The ultimate goal of all forms of marketing is a return on investment (ROI).
In digital marketing, this means securing a profitable return from your website, paid ads, or other internet marketing campaign.
The symbiotic goals of measuring and quantifying this return should be something that your business and marketing team hold in equally high regard. Whether you are responsible for your company’s marketing or you are working with an agency, it’s important to monitor the campaign’s progress with quantifiable goals.
Quantifying ROI in digital marketing
KPIs (key performance indicators) are a type of performance measurement, often evaluating the success of an activity such as digital marketing. You’ll want to identify your website KPIs before you jump in to your strategy.
The ability to easily quantify and attribute the source of your return on investment is critical. After all, how will you replicate success if you don't know how you achieved it? KPIs help you market smarter, not harder, and guide you in determining where to invest your time and money.
ROI metrics will vary based on the nature of the business and the campaign, and your KPIs. For some businesses, that ROI may be search engine ranking and brand exposure; for others it may converting website visitors into customers. It could even be as simple as purchases of a product or a service.
7 important website conversion factors
In digital marketing, conversions are considered the end goal and a powerful way to measure ROI. A conversion occurs when a user completes a desired action such as contacting your business or purchasing a product or service.
For a law firm, a conversion may be calling the firm or using an online form to contact the firm regarding a legitimate case. For a restaurant, the conversion may be making a reservation. For a blogger, a conversion may be signing up for an email list or downloading an ebook. Conversion rates are one metric used to determine whether your digital marketing campaign is working and whether you need to make any adjustments to your strategy.
You only have 15 seconds to convert a prospective customer or client on your website. Therefore, understanding conversion best practices and minimizing bounce rate is essential to success.
In obtaining a conversion, different factors come into play based on the medium you are marketing towards. Below are a few pointers for capturing raw leads coming to your website and converting those users.
1. Mobile first
As of July 2019,Google is indexing mobile-first. Nearly 50% of all online searches in the United States now occur on a mobile device, and this number can be even greater depending on the search term. A responsive web design (a website that conforms to any device it is viewed on) is important—incorporating a mobile design, mobile usability, and mobile functionality is essential to driving conversions.
2. Rank high
Ranking high in search engine results is also extremely important to conversions. This includes all aspects of your digital marketing from organic search and paid search engine marketing. Exposure is crucially important because users cannot convert if they cannot find you.
3. Form follows function
Form following function is a main principle of all design. Most designers see themselves as artistically visual problem solvers. The design (form) of your website should directly and clearly lead users to conversions (function).
4. Unique value proposition
What is your differentiating factor? Why should clients choose you over your competition? What is your credibility? You must outline a unique value proposition that can be immediate grasped by the user.
5. Calls to action
Often within a service or brick-and-mortar business website, conversions result from customers making a phone call, participating in an online chat, or completing a contact form. Some users are extroverted and some are introverted, recognize this and set up your website to capture them all.
To maximize conversions, your website should include the following call-to-action features.
Prominent contact information
All main contact information should be located above the fold or at a top level functionality in mobile. Phone numbers should be extremely prominent and feature click-to-call options for mobile users.
These forms should appear on all pages, particularly main pages such as the home page and contact page.
Chatbots and other live chat help services can offer an effective bridge for conversions. They don’t force a user to call, but maintain an immediacy that may not be achieved with a contact form.
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These should be incorporated into the web design at the top of your page. The value proposition (the “why choose you?” of your website) must be clear and on target. Even the best business won’t get clients if the design and messaging is amateurish or unappealing.
Imagery choices should speak to the target audience you are focusing on and relate to your business or firm (by location, practice, product, or service). A subconscious connection with images can be a defining factor in converting users. Infographics, videos, and other visual enhancements can all be conversion boosters.
Accolades, reviews, or testimonials
The use of feedback, accolades, and other content from outside sources like previous users or customers is an effective way to persuade your site visitors or ad viewers to choose your service or product.
Online ratings and reviews (Amazon product reviews, restaurant reviews on Google Maps or Yelp, software reviews on G2) commonly appear on SERPs and can also be used on your website directly. Presenting online business reviews, accolades, and testimonials provides legitimacy to your business because the affirmation is coming from others and not you.
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6. User-focused content
Adhering to the same principles of design (see step three, form follows function), user-focused content must connect with users. This principle is akin to the 80/20 rule of marketing, also known as the Pareto Principle: 80% of your user-focused content should be geared to the user and 20% should discuss why they should want to convert with your service or product. Again, focus on why users should choose you and your services or product versus the competition.
7. Website speed
The focus on mobile usability, design usability and functionality, speed is an often-overlooked (yet very important) factor. How long would you stay on a website if it wasn't loading quickly? If and when it slowly did load, would you convert from it? No, nor will your users.
Measuring a campaign's success
You’ll probably need a tool to help you analyze the data you’ve collected in your marketing campaign. Google analytics shows the statistical performance of your website and is one of the best ways to leverage data to your advantage. Data analytics allow you to determine user engagement and the attributed sources of your conversions. Conversely, you can also use analytics to identify pages that have a high entrance rate yet a high exit, or bounce rate. All of this data can be measured in the time intervals most important to your business or firm: day to day, week to week, month to month, or year to year.
Call tracking services are available to help increase conversions, optimize advertising, and improve service. The beauty of call tracking services is that they remove all ambiguity for conversions. Their entire purpose is to definitively track where and how conversions are taking place. This data provides full transparency and clarity, enabling you to determine how and where to spend your marketing dollars.
Invest in digital marketing
Back in the 80s, businesses tracked landline calls and postcard returns. Today, we have analytics, technical tools, and digital call tracking services. No matter what technology they do it on, it is essential for businesses to track and analyze marketing efforts that lead to conversions in order to quantify the return on investment.
If you don't conduct digital analytics, you won't understand what’s working or what isn't, nor will you understand how to adjust your marketing strategy or how your efforts impact your bottom line. No matter the quality of your product or service, the cornerstone of your business’s success is the quality of your digital marketing campaign.
Alex DiSebastian is the Internet Marketing Director at PaperStreet, a digital marketing agency that serves the legal industry. Alex has led internet marketing, PPC, and SEO teams to achieve top rankings (organic and paid) for numerous competitive keywords and maintained their positions, generating millions of dollars a year in revenue for his clients.