Playing the Marketing Game: Successfully Optimizing Conversion Rates

playing the conversion game
Revenue totals not adding up? Sales growth falling short? Opt-ins non-existent? Maybe it’s time to take a look at your conversion rates.

Optimizing conversion rates takes time. As a marketing professional, it’s your job to turn underperforming metrics into actionable goals. Fortunately, there’s a proven method to success. Test, refine, and test some more. That’s how the marketing game is played.

Conversion rates come in all shapes and sizes, but in the end the goal is to raise those rates to boost revenue. Here’s how it’s done.

Identify conversion goals and target audience

It’s hard to test conversion tactics if you don’t know who and what you’re testing for. Do you want more sign-ups, “likes,” sales, or something else? First, prioritize your conversion goals based on current data. Next, nail down who your target audience is and how you want to reach them. Who is your ideal customer?

Recognize psychological triggers

If humans are creatures of impulse, consumers are impulse addicts. Impulse purchases happen, and they happen often. Fortunately for marketers, it’s easy to craft campaign strategies around psychological triggers. Here are a few triggers that influence an individual’s purchasing habits:

  • Pain avoidance: Simply put, people don’t like to be uncomfortable. Whether that means physical or mental discomfort, humans tend to follow the path that’s least painful. Examples of strategies that take advantage of pain avoidance could be simplifying website navigation or optimizing a check-out process.
  • Pleasure: People buy and do things because it makes them feel good. Consumers want to be entertained, wowed, and won over with your content and offerings.
  • Desire to belong: We’re social animals, and we have a desire to belong. It’s what makes Facebook so popular and Kickstarter so successful. There’s an inherent comfort and confidence that comes with belonging.
  • Fear of missing out: On the flip-side, fear of missing out on an opportunity, event, or limited-time product offering can be devastating. As a marketer, creating a sense of urgency or exclusivity can appeal to this fear.
  • New and free: Consumers love the words “new” and “free,” no matter what they’re attached to. It’s that simple.


Ecommerce conversion rates listed by product type, compiled by MarketingSherpa

Beef up your inbound marketing efforts

If you sell a product, it may shock you to learn that ecommerce conversion rates are lower than 25%. Your business needs reliable customers to create sales growth and generate revenue. Successful inbound marketing brings those customers to your doorstep, and some methods are inexpensive or free. Social media conversions can pave the way for future revenue opportunities. Sponsoring a charity event or company sports team can even help get the word out. Additionally, paid advertising goes a long way when done well. Make sure your marketing team is taking advantage of conversion opportunities and testing new avenues regularly.

Sales growth hinges on inbound marketing analysis. To generate leads using those conversions, often the best course of action is to take a good look at basic customer needs. What are customers buying? What drives consumer purchases? How can you cater to consumer motivations? Psychological triggers are a great place to start.

B2B Content Marketing strategy

A breakdown of B2B Marketers and their use of a content marketing strategy, as found by the Content Marketing Institute.

Realize content is still king

Conversion-focused content is still a powerhouse when it comes to inbound marketing. In fact, 80% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy. From article headlines to interesting copy, web design, sign-up forms, and all the in-betweens–anything that faces the consumer is prime real estate for securing conversions. Your goal is to make content interesting and accessible. Consumers flock to written content that’s simple yet valuable. Popular formulas to successful content include:

  • Numbered lists
  • Answer a question or provide a solution
  • Limited-time offers
  • Evergreen content
  • Infographics

Approach each content assignment as a new opportunity to affect sales growth or influence conversion rates. Who are you creating for? Is there a problem you’re trying to solve? What marketing goal is being achieved?

In addition to articles and written copy, design elements can also be seen as content. Appealing and attractive beats ugly and clunky any day. Web design and navigation needs to be intuitive. Sign-up forms must be clean and easy to interpret. Calls to action should be presented in the right place at the right time. There are literally volumes dedicated to design and content creation, so do some research and evolve your content marketing strategy.

Test and retest

Optimizing conversion rates is an ongoing effort. What works today may not work next month. It’s your job to recognize sales growth patterns, take advantage of consumer habits, and tweak content and design for best results. When something isn’t working, design an A/B test and try another tactic. Remember, test, refine, and test some more. That’s how the marketing game is played.

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