It’s the modern digital marketer’s worst nemesis: the failed conversion. The landing page bounce. The form that was completed but never sent. The abandoned shopping cart.
Digital marketers wage constant war against this foe: testing, optimizing, tweaking to find the best strategy to beat it. Sometimes we win. More often, most of that traffic that encounters our ads or browses our sites moves on, and we fail.
But there’s a silver lining to losing. Like most other parts of life, marketers can learn as much or more from their failures as their victories—if they have the right mindset and know what to look for. Here are some valuable lessons digital marketers can learn from their failed conversions to start turning the tide in their favor.
1. Why More Traffic Doesn’t Equate to Success
Here is a common story that’s probably familiar to most digital marketers:
A manager somewhere up the ladder says, “We need more traffic!” SEOs , content creators, digital contract staffing and media experts crank into overdrive, working their magic and mixing their potions. Sure enough, traffic starts to climb. KPIs are achieved. Viewership goals are met.
And what happens? Sales plateau or increase only marginally. Why? More eyeballs does not always mean more customers.
Normally, the more [targeted] traffic you get, the more you tend to sell. In some situations, however, the increasing traffic is not prepared to convert. A handful of high-quality lead visits is usually more valuable than a flood of traffic from outside your target audience.
It’s important to realize that popular digital strategies like content marketing, for all their effectiveness, are not a guaranteed route to higher sales. More traffic is great. But it just might not translate into immediate sales.
2. How to Travel the Buyer’s Journey
One reason why digital audiences don’t convert is because they’re not at the right point in the buyer’s journey when they encounter you online.
Even the ideal customer won’t convert if your messages and conversion opportunities don’t reach them at the right time.
There are several prevalent concepts of this online purchase cycle, all similar with small differences in philosophy and wording.
- Awareness : customer identification of a need and the realization that your online business can potentially fulfill it.
- Consideration : customer evaluation of how your offering meets this need, including the evaluation of offerings from other e-commerce sites.
- Preference/Intent : a customer’s logical and emotional inclination towards one solution or another, ultimately leading to a purchasing decision.
- Purchase : The action of ordering and buying from your e-commerce site.
- Repurchase : The emotional and logical process that (hopefully) leads to a repeat purchase.
The reality of a customer buying cycle is that a customer can only be at one point on the cycle at a time.
And that’s perfectly fine. You are obviously not going to get all your traffic to convert every time. Understanding the buyer’s journey is a key lesson, because you’ll often realize that the “lost” conversion may not be a failure at all, but a future opportunity.
3. How to Read Your Customers’ Minds
When you discover that your visitors aren’t really customers after all, you start to wonder; what are they doing? What brought them to this place on the web? Who are your customers, anyway?
One of the most effective methods of earning more conversions is by getting in your customers’ heads. Reading your customers’ minds isn’t as sinister as it sounds. You can do this effectively, safely, and with zero hypnosis experience by assigning them personas.
A persona in marketing terms is an ideal visitor you want to take a specific action.
Not familiar with personas? Watch this for a quick rundown.
video from NOWMarketingGroup
The most common way for digital marketers to shape personas is by using demographic characteristics such as age, income, location, gender, etc. But a persona needs to be specific because your product is specific. You aren’t trying to convert a mass of incoming traffic—you’re trying to sell a product to a certain kind of person who needs and wants it.
Different analytics platforms including Google Analytics can help you understand your customer demographics in order to make better marketing decisions.
4. The Value of Experimentation
Rather than rely on guesswork, conversion optimization begins a rigorous process of research, analysis, and improvement to turn that non-converting traffic into major conversion growth.
You don’t need more traffic to boost your sales. It’s often much easier (and more effective) to improve the user experience of your web properties and adjust your messaging strategy.
Through adherence to established best practices, some creativity, and effective A/B split testing, it’s possible to methodically find out what works best and achieve an optimal presentation.
In this way, a non-converter isn’t just a loss—but a valuable data point you can use to enhance many aspects of your sites, advertisements, social media management, and more. Moving the needle on conversion rates though some patient testing is incredibly satisfying.
5. Finding out What Your Competition is up to
If your customers don’t convert on your website, then where are they making that crucial final decision? It’s time to scope out the competition. Chances are, you probably know who your competitors are. But do you know why your potential customers might be defecting to them?
In any market it’s a good idea to spy on the competition, legally of course. You can use many of the same tools that you use to analyze your own website. Most of them are free. These tools and techniques can furnish you with a huge amount of information that puts you in complete control of the competition landscape.
The more you know about your competition, the better you can respond and adapt.
Article source: Kissmetrics
More about Utilizing Failed Conversions Data
Glorious Failure: the Joy of Learning from Your Mistakes
Failing is fashionable these days. Silicon’s Valley’s “fail fast, fail often” philosophy is summed up by authors Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz in a story about a ceramics teacher who divides his students into two groups. He tells one group he’ll grade them purely on the quality of their single best work. He tells the other they’ll be graded simply by how many pounds of pots they make. In the end, the group graded by quantity alone ended up making better pots. More
How Conversion Rate Optimization Can Help Your Website
The web has always had a love affair with three letter acronyms. WWW, FTP, IRC… the list goes on. Well, now there’s a new one on the block called Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO for short. You might not have heard of it (true, it’s not very catchy), but it is important, as we’ll find out. More