Best Practices: Creating the Right Conversion Path for eCommerce Campaigns

August 31, 2016 by Leah Na'aman

Introduction

Whether you’re promoting specific products, a sale or your eStore in general, a structured conversion path is necessary for any successful eCommerce campaign. Conversion rates are a big part of campaign analysis for marketers and online retailers as they show how many people actually make a purchase out of all the consumers that visited your eStore. The higher your conversion rate, the more effective your marketing campaign is and that means bigger revenues for your business.

The key to impressive conversion figures? A solid conversion path…

What is a conversion path?

In its simplest form, a conversion path is the route a consumer takes from not knowing about your brand to becoming a paying customer. The path taken is inevitably unique to each individual customer, but there are a number of stages that most people will encounter along the way. The most universal of these are:

  • Discovery
  • Research
  • Purchase
  • Engagement

It’s at these points that eStore marketers have the best chance of persuading the greatest number of consumers to make a purchase. With this in mind, it’s vital to be aware of each milestone and have a plan in place to interact with consumers when launching an eCommerce campaign.

How to optimize your campaign conversion path

Stage 1: Tips to get your eStore discovered

This is the point at which a consumer discovers your brand or eCommerce store, giving you the opportunity to attract them. But if your conversion funnel is to be successful, you need to lay the proper foundation and that means targeting the RIGHT customer.

You’ll waste so much time and money if you try to attract everyone, hoping that a few will take the bait. Instead, you need to target your approach to the people your products are actually for – this means taking the time to define and understand your target demographics.

Questions to ask include:

  • Who can benefit from my products?
  • Why would X demographic need my product?
  • What problem does my product solve?
  • Who are my competitors targeting?
  • What’s my unique selling point (ie: Why should a consumer choose my brand?)

Once you have insight into your consumer audience, it’s time to position yourself in their paths. Successful marketing techniques include:

SEO: People turn to search engines when looking for a product to solve their problems and being on the first page of that search is a huge advantage.

Social media: A strong social media presence is a must for online stores these days and gives you a unique opportunity to interact directly with consumers.

Ads: With careful keyword research and specific targeting tailored to your now-defined audience, placing ads in search engines or on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram can reel in new customers.

Give free advice: People like to get something for nothing, so create a blog on your store and use this to give free advice that solves problems your audience typically encounters. This builds trust and also gives your brand an air of authority.

For more techniques on attracting customers, visit our post: 10 Ways You Can Bring Customers to Your Online Store.

Stage 2: How to keep consumers during their research

Consumers these days are an educated bunch and will often do their own research before making a purchase, especially online. Once they discover your products, many will leave your site to investigate your competitors and find other online reviews from third parties.

Questions they typically ask are:

  • Is the price reasonable?
  • What exactly am I getting?
  • Does the product do what it’s supposed to?
  • Does the branding appeal to me?
  • Does the company understand me?
  • Does the company have a good reputation?

There are three key ways to provide the information your potential customer needs to convert.

On-site information

A customer clicking away from your site is always a risk, so keeping them connected to your eStore is the goal. Each product page should contain a thorough amount of information so that the consumer feels they’re getting a complete picture of what the product is like in real life. This includes an overview of included items, sizing details, and multiple images or a video of the product. You could even embed a YouTube video of someone reviewing the item and showing it in use, which can increase conversions by 7.5%.

Customer Reviews

Reviews from past buyers can do a lot for your brand and generate trust in consumers. Have an option to leave comments on each product page and remind customers to leave a review in after-sales emails. You can even offer incentives to customers on social media, encouraging them to submit pictures or videos of them using your product.

Influencer promotion

There are many bloggers, Instagrammers and other social media influencers who you can pay to promote your product or post a picture/video of them using it. Fees vary depending on the number of followers a person has but don’t be dazzled by someone who has thousands of followers. Instead, target influencers in your industry who have a loyal, engaged audience even if it’s smaller. Their audience is more likely to listen to recommendations. You can also send free products out to different influencers, many of whom will post reviews.

Note: You should have calls-to-action around your eStore for your mailing list, including incentives like discounts for signing up. If the consumer isn’t ready to buy today, this will give you a long-term connection with them and multiple chances to convert them down the line.

Stage 3: Techniques to maintain purchase intent

Just because the consumer has decided to make a purchase, it doesn’t mean you’re now guaranteed a sale. Within the conversion path is a smaller trail specific to your eCommerce store and that’s the purchase path. Here, you’ll need to ensure your site is up to scratch, making the buying process as smooth as possible for all visitors.

  • You have three seconds to capture a visitor’s interest, so if your site is slow to load, you’re throwing potential revenue away. Optimize loading speeds and remember to monitor site performance for any real-time problems causing delays.
  • Navigation is also important, so make sure everything appears in a logical place.
  • Ensure that site search works efficiently.
  • Make practical information about delivery, returns and contact easy to find.
  • Reduce the number of pages it takes to get from a product page to the ‘Thank You for Your Order page’.
  • Make it simple to register with your site so that carts can be saved if users don’t have time to complete their purchase right away.

Step 4: How to reconvert consumers through engagement

Conversion doesn’t stop once a consumer makes one purchase – you’ve encouraged them to convert, which means you’re in an excellent position to inspire more sales. Providing they had a positive experience with your eStore and product, you’ve already earned their trust, so continue to engage with them.

Use personalized emails to suggest products they would like, promote loyalty discounts you have available or recommend products you think they might like based on their original purchase or on-site searches. You should also send reminders if they have items in their wishlist or cart.

And it doesn’t end there…

Yes, you got a conversion, but could you have gotten more? Was the process smooth and efficient? Is your funnel truly optimized or did you just find a few patient consumers and get lucky? Testing is a big part of creating an effective conversion path. It’s important to be aware of how both customers or site abandoners traveled the path you laid out.

Use Google Analytics to compile and analyze traditional data, like bounce rates, page views, and exits to see how consumers are interacting with your online store. Track sales and cart abandonment rates, and don’t forget to monitor analytics available on your social media sites to gauge how effective your campaigns are.

With this data, you can now begin tweaking your existing path to combat sticky areas. Perform split tests with each change and monitor the impact of each one on conversions.

Remember conversion paths are a cycle and there’s always room for improvement.

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Author

Leah Na’aman