5 Steps of Conversion Analytics Part 1

Computers & TechnologySearch Engine Optimization

  • Author Monica Valdez
  • Published April 19, 2010
  • Word count 749

Recently I attended the SEMPO / SEO MeetUp in Denver, organized by Dave Carlson of Green Chair Marketing Group.

The topic of the meetup was Conversion Analytics, with Todd Barrs of Spyglass LLC as the headlining speaker. Not only did Mr. Barrs give an excellent presentation, but he also raised some important issues that are often overlooked or misunderstood when approaching web design.

Without giving a play-by-play recount of the presentation, I have broken the ideas into five categories that summarize and expand on some of the issues that were presented. This blog entry will deal with the first three, followed by another blog entry detailing the next two categories. The five categories are:

• Alignment: Aligning the selling process with the customers buying process

• Movement: Establishing "scent trails"

• Engagement: Engaging visitors

• Endorsement: Using logos, ratings, and links

• Improvement: Improving sales conversion

Alignment:

One of the first points that Mr. Barrs made was that sites should align their selling process with their customers buying process. That sounds great, but what does it mean? As Mr. Barrs explained, each customer is in a different stage of the buying process when they land on your site. Some may be skeptical and still in a learning phase, whereas others may already be hungering for the purchase. It is important that sites are able to accommodate all types of buyers (as appropriate) and be able to guide visitors to the next natural phase of the purchasing process.

For developers this means that landing pages need to be able to engage each potential customer, or ideally, a site should have different landing pages that embrace each type of customer and can interact with them on a more personal level.

For example, buyers who know exactly what they want (e.g. they search for the product by its exact name) should be directed to a page that really showcases the product and predominantly places Point of Action (the BUY ME! Button), whereas buyers who are not quite sure what they want (they search a little bit more generally) would should land on a page that is still exactly relevant, but displays user reviews and product features a little bit more predominantly.

Movement:

Even though we are not always able to predict exactly what the customer wants it is our job to lead them forward. According to Mr. Barrs, this is the difference between Navigation and Search. Search brought them to your site because they were looking for something in particular, or because they have a problem that they are looking to solve. Navigation is what you have to help them do once they get there.

For developers this means establishing clear "scent trails" that can lead visitors from the landing pages to exactly what they are looking for, and encourage them to buy it. These continuity trails can greatly increase conversions by leading visitors forward and creating persuasive momentum in order to complete the sale. This can be accomplished by reducing the number of steps required to make a purchase, showing the value of buying it from your site right now, addressing concerns that they many have and taking into account other considerations related to your product or service. This is explained more in the next section: Engagement.

Engagement:

As Mr. Barrs aptly noted, engagement involves holding up your end of the conversation. It is the interaction between the site, the product and the visitors. As previously mentioned, it involves understanding what types of visitors will be looking at each page and what questions they will have.

However, it also means that good sites should stop shouting, since they should know that the visitors are already interested. Almost everyone that has used the Internet recognizes flashing boxes and over-bright text as spam, and will avoid them even if they are legitimate. Mr. Barrs also explained that links are a mini contract between the site and the user. They need to tell the user exactly what they will get by clicking on it, and should never deceive the user into clicking it. Doing so immediately creates mistrust.

Instead, sites should be designed and organized to naturally guide the user’s attention. This can done through the use of pictures by designing them to be shaped to "point" towards important text, or by using pictures of people to "gesture" or use other non-verbal queues to direct attention to another part of the page.

Stayed tuned for next week’s Article to learn about Endorsement and Improvement in Conversion Analytics.

Monica Valdez is the Manager of Search Visibility for Amadeus Consulting, (www.amadeusconsulting.com) a custom software development company dedicated to creating intelligent technology solutions. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Amadeus Consulting excels in mobility and data management, search visibility, content management, e-commerce, social networking, data collection and management, browser plug-ins, and iPhone application development.

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