Stage 4: Converting Traffic
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Stage 4 of the Marketing Flow is about converting your traffic. Conversion simply refers to your target taking the action you want them to take.
That means a conversion can be any number of things, depending on your campaign’s goals. It could be a purchase, a subscription, a booking, a follow on social media, etc.
Converting traffic is thus a major milestone in any marketing flow. For many, it’s even the most important milestone.
If you nurture your traffic (see our article on nurturing traffic for a guide), conversion tends to be easier. Otherwise, it can be one of the hardest things to achieve, as many salesmen know.
Fortunately, there are things one can do to nudge targets a little closer to conversion at the point when they’re given the sales pitch. That’s what we’ll talk about today.
How to Nudge Consumers towards Conversion
It’s a given that what causes a fair number of consumers to convert isn’t just the final “conversion call” or “ultimate” point of contact.
In fact, it now takes 6 to 8 touchpoints before you bring the average consumer to conversion!
Most of those touchpoints happen in the lead nurturing stage of the marketing process, which we discussed in our previous article. In traditional pipelines, that would be handled by your marketing department.
Again, in a traditional pipeline, after the marketing department considers a lead already at the point of purchase, they would pass it on to the sales department.
That’s when the sales team would try to close the deal. And they would be building on something for which the marketing team has already laid the groundwork (through prior touchpoints).
Despite that, there’s still work involved here. The final touch in the conversion process can make or break the conversion.
As such, it’s vital to optimise your conversion processes and techniques. There are many methods for doing that, but we’ll show you the most useful ones below.
1. Improve Site Design
If your website or webpage is your main stage for conversion, you want to make sure it’s designed well.
And no, this isn’t about aesthetics, or not mainly. Rather, it’s about user-friendliness.
You see, if you don’t have a user-friendly conversion webpage, you’ll likely get fewer conversions.
No one wants to spend a quarter of an hour looking for the “Buy” button on a webpage. If that happened to you, you would probably change your mind about the purchase out of annoyance.
That’s why you have to ensure there are as few barriers to conversion as possible. When you do that, consumers are more likely to convert.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at Walmart Canada’s case. It’s a good example of how site design can play a part in conversions.
A shift to responsive site design was among their main strategies for improving conversion rates. It came about after they realised a significant amount of their traffic was coming from mobile.
The problem was that most of that mobile traffic just wasn’t converting. It turned out to be partly because the site wasn’t optimised for mobile browsers, which made navigation and purchase harder for users.
So, Walmart Canada fixed that - and it paid off. They doubled mobile conversions in the process and increased conversions by 20% on all channels in the aftermath.
2. Offer Text-based CTAs
Part of improving site design to encourage conversion is making sure the calls to action (CTAs) are clear and simple.
So, as part of the previous strategy, you’ll very likely include clear and bright CTA buttons and banners on your conversion pages.
We wouldn’t advise using only those, however. You see, banner blindness counteracts their efficacy on occasion: this is a phenomenon whereby website visitors immediately “ignore” banners and similar elements when viewing webpages.
That’s why you should consider using other CTA types. As an example, you could try using text-based CTAs. Work your calls for conversion right into the text of a page or blog post!
You could even try an animated CTA. Some people find that giving their CTA buttons a subtle animated effect (like a wiggle every 5 seconds) helps them stand out.
3. Focus on USPs and Value
The USP is the unique selling proposition: the reason you provide customers when explaining why your brand, product, or service is better than the competition.
You might argue that you’ve already told the consumer about this, but it doesn’t hurt to recall it now. Reminding consumers of this reaffirms their choice at the critical moment.
What’s more, you have to be sure that in reminding them of the USP, you tie it to your value statement. What exactly do they get out of it?
At this stage of the consumer journey, that’s what customers need. They don’t need you to brag about awards and accolades you’ve won any longer because this isn’t the moment when they want to hear that you got a “Best Startup” award.
Right now, they’re already deciding whether or not to buy from you. As such, they’re more interested in concrete value for them, so focus on that instead.
Note that this works very well in actual conversion tests, by the way. For instance, Hubspot claims that 70% of leads will convert when salesmen use the problem-solving approach to close a deal.
That’s because it reminds the customer of the exact benefits or value the product or service has for them.
4. Consider Multiple Conversions
While that main conversion is generally your chief goal, you shouldn’t waste this opportunity to get other conversions.
When people make that choice - when they decide to buy from you - it usually indicates a certain level of trust.
For most people, that level of trust is the same you’d require if you want them to buy more than one thing from you.
That’s why you can try offering smaller deals during the stage where they check out their shopping carts. Think of upsells or bundled offers in particular.
As much as possible, try offering added products or services that actually relate to the main conversion. That way, there’s a sense of relevance to the offer instead of randomness. The latter can feel like you’re being a pushy salesman, and customers don’t like that.
5. Try Invoking FOMO
Urgency is a powerful motivator. That’s why FOMO or the fear of missing out is such a useful tool for conversion.
When people think something is about to sell out, they’re more likely to buy it then and there. They don’t want to miss out, after all, and their chances are dwindling!
So, consider noting how much time your customers have left to avail of an offer or how many items remain of a particular stock. Note that combining this with other conversion techniques can be particularly effective.
For instance, you can nudge consumers further towards conversion by offering them discounts or coupons. Why not try limiting the time of validity for those discounts or coupons and noting the time left before they expire?
Improving Conversion Rates
Once you start converting, you’ll want to keep an eye on your conversion rate.
The conversion rate is the percentage of your audience that takes the desired action or converts. You have to monitor it, as it’s a key performance metric.
The simplest formula for getting it requires you to divide the number of conversions by the number of visitors you got to your site. Multiply the number by 100 and you have your conversion rate!
So, for example, let’s say you got 100 visitors to your website. Let’s say 5 of them converted.
5 divided by 100 is 0.05. Multiply that by 100 and you have 5.
Hence, 5% is your conversion rate.
If you know your conversion rate, you can assess your performance. You can also identify ways to improve your performance in this way.
Improving conversion rates is called conversion rate optimisation or CRO. CRO is a worthwhile endeavour because it helps you make the most of the traffic you’re already getting in order to boost business - say, by getting more sales.
That’s in contrast to simply trying to get more traffic to get more sales. Generally, this option will cost you more - which means getting more of your current leads to convert makes more sense.
Besides, it’s important to constantly review and adjust your strategies when you’re running a campaign. There’s almost always room for improvement… and CRO is just one of the metrics by which you can identify where or how to improve.
In any case, we’ll cover how to do CRO here. Let’s start with a deeper discussion on how to measure conversion rates, because it can actually be a bit more complex than our previous example.
Measuring Conversion Rates
The formula we gave you earlier is just the simplest way of measuring conversion rates.
It’s best used when visitors to your site or webpage can only make a single conversion on it, e.g. they can only buy one thing from it, no matter how many times they visit.
This means that each visitor can only ever be worth one conversion, hence that way of calculating conversion rates.
But if you have a website where people can make multiple purchases, your CRO would proceed differently.
That’s because you want to make sure each visitor buys as many things as possible from your website whenever they visit it.
Each session (visit) they make on the site should therefore be considered a separate opportunity to convert (by buying yet another product). Each visitor can be worth several conversions, after all.
In that case, it makes more sense to use a different formula. Instead of dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors, divide them by the number of actual visits or sessions made by all your visitors.
So, if you got 25 conversions and consumers visited your site a total of 250 times - regardless of how many actual consumers there are - your conversion rate would be 10%.
(25 divided by 250 is 0.1. Multiply that by 100 to get the rate.)
Getting Data and Optimising
Okay, now you know your conversion rate. Next, you have to figure out how to improve it.
A lot of your actions here will depend on what you know about your prospects, particularly those who convert. If you’ve been capturing data on them continuously - as we advised in the Capturing Traffic stage - this should be pretty easy.
In particular, you can use a lot of analytics sites to help you gather data about them, from their behaviour to how they ended up on your site (they were linked to it from a blog post, a social media post, etc.).
Examples of analytics sites you can use are Google Analytics and SimilarWeb. You can also use tracking cookies on your website.
Once you have enough quantitative data from such tools, you can move on to gathering qualitative data.
In particular, get qualitative data on clients who fit your profile of the ideal customer. This is the best place to start, as optimising for every one of your customers is just too big a task!
The most commonly used tools here are surveys and interviews. Ask customers questions like these in particular:
What did they think of the buying experience?
What caused them to convert after viewing a certain page? (Ask after noting which page of your website they visited before hitting the conversion page. You can also ask them the same if they viewed something like an ad before converting.)
How do they think you compare to your competitors? Is there something you do better or worse when it comes to your website?
What made them decide to convert? For instance, what about the product or service convinced them to purchase it instead of competing products or services?
How would they describe your products or services?
Combine the answers you get to these with your quantitative data. You should get a clearer picture of what your customers are doing as well as why they’re doing it.
You’ll also learn what pages on your website (or even elsewhere) do best at converting your traffic.
Then, you can find out why the content there is effective for conversion and either replicate it across other channels or improve it (by doing A/B testing).
Whatever you do change in a bid to improve conversion rates, be sure that you test it first. Doing tests before implementing a permanent change to strategies prevents you from making serious mistakes.
Conclusion on Conversion
That pretty much covers what you need to know about converting your traffic.
We know this is among the stages a lot of business owners typically want to learn about first, and it definitely is important.
But in case you skipped all our other articles about the other stages to go here, remember what we said earlier about customers now requiring multiple points of contact to get to this stage.
That’s why you shouldn’t skip the previous stages of the marketing flow just to reach it. You may well lose more possible customers at this point if you do that!
And once you do get to conversion, note too what we said about it requiring constant review and improvement. Most business owners are astonished by the gains they make in sales or conversions with just a little CRO, which we discussed above.
Anyway, conversion also leads us to yet another stage of the marketing funnel. That’s the stage where we multiple traffic, which we'll cover in our next article.
If you have any questions about conversion, though, feel free to leave us a note! We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.