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Convert! Convert! Convert!

  |  December 22, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Campaigns drive prospects. Where you need to get serious is in the less glamorous world of lead conversion because this is where customers are born. Here's how.

Let's be honest, we spend a disproportionate amount of our time on the campaign. It's where the "big idea" is revealed to the world. It's your brand's chance to be in the spotlight. It's also your time to shine as a marketer and to be the hero of your organization. Campaigns, after all, drive customers.

Wrong!

Campaigns drive prospects. Where you need to get serious is in the less glamorous world of lead conversion because this is where customers are born.

As digital marketers we have to abide by the simple rule of test, learn, optimize, and try again. A healthy risk of bravery and risk taking also helps. If you want to get the best results out of your online marketing you simply cannot be afraid to fail. I tell my marketing team today that I don't care if 70 percent of their experiments don't work as long as they can spot the 30 percent that do work and scale them. They also know the metric of most importance to me is the lead conversion rate. CTR, visits, page views... blah blah blah. Getting prospects on your site is easy but converting them is where the skill comes in.

It is this topic of lead conversion optimization where the geek within me is unleashed and I am happiest. Following is some practical advice based on 10 years of consumer Internet marketing experience (and many mistakes). I spent US$50 million of my previous company's marketing budget across 15 geographies and this is what I learned.

Don't Be Lazy and Mismatch Your Message

How many times have you seen companies deliver one message through email, banners, or ad words and when you click through you hit a landing page that has nothing to do with the promise? How frustrating. If I see an ad for a magic pill that will make me lose 20kg overnight, I am a lost opportunity if they try and sell me their new exercise machine. Match your messages! For those savvier, you can now dynamically update your headline with the copy from your SEM and display advertising.

Simplicity Rules

Simplicity is the product of great design. It removes friction and gives us what we want, when we want it. Complexityis the product of bureaucracy, complacency, or a lack of creativity (or all of the above). In order to draw prospects to your message, you have to remove the clutter. The more white space and less copy you have on your landing page the better. Remember, you want to draw your prospects' eyes to your headline's call to action. Remove links that risk your prospect getting lost in your website. Keep your lead form as short as possible (you don't have to ask 100 meaningless questions including the color of their dog). Use human tone, short and punchy copy, and minimal images (avoid generic stock images at all costs as you lose authenticity). For inspiration, look at www.squareup.com and www.disqus.com as model examples of effective use of simplicity.

Build Trust Into Your Landing Page

Trust seals, testimonials, and your privacy policy should all be welcome additions to your landing page. Trust drives conversions. Clicking on an advertisement takes no commitment but registering on a website does. Anything you can do to take away the prospect's anxiety is a must. I also suggest very human language such as "we will never share your email." Don't take this for granted because I promise it is on your prospect's mind.

Test, Test, Test

I cannot recommend the power of trial and error enough. Run A/B testing constantly to ensure your conversion efforts are always maximized. The reality is our intuition as marketers is usually wrong so challenge and validate it with real data. This is not an exercise in statistics but more a test of consumer psychology. There are many cheap and easy tools available that will give you the insight you need to optimize your conversion rates. Why is testing important? Let's assume your average customer generates US$100 revenue per year and your prospect to customer conversion rate is 10 percent. You have the power to effectively double your company's revenue by increasing that conversion rate from 10 percent to 20 percent (I promise its achievable). Of course, you can achieve the same revenue results by doubling the prospects you drive to your site and maintaining your 10 percent conversion rate but that takes 100 percent more marketing cost (which your boss won't like) while optimization is free!

Remember, the job of optimization is never complete.

Convert! Convert! Convert!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mikaal  Abdulla

Mikaal Abdulla is the CEO and cofounder of 8 Securities. Mikaal has extensive global experience having launched and managed successful consumer Internet businesses and products across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, India, and the United States. Prior to founding 8 Securities, Mikaal was a senior vice president at E*TRADE where he was responsible for marketing and strategy across 15 geographies. Mikaal holds a M.B.A from both Columbia University and the London Business School.

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