By now you should be familiar with the format of this series of blog posts. We have explored the different sections you need to complete in order to create the best possible marketing plan for your business/product. In Part 9, we looked at your online marketing strategy. Here, we will look at your conversion strategy.
Remember, you need to adopt an agile outlook in your approach to your marketing plan. A marketing plan is always a work in progress and as you move through the process, you will need to adjust and tweak your strategy as you discover what works and what doesn’t. This template is your guide, you bring the flexibility as you put each step into practice.
What Is a Conversion Strategy?
A business’s conversion strategy is the techniques it uses to turn (convert) potential customers into actual customers. It refers to converting a potential customer into a paying customer, but it is also about converting micro-behaviours too. E.g., moving a person from potentially being part of your email list to actually being part of your email list or getting a person at a networking event to choose to at least visit your stall; these are the little conversions that lead to the goal conversion (the goal being to make a sales).
In short, it’s about getting people to take a specific action. This action is beneficial to the business because it moves people through the sales funnel and ultimately generates profit.
How Do You Convert Potential Customers Into Paying Customers?
There are many different strategies that businesses use to convert customers. We will take a look at some of the most popular and proven techniques.
Set The Tone For Conversion
First, though, you must understand how to set the conditions for conversion in the first place. What I mean by this is that you set up your customer-facing points (i.e., where your business interacts with your customers: websites, social media accounts, shop, leaflets, brochures, business cards, networking events, staff) in a way that will increase conversion.
This means that you communicate with your customers effectively. Communicate in ways that show you are:
Trust is very important in marketing. If your customers trust you, they are more likely to buy. At every point of conversion – whether you’re trying to get them to sign-up to your newsletter, buy your product, visit your shop, etc. – be sure to use honest language.
Do not make bold claims that you cannot back up with evidence.
One of the best things that you can do to build authenticity and trust is to use customer testimonials. Make sure they are visible on websites, social media channels, and marketing materials.
The greater the number of people who endorse your product, the more trust new people will have in it. The best testimonials come from established businesses and people – this is why influencer marketing is so popular with marketers.
This ties in very closely with being authentic, but it isn’t enough just to create trust. You need to show your customers that you are also an authority within your niche.
You must show that you are an expert in your niche. For example, if you sell beds, you are selling a good night’s sleep, and you need to support this by showcasing a thorough understanding of sleep science and how your product facilitates good sleep.
You are giving your customers a reason to buy your product, explaining why you made it and what it offers them by way of benefit.
This is a task of education; describe the product/business thoroughly so that the customer is comfortable with you and understands your value for them.
When you create a point of conversion, you will use a “call to action” to let the person know that you would like them to act. You need to make it as obvious as possible to ensure that people don’t miss the cue and as simple as possible to do so that they aren’t put off from taking the action.
Work each of the above sentiments into your communication and wherever you create a conversion point.
Conversion Strategy Step-By-Step Process
There are many conversion strategies available and the one/s that works best will vary from business to business. Some examples of conversion strategies include discounts, vouchers, calls to action, email subscription, newsletter subscription, targeted advertising, good warranties and guarantees, and giveaways/competitions.
The purpose of these conversion strategies are always the same: you are giving them a reason to take action. Why you? Why this action? Why this product? Why now?
The following will help you understand the steps involved. These steps are dynamic, so whilst they are listed in order, you will be working between them at different times, returning to tweak different parts of each step.
Step 1: Know Your Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel is the journey your customer takes from the first encounter with your business to their purchase and retention. The sales funnel will differ depending on whether you’re mapping if for a bricks-and-mortar shop, your social media account, your website, your networking event.
Create a map for each place that you want to make sales.
Example: You have a stall selling games at an exhibition fair:
The first step in the sales funnel is likely to be attracting people to your stall. You need to find a conversion strategy to do this. One idea is walking around the event handing out a 10% discount card if they buy from your stall (remember attention-grabbing, authoritative, authentic).
They’ve arrived at your stall, so now you want them to buy your product. This is the second step in the sales funnel. Now you need a conversion technique. You’ve offered them the 10% discount already, and they’re at least interested because they have visited the stall. A new conversion technique could be an open box of your leading game which you start playing, emphasising all of the benefits they get from playing the game (remember selling is about offering a solution).
You will need to map this out for each of your sales funnels. For example, if you’re running a website, step 1 might be making people aware of your site via ads, step 2 could be asking them to sign up to your email list. This is something that you will need to brainstorm, but it’s a fairly intuitive process.
At each point in the sales funnel, you are using the 3 rules above, being authoritative, authentic, and attention-grabbing. You are also using the correct language – the persuasive language that your target audience responds to.
Step 3: Track and Measure
Next, you need to gauge how well each conversion is working. You do this in different ways depending on the strategy.
For example, with 10% discount cards, you can use numbered cards (e.g. 1 to 1000) at the end of the day, count up how many cards you gave out (e.g. 1000) then compare this to the number of sales you made of your product at the 10% discount (e.g. 100). You can then work out that this conversion strategy gives you a conversion rate of 10%
– an excellent rate!
Another example could be tracking the sign-up numbers for your email subscription. Tracking your conversions online is easy. Companies like Google and WordPress have conversion tracking tools. You simply add the code where appropriate and it will keep track of things like clicks and sign-ups.
You can use these tools across a huge range of online conversion strategies, from clicks on “call to action” buttons to clickthroughs from targeted ads.
Step 3: Target Your Leads
To get the most out of conversion, you need to target people who you believe will be potentially willing to buy your product, i.e. your target audience. If you are too broad in your approach, you are likely to target many people who will not convert. Not only can this leave you feeling despondent, but it is also a huge waste of time and resources.
Make sure you know who you are targeting. Again, taking the examples I’ve already used, at the games exhibition-fair you might be selling a fast-paced strategy game. Therefore, it makes sense to begin by targeting people age 20 to 60 who are milling around the “strategy games” section of the fair.
Another example could be targeted ads online. The same game online might be targeted slightly differently. For example, you set the targeting parameter to 20 to 60-year-olds with a salary of £25K+ (enough disposable income to buy the game).
Again, you need to brainstorm. You are the one who knows your product and who understands your target audience and their behaviours. As with all things in marketing, there is an element of trial and error. You are testing and tweaking all the time to see what works and what doesn’t. For instance, you might find that the game fairs yield greater results if you target people over 35, or that your online marketing works best when targeted at people with a higher or lower income.
Create spreadsheets and ways to track different variables in your target audience so that you can truly hone in on the highest quality customers.
Step 4: Make Your Offers Too Good To Miss
You’re enticing your potential customers to take the next step, so your offers must appeal to them. Make it abundantly clear that you are offering a discount or promotion and emphasise why it’s too good to miss.
The exact nature of the offer will differ depending on your product. Always answer the customer’s question, “Why should I buy this product/click this button?” and do it in a persuasive tone. You aren’t trying to do a hard sell – people don’t like that. You are trying to be persuasive, not pushy.
It is all about positioning your product to showcase how it benefits your customer. And, if it isn’t a benefit for them, you either have the wrong product or the wrong audience.
Your conversion strategy is all about getting people to move through the sales funnel from the point of the first contact to the point of sale. You must break down the customer journey and find the points of contact that allow you to create a conversion action. You must then make this conversion enticing so that they want to reach the next step in the funnel.
Creating conversion strategies involves a lot of brainstorming and coming up with new and innovative ideas that will capture people’s attention in a way that is particular to your product. It’s about testing, trying, and tweaking.
Whilst I can’t be specific about which strategies will work best for you – your strategies will be unique to your product – I hope that you now have a good understanding of how to create and implement a solid conversion strategy.