One of the first things most marketers do when handling a new project is to look for friction. Making forms shorter, creating client-centric content and cutting purchasing steps are sure ways to come to your employers with quick improvements.
However, at times, having higher conversion rates on some steps of the marketing funnel doesn’t necessarily result in more sales or higher profits. In fact, sometimes it’s the opposite.
Why higher conversion can reduce your sales and profit
The reason behind this counterintuitive statement is that some products or services, especially those that demand a high level of investment or commitment, are unaffected by how many low-quality visitors climb the sales funnel.
The sales, and actual income, stem from very specific and highly motivated core customers who might even get bogged down by a less committing, spoon-feeding marketing style.
In these cases, more conversions actually lower the quality of customers.
Over-optimizing specific elements might damage other aspects of the sales process or attract the wrong type of visitors. They might bring activity to your site, but those visitors may not buy or show brand loyalty.
Don’t just treat the symptoms – optimization should be both holistic and targeted
This issue points to a larger philosophical debate, similar to the conflict between symptomatic medicine and holistic medicine. Sometimes, treating specific symptoms backfires in some way, or makes the body go out of balance.
Modern medicine is gradually understanding that the purely symptomatic approach has flaws. When symptoms are treated in a local area, they tend to appear in other parts of the body or to escalate into a chronic condition.
Holistic medicine, on the other hand, has proven itself greatly in preventing disease and contributing to fast healing, but it is very limited in treating acute conditions.
Obviously, for long-term good health you need both a holistic and symptomatic approach.
Optimization is similar. You need to adapt your elements and make changes on the spot when necessary, but you always have to keep in mind the overall structure of your campaign.
How to avoid the risks of high conversion
1. Make a powerful value proposition
The first step is to make sure you have an effective value proposition. This is a sentence that conveys the benefits and advantages that your product offers to your specific audience.
A good value proposition comes from having both a deep understanding of your audience and a good product that can really solve the prospect’s problem. It has to be in the right style and language to reach them.
Optimizing your value proposition for different segments of clients and creating a few propositions suitable to different audiences will greatly improve your sales.
A bad product will be very hard to establish, no matter how good the marketing, especially now that it’s so easy to find online reviews for every imaginable product.
But for this same reason, a good product might create a natural buzz and almost sell itself.
2. Find the right level of friction
Friction – the risk and difficulty of using your service – can be a blessing in disguise. It might cause potential clients to drop out, but it’s also a good filter to distinguish between serious prospects and non-committed visitors.
When you are selling cheap products, a fast and easy buying process makes sense.
However, for high-commitment, high-cost products, the prospects you are looking for are those who are researching the market, comparing and making inquiries.
Sending those clients an offer of two paragraphs and a purchase form with four fields might appear less than serious, and actually might drive those people away.
3. Look at the right data
Another important thing is to focus on increasing revenue rather than high conversion metrics.
Often companies make critical marketing and advertising decisions based on leads, not actual sources of revenue.
It is easy to rely on data that’s simple to obtain, such as open rates or the number of clicks or leads. This, however, can be highly misleading.
An increase in these will not necessarily result in true leverage in sales and profits.
Calculating average revenue per client, LTR and churn levels is more complicated, but tracking these metrics will give you a better picture of how your campaign actually works.
When running a campaign, it’s important to test the global effect of specific campaign elements. A good marketer doesn’t lose touch with the overall purpose of the campaign.
Having a strong value proposition and deep understanding of the purchase dynamic can prevent marketing mistakes that come from misleading campaign data.