Conversion Rate Optimization and a Love Note to Inbound Marketers

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idea-lightbulbAs Inbound Marketing Specialists, our major motivator is conversion, whether we use that term on a daily basis or not (we should). We build connections, often referred to as online relationships and links, to create an audience for our clients that is chomping at the bit to indulge in the services we help them to promote. We take the hands of new audience members and walk with them over the threshold of attention and interest into conversion.

So what is conversion, and, for that matter . . .

What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization begins with optimizing your website to best help visitors take the actions you want them to. This process should extend into your client’s other platforms and ad campaigns.

Types of actions that you may want to track include making a purchase, filling out a lead/contact form, or calling your office for more information. You can also track soft conversions like subscribing to a newsletter, engaging with you on a social network, or even viewing individual pages.

For Inbound Marketers, the goal is to help drive relevant traffic to your client’s site and encourage repeat site visits that will generate conversions to the services advertised by the website, whether users are signing up for an e-newsletter or going directly to purchase.

As Inbound Marketing Specialists, we can influence most directly two of these factors:

Site Traffic

Site traffic includes the number of people who have seen the site with their own two oculars. These viewers represent the baby stages of conversion, in which an audience amasses so it can be courted by we passionate Inbound Marketers.  


Time on Site

The goal is to reduce bounce rate, or online hit and run (“Cool web page. Next!”)

By creating sticky content and using irresistible outreach to land your content in desirable locations on the web, you can achieve both.

Conversion Rate Toolbox

With the idea of converting your audience from passive onlookers to actively engaged customers firmly in mind, consider your toolbox:

– Creating engaging storytelling (Sticky content backed by Social Proof and reinforcing Likeability and Authority)

– Nurturing community (Social Proof, Commitment and Consistency, Scarcity)

– Improving customer service (Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof)

Use these to fully realize your conversion efforts:

1. Reciprocation

  • Leverage by Tweeting or Facebooking about a blogger, online magazine, or website that you wish would host your content, and then email that person to ask if he/she will share your content on the site or at the very least on his social networks when it is posted elsewhere. People love to pay it forward, and by asking you give the person an opportunity to do something nice.

  • Email a site owner or social poster about an issue on a site or with a post and offer a solution (button is broken, etc.). Keep the conversation open and she may ask how to return the favor.

  • Make client blogs a plethora of usable knowledge so that readers will stumble over themselves to subscribe.

2. Consistent commitment

  • Provide engaging social posts and blogs on the same days each week. While blogs may not go live the same day every week due to the timing of client feedback and approval, we can share those posts on the best social sharing days.

  • Ask followers to do something if something else occurs. If you reach 100 followers on Twitter, for instance, request that your followers to share your page with their followers. Share and share alike!

3. Social proof

Social interaction provides trustworthy proof for the user that a given action is worth his time. Consider it the bright side of peer pressure: if three people retweet a post, the origin of that post is given more rank. To achieve effective social proof, experiment with the following:

  • Use badges and buttons on Facebook to show when users have engaged with your client’s site.

  • Include testimonials in landing pages, or create a page specifically for testimonials and feedback. Use the full names of customers and photos to depict “real” human beings. Here we observe the usefulness of consistent contact with our clients. At Webfor, we actively engage with each client through frequent meetings and email to make sure that our actions are aligned with their Brand Identity and Purpose.

Open the channel of communication or speak to the person who speaks with your client to facilitate a flow of information. This flow informs your outreach and blogs, so that you can provide personal touches like quotes from customers and enough positive testimonials to engage potential converts with one read.

  • Build engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to build followers and create a network of users who actively engage with your content, and vice versa. Leverage quantity with quality; engagement is more important than number of likes for turning fans into leads.

  • Likeability: People like (love) people who like and are like them! Shape your client’s blog to provide in-depth, useful, exclusive thoughts so people can get to know the business better and receive value; join online communities as your clients and participate in ways that show others the best they have to offer; and emphasize personal celebrity in any niches related to your client where his/her authority will garner a positive response from users.

4. Authority

Beyond social proof, people trust authority figures and experts, including doctors, lawyers, realtors, business owners. Keep this in mind when working with clients old and new.

  • If your client is an authority in his or her field, emphasize this in your outreach and tailor outreach to that niche.

  • Use authorship to establish your client’s presence as an authority by seeking out guest post opportunities for articles written by or simply approved by her, in the case of a ghost-written piece.

  • Demonstrate value by offering something for free. Inbound Marketers don’t often have the power to volunteer a free client service on our own, but we can encourage it when discussing site content options with clients or the sales team.

 5. Create scarcity

Nothing motivates consumers like the idea that they will lose the opportunity to get what you are offering- forever. Scarcity turns one option out of many into the only option worth pursuing. Create this demand for your client’s product or services and drive instant consumer action by:

  • Shouting out limited time, limited quantity versions of your client’s product during special promotions, which should be shared on Social. Inbound Marketers should find out what the deals are (again, talk to your clients!) and promote, promote, promote!

  • Report low stock in products like shoes or hotel rooms so customers will rush to purchase before its too late. Inbound Marketers should share these stats in social posts: “Check it out! Only 3 bottles of Omega-3 Amazing Zombie-Repelling Pills left! Buy before the apocalypse!” (That didn’t make you jump? Have you not read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?)

  • Show number of people viewing an item to boost competition for the item and create excitement. Inbound Marketers could post this statistic on social pages to encourage interest and engagement.

hands-as-heartFinally, Know Thy Customer

Any good relationship relies on awareness of what makes people tick. How can you intuit the needs of a friend or customer if you don’t understand that person?

Find out what makes your target demographic (i.e. the people that you want to have see and interact with your shiz) engage and you have all you need to know. What’s one of the best ways to do that? Find out what they don’t like!

Look at past conversion efforts and see what worked:

  • Review links in Raven Tools for a given client and observe what outreach was effective and what was not.

  • Follow other businesses on social and observe what they do to create engagement.

  • Use Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to track success of posts and blog shares, and tailor content to popular topics.

  • Use Social Crawlytics to determine your client’s competitor’s stickiest, most popular content to create your own awesome posts and also court their connections (competitor research in Raven + Social Crawlytics = Match Made in Heaven!)

  • Use Google Analytics to see top exit pages, or pages that users visit and quickly leave. File those pages under #whatnottodo.

  • What repels them and causes them not to convert? Be sure to observe what totally turns them off: the lowest points on the analytics timeline, social posts that got crickets for responses, etc . . . Note and don’t repeat.

And now . . . the Love Note

Inbound Marketers wade elbow-deep in opportunity, every single day. Your  insights about what will float vs. what will flop when you’re in the field matter, as does your unique perspective. Whether or not you participate in client meetings, always speak up, as your voice from the front lines has the power to lend freshness and innovation to your team’s strategy.