Here are a couple of questions for you- What’s your key job as a marketer? How does your boss assess your deliverables?
The answer - Your primary goal is to convert all those targeted inbound leads that you attract via your inbound marketing strategy into leads. Yes, CONVERSIONS, that’s what your job is all about.
What you are doing as an inbound marketer is offering some amazing, meaningful, and engaging content to all those website visitors and convincing them to try your offer, after sharing their content information. This process converts visitors into qualified leads, which then converts these leads into a sales opportunity, ultimately resulting in these converting into your customers.
Conversions are your bread and butter. The merits of an inbound marketing strategy are determined by the kind of conversions you bring to the table. But how do you go about driving these conversions? The answer lies in optimizing conversion paths.
Let’s dig a little deeper into what these ‘paths’ are all about.
Think of a conversion path as a process of discovery. It allows you to identify the ideal way of converting your website visitor into a lead. There are many components of this path including landing page, value-added content, call-to-action, contact request page, thank you page, and more.
The first component of a conversion path is the content that your visitors read/view and which is crafted to impress them. This content promotes an ‘irresistible’ offer and convinces the visitor to click on a call-to-action button, which allows them to access this offer. The visitors are taken to the offer landing page after clicking on the call-to-action button. Here, the visitor can fill in all the necessary information to access the offer. At this point in time, the visitor has converted into a lead, who is then taken to the offer.
This is just one example of a conversion path. The idea is to create multiple conversion paths that will resonate with your buyer personas and will be most effective in converting unknown visitors into paying customers (yes, we know its lead conversions, however, the final objective is to earn money from these visitors).
Now, this is a tricky question and a little difficult to answer but not impossible. If you are taking a macro look at things, you can definitely identify a conversion path methodology that can deliver the best results. So here’s what you need to do:
There is a reason why those visitors have landed on your site. They are in search of a promise that you made to them. Your inbound marketing strategy successfully pitched an offer to them, which has led them to your site. Their goal is to find this offer easily on your site and access it.
Your call-to-action button should be easily visible on your web page and must immediately get attention. It should be crisp and actionable.
That’s a great call-to-action right there. Neil Patel makes it very clear what he’s offering and his CTA elicits action. It’s right there on the Home Page and stands out. It’s the first thing visitors see when they visit the Home Page and there is no confusion at all in terms of what you are going to get when you take the desired action.
But don’t think for a moment that your CTA should only be on the Home Page. Make sure that your CTA is available across your site. This will ensure that irrespective of the path your visitor takes to land on your site (social media platform, organic search, third-party blogs, PR, etc.) there is always a CTA available that takes them to the offer they are looking for.
The mark of a well-designed and effective landing page is that it is very clear as to its purpose, that is ‘the offer’. People don’t expect your landing page to be very ‘clever’; all they want it to be is ‘simple to understand’.
Your landing page should do everything to convince visitors to fill up the form with their details. This is make or break for your conversion path. So you could place an image, or include a few bullet points covering the features or benefits of trying out the product/service (your offer), and even provide client testimonials.
It can also have a form that visitors must fill to access the offer. This is the time when your visitor converts into a qualified lead. Don’t get this stage of your conversion path wrong.
There is no one great way of creating a successful landing page. Ideally, you must use a comprehensive tool such as Marketo to not only create but also track the performance of your landing pages. There are plenty of benefits of Marketo or similar tools and which help you not only create but also test your landing pages. But, more on tools later.
All roads should lead to the ‘Form’. Everything that you say on your landing page should drive people to fill in the form.
Crazy Egg allows you to access its service by way of your Google details or creating an account.
The form can also be on a separate page as is the case with Crazyegg and CoSchedule.
The form could also be alongside your landing page as in the case of Hootsuite.
The choice is yours as to how you want to play around with the form. If you think your visitors will have no problems with clicking on a button that takes them to yet another page, run with it. On the other hand, if you think it makes much more sense to have the form on your landing page, do that.
However, what you should spend some time on, is figuring out the amount of information you want to get out of your visitor. This will help you work out the number of fields that the visitor has to fill in. If you are suffering from a problem of plenty when it comes to lead generation, and your sales team is finding it difficult to qualify these leads, try to get more details from your customer, meaning more fields.
However, in the normal course of events, a first name, last name, email, and a company name should be enough to get you started. Continue to add more fields as per your business demand.
Once they have filled the form, you can take them to the download page of the offer and say thank you (and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!). You can then send them to the Home Page or the Products/Service page. You could think about placing some more call-to-action buttons for product/service upsell or cross-sell. Here, it’s really about what you want to do next. Do you keep trying to push them further into the buyer journey, or stop?
At first glance, charting a conversion path seems like an easy, run of the mill task. But, don’t be fooled. Conversion path optimization is the bulwark of your inbound marketing strategy. This is the reason you have a strategy in the first place.
As we said earlier, there are plenty of conversion paths that you can build, depending on your buyer personas and business domain. It’s also a time-consuming process, with diverse complexities. What’s more, you need to be to monitor conversions and ensure marketing best practices. Tools such as Marketo will ease your marketing efforts by driving various activities such as lead generation, lead scoring, lead retention and nurturing conversion tracking, and much more. There are plenty of benefits of Marketo, but you can also integrate Marketo and Google Analytics to get the next level of insights into your marketing activities.
You might be wondering why we brought in a tool like Marketo into this discussion. The reason for ‘why Marketo’ is very simple. As an inbound marketer that wants to achieve the maximum amount of conversions, you need to keep refining your strategy and check your conversion paths to ensure they are working fine. If they aren’t delivering results, you have to make the necessary improvements. This is difficult, and you need help, that’s where the tools enter the picture.
You need to thoroughly analyze and evaluate (and keep doing this) your visitor acquisition channels. Do not adopt a cookie-cutter approach for all visitors. Your content needs to be customized to suit the interest and preferences of visitors who reach your website through social media, search engines, paid advertising, etc. Think about creating different landing pages/offers to suit the palette of different kinds of visitors.
Also, focus on your landing pages and whether they are designed correctly. A/B test your landing pages to ensure you have the best page at your disposal. Think of a scenario wherein you have a high bounce rate for one landing page (for social media visitors), and a low bounce rate for a landing page catering to organic search visitors. A comparison of both pages might provide the right answer as to why this is happening. You need to keep an eagle eye on the bounce rate so that you are able to quickly make the necessary changes if a bounce rate goes beyond acceptable levels.
Conversion Paths are hypercritical to your inbound marketing efforts. They are the key determinants of whether your strategy will succeed or not, or to be very specific will be called a success or failure. It makes no sense to put in all the hard work to attract traffic to your site and lose this hard-earned traffic. So, don’t underestimate conversion paths. Get them right, every single time.