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5 Key Insights on How Conversion Marketing Works

March 30th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Eric Gerber

One paper airplane splits off from a group of 3 more

The holy grail of marketing is conversions. In most cases, this adds up to a simple bottom line, like: I want more sales. I want more leads. I want more registrations. I want more form fills.

Perhaps most of all, though, the goal is for your ideal prospect to “convert” into a client or customer. Those results are the bottom line for most businesses investing in marketing.

So, you’re probably wondering — why does it seem so difficult? It’s a question we often encounter at Zoe Marketing & Communications. In our 15+ years of marketing experience, we’ve found it helps to have a deeper understanding of how conversion marketing works.

In this blog, we’ll cover 5 key insights on just that, including:

  1. What a ‘conversion’ is

  2. Why conversion rates are ‘low’

  3. Why conversion marketing costs ‘more’

  4. Why it doesn’t replace awareness/branding marketing

  5. What to do with your conversions

Our goal is to help you feel more confident about how conversion marketing ticks — and why it’s essential to know its challenges going in.

1. What a ‘conversion’ is

“Conversions” aren’t just people spending money with you. Other examples can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • A click/visit to your website (in other words, someone “raised their hand” because you captured their interest)

  • Someone who gave their email to download a PDF (or otherwise supplied contact info in exchange for helpful information from you)

  • Time spent reading your content (especially valuable if you’re writing blogs/articles)

These all “convert” a person from a stranger to someone more invested in your brand. This holds high value. Remember, the number of people who show up and buy what you’re selling on the “first take” is very low. (Ask yourself what you would do!)

2. Why conversion rates are ‘low’

Expectations are everything. Conversion rates do vary among platforms. But in the case of landing pages — among the most powerful conversion tools — the conversion rate is around 9.7%. Generally speaking, 10% is “good.” And it’s worth noting that conversions in these cases tend to be higher quality. 

A top reason people don’t “convert”? They don’t see value in what you’re offering. They’re not “hooked.” Typically it means one of three things: 

  1. You haven’t researched your market

  2. You haven’t identified your prospects’ needs or honed in on the problem they want to solve

  3. The people who visit your website or landing page aren’t “bought-in”

What’s in the minds of all those prospects you’re reaching but not converting? It’s likely one of four scenarios. They:

  • Don’t want what you’re offering

  • Can’t afford what you’re offering (it’s priced above their means, or they don’t see the value in it)

  • Aren’t “fear free” enough to buy from you (they need to do more research, they’re on the fence, or they’re not sure if it’s what they need)

  • Have some other uncertainties

Aside from impulse decisions, which are outliers, all of these factors play into why more folks aren’t fully “converting” to your services or products. 

3. Why conversion marketing costs ‘more’

Marketing that focuses on a higher conversion rate can cost more than marketing focused only on general branding. That’s based on the factors mentioned above, such as: 

  • Market research

  • Quality, targeted content messaging and copywriting (for ads tailored to different platforms, emails, blog posts, surveys, etc.)

  • Consistent design and branding

  • Monitoring results and adjusting the approach as necessary to increase leads

  • Remarketing ads and email campaigns to nurture leads

Ultimately, it’s important to figure out how much it costs to get one customer — a Customer Lifetime Value, or CLV. From there, you can work backward and better understand how much to invest in your conversion marketing strategy.

4. Why it doesn’t replace awareness/branding marketing

Unfortunately, conversions typically don’t happen immediately — no matter how great your marketing is. It takes time to build up your brand, recognizability and trust. It’s a healthier mix to work on conversion and awareness marketing simultaneously.

Two exceptions can sometimes include:

  • If you have a big marketing budget and low-cost products. In these cases, conversion tactics alone may be enough. (Think Amazon or Alibaba.)

  • If your business is just getting started. Early on, companies need volume. This is where tactics like retargeting can help. But after time, it’s not enough to hope people will click an ad and convert instantly. Crafting brand awareness is important, too.

In the long haul, the healthiest approach combines awareness and conversions.

5. What to do with your conversions

If someone has bought your product, set up a system to fill that order pronto. If they downloaded a guide, deliver it quickly. Or if they signed up for an event, confirm it right away.

If you don’t connect with someone within the first 5-10 minutes, the odds of them doing business with you significantly decrease. So if they downloaded that PDF? Make sure it’s emailed to them ASAP. If they gave a phone number? Call them back promptly.

Whether it’s immediate contact via an “email workflow” or a personal response based on a form they filled in, the bottom line is this: You must follow up fast.

Two more longer-term things to also keep in mind:

  • Remarket: At least 50% of people who land on your site will do nothing. Create remarketing campaigns (with ads and/or emails) to remind them you exist and can help them (click here to learn all about that).

  • Nurture: A top mistake businesses make is: They get a lead, reach out, the prospect says “no” — and they drop it. The problem is that most people take 4-6 months to make a buying decision. So, what messages are you sending via email in those 4-6 months to remind them you’re there to help solve their problems?

Next steps for quality conversion marketing

It takes time, an investment, and plenty of perspective and patience. But conversion marketing is ultimately part of a well-balanced marketing strategy. It steadily adds a stream of “converts” to your business.

Are you looking for some help in increasing your company’s conversions? Talk to us. The Zoe Marketing & Communications team can help you fine-time your conversion marketing efforts.

Not quite ready for that? Content marketing is a lot to process. Get more grounding in these two essential articles:

Eric Gerber

Eric Gerber delivers a deep understanding of data, performance and marketing tactics as an analyst and consultant for Zoe Marketing & Communications. A driven learner, his marketing experience spans from real estate to women's hair extensions.