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When a shopper walks into your store or a visitor navigates to your website, your goal is to encourage them to make decisions that lead to a purchase, thus turning them into a paying customer.

You need to convert them.

Digital marketing plays a key role in this process. Through any number of techniques, including paid ads, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media and content, you can generate more brand awareness, attract more visitors and hopefully convert them into happy customers.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the idea of marketing conversions: what they are, why they’re important, and the rate at which you should aim to achieve them.

What is a digital marketing conversion?

In marketing, the term ‘conversion’ does a lot of heavy lifting. It’s not simply when a visitor becomes a paying customer. The true definition is far broader, and can be thought of as ‘the point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action.’

This ‘desired action’ can take many forms. Sure, it could be hitting the ‘buy now’ button. But it could also be handing over contact details in return for an ebook or a newsletter subscription. It could be clicking a link in a marketing email to arrive at a landing page. It could be following one of your social media accounts.

You can think of a modern sales funnel as a series of such actions. Each ‘conversion’ takes an individual a step closer to becoming a customer – from a website visitor to a prospect, from a prospect to a qualified lead and so on. The final conversion is the act of making a purchase or, better yet, turning the prospect into a loyal return customer.

The term ‘conversion’ can therefore be applied to any number of marketing tools and strategies, including:

  • Sales and leads
  • Form completions and email signups
  • Registrations and subscriptions
  • Phone calls and other forms of direct contact
Relevant conversions will change from business to business. An ecommerce retailer will attract and convert customers in a very different way to a brick and mortar B2B wholesaler, for example. The best conversions to track are simply those that indicate interest from your target audience and drive them further down the sales funnel.

Why are conversions important?

Conversions offer a way to bring structure to your marketing, sales and general business growth efforts. They force you to consider who your business is targeting, how you’re attracting potential customers, the journey that you need a customer to take, how to entice more people to complete a purchase, and how to turn those buyers into loyal return customers.

By closely tracking your conversions you can identify areas of improvement within your sales funnel. Perhaps your subscribers aren’t opening your emails. Perhaps a high percentage of visitors bounce straight off your web page. Perhaps your ecommerce website experiences a high rate of abandoned carts. A focus on conversions can identify the issues that are currently holding your business back.

Now that we know why it’s important to track conversions, the next question is how?

What is conversion rate in digital marketing?

The simplest way to track your conversions is by conversion rate. This metric is simply the percentage of website or landing page visitors who took the action you wanted them to take. Sure, it’s great if they buy something, but conversion rate analytics can extend to a far broader range of actions, including:

  • Leaving contact details
  • Filling out a form or survey
  • Getting in contact with your business (calling, messaging or chatting online)
  • Registering an account or subscribing
  • Downloading an offering (software, content, etc.)
  • Upgrading a service
  • Otherwise engaging with your site in a deep way

Let’s say you’ve created a landing page that offers visitors an ebook – something that your target audience will find really useful. In order to download the ebook the visitor is asked to offer up some basic information: name, email address, perhaps the name of their organisation. Over the course of a month your landing page is visited by 23,607 people. 3783 of these offer up their information. To find out your conversion rate, simply use the following formula:

(Conversions / total visitors) * 100 = % conversion rate

In our case, (3783 / 23,607) * 100 = 16.02%

The importance of conversion rate data means marketing tools like Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Google Analytics tend to display key data right there on the dashboard. Indeed, the challenge isn’t generally one of access, as the necessary data is usually freely available and easy to find. The difficulty is instead in making sense of the information…

What is a good conversion rate?

What does a good conversion rate look like? Unfortunately, that’s a bit like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ The answer is all about context, and will change depending on factors like the type of conversion you’re measuring, the type of customer you’re targeting and the business you run and the industry you’re in.

Sure, you can Google general numbers, like the industry and average but these simply

A simpler answer is that a good conversion rate is an improving conversion rate. You should compete against yourself, measuring your current conversion rate to establish a baseline, and then developing strategies to increase it.

Let’s return to our landing page example above, where a little over 16% of visitors are taking the desired action. Conversion rate optimisation practices might include speeding up page loading times, changing the copy or design of the page, or adjusting the offer to make it more attractive to your audience. In reality, the ways to increase your conversion rate are limited only by your imagination.

By conducting A/B testing you’ll gradually optimise the page and increase the percentage of visitors taking a desired action. Over time this can result in serious growth of your customer base and your bottom line.

While this all might sound simple enough, the reality is that conversion optimisation marketing tactics can be a complex thing to wrap your head around. Between bounce rates, cost per conversion, conversion tracking and other terms, tools and metrics, a business owner may struggle to commit the requisite time to understanding the concept and optimising conversion rates.

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