Determining Your Goals: Conversion or Engagement?
When running an online marketing campaign, the best-case scenario is generating lots of traffic, building immense brand loyalty, and then funneling all your traffic into successful conversions, resulting in greater revenue for your business. Unfortunately, campaigns don’t always work this way. There could be a flaw in your conversion strategy, leaving your massive traffic stream essentially useless, or there could be a holdup in your traffic generation strategy, filtering only a slow trickle through your otherwise successful high conversion rate.
Customer engagement and conversions are both important elements to your online marketing strategy, but invariably, you will need to place a greater emphasis on one over the other. Deciding which to focus on can be difficult, especially when you’re working with a limited budget, but it’s important to set a primary goal; otherwise, you could spend your time and effort inefficiently.
Conversions: Advantages and Disadvantages
Conversions can come in many forms, such as getting a user to make a purchase, sign up for an email list, or simply fill out a contact form. No matter how you choose to qualify a conversion, committing to improving your conversion rate can be extremely beneficial for your campaign:
- Conversion rates are the floodgates for your traffic. Improving your conversion rate means, on average, you’ll get more revenue per site visitor.
- Increasing a conversion rate generally functions as an immediate fix. You’ll start to see increased revenue immediately after implementing your changes.
- On the other hand, conversion rate changes are linear. If you increase your conversion rate from 20 percent to 30 percent, it will not continue to grow unless you make another change.
- Conversions take less time to improve, generally speaking, since their problems are easier to diagnose and they have fewer moving parts.
Engagement: Advantages and Disadvantages
Engagement is more of a long-term strategy, manifesting in your content marketing and social media marketing strategies. Through engagement, you’ll nurture a network of fans and followers to come to your site (or landing page) in greater numbers. There are some key advantages and disadvantages to favoring engagement over conversions:
- Engagement is the source of your traffic. Increasing your engagement means you’ll see greater numbers of visitors, and thus greater revenue if your conversion rate is consistent.
- Engagement efforts take a long time and a lot of effort to execute. Content marketing strategies can take months or even years before they start to see results.
- On the other hand, engagement strategies increase your audience exponentially. It takes a long time to warm up your initial audience, but once you’ve hit that threshold, you’ll start to see compounding returns—50 visitors the first month, 100 the second, 200 the third, and so on.
- Engagement issues are hard to diagnose, and it takes a massive effort to adjust your campaign to align with changes in your long-term vision.
Once you’ve decided which is your primary goal, you can start taking the necessary steps to improve that area of your strategy.
Improving Your Conversion Rate
Before you start improving your conversion rate blindly, take a look at your current setup for any glaring problems:
- Is your landing page fully functional, loading quickly, and looking the way it’s supposed to? If not, contact your web developer to correct any problems.
- Is your call to action apparent and easy to find? If it isn’t prominent, you may need to adjust your design to make it so. An arrow or a brighter color can sometimes help.
- Is there a value for users to convert? There needs to be a value associated with the action—for example, is your product worth the money? Are users getting value in exchange for submitting their information? If not, you’ll need to take efforts to readjust your campaign to make a stronger offer.
Aside from those initial errors, you can make gradual adjustments to refine your strategy and improve a landing page that’s already good:
- Revise your headline to be more concise, more prominent, and more compelling for readers.
- Offer your incoming traffic something even better than what they’re currently getting for their conversion.
- Add a video or a testimonial that will increase your authority and give users more information to make a decision.
- Set up a separate landing page for a different segment of your traffic, with more appropriate language, and split your incoming traffic into the appropriate funnel.
- Cut out anything that you don’t absolutely need. Remove jargon and fluff from your content, and eliminate any design features that are superfluous.
- Improve trust by adding proof of the value of conversion, such as testimonials or a direct comparison with a competitor that favors you.
If you want to drastically improve your conversion rates, the best thing to do is set up a separate, yet similar landing page. Make significant alterations to the design, the headline, the layout, the offer—everything you can think of. Then, use the same flow of traffic directed to each of the landing pages, and measure which landing page is most effective. This is called an A/B test, and if done in a few separate rounds, you should wind up with a landing page that incorporates all the best elements of all prior landing pages, and produces the greatest number of conversions as a result.
Improving Your Engagement Strategy
Improving your engagement strategy isn’t going to be as cut-and-dry as improving your conversion rates, but there are a handful of strategies you can refine:
- Step up the quality and frequency of your content. Perform a content audit to see what new topics you can introduce to your blog that will please more readers and elicit more attention. Then, double your publishing efforts—if you’re used to doing one post a week, step it up to two.
- Post more frequently on social media. On Facebook, post at least two or three times a day. On Twitter, post five times a day or more, and space your posts throughout the day to get the most coverage.
- Increase direct engagement on social media channels. On all your relevant platforms, make a concentrated effort to respond to every incoming comment or question. And go beyond replies—look for potential users who might be interested in your brand, and reach out to them directly with a follow or a comment.
- Give your readers more opportunities to share content by providing infographics, videos, and other types of multimedia.
- Take advantage of interactive opportunities, such as surveys, games, contests, guest posts, and open Q&A discussions with your followers.
The key principle to remember with your engagement strategy is that it takes time to produce results. Increasing the amount of content you syndicate isn’t going to lead to a direct increase in traffic, but when combined with other properly aligned engagement strategies, you’ll start to see improvement month over month.
Both engagement and conversions are necessary components of your online marketing campaign, and you’ll have to address and refine both over time. Keep this in mind when you outline your short-term goals.
If you’re interested in a free audit of your current brand engagement and conversion strategies, contact us! We’ll take a walkthrough of your current efforts and point out key areas for improvement.
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