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  • Types of Online Conversions

    Types of Conversion Rate Optimization. How to Use Conversions

    With some of the basics out of the way, let’s focus on some of the main types of conversions, and how you can use them for your site.

    Different brands in different industries will need to rely on different types of conversions; for example, an online retailer will rely on more direct product purchases, while a B2B service-oriented company will need to generate more leads from contact forms.

    Understanding the strategic and logistical differences between these conversions is the first step to building an effective campaign.

    Product Purchases

    Product purchases are one of the easiest and most straightforward types of conversion; essentially, when someone buys a product, or multiple products, a conversion has taken place.

    These are ideal for eCommerce platforms, or for businesses that focus on selling tangible goods, whether you have a vast library of different novelties or you’re just trying to sell your eBook.

    There are a few different angles you can take to improve your ability to sell products.

    • The landing page. The first strategy is building a dedicated landing page for your product.This is ideal for companies that have only a handful of key products, or those with key products that appeal to different target audiences.With a landing page-focused strategy, you’ll create a separate, smaller website that’s focused exclusively on selling your intended product.This level of dedication makes it easier to optimize for conversions, and serves as a convenient place for you to funnel traffic.You can also easily segment your landing pages, so you can optimize them for different audiences or compare them against one another in a kind of live, ongoing AB test.
    • The product page. The product page is a bit like a landing page, in that every product is going to have its own dedicated web page. Most of the time, eCommerce sites will use the same template for all of their products; this is beneficial not only because it saves them time in developing new material for every single product, but also because it lends itself to a smoother and more consistent user experience. Most modern eCommerce sites, even giants like Amazon, use this repeatable product page template. This makes it somewhat harder to optimize for increase conversions, as each product will have a different appeal and you won’t have the opportunity to AB test in a live environment, but at the same time, any improvements you make will improve the success rates of all your products equally.

    Amazon Product Page

    (Image Source: Amazon)

    • Shopping and checkout. As an eCommerce platform, you’ll likely support a “shopping and checkout” style experience for your visitors. Unlike a landing page, where a user is forced to either make a purchase or leave, online shoppers are given more freedom to poke around, add various items to their cart (or even to their wish lists), and eventually check out—if they feel like it. This makes it harder to increase conversions, as merely adding an item to the cart could count as a “mirco” conversion (more on this later), and you won’t have the same yes-or-no confrontation that you’ll have in other applications. It requires a secondary level of conversion thinking if you’re trying to optimize your entire site.
    • Donations and gifts. Product conversions aren’t always about purchasing a product, however; you can also think about donations and gifts in this category. Why? Because the basic principle is the same; you’ll be asking a user for a specific amount of money in a single transaction. That’s why crowdfunding campaigns, non-profit organizations, and other scenarios where a request for funds is involved should all think about their site’s conversion rates much in the same way that an eCommerce platform would think about product sales funnel.

    Crowdfunding Campaign Page

    (Image Source: Kickstarter)

    Lead Generation

    Conversions based around lead generation differ significantly from those focused on purchasing a product. The idea here is to get a user to express some significant level of interest in your brand, handing over their contact information so that your sales team can contact them and hopefully sell them on your products and/or services. In many cases, these eventual sales are much more significant, either in price or in commitment; for example, rather than purchasing a $20 lawnmower part, they might be signing up for a $10,000, 6-month contract. Lead generation is frequently used by B2B companies, but this isn’t exclusive.

    Lead generation conversion optimization is a bit trickier, since you won’t be able to tie a direct value to your conversions, the strength of a conversion is variable, and asking for personal information is much different from asking for money.

    • General “contact us.” The first variety of lead generation conversion is pretty simple—the general “contact us.” Most businesses have a contact page, with some using it as a way for potential customers to get support, and others using it as a way for interested leads to get in contact with them. Usually, this web page has some basic company information, like a name, address, and phone number, along with a form that users can fill out. The goal here is to get users to submit that form. It’s also common practice to forward traffic to this page from other pages of your site visitors, so it serves as a kind of “final destination” for your users.
    • Requesting more information. The information request is another way to capture potentially interested leads. For example, let’s say you sell replacement windows and you have a page dedicated to the services you provide. It gives a good high-level overview, but you don’t give out pricing—instead, you have a button that mandates your users to “request more information” by filling out a handful of fields. You can also use a mode of more direct exchange for this style of request, such as by offering an eBook or similarly valuable piece of content in exchange for user information. Online marketing specialists like Hubspot do this all the time:

    Hubspot Form

    (Image Source: Hubspot)

    • Blog CTAs. Blog CTAs are one of the most common forms of initiating conversions. It’s possible to embed a contact form in the body of a blog post, but it’s more common to use the blog content as a conduit to another area for conversion. For example, you might have a callout at the end of your blog that encourages people to “contact us for more information.” This would hyperlink to your contact page, where the remainder of the conversion would take place. Because this style of conversion happens in two parts, it’s a bit harder to track, but your blogs are a valuable way generate more conversion-related interest.
    • Pop-ups and side callouts. You can also go a route more akin to conventional advertising, giving your readers a chance to convert with banners at the top or sides of your page, or in pop-up ads that show up after a few moments of inactivity. We use a method like this, and you might have already seen it. These can be annoying if you opt for something too flashy or obnoxious, or if you directly interfere with your readers’ ability to access your content, so keep it conservative and direct.


    Email Subscribership

    Another type of conversion is the email subscribership, which for all intents and purposes is just a simplified version of the lead generation conversion. Instead of asking for lots of personal information like a name, title, and a reason for contact, all you’ll look for here is a name and an email address. You’ll collect this information to be used in your future email marketing campaigns, so every name you collect has a value—just not as much value as a direct lead or a purchase.

    The flip side to this is, of course, that email subscribers are easier to get than leads. The process requires less of a commitment, and people are more willing to submit their personal information as a result. Furthermore, email subscribership can be a peripheral goal for almost any business, even if you have other conversion strategies in place. If email marketing is a central focus or value for your brand, you’ll need to prioritize this.

    For the most part, any type of conversion that works in the “lead generation” category can work for the email subscribership category. For example, you could use side bars or popups to encourage new email subscribers, or use a blog callout to forward them to a particular area to sign up.

    “Micro” Conversions

    You can also earn value and gauge consumer interest with “micro” conversions. These are meaningful forms of user interaction that don’t necessarily translate to direct revenue (or a significantly increased chance of direct revenue). Instead, these are indications of user interest, which is valuable in terms of brand visibility and loyalty.

    There are a handful of types of micro conversions you’ll want to pay attention to:

    • Getting to a page. Some of your onsite pages are going to be more valuable than others. For example, you might prioritize a “donations” page that encourage people to donate to your cause; getting people to this page means you’re at least doing a good enough job of making your need for donations apparent, and can help you improve your all types of conversion rate optimization. You might also have deeper pages of your site that users can only access by performing a certain function—such as getting to the third step of the checkout process—that can give you similar insights into your user behavior. This doesn’t constitute a full conversion, but it does indicate engagement in the process.
    • Downloading or interacting. This is another form of meaningful engagement that can help you calculate how interested your users are in your brand. For example, you might want to keep track of how many people watch your “about us” video, or see how many people walk through your interactive calculator function. You can track these kinds of things in Google Analytics, and even determine more specific factors like how long they watched the video before clicking away. It’s also a good idea to track your downloadable assets, such as PDFs in your resource library.
    • Wish list or adding to cart. Most modern eCommerce platforms have some kind of a “wish list,” where users can flag or bookmark an item for future purchase. This obviously doesn’t count as a full purchase, and doesn’t bring you any direct revenue, but it does mean that a user is interested in your product. As such, it can serve as a kind of “soft” conversion for your overall tracking.
    • Account creation. Some sites depend on the creation of an account before further meaningful action is taken; for example, you generally need to create a full account on an eCommerce platform before you buy anything. You can count the creation of a new account as a kind of conversion, because it demands at least some level of commitment to your brand and can lead to other, more revenue-based transactions in the future.

    These aren’t the only types of micro conversions out there, but they are some of the most common. They won’t help you figure out your new revenue or your ROI, but they can lend some significant insight into the value and appeal of your brand, and give you direction on improvements you can make to your conversion strategy.

    Diversifying Your Approach

    I’ve listed four different types of conversion to pay attention to: product conversions, lead generation conversions, email subscribership, and micro conversions. Each of these is best suited to a different type of business, and most businesses will stand to benefit from paying attention to some of these forms of conversion rate optimization more than others. However, all of these modes of conversion can be useful in some way. It’s up to your individual goals and desires to decide which of these modes are the most important, and how you’re going to balance your strategy. I encourage you to decide which of these types of conversion you’re going to focus on before planning the rest of your strategy.

    VP of Business Development at SEO Company
    Ryan Nead is the Vice President of Business Development at search engine optimization services company, SEO.co. Ryan has spent the last 10 years as a digital marketing consultant working with enterprise clients and top brands on digital marketing initiatives that drive digital results. He has worked with brands like Smashburger, Fatburger, PHH Mortgage and Con-Way (now XPO Logistics). He resides in Texas with his wife and three children.
    Ryan Nead