As the marketing landscape has evolved over the years, so have the expectations for more quantifiable success metrics.
Considering that marketing is the precursor to sales, it’s no surprise that measuring advertising reach, impressions, and brand/product awareness, are no longer satisfactory results in the justification of return on investment. The swift journey through the sales funnel is of paramount importance to businesses today and optimizing the number of sales conversions is a core measurement in evaluating the success of any marketing program.
Venture capitalist Bill Gurley, formerly one of Wall Street’s top Internet analysts (he was the lead analyst on the Amazon.com initial public offering), wrote that conversion rates are “the most powerful Internet metric of all” in a Fortune magazine article. While there is plenty of discussion out there with respect to conversion marketing through digital and online channels, most fail to integrate offline conversions to the mix. I’m as excited as anyone about the opportunities that digital marketing offers brands however, it would be careless of us to ignore the fact that a large amount of people still convert to a lead, prospect, customer, and sales through traditional methods. Conversions on a website are certainly important whether or not there is any e-commerce, but the brick and mortars also seek to drive qualified traffic into their locations for some desired in-store conversion. A successfully implemented conversion marketing program should consider both online and offline platforms as well as interplaying the two. For example, a conversion funnel may begin with entry through online channels with the completion requiring an in-store visit or vise versa.
In order to better understand how conversion marketing works, it’s important to understand its inner mechanics. Conversion is part science and part art that relies on understanding the psychology and process of persuasion and adapting it to the associated medium. It requires that close attention by paid to the point of action (POA), because objections should be answered at the point the customers are getting ready to take an action. That is where they experience their greatest cognitive dissonance, and so that is where your persuasive answers have the most impact. Additionally, the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, and action) test should be applied, as it is instrumental in driving the process of turning visitors into buyers or curiosity into action.
Examples of Point of Action (POA):
- Customer privacy statement on online purchase by submit button
- A toll-free number to call with questions and problems
- Confirm and provide follow up communications to every purchase
- Clearly indicate the return policy at the final sales conversion point
Examples of AIDA:
- In-store POP or online store page with compelling messaging that grabs attention within eight seconds or less
- Messaging that is personally relevant so as to stimulate their interest and reinforce that they’re in the right place
- Emotionally driven and inspirational triggers that drive their desire to take action
- Clearly visible and easy to understand call-to-action (CTA) and action completion information
The psychological elements of conversion balance the scientific methodology and should not be underscored. An understanding of human behavior here is key. At its root, human beings are driven by the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. Even when we do something that appears to be painful, we do it because we associate pleasure with the action.
Firefighters run into burning buildings because they associate pleasure with helping people and saving lives. Likewise, marathoners put themselves through 26.2 miles of misery because they associate pleasure with completing the course.
In conversion marketing, you need to first understand what your customers associate with pain and pleasure, because not everyone associates pleasure with helping people from a burning building or running a marathon. Once you understand who they are, what they want, and what influences them, you can apply what is called the A to Z Technique. Simply put, customers want to get from point A (where they are now) to point Z (where they want to be). Carefully constructed marketing communications should help guide leads through this journey, getting the customers gradually closer to Z with each touchpoint or step. The closer they get to Z, the more likely they are to make a purchase in order to go the final few steps needed to arrive at their desired end result. Through this process, they start to associate the business with the pleasure they get from the results produced as they arrive at all the milestones between A and Z.
The Wagner Conversion Matrix™ (WCM) which is a proprietary methodology used to identify an audience, sets success metrics and finally drives them through a conversion funnel.
Conversion Marketing Matrix
Once a conversion marketing program is actively running and generating results, regular analysis and measurement is required to ensure that the rate of conversion is constantly increasing with an ultimate goal of converting 100% of all visitors and leads. This is what’s called conversion optimization or conversion rate optimization (CRO). In our WCM model, the CRO program rounds out all five steps in the activation phase.