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The Anatomy of a Conversion Path

The key to segmentation and subsegmentation is that each click pays off with a page that’s relevant to the respondent.

Flexible and targeted, conversion paths allow you to segment, qualify and convert your online respondents from paid search, display, email and other sources of paid and unpaid web traffic.

Let’s kick off the anatomy lesson by defining what we mean by “conversion path.” A conversion path is a conversion-focused, linear landing experience, specifically designed to catch and convert incoming traffic from your online marketing campaigns. Conversion paths live outside of the structure of a company’s main site, and are typically used in place of landing pages, microsites or deep links to improve conversion rates, lead quality and overall marketing intelligence for your respondents and traffic sources.

Conversion paths move respondents from landing through conversion, using simple or complex branching experiences. Conversion paths comprise a series of connected pages:

  1. Segmentation
  2. Offer or pitch
  3. Thank you

The graphic above shows a simple conversion path flow of landing pages, where segmentation is represented by A and B, and subsegmentation represented by A1/A2 and B1/B2.

It All Starts With Segmentation

A conversion path always starts with a segmentation page—the page respondents land on when they click through from an online ad.

A segmentation page should be utterly simple, with just a couple of choices. This is the page that is going to take the somewhat anonymous respondents from paid media and segment them based on who they are or what they’re looking for.

For example, let’s say we are marketing a high-end Caribbean resort on Google. After users click on our text ad and land on our conversion path, our first mission is to target the right content to each respondent. We know they are interested in our resort, but are they interested in vacationing with children? Water sports? A destination wedding? Maybe a honeymoon? In this example, we might present two segmentation choices—romantic rendezvous or family vacation-—so users can learn about the resort based on their specific interests.

Of course, we could offer more than two options to respondents—say, golf, boating or diving—but it’s important that the segmentation page be simple, focused and clear.

Now that we’re pitching our resort to the user’s interest, we could segment one step further if needed. Say we have an initial “Island Wedding” segmentation. We can then subsegment wedding respondents based on whether they want to work with a staff wedding planner or plan the wedding themselves.

The key to segmentation and subsegmentation is that each click pays off with a page that’s relevant to the respondent. The bride who wants to plan her own island wedding should be directed to a different page than the bride who wants the help of the resort wedding planner. Rather than expecting respondents to randomly surf around on a site and find the information themselves, or expecting a single page to appeal to everyone, a conversion path makes it easy to serve up truly relevant content to your audience.

What We Learn From Segmentation

To the marketing manager running the campaign—aside from targeting the right content to the right respondent, which naturally improves conversion rates—the tracking of these segmentation choices reveals who’s responding to which ads, even if they don’t convert. This yields insight into segments and conversions—so instead of trying to globally optimize a marketing campaign for all, we can maximize each audience segment independently.

What Do You Have to Offer?

Make it compelling and make it clear—now’s your chance to get the conversion.

Now that we’re pitching our resort based on the user’s very specific interest, whether it happens to be the family vacation of a lifetime or the bride’s big day, we can tailor the offer accordingly and provide highly relevant and compelling information to help generate a conversion.

Every offer page will be different and every company will have a different idea of what a “conversion” means. For our resort, it could be an online booking or it might be as simple as a completed contact form exchanged for a vacation planner filled with local excursions and offers.

So, at the point of conversion, we ask for the conversion only after we have given them relevant information. And as a result, we get a higher conversion rate than we otherwise would have.

What We Learn From the Offer

By segmenting our users according to their interests, we can apply highly relevant A/B tests for offers or fulfillment that enable us to quickly determine what works best. Again, by not trying to globally optimize our offer, we can really maximize the potential from each audience segment.

Mind Your Manners and Always Say Thank You

Whether respondents have booked a vacation or simply supplied contact details to receive their vacation planner, we should always thank them for the exchange in a manner that deepens our engagement and builds the relationship even further.

The thank-you page of our conversion path is our final opportunity to provide users with content that relates to their conversion. This is where we can introduce all the information that, had it been included elsewhere, would only have served to distract the user from our ultimate goal—the conversion.

Here we can deep link into a photo gallery that lives in our website, link to a customer feedback blog or serve up additional offers to further engage our user. The point is to do it only after we have achieved the conversion.

What We Learn From the Thank You

Saying thank you is not only the polite thing to do, but also a great opportunity to test offers or content. By including various links to resources after the conversion, we can gauge user interest without jeopardizing our campaign goals.

Overwhelming user interest in a resource offered on the thank-you page could provide fuel for an upcoming promotion or identify a vehicle for cross-promotion. Keeping our resources rich and tracking our clicks helps us uncover even more knowledge about our respondents.