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The Seven Principles of Post-Click Marketing

Post-click marketing is a set of best practices and techniques to improve a user’s landing experience when they respond to online marketing such as email, paid search, and direct mail campaigns, with the objective to the increase conversion rates of the most qualified respondents while increasing real-time marketing knowledge.

Successful post-click marketing campaigns are characterized by the following seven techniques:

  1. Conversion paths
  2. Message matching
  3. Segmenting
  4. Qualification
  5. Conversion
  6. Testing
  7. Analysis

Conversion Paths

Post-click marketing is built around the concept of conversion paths. Respondents begin by clicking on a paid search keyword, a banner ad, or email link. They land on a starting page from which they make a one-click choice about who they are and what they’re looking for. Subsequent pages on the conversion path give respondents a series of simple choices, stepping them along through a short sequence of targeted messages, based on the choices they’ve made, toward conversion.

An effective path might have two steps or eight, with multiple branches for each category of respondent. Each step is custom-tailored to deliver the right fulfillment to the right respondents. Since conversion path messages are matched to the message of the originating click, each campaign may have multiple conversion paths authored to speak directly to the audience for each paid search keyword, banner ad, or email marketing link.

Conversion paths consist of:

  • Initial segmentation page
  • Any number of sub-segmentation pages—depending on how many are necessary for you to group and categorize your field of prospects
  • Offer page
  • Fulfillment page

Why Conversion Paths are Valuable

Post-click marketing enables you to collect information in real time as users move along the conversion path, which can be used to qualify respondents and assign them a score based on their relative importance to you. By collecting data with each self-identifying respondent click, post-click marketing enables you to gain valuable insights about respondents who don’t convert, even those who may abandon halfway through the path.

Message Matching

Post-click marketing matches the message to the click. Conversion paths fulfill the promise of the originating click, delivering each respondent to a targeted message and fulfillment based on the message in which they originally expressed interest.

At each step along the path, every message from the initial segmentation page through conversion features the same content and tone as the banner ad or email message that directed respondents to that path, confirming a match between what you offer and what respondents want.

Why Message Matching is Valuable

With message matching, post-click marketing reaffirms respondents’ choices, paying off their investment in the click and ultimately yielding a more qualified lead. That’s good for your response rate, and good for your brand.


Respondents, even those arriving from the same traffic source, are not all the same.

They often click through based on a very small “hook” of information, such as a banner ad or search keyword, which leads to many diverse audiences arriving at each conversion path. Post-click marketing provides the tools to segment these audiences into manageable, discrete groups.

Through a simple series of clicks, respondents self-select the experience of your message that is most tailored to their interests. Every piece of information that is collected from respondents can then be used to segment them at any point along a path. In some cases, this might be the result of landing on a particular page (or some other form of automatic segment identification), but more often it will be the result of a choice by the respondent—a click, a download, filling out a form. These self-identifying actions by the respondent provide key intelligence that gives you the ability to understand which audience segments are abandoning and which are converting, which leads to understanding which sources of traffic yield better respondents and better conversions.

Why Segmenting is Valuable

Segmenting respondents within conversion paths benefits you and them. Path content that’s custom-tailored to each audience delivers the best experience of your brand, and builds trust that you are responding to their unique needs. Segmenting also enables you to determine the different audiences arriving from each traffic source and the degree to which the path qualifies and converts them, ultimately enabling you to adjust the path or traffic source in a way that will maximize your results.


The post-click marketing qualification score provides a way to assess the relative attractiveness of respondents and conversions from a particular path. In post-click marketing, a qualifying score is automatically calculated as a respondent navigates through a path. When a respondent first lands on a path, his qualifying score starts at 0. Scoring can be affected when the respondents take any action on the path, such as downloading a file or clicking through to another page, or automatically, based on the originating domain, day of the week, or other relevant criteria.

Qualifying scores are extremely flexible. You decide how many points are possible on each given path—different paths may have very different ranges—and how those points are distributed across each action on that path. Therefore, the meaning of a particular score is entirely dependent on its context.

Why Qualification is Valuable

Particularly when you’re acquiring respondents on a pay-per-click basis, the quality of respondents from each traffic source becomes a crucial metric. This is a valuable way to quantify the effectiveness of traffic sources as well as paths.


The final step of a post-click marketing path is conversion, usually signified by submission of a form that enables you to capture a lead (but technically a conversion can be anything). A path may have more than one way in which a respondent can be converted—reaching the last page in a path, downloading a particular document—and in post-click marketing, this can be easily configured on a path-by-path basis.

Conversion rate is the marketing term for the percentage of respondents who “complete” a path out of the total number of respondents who first land on that path. Conversion rate is traditionally the most common metric by which to judge campaigns, but it’s important to also note the actual number of respondents. A 4% conversion rate on a traffic source that only generated 100 click-throughs is not necessarily equivalent to a 4% conversion rate on a traffic source that generated 10,000 click-throughs: it’s the difference between 4 leads and 400. Similarly, qualifying score makes a big difference: 400 mediocre conversions are not the same as 400 qualified leads.

Why Conversion is Valuable

Qualified leads are not clicks, they are people who have expressed an interest in your offer. Post-click marketing acknowledges that cost-per-click isn’t the best metric for gauging the success of a campaign. If your mission is to generate qualified leads, the relevant metric is cost-per-conversion.


A disciplined way to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign, testing is the cornerstone of post-click marketing. A/Z testing is the strategy, an evolution of A/B testing that allows an almost unlimited number of very different types of paths to be compared to see which offers the best net effectiveness. A short two-page path can be tested side-by-side with a long seven-page path. An image-heavy path can be tried versus a copy-heavy path. A path with many branches can be weighed against a path with fewer choices.

Different web response paths will be effective in different situations. Depending on the campaign, the traffic source, the media in which the traffic source was placed or the segments of the respondents, a very different type of path may prove best. With post-click marketing’s real-time analysis tools, conversion paths can be tested and immediately improved to yield ever-more significant results.

Why Testing is Valuable

Post-click marketing gives you the ability to easily experiment with substantially different paths, and over time recognize patterns of what works best in a variety of circumstances. You’re able to leverage and expand your organizational learning about effective path-based marketing—tailored to your markets.


The ion Post-Click Marketing Console provides ready-to-go tools that address the fundamental question: which respondent segments, arriving from which traffic sources, are converted most effectively by which paths?

The console aggregates all campaign data in an online dashboard that enables real-time performance tracking. The console is designed for marketers, with clear charts and easy-to-read data, and is available from any web-connected device.

The ion Post-Click Marketing Console requires no setup and presents all information from a single, centralized console. It can export respondent data to any database or CRM application, and data is preformatted for one-click print-to-PDF. It can be configured to send automated email to respondents, or email alerts to internal staff to stay informed as key milestones are achieved during a campaign. The ion Post-Click Marketing Console also provides auditing and metering tools, and is professionally managed and securely hosted.

Why Analysis is Valuable

Knowledge about your most valuable traffic sources and most qualified leads enables you to make the right media buys, capture the right audience and convert the best leads with the right fulfillment—in short, to optimize your entire online direct marketing chain, not just the individual components.