Increase the Persuasive Momentum of Your Conversion Funnels

Waiting for your cat to bark?Companies that plan and optimize persuasive momentum usually convert two to four times better than their industry’s average conversion rate. If you are not properly planning the persuasive momentum of your customer’s experience, then you are leaving way too much to chance. I like to keep chance as far away from my business as possible. I hope you might feel the same way.

What Is Persuasive Momentum?

In Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? we defined persuasive momentum as “the progressive decision-making process that aligns the customers’ goals with our own business goals.” Whether intentional or not, your business is operating a persuasive system. In 2002, we defined a persuasive system this way:

Persuasive systems are complex. Their success depends on their ability to address the varying levels of need a user brings to the online experience. To be effective, a website must address these user needs at every point in the process.

This applies to the entire customer experience, which includes social media, traditional media, call centers, signage, product placement, packaging, customer service, sales collateral, direct mail, billboards, PPC, SEM, PR, websites, microsites, video, mobile, demos, sales training, employee training, and of course, one-on-one customer interaction. Each of these components (and some I probably missed) together form your persuasive system. The better you optimize your persuasive system the more efficient you will be at converting and reconverting customers.

Too often, we see marketers that are stuck on the sales/conversion funnel metaphor. Your customers’ journeys are their stories, NOT funnels. They could tell you the stories; just try asking them. And those stories don’t always have happy endings.

Your customers’ stories end happily when they are delighted. And for them that may mean getting what they want from you or from a competitor. It’s simply a matter of perspective.

The most successful companies start with the story from the customer’s perspective. Buyer Legends are the simplest way to build that story from the customer’s perspective. Successful Buyer Legends insure that the story is accountable through analytics. They anticipate what needs to be measured in order for the analysts to understand the actual customers’ experience – did their stories end happily?

It’s Time to Perfect Your Concept of a Funnel

Let’s get real – your customer isn’t truly in a funnel. There’s no gravity compelling them through your experience like there is in a real funnel. There is only the customer’s motivation and your understanding of that motivation to create persuasive momentum.

Your sales/ conversion funnel likely has some elements of persuasive momentum, but are they planned and designed to be optimized? It also has some leaks. Do you know what in your customer experience is working and isn’t working to move (or not move) customer forward toward your set conversion goal?

Micro-Actions vs. Macro-Actions

Because persuasive momentum is about enticing customers to take action, you must understand the two types of actions you want customers to take. Typically your conversion/sales goals are the macro-actions: capturing a lead, closing a sale, becoming a member. These are usually the actions that take up the most time and effort in terms of optimization and planning. Still, it is dangerous, to your bottom line, to ignore the micro-actions.

Micro-actions are all the required smaller actions customers need to take to before they can take a macro-action. Micro-actions can be as simple as clicking a link, watching a video, reading content, clicking an ad, taking a note, and more. Without persuasive momentum, customers do not move forward in their buying journey.

The Three Elements of Persuasive Momentum

No matter if the action is micro or macro, there is a simple formula that will help you identify persuasive momentum or the lack thereof.

  1. Relevance. Are you relevant to my wants/needs/desires/query?
  2. Value. Do I understand why you are the right solution for me? Have you explained your value proposition/offer well to me?
  3. Call to action. Is it obvious what I need to do next? Have you provided me with the confidence to take that required micro or macro action?

Ask these questions at every touch point of your customer’s experience, and you will quickly find if your touch points are missing one, two, or all three of these components. Longtime readers may recognize that this is the concept I teach to my conversion rate optimizations students: The Conversion Trinity.

Conversion Trinity: Relevance, Value & Call to Action

 

It is only when you sequence all the micro-actions (even the distractions your customer will inevitably run in to) correctly you create the metaphorical gravity that compels customers along your conversion funnel. This takes some work, and it’s why companies that plan and optimize persuasive momentum usually convert two to four times better than their industry’s average conversion rate.

Use Buyer Legends to Create Persuasive Momentum

Start with a pre-mortem, the second step in the Buyer Legend process that helps you to identify anything that can go wrong from your customer’s perspective. Then create a reverse chronology, another step in the Buyer Legend process that allows you to address customer needs and plan persuasive momentum.

When you are planning a customer experience it is always best to start at the end point and work your way backwards to the beginning. This requires you to get very specific about how and why every decision and action needs to be taken in the buying journey.

Persuasive momentum is not an abstract concept; it needs to be planned concretely in order to be implemented effectively and fully optimized. Persuasive momentum lets you align the customers’ goals with your own goals. That is the only way both customer and company get to have the happy endings that you both crave.

Please share if you think others would benefit.

4th Post – Recipes For Practical Customer Experience Design & Optimization # CRO #UX #CX

persona_BLPlease read the just published Personas: The Key Ingredient In Design For Conversion. It is the fourth in a series of six Recipes For Practical Customer Experience Design & Optimization posts.

In case you missed them, the first four posts are:

I. Pre-mortem because it is the antidote to Murphy’s Law 

First we’ll explore the most impactful step of the process, the pre-mortem. Some of our largest conversion wins over the last two decades ever were the result of our clients going through the pre-mortem exercise.  Murphy’s law states that everything that can go wrong usually will and a pre-mortem will help you spot previously invisible problems in your current customer experience as well as plan against future problems. But the pre-mortem step is not for the faint hearted as it may show you things about your precious baby that are not as attractive as you wanted to believe.  The only thing that makes a pre-mortem more powerful is by doing a pre-mortem on a persona by persona and then scenario/ campaign by scenario basis.

II. Reverse chronology because it explains conversions

Assuming you have a product or service worth buying then you and your customers have the same goal.  You want to sell and they want to buy. That’s why when you are planning a customer experience it is always best to start at the end point and work your way backwards to the beginning.  This step requires you to get very specific about how and why every decision and action needs to be taken in the buying journey.  It’s specificity also makes this step important to measuring and optimizing your customer experience when you finally implement it. Your Buyer Legend isn’t fiction so every detail must be accounted for, not only that but you must create persuasive momentum at every step.

III. Persuasive momentum because there’s no such thing as a sales funnel

Your customer isn’t truly in a funnel. There’s no gravity compelling them through your experience like there is in a real funnel. There is only the customer’s motivation and your understanding of that motivation to create persuasive momentum. Persuasive momentum is the progressive decision making process that aligns the customer’s goals with our own business goals. I’ll show you the three step test that will insure your customers’ experiences are always relevant, valuable and compelling.

IV. Personas because their motivations become your action plan

Personas are a common marketing tool, but their value is often misunderstood. Simply put, personas should inform you about exactly what you need to be doing. Personas can be elaborate constructs based on reams of research and data, or they can be constructed quickly with data and information at hand, but as long as they are directionally accurate reflections of a segment of your customer they can be powerful tools that will guide your Buyer Legends processes. I will be discussing how to construct ad-hoc personas as well as help you evaluate and if needed fix your current personas if you have them.

The next two will be published soon:

V. Write a Buyer Legend because the only story that matters is your customers’ story

This is the step when you actually pull out your pots, grab a spatula and fire up your burners.  I will tell you all the ingredients to include so you can have them at the ready. This is the step where all your previous work begins to pay off and when you’re done you will have an action plan that can be distributed, implemented, tested, and optimized.  A Buyer Legend is where the rubber meets the road.

VI. Measurement because if analysts cannot tell the stories and business people cannot measure the stories then the strategy isn’t truly aligned with customers’ needs.

Your Buyer Legend isn’t fiction, it’s not for fun or for entertainment, or even for creative fulfillment.  This is business, and anything important to a businesses success should be measurable and accountable.  Buyer Legends are both and I will give you a primer on measuring, optimizing, rinsing, and repeating.

We hope you enjoy the series and as always, we encourage you to try Buyer Legends for yourself, but if you need help, please let us know.

Please share if you think others would benefit.

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Trick not treat! Most visitors clicking your promotions hope that you'll offer them with some tasty treat. If instead you do things that shake their enthusiasm and frighten them from taking advantage of your offer, they'll just bail on you no … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Optimize Your Product Image to Sell

Last week's Conversion Optimization 101 challenge, asked you to look at the eBags TLS Workstation Laptop Backpack and the product image(s) they use. I asked you to let me know what  things would you test as the primary image display? They have … [Continue reading]

Kids on Retail: Thoughts from the Next Generation of Shoppers

What are you doing today to be ready for them when they are your customers in the next 5 to 10 years? Just think about how different the landscape was just 5 years ago. … [Continue reading]

Confessions of an Online Marketing Tool Junkie

It's fun to play with the latest shiny new object and marketing tools, but remember marketing success rarely happens because of the tool. Success happens because of what the people and process you have in place do with the tool. Invest in your … [Continue reading]

Grab Your Free Kindle Copy of a Great Business Book This Weekend Only

My friend Tim Miles has his birthday this weekend. So he decided that this weekend he will be giving away his book, Good Company – Making It, Keeping It & Being, for free on Amazon. I want you to help me give Tim a present back for giving of … [Continue reading]

Google Adwords Conversion Rates by Industry

My friend, Larry Kim just published some research his company Wordstream just released. Wordstream used the data collected by the AdWords Performance Grader, a free AdWords account audit tool which has evaluated over $1 billion dollars in annualized … [Continue reading]

TheGrok’s Not to Miss Links for the Week of October 25th, 2012

I know not everyone can keep up with everything Jeffrey and I read or share during the week. Here are some of those links you don’t want to miss this week: If you are doing any kind of Content Marketing, you'll want to grab a copy of the 2013 B2B … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Make Your Product Image Sell

Social media and ecommerce are becoming even more visual.  With apps like Pinterest, Instagram, etc., the use of the correct photograph and even well shot video is critical in selling your products effectively. So let's take a look at a product … [Continue reading]

Average Conversion Rate by Industry 2012

For MarketingSherpa's 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report they surveyed participants and asked them to write in what their average conversion rate was. Here is a chart of the results: While this is survey data and not the most accurate, at … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Optimizing Complex Web Forms (w/ 10 Point Checklist)

Last week, I asked you to review and comment on how you would optimize this beautifully designed, but non-optimized form: The three most common form design problems: Forms that fail to reduce fear Forms that fail to build trust and … [Continue reading]

Your Customer Is In Control. Are You Ready?

  What have you seen as the biggest change in the last 6 years since the book was published? … [Continue reading]

Just One Thing

Do you remember the movie where an ad executive played by Billy Crystal takes time off to go on a cattle drive and he befriends an old cowboy, Curly, played by Jack Palance? While they are out, Billy's character, who is in search of the secret of … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Form Folly

There were some excellent responses last week's CRO challenge post on a NetFlix ad and landing page mismatch. Thank you all! Today's challenge is to explain how you would improve and optimize the form below . While the page looks polished and … [Continue reading]

The Number 1 Rule for Content Marketing

...or the dog will just ignore you! … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: When Ads and Landing Page Don’t Stink!

Last week I asked how you would improve scent from this NetFlix ad and landing page combination, I found while looking at FaceBook on my iPad. From a scent perspective the issues include: a mismatch of languages mixed messaging in the … [Continue reading]

Last Minute Secrets to Boost Holiday 2012 Sales

We asked a bunch of our industry expert friends: if a small to mid-sized retailer asked you for a couple of low resource, high impact & simple to execute, tips they could use before the holidays, what would you tell them to do? The tips had to be … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Ad Continuity/Scent

It was Dr Ed Chi, a Xerox Palo Alto Researcher, as early as 2001, who indicated that humans track information in a similar fashion to the way animals follow a scent. According to an article on the study: People... engage in what [Dr. Ed Chi] calls … [Continue reading]

Conversion Rate 101: Effective Pricing Tables

Last week, I asked you to look at the pricing tables from the Dell.com website and to offer suggestions on how to improve them. There were some fabulous suggestions, let's take a look: Graham Charlton shared: A comparison table, as used by UK … [Continue reading]

Mastering Conversion Rate Optimization?

We (Jeffrey Eisenberg and I) were naïve and full of ourselves; in 2005, when "Call To Action: Secret Formulas To Improve Online Results" hit the major bestselling book lists. In 2006, "Waiting For Your Cat To Bark: Persuading Customers When They … [Continue reading]

TheGrok’s Not to Miss Links for the Week of October 4th, 2012

It's been almost 3 years since I published one of these. However, I know not everyone can keep up with everything Jeffrey and I read or share during the week. Here are some of those links you don't want to miss this week: First things first, if … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Pricing Tables – Ecommerce

On Twitter, I shared a link to this article from Smashing Magazine, Pricing Tables: Examples And Best Practices. When I shared it, I said that while many of these were beautiful there was still plenty of room for some conversion optimization. This … [Continue reading]

What Keeps Retailers Awake at Night in 2012 [Videos]

I just came back from Shop.org's Annual Summit in Denver, where over 4,000 retailers and industry supporters came to learn more about what the industry was up to. While I was there I thought I would spend some time interviewing some of my retailer … [Continue reading]

Just Released: The Website Testing & Optimization – Buyer’s Guide for the Enterprise: Second Edition

There are several things that prompted me to update the Buyer's Guide to Testing & Optmization: 1. Since Google replaced Website Optimizer with Content Experiments, I had to comment on it. 2. I've decided to add a new tool to the … [Continue reading]

Conversion Optimization 101: Culture Trumps Strategy and Tactics

Last week, I published my first  Conversion Optimization 101 post and asked you if you could look at a particular screenshot and also to tell me: What’s wrong with this picture? How would you fix it? Here is the image: There were some … [Continue reading]

Content Marketing Personas

It seems like only yesterday that I typed the following words into my computer: Conversion rate is a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take. It's a reflection of your effectiveness and customer … [Continue reading]