I’m glad businesses pay more attention to metrics and try to measure the ROI of their social media marketing campaigns today. It’s not only the sign of a maturing discipline, it ensures businesses get value from their marketing programs and helps separate experts from snake oil salesmen. Conversion funnels represent this trend toward greater analytics. Conversion Funnels Using a conversion funnel, a manager can easily evaluate their online marketing, including where visitors entered the funnel, what they did once they got into the funnel, and where they left the funnel. Visualizing the funnel helps managers understand where to focus resources and where problems exist. Notice the pink boxes showing appropriate analysis of events along the funnel. Is a Conversion Funnel Enough? I recently read an evaluation of Converse versus Nike social media strategy. Smaller Converse outperformed big brother Nike by focusing content around music, entertainment, and shoes – things important to their target audience – while Nike only talked about themselves. Nike was singularly focused on conversion, ignoring intermediate steps. As a result, consumers didn’t stick around to listen to their sales pitch – or visit Nike’s website. There’s no skipping steps. So, if a firm ONLY concentrates on conversion, they’re likely to see far less conversion than if they create marketing efforts aimed at EACH step in the conversion process diagrammed. Let’s take a look at some appropriate marketing efforts at each stage of the conversion process. Awareness How do consumers learn about your product? In the old days, consumers saw your ads. Today, it’s more likely they learned about your brand from a friend, a friend of friend, or a Tweet. Not only do these recommendations carry more weight, they add to the image of the brand. We know these brand images are the major factor determining whether a consumer will buy your brand. Marketing efforts aimed at the awareness stage include content marketing that not only informs consumers about your brand, it builds a brand image that resonates with consumers, like Converse sharing music and other things interesting to their target audience. Such shares gain attention and build a community that amplifies your message – creating greater awareness. Consideration We know when consumers get to your website, they’re already about 80% of the way toward making a decision, according to Salesforce.com. That’s because they’ve already seen what their friends had to say and maybe even asked around about your brand. Mostly, consumers just get to your site looking for pricing and other details before placing an order. Marketing efforts aimed at the consideration stage might include promotions such as discounts to entice users to consider your brand. A particularly effective strategy involves getting buyers to share their purchase on their social networks. For example, Groupon offers to refund your purchase price if 3 friends also buy. Intention The intention stage starts when consumers arrive at your website and you begin tracking them as they move through your site. This is where Google Analytics and other tools provide insights that help optimize the process. Marketing efforts valuable in the intention stage involve using clear CTA (call to action) statements so visitors clearly understand what they’re supposed to do. Bright buttons saying “CLICK HERE” are hard to misinterpret. Streamlining the ordering process reduces shopping cart abandonment -- which is nearly 70%. Taking a single click out of the order process improves conversion significantly as does reducing the amount of personal information required to complete the transaction according to Kissmetrics. What are your favorite strategies? Is your firm optimizing the ENTIRE conversion funnel or is it too focused on just the conversion process? I’d love to hear tactics you use at each stage of the conversion process.
Angela Hausman owns Hausman & Associates, a full-service digital agency at the intersection of marketing and social media. She blogs at Hausman Marketing Letter and is a frequent contributor to Social Media Today, Business2Community and Technorati. She shares her office with 2 dogs and a cat who fight for space with her growing team.