be considered such as time on site and entry and exit pages.
For professional services firms, an important tool in your digital marketing toolbox is of course e-mail marketing and here too it is vital that you ensure that newsletters etc are optimised for both usability and driving traffic back to relevant landing pages.
E-Mail Marketing & Conversion
It is important to test the delivery of subject lines and what products / services /news items are generating leads. Without even undertaking online surveys you can build a better picture of what your newsletters subscribers are responding to. It is your analytics that will allow you see Open rates and Click though rates. Ensure your e-zine links include relevant landing pages, and adopt an ongoing process to test and track.
You should also be able to follow activity by subscribers so that from an engagement perspective you could build up segmented lists based on user’s history – which will help in personalising and ensuring your e-mail campaigns are more focused, engaging and relevant to each user. All of which will help your CTR and conversion rate.
For many websites the conversion tool of choice is the ubiquitous online form and conversion forms can be the primary way to get leads from your website. Collect contact information from your visitors so that you can follow up with them later and keep in touch. With forms, you can help convert your website traffic into customers. Keep them simple, short clear and clickable.
Trying to populate your CRM from here will annoy and lose potential leads and visitors. Instead why not configure auto responders so that everyone who converts from your website whether, downloading a whitepaper, e-book or podcast etc, can get an automated follow-up communication – thanking them for the download, use follow up surveys – rate this download or tell us more about you etc.
Another often overlooked tool for conversion can be the effective use of RSS feeds whereby visitors effectively so you can stream content to their inbox via your blog post, news feeds etc. Throughout this series of articles reference has been made to the fact that despite the allure of the technologies there is no silver bullet that will suddenly make up for the lack of compelling content or a reason to stay on your website.
Having spent so much effort on getting found and promoting and communication, take the time and effort to establish and implement a conversion strategy that works for you and ensure the next steps in the funnel are simple and clear to undertake. Consider usingGoogle’s website optimiser to test your landing pages to establish what layout – message –content etc. is converting better for you.
Now that we have moved further along our digital marketing journey, we will next month look at closing the loop and see how we can effectively measure your efforts and digital engagement and ultimately measure and track the business value and potential offered by digital marketing.