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Why the most overlooked part of digital marketing is actually your most powerful tool
You’ve built a brand. You’ve taken the time to develop your website and digital presence. You’ve crafted an SEO strategy. You’ve identified your target audience – aka, your most profitable customers. You’ve created a unique message to resonate specifically with that audience and haven’t wasted a single minute getting that message out there via digital advertising. Right now, you’re probably thinking that you’ve got everything moving full steam ahead – and, in many ways, getting this far puts you way ahead of the curve. But there’s one part of this digital marketing equation that you’ve probably overlooked: conversion rate optimization.
Defined as the art and science of getting people to act once they arrive on your website, conversion rate optimization is, more or less, the operational side of digital marketing. It’s not as “sexy” as all that outbound, creative work you’ve been doing to build the side of your brand that your customers see. However, what you may not realize is that conversion rate optimization can actually make a huge impact on how you grow. It provides insights into which of your marketing tactics – on your website and via digital advertising – are driving your business goals forward versus those that are underperforming. So, in essence, conversion rate optimization can make all of your marketing efforts a lot more effective.
Why then, in spite of all the clearly defined benefits of conversion rate optimization, does it tend to be the forgotten part of digital marketing? One of the biggest reasons is because it’s hard work. For all intents and purposes, it’s purely scientific. You create a hypothesis. You test that hypothesis against a control. You measure the effectiveness of both variables over a period of time. You draw conclusions from that test and then implement changes on your website or in your digital advertising efforts based on what proved to be most effective. And then, you start that process all over again with a new hypothesis.
This essentially means that the work of conversion rate optimization is never really “done.” Sorry, you don’t get instant gratification. It requires time and patience. The very ongoing nature of conversion rate optimization can feel daunting because there is a never ending number of factors to test – and in various orders – to see how your can maximize the effectiveness of your digital presence. And while each test is an opportunity to learn something new, sometimes the end result doesn’t even support your initial hypothesis. But you have to embrace this ongoing test-measure-repeat cadence to see how even small changes can drive serious performance gains (i.e. doubling conversion rates). With conversion rate optimization, you have to trust the data because data doesn’t lie – even if your creative sensibilities hoped for a different outcome.
Another reason why conversion rate optimization doesn’t always see the light of day in many organizations is due to a lack of alignment between the marketing and tech teams. Simply put, marketing must convince the tech folks – who typically have the final decision – to buy into it and actually agree to allocate resources to support it. The challenge is that the tech team has its own priorities, which likely have nothing to do with increasing conversion rates. When it comes to your brand’s website, what only matters to them is whether it’s working or not. “If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it” is typically the mentality of a task-focused tech team. All those little, never-ending, and time-consuming iterations that you need them to deploy and manage can be easily perceived as a massive headache in the making. So, it’s no surprise that convincing them on this front can feel like an uphill battle.
But, as a marketer, conversion matters to you because you know that being able to convert more leads into actual customers is the best way to deliver long-term business value through marketing. It’s also the most measurable way to demonstrate the success of your marketing efforts. After all, conversion rate optimization can make all those results stronger. But you can’t do it all on your own. You need strategists to come up with a non-stop supply of hypotheses, design support for all those iterations you’re testing, the ability to deploy and test new variables quickly, as well as the data to help you see what’s working. So, when you can’t get the support internally, it’s a massive roadblock to results.
We know this at LQ. That’s why we’ve taken an entirely different approach to conversion rate optimization. We know just how important it is for brands to do this kind of work. So, to help ease the pain, we oftentimes offer our expert services on a pay-for-performance basis. Not only is this a huge incentive for us to help brands drive real performance gains – which is what we love to do most – but it’s one way we can demonstrate how we “talk the talk and walk the walk.” This is one of the biggest reasons why Microsoft Bing named us “Optimizer of the Year.” We challenge ourselves every day to take new approaches to conversion rate optimization to help our customers create a better and more compelling brand story. It may seem like the “blue collar” work of digital marketing, but it’s not really; it’s just as important – if not more – than all of your other marketing tactics. We know the large rewards that stem from it. If you want to learn more about what it entails, we’d be happy to help.
Long story short: if you think you’re doing everything possible to reach, target, and engage prospects and eventually turn them into loyal customers, there’s a good chance you’ve missed the most critical part of the digital marketing equation: conversion rate optimization. Sure, it’s not the sexiest, but it delivers real, measurable results and makes all that sexy and fun creative work you do more effective in the long run. After all, why invest in your digital presence if you aren’t willing to take the time to make it as strong and effective as it can possibly be?