Conversion in marketing is possibly one of the hottest topics during the planning and delivery of any marketing campaign, especially pay-per-click advertising. 

So, in this article, we take a look at what conversion rates are and how we can work with them in our marketing plans. Then we’ll explore how conversion rates help us to set and meet our business objectives in our marketing campaigns. Let’s get started…

Conversion, in the most general sense is simply the process of changing something from one state to another. Now, if we put this in marketing terms, we can define conversion as the total number of people who visit our website (for example), and then take a desired action. 

So, let’s say we have 100 visitors to our t-shirt store and thirty of them buy from us. That now gives us data we can use to calculate a conversion rate, i.e. 30 sales divided by 100 visitors x 100 (to get the percentage) = 30% conversion rate. 

Why is conversion rate optimisation so important?

Well optimising conversion rate is really the substance of any sound marketing campaign. It is important to test and record what call to action prompts your visitors or potential customers to actually complete the action you want them to take. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on sales because this has the most tangible outcome – revenue. 

When we design a landing page or advert intended to generate website traffic, we want our visitors to take a specific path of travel. Let’s go back to our t-shirt store. This month, we have a promotion on print-your-own t-shirts and we have a goal of selling 500 units during an eight week campaign. 

The first question to ask ourselves is what does our customer base want to see printed on their t-shirts? If you aren’t offering the design, what do people actually want to have printed? This is where we have to go away and do some research on the buying decision process. Now we can see that understanding customer bases and having clearly defined buyer personas is invaluable. This blog by Hootsuite on How to Create a Buyer Persona includes a free persona template and is a great place to make a start if you haven’t already.

Conversion optimisation tests

Now you have been through that process, you can begin to plan some conversion optimisation tests for your product. The behaviour of your customer base is what you are tracking. Once you understand that (in our ecommerce example), you can collect data and compare it to the average conversion rate for retail stores.

So, now we have looked at conversion rates, what they mean for marketing and how we can work to optimise them in our example ecommerce store, let’s briefly examine what website conversion rate optimisation is for sites that don’t sell products directly to customers. 

In this example, we’re going to look at a service based business in Human Resources. A purchase in this sector can be one of two types; reactive or proactive. Let’s take the reactive example. An employer has a sudden escalation of an issue in their business and they need to take care of it on that working day, starting with some advice – and then action to quickly follow. Their buying process is likely going to be a quick engagement on the right terms for an affordable price. So, we can develop a path of travel on the website for employers who need reactive support by using the keywords and calls to action most appropriate for them. This is something we consider carefully when we think about integrating website design and marketing functions for our clients. 

Back to marketing conversion rates

Let’s say the HR company has a goal of ten reactive client cases in a single month to be generated via the website. Now we can split test a batch of messages aimed at employers with reactive issues in their businesses and, for argument’s sake we want them to call the office right away. Now we have one or more messages designed to generate interest, and a conversion defined; the call to the office. So, now we can see the website conversion rate optimisation process will be based on specific goal for the business and how we guide the potential client through it. The data from that process can then be analysed and calculated into a conversion rate. 

What is the most effective way to improve your conversion rate? 

This is where thinking about and getting to know your customer is especially important. If you understand their needs, you can cater to them effectively. It’s as simple as thinking about when they might need what you have to offer and targeting that need in an appropriate and effective way. 

Three valuable things to think about in this process are:

Format: In what format are you presenting your information? People like to access the most important points quickly, without having to work too hard for it. Making it easy to identify object, description and price will help them quickly and effectively make a yes/no buying decision. 

Timing: When are you making your offers? If you know the buying patterns of your customers and what motivates them to make a purchase, you will be able to get your message in front of them at the right time, increasing your chances of making a sale, or your chosen conversion.

Relevance: Making your offer and content relevant to your target audience is critical to engaging them with the buying process. If your content is consistent, they will be keeping an eye on what you are offering, even if their purchases are only made once or twice per year. 

If you are building your own digital marketing campaigns, we have a community just for you! Join our private Digital Marketing Incubator Facebook group for free hints and tips.

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