Pay Per Conversation: Changing Our Mindset


As snow flew sideways on the chilly frontier, SES Chicago 2008 participants waited to be regaled yet again with insight and information. Eisenberg did not disappoint.

This session focused on shifting the mindset from “Pay Per Click” to “Pay Per Conversation.”  Clearly it is imperative to remain cognizant of the current state of the economy, where every click and hence every dollar matters.

Every click is a potential customer trying to engage you and their choices are limited.  Will the customer continue the dialogue through to a purchase funnel or will they bounce immediately off your landing page?  In order to continue the conversation, the value of the product and service needs to be demonstrated.

This session helped  identify missed conversations and then how to woo them back.  The introduction was given by Anne Kennedy, Managing Partner & Founder, Beyond Ink.  Presenting valuable insight was Bryan Eisenberg, Co-founder, Future Now Inc.

Behind everything is a person. Marketers must go beyond just getting people’s attention to getting their conversation.  Solid opportunities lie with the 97% of the visitors who, on average, are not converting.

Eisenberg analogized web users to blood hounds by their ability to track a “scent.” He theorized that people navigate the web much like these nosey hounds. Much like our canine companions, once the scent is lost…it is back to the home base to start over.  Before this point, there is a small window of opportunity to engage users onto the next logical scent.

Statistics indicate that we lose 10% of people on first click and 55% on second click so one must ask themselves…is my conversion on 2nd click? Remember that keywords don’t fail to convert…we do! Simply put, we didn’t give user the experience they expect.

Improving the experience on your website for others requires some level of altruism and thinking outside your own experience. Becoming relevant to a broad base of users may require you to debunk Golden Rules.

Instead, base your design on the different personality types of your users. Eye tracking data indicates that, depending on personality type (competitive – methodical – spontaneous – humanistic), people look at different places on the page simply because different things matter.

What can you do? Simple…give the searcher what he or she wants. Persuasion and Conversion are not simply an event.  They are processes just as purchases don’t happen instantaneously and are also events.  Different people have different journeys to conversion.  Keep this in mind as you ask yourself:

1. Who are we trying to persuade?
2. What action do we want them to take?
3. What action do they take
4. What do they need?

Unless you have unlimited resources, don’t do “slice and dice optimization.” Instead, look at how pages look from the perspective of the four personality types. Also, while it may seem obvious, remember the rule of proximity – that when you put things close to each other on a page, people think they are related. Strive for continuous improvement over the years by focusing in on experience.

Fine tune by aligning customers & business objectives and realize that even a couple of words matter. You will also need to gain design, creative, and technical resources. In addition, gather tools such as Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer.

Sounds easy but where do you start?  What should you change first?  Start with web analytics to find: Pages with high bounce rates, high exit rates, and low time spent.

Continually Look for:

• Signs you may have a planning/relevance issue  by checking keyword choice & intent, internal search, queries, proper content and call to action segments.  Additionally, check landing page reports, funnel reports and site overlay.

• Early stage vs late stage bouncers. Early is probably a content issue.

• Signs you may have structural issue by checking your site on all browsers, iphones, and back connections.  Use Xenu’s Link Sleuth to check for broken links .  Check error logs to see if your design and navigation is consistent to what your customer feedback tells you.  Do usability testing & eye tracking.

• Signs of momentum issues by checking your website download speed.

• Signs of a broken scent by checking your internal and external anchor text, Google quality scores, and check out abandonment navigation.  These may indicate trust and confidence issues.

• Signs of communication issues by checking copy readability and with a calculator to determine if your copy and images are better than your competitors.

• Signs of value issue by looking at what the costumer review says.  How does it add to their pain, problem, or want?

Take one bite at a time.  Ask better questions.  The key to staying on the “scent” trail is to identify where the problems are and how to fix them and learn how to build around personas.

Photo Credit Flickr/today is a good day

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