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Conversion rate optimisation unites marketing efforts and sales figures

Some marketing metrics sound a bit abstract. But conversion rate is different - it has a direct effect on your bottom line profits. After all, conversion is the difference between a sale and a fail.

Because of this, the conversion rate metric is the area of marketing that connects most strongly with sales. Anything that brings these departments closer is a plus - as a Marketing top dog, you’ve doubtless had differences of opinion with the Head of Sales, which is only natural. Marketing creates brand equity and Sales spends it.

Conversion rate optimisation is the reason for the existence of both Sales and Marketing.

Joining these two departments together can only be a good thing. This eGuide explores seven methods for boosting this most vital part of metrics from the CMO’s perspective - starting with the first customer touch. As in other mission-critical endeavours, checklists can help a lot.

1. Plan each campaign at its end

Conversion is the last step on the nurturing pathway. But whether the customer makes it through depends on every step before, from the landing page headline right back to the first Tweet or email. To get off on the right foot, think conversion from the first planning meeting.

Hubspot calls this a conversion centred design, where everything you do is designed with that final click in mind. Beyond campaign creation, there are extra things you can do to influence it, such as:

Get the Head of Sales into the campaign planning meeting - he’ll keep your team focused.

  • Make sure the landing page is the result of careful thought, not an afterthought. Resource it as completely as campaign creation.

  • Make sure each stage of the customer journey points towards the conversion, so there’s no “cognitive dissonance” at the last fence.

2. Create a checklist for your campaign…

With multiple campaigns on the schedule it’s unlikely you’ll be able to devote attention to every last sentence. So another useful strategic initiative is to write a copy checklist for your juniors. This way you don’t have to pore over every selling message; you can delegate. Points to cover might include:

How many customer touches are there between first contact and close? Business with short sales cycles might have only two; complex SLA-backed B2B contracts might have up to 20! Make sure your customer journey is short enough to retain interest, but long enough to answer doubts.

  • Has the campaign covered off all entry points? List the channels prospects might enter through: a Tweet, an email, a blog on your site… and instruct your team that you expect original content to be created for each channel, not cut-and-pastes.

  • Are the A/B splits really A/B? Ad Push up highlights this as being a crucial point. First make sure there are splits - any campaign can use them - and then make sure they’re actual differences, not just changing the link highlight colour.

  • Is your creative creating consistent brand values across different audiences? A consistent impression doesn’t come from using the same words and pictures across media; it comes from using differing content that evokes the same attitude. Overt selling is expected in AdWords but frowned on in Buzzfeed.

The Moz Blog suggest that creating such a checklist will keep initial interest (clickthrough) rates high - the first battle you need to win.

3. … another for your design...

What looks great on your designer’s hi-res screen may look cramped and crowded for the average user (or anyone on a tablet or smartphone.) A separate checklist for what the average prospect sees will keep them honest - and conversion rates maxed.

  • What are the measures (number of characters per column) on the average reader’s screen? Many young designers tend to design for the biggest screens and latest technology. Columns of 80 characters or more lead to drop off.

  • Does the page look crowded? Not as subjective as it sounds. If your team can’t justify the presence of every design element at every touchpoint, strip those elements out.

Are there unusual features? Landing pages in particular are all about comfort; if something jangles the reader’s nerves he’ll scoot. If any part of your creative looks out of the ordinary - an infographic on a landing page, say - be warm about the creative effort, but make clear you want it A/B tested.

Why not take the next step in upping clickthroughs and squishing bounce rates: How to use conversion rate optimisation to boost your bottom line