Conversion is an often-used sales and marketing term that can cover a lot of ground in today’s internet powered world of small and medium sized enterprises. Sales conversions are straight forward enough but marketing conversions are less direct and more subtle. Marketing conversions are the smaller conversion steps necessary to reach those bigger sales conversions.
The Classic Conversion Definition
The classic definition, the CRM definition, involves generating accounts, contacts and opportunities from those that you primarily seek and find. This is a black and white effort to generate contacts into prospects and ultimately clients. It is based on the outbound sales model of searching for those that are in the market or mood for buying what you sell. You are hunter and they are game.
The inbound model differs in that the hunting is reversed. People go online in search of something, hunting for information, – and that their effort will vary in detail and urgency. All online research begins with a mouse click. The leap from that first click to a buying customer may take require extra steps so the conversion process requires more detail to be defined. This is the need for the smaller marketing steps of a number of marketing messages.
Those Smaller Conversion Steps
If we define conversion as when the recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action, we see marketing conversions as a number of steps towards a sale. These steps follow a linear order in hopes that our online visitor follow suit. The reality is that visitors will get on and off the conversion line at various points. To have a true overview on which conversions are working (and which are not) we need to track these smaller steps.
Think of these early marketing messages more as requests for online engagement. That engagement can be subtle, especially early in the online relationship. Having someone click to your website from an email or a social media message for example. Click throughs are a positive start to online engagement with your business are products and should be considered sucessful marketing conversions.
The premise is that if enough of these small steps are taken there is a high likelihood the visitor will engage and proceed with you as a supplier (when they are ready).
Conversely, if these smaller steps are not working; visitors are not staying on your website, opening your newsletter emails, or clicking through from your blog posts the momentum never gets going and your marketing efforts stall. The marketing tactics that point to these conversion opportunities should be reassesed.
The More Leads the Better
If you are concerned only with the classical “big” CRM style conversions of contacts, opportunities, and accounts you may find less leads from your online efforts than from your face-to-face sales process. You may find yourself wondering about the effectiveness of your inbound methods. But smaller online conversion steps are numerous and an opportunity to track and tweak every component of your online offerings. The more of smaller marketing conversions the more opportunity to move visitors along your online pipeline to a point where the larger conversions to contacts and opportunities can occur.
In the online marketing world small wins lead to the larger wins of new customers and increased sales. Don’t ignore those smaller conversion steps.