Conversion 101: solving a common, costly problem
We define Conversion as the process of turning a prospect into a customer. You probably already knew that. What you may not know is that there’s an incredibly common conversion problem that may be undermining your marketing right now. It can cost you a fortune in countless ways. Lost sales. Missed opportunities. Wasted creative investment. It doesn’t matter what you’re offering or how good your product is, I’ve seen it in every industry I’ve worked with. Before I reveal the problem, remember this inconvenient truth about marketing: your prospect is looking for any possible excuse to say, "no." See if this scenario sounds familiar.
Your marketing team is on a mission to double sales. Everything is on the table. New positioning. New messaging. New offers. They flex their creative muscle and start testing. There’s a breakthrough. They’ve discovered the most captivating hook in history. Web traffic skyrockets. High fives everywhere.
The analytics team takes a closer look.
“Web traffic may be up, but conversion has plummeted. Initiative abandoned. Go back to the drawing board.”
So what went wrong? Their idea was brilliant. But it still fell apart and failed to deliver the outcome the business needed.
It’s the same problem I’ve seen over and over. Lack of symmetry. The beautiful breakthrough that drove the traffic isn’t reflected in the conversion experience. They go to the website, but they aren’t greeted with the same offer. They text or call, but the agent isn’t using the language that inspired them. It’s crucial to remember that your prospect is probably already skeptical. They’re looking for an excuse to say no. And the slightest disconnect is an immediate red flag that makes saying no extremely easy.
Spell out the problem and it seems too obvious to miss. But it’s still alarmingly common for a few key reasons:
1) The Conversion Funnel Isn’t Flexible.
We describe the experience from first contact to final sale as, “The Conversion Funnel” because it’s a carefully constructed experience to draw prospects to a specific outcome. If a business is relying on dated technology, obsolete strategies, or they don’t have adequate resources for web development, their conversion funnel may not be able to adapt quickly enough to keep up with new marketing efforts.
2) The Marketing Team Doesn’t Control the Conversion Funnel.
Most marketing teams are so concerned with discovering new, big ideas that they have no control over what happens next. It’s outside their job description, so communication breaks down and the team that handles conversion isn’t aware of everything the marketing team is dreaming about. Conversion isn’t included in the planning and execution discussions.
3) Most Companies Rely on a Single Conversion Funnel.
Because conversion funnels are complicated, difficult to build, and expensive to change, many companies create a single funnel to handle everything. Since it needs to be generic enough to handle general inquiries, it isn’t persuasive enough to motivate a specific action.
To further illustrate the problem, here’s an example of a broken conversion funnel for an imaginary company that sells guitar lessons:
Solving the Problem
Now that you know what you’re up against, how do you fix it? It’s worth a conversation and it’s different for every business, but here are a handful of solutions we’ve implemented for advertisers at Marketing Architects.
Unique Landing Pages
While it’s ideal to integrate your marketing through the entire conversion funnel, if yours is controlled by IT or a third-party content provider that may not be possible. Regardless, you should still be able to create unique landing pages to make the right first impression. I’ve seen conversion rates increase by 5x-12x just by incorporating unique landing pages. Going back to our guitar lesson example, a funnel might look like this:
Lead Capture IVR
If an agent is forced to take calls from everywhere, they may not be prepared to meet every customer with a persuasive script. A lead capture IVR can easily reinforce the marketing offer and benefits and collect the caller’s essential information first. Then a call center agent can call them back with a script that’s prepared to meet their needs.
Unique Call Center Routing
If you use a call center, telco technology can route calls to specific call center reps prepared to take them. By assigning unique numbers by message and offer, the call center’s systems can automatically pull up a script with the right offer and language to support them.
Texting: SMS Messages
If your campaign drives customers to text, there are systems that can immediately respond with a text message that reinforces the benefits and offer they’ve seen. When your audience follows the link in the body of that text message, they’ll arrive at unique landing page designed to support the marketing.
Historically CRMs could only handle a single conversion funnel at a time. But with new technology, you can easily implement API’s that allow several conversion funnels to run simultaneously. If you’re not careful, that can snowball into a tremendous amount of work if you’re trying to keep up with an aggressive marketing team. However if it’s implemented properly, with the right tools in place, you should be able to design them to be as nimble as they need to be.
At Marketing Architects, we’ve seen how conversion plays a critical part in a successful TV campaign. When your TV spot airs, there’s a huge spike in consumer activity that’s more likely to turn into sales if there are unique conversion funnels in place to support them. That’s why we developed a full suite of conversion tools provided at no cost to our advertisers.