Just like Metrics and KPIs, Conversion is another measurement term which is often mis-used (thanks to Jim Suchara for the suggestion). A conversion happens when someone completes an action you want them to take — purchases from you, signs up for a newsletter, registers for a webinar, etc. So, just like KPIs (key performance indicators) measuring conversions requires first understanding exactly what it is you want people to do — what are your business goals and objectives?
Defining Conversions Starts with Your Business
I feel like a broken record, but again, when defining conversions, you need to start with your business. What is your business goal and what are your objectives? What is your digital strategy? What actions do you want people to complete online which help you achieve your goal?
A Service Company Conversion Example
Let’s say you’re a service company with a website, a Twitter profile and a Facebook page. Your goal (specific, attainable, time delimited) is to increase sales by 10% over the next 6 months. After looking at your target audience and the benefits your services offer customers, you’ve decided that you have two actions which will help you accomplish your goal (increasing sales by 10%) — registering for a free webinar and requesting a quote — which will give you sales leads. These are your calls to actions and they’re also the actions you’ll be measuring for conversions. When a person registers for your webinar, you have one conversion. Likewise, when a person requests a quote, you have a conversion.
In our example above we have two different conversions – registering for a webinar and requesting a quote. To measure these conversions, there probably is a form people fill out on your website and then an email is sent to you with the information from the form. Every time you get an email is one conversion.
Analytics programs like Google Analytics can also be setup to measure conversions by telling them what page on your website is reached when a specific action is completed — usually a thank you page of some type. Google then can give you some very valuable information about your conversion rates (how many people came to the landing page/form vs. actually converted), as well as where people may be getting lost in the process (checkout Funnel visualizations in Google Anlaytics Goals).
How to increase conversions is the topic for entire books (or at least another post or two) and really depends on your particular business, industry and online strategy. However, if you have identified your business goal, your calls to action and your landing pages, you’ve made measuring conversions much easier. Once you have data about your conversions and what’s happening on your landing pages, you can start to experiment with ways to improve your conversions — maybe your target audience isn’t quite right or maybe your messaging doesn’t convey the benefits to the customer.
What do you think? How do you define a conversion?
(photo by jaygooby)