Conversion Optimization: part art, mostly science

Conversion Optimization is the “science and art” of testing to maximize the percentage of website visitors that become customers. But it delivers more than the name implies. In fact, it might more accurately be called “Strategic Marketing Optimization,” because it aligns digital and business strategy to a system of metrics, so decisions can be truly data-driven.

Optimization involves a careful review of website traffic data and the ways visitors engage with your brand through the customer journey to purchase. Every visitor’s path tells a story.  It’s up to the skilled marketer to listen. Customer behavior on site speaks volume about interests, motivators and the structure of the experience.

Something as basic as a heat map shows which parts of a page are receiving the most visitor attention. Traffic reports also show which parts of a website are ineffective. Perhaps pages within the site are focused on topics that have little or no interest to the audience. (If so, that valuable real estate would be better used to support another part of the sales story!)

In addition to the science of measuring website click paths, artful optimization can impact overall marketing effectiveness. It’s a real-world test of messaging and relevance. Marketers with a big picture perspective won’t overlook the potential implications for the overall plan.

Let’s face it: not every digital company is “optimization friendly.” They’d rather talk flash animation and page takeovers than facts and figures. Many still approach website design primarily as a creative project, not a critical business channel. But when the goal is to generate leads/sales, the site should not only look “exciting” or “cool”. It must also be evaluated by business results.

More than anything, Conversion Optimization is a reality check. It reveals what truly interests visitors on the website – what’s catching their eye and driving them to learn more. They tell us with their behavior, which speaks louder than any survey or opinion.

At AIS Media, we are dedicated to analyzing and optimizing every website. (In fact, we created a company manifesto around it! We rely on our experience then test it, we gather results refine, then test it, we listen to our audience then test it. We believe in art and science, intuition and evidence and incremental and continuous improvement. Systematic review of site traffic is a living report card of our digital efforts.

Here’s just a sample of what conversion optimization can reveal, and the possible implications for refining the customer journey – or perhaps even overall business strategy.

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Of course, making the most of Conversion Optimization requires a cross-disciplinary team with a broad and unique set of skills. What good is it for marketing and sales to agree on newfound priorities, if product and distribution don’t agree?

The point of Conversation Optimization, like all digital initiatives, is to help the business succeed and to build sales within the targeted audience. Put this powerful tool to work, and see where it might lead.