5 Tips on Conversation Rate Optimization

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With Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) being a common term and practice, if you’re a marketer out there, you may be wondering “how can someone possibly have a typo in a blog title” – it’s not a typo. You see, for many businesses, creating more conversation is as valuable as creating a conversion.

First, a conversion could be various things, so let’s start there. In the digital marketing world, a conversion is usually referred to as a site visitor (i.e. a prospect) that has become a buyer or a customer. A visitor perusing an online store becomes a conversion when they complete a purchase. They have been “converted” into a customer. I say they, but let’s face it – we all make a purchase from time to time – so we the people become conversions all the time.

Now, let’s get to the conversation part. Whether it’s a larger deal size or a scenario where custom services are part of the equation, having a conversation is often a precursor to a conversion. Conversations also provide the human touch and prospects often want to get a pulse on who is behind the curtain before making any long term investment. Where this is the case, optimizing digital experiences should be centered on driving more conversations – not just conversions.

Here are 5 Tips on Conversation Rate Optimization

1 – Ensure that there are different methods in place to kick start those conversations

First, make sure that the basics are covered – chat, phone, email. If you are giving your site visitors some options and decisions to consider, chances are some of them will want some guidance to walk them through the pros and cons of each – or at a minimum, give them some assurances that they are making the right decision.

Here we are talking about a conversation that must precede a conversion. That means you have to give visitors clear and concise ways to begin that conversation. Chat, phone email are basic options that visitors should not struggle with on how to find.

Placing the “CTAs” – or call(s) to action in a consistent place on websites is one common approach. Up in the global header, on a side bar, in the footer – whatever it is, make placement consistent so that visitor’s eyes can locate them based on both memory recall and industry standards.

2 – Get outside in feedback on how your visitors want to engage when they are ready to have a sales-oriented conversation

Beyond the basics of chat, phone and email – do some research to understand how your audience prefers to engage with you when they are ready to discuss the possibility of purchasing. Do they prefer chat or phone? Do they prefer a contact form? Would they just go to their known sales representative if they have one?

While it’s good practice to cater to any and all options, getting outside in feedback on your audience’s preferences can help you prioritize the CTA placements or put more or less visual prominence on particular options, based on those preferences.

3 – Track phone as if it is equally important

In digital, phone tracking often gets left behind in the dust – not for any particularly good reason. Email / contact forms are easy to track with any decent digital analytics package. Chat is similar. Essentially any action that requires a click is easily tracked.

Phone is different in this regard. Some prospects may just pick up their phone and call the toll free number on the website. With no “click” involved, tracking becomes harder. But if we, as marketers, try harder it can be tracked.

One way is to utilize click-to-call-back functionality. So instead of having a prospect call you, offer up a “Have Us Call You” call-to-action. The call back can be just seconds later but the key is that this action requires the user to click. This simple click is the action that can bind all of the intelligence of the visit – pages viewed, content viewed, etc. – to the call. The simple click can help attribute a subsequent conversion – that starts with a conversation – back to specific digital tactics such as a campaign, or website offer.

Another tactic for phone tracking is to use dynamic phone numbers. There are a number of platforms that provide this service, where unique phone numbers are dynamically inserted into web page content so that you can tie a phone call back to a tactic without requiring the important click that was previously touched on.

4 – Distinguish between good conversations and bad conversations

In reality, most conversations are good and healthy. If you are a comfortable and confident business, getting people on the horn – or in a chat – is a good thing.

But time is also money and we don’t have eons to talk to people. So when you have a call or chat center team, ensure the agents have a systematic way of distinguishing the good calls from the not-so-good calls. For example, if you are trying to close deals and you keep getting support calls because the checkout process is broken, that’s not only not a success – it’s a poor use of time.

Use post conversation surveys for the agents so they can document the nature of the call or chat and determine whether it should count as a conversation success or not.

5 – Use Analytics tools that give you some counting customization

The conversion should not be discounted in this conversation. It is important and one could make a case that it is more important than a conversation. It is, after all, the act of someone buying your product. Of course, that is the ultimate goal.

But there should be ways to count conversations in the overall picture – particularly where they are critical precursors to a conversion and where the conversion can take place in another channel or context.

If many of the conversions happen off the digital grid – the tracking that is in place loses its luster quickly. It’s as incomplete as the feeling of seeing the word INCOMPLETE in your school report. Not that I have ever seen that or anything but, ah…you get the idea.

Analytics tools that give you flexibility to manually combine online and offline goal information and – even better – weight them according to importance to you business, get a big PLUS.

In sum, in a world where we are increasingly moving away from human communication, don’t overlook the importance of conversation to building out your business. Make sure your prospects can easily start them and make sure you have the tracking visibility to see the whole conversation pie.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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Jake launched SAP's Innovation Lab in 2011 and has since led the large scale testing and optimization program. Jake is passionate about powering the data-insight-value pipeline and finding creative ways to maximize value from digital landscapes.

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