A conversion is the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another.
More specifically, in inbound marketing, a conversion describes the point at which a stranger on your website becomes a lead or a paying customer.
Conversion paths are therefore a critical component in the nurturing process, and failing to produce a tailored and effective conversion strategy could be to the detriment of your business growth.
To avoid losing out on high-quality conversion opportunities, you'll need call-to-actions (CTAs) that your visitors respond positively to, all of which are underpinned by strategic conversion paths.
Designs and locations of the CTAs, plus the copy itself must be crafted with an informed knowledge of user expectations; what they want and need from you.
Many factors that contribute to a successful conversion rate, and some that could be damaging your conversion rates. Here are some of the biggest mistakes we see in conversion path creation:
Marketing should never be manipulative or pushy.
Your customers are looking for value, honesty and integrity. Can you deliver what you’re proposing?
If not, you’ve simply created clickbait.
Do not try to trick your visitors into converting or downloading your content. The moment you prioritise sales over value, you compromise not only your ability to generate leads - but also your reputation.
Conversational, casual, informal language resonates with the potential buyer and is more likely to encourage a conversion than pushy, sleazy cliches and flashing CTA buttons.
Give the user what they want and are expecting, and nothing short of it.
Good marketers don't exploit their prospects; they fulfil their promise.
Great content leaves your readers hungry for more.
If your content is mediocre, the chances of visitors staying on the page long enough to convert are slim. Every conversion is the exchange of value in some form or another.
As Paul Arden famously advises, “Do not covet your ideas… give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.”
I think what Arden is trying to illustrate here is that by sharing your ideas and knowledge, you achieve thought-leadership.
Thought leaders are more likely to encourage conversions with an incentive; visitors will be incentivised by the likelihood of more unique, valuable, and remarkable content.
Your website is your opportunity to build authority, and this is only achieved when you share value.
Sharing your secrets puts you above the rest, particularly if you're the first to offer a perspective or technique.
There's an added SEO benefit in that too; an original blog article is far more likely to hit the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) than a regurgitation of something that has already been written tens of thousands of times.
A subpar, unoriginal blog article with the CTA offer of an ebook isn't as likely to attract a conversion as a unique, well-written and valuable article.
So share (most of) what you know, keeping a little back for those willing to convert. Fulfil that promise, and cement your reputation as a trusted, authoritative, potential partner.
Your CTAs should be bold and straightforward, positioned in a logical place.
If your CTA blends in to the rest of your page, it’s likely many willing visitors will miss the opportunity to convert, costing you valuable leads.
Best practice dictates that CTA buttons should use a colour otherwise not associated with your brand or website. The idea is to stand out, catch the eye, and grab the attention of the user before they leave.
Heat-mapping is an excellent tool when testing the positioning of your CTAs. If visitors' eyes are missing it, you could be missing out on high quality leads thanks to a minor design mistake.
Slow loading time
“After 3 seconds, 40% will abandon your site.” - Lara Hogan, Etsy.
Technology has made us incredibly impatient. So much so, that if your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you’ve immediately lost 4 out of 10 visitors.
High conversion rates closely align with great user experience, and loading time is one of the key measures of experience. Along with great design, clear CTAs, and valuable content, treating your loading time as an afterthought could be seriously detrimental to your ability to convert potential leads.
Long, clunky forms
Do you really need to know whether your potential prospect is a Miss/Ms/Mrs? What difference will that make to their experience or content offering?
If none at all, remove the field.
Unnecessarily long, convoluted, or clunky forms are off-putting, and no matter how much the visitor wants your content, the conversion process should always be short and sweet.
Frustrating your user with unreasonable questions or superfluous fields will increase the chance of them abandoning the form entirely, losing you a valuable lead.
It is proven that reducing the number of fields in your form can result in a conversion increase of 120%, so unless the information you’re extracting from the form will be used to enhance your user’s experience, remove it.
Plus, according to new GDPR regulations, you must now ensure that the collection and retention of any information are in the legitimate interest of both parties before you arbitrarily add fields to your forms.
Sticking with what you know
If you’re not experimenting with A/B testing or trying out different variations of your landing page copy and CTA buttons, how can you be sure you’re achieving the best conversion rate possible?
It's easy to fall into the trap of adopting a 'one-size-fits-all' strategy, but things are changing rapidly in the digital marketing realm, and a reluctance to try new things could impede on your success rates.
Research shows that as little as one word can cause a drastic impact on conversion rates. In the same vein, certain linguistic styles might resonate more with your prospects than others. So testing should be a key process behind your conversion building campaigns.
Conversion paths are a critical component in your overall inbound strategy. But they should always be treated with transparency and honesty.
Examples of the best conversion paths and CTAs are always derived from the promise of value and the fulfilment of that promise.
While pushy, salesy marketing copy might generate more clicks, the likelihood that those are coming from worthy, genuine and high-quality leads is unlikely.
Treat your conversion paths with care, attention to detail, and don't be afraid to experiment. There is always more to learn in this continually evolving industry we find ourselves in, so resolve to try new things and if something isn't working, evaluate and analyse until you find out why. This type of approach will empower you to craft and tweak your techniques until they are the best they can be.