Leading the horse to water AND making it want to drink!
When designing an online interface, whether it is a website, a landing page, an ad or an email newsletter, the primary objective is to get users to take positive action, i.e. to convert.
Conversion Architecture is the wireframe or blueprint that determines the form and function, look and feel, visual content and copy of any online interface. From an Internet marketing perspective, it is based on the fact that a user (viewer / visitor / reader) has a need that must be fulfilled. If your website, landing page, email piece or pay-per-click ad fulfills that need quickly, efficiently and offers the user a good experience, you are closer to conversion, closer to closing, closer to improved business performance.
The Internet marketing landscape is changing at the speed of thought! Traffic building strategies like link exchange and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are no longer enough because more traffic does not mean more profits or more business. Search engine optimization (SEO) which involves tools, techniques and technologies to improve your online search rankings has evolved into conversion rate optimization (CRO). The bottom line is, if you are aren’t converting, your target audience is going to the competition. They still have a need that must be fulfilled, remember?
Your Website Home Page / Landing Page
Entry Door or Deterring Exit?
When visitors come to the home page of your website or click on a PPC ad and reach your landing page, you have less than 8 seconds to make an impact. If you’ve integrated the best of all elements, from design to visual effect to copy and call to action in a clear, appealing and compelling manner, you stand a good chance they’ll stay and browse for a bit. Maybe they’ll even take the action you want them to. That would be Conversion Architecture working for you. If they leave in a hurry, they’re almost never coming back.
Be aware that since every website or landing page has its own unique purpose, you can’t possibly apply an off-the-shelf blueprint to build it. We could list standard best practices and cite examples that worked well for others, but that is not a guarantee the same will work for you.
A big red shiny button saying “Click now to try. It’s FREE!” may notch up great conversions for an online software but would it have the same effect on a landing page or website that’s selling a weight-loss pill? Not very likely. The target audience and their motivations are very different for the two sites. While the offer to try a new software for free is enticing, a free pill needs more will! A weight-loss solution must first establish credibility by showing research, sharing statistics, providing testimonials, support from the medical community, and so on, before a potential user may consider trying it, even if it is free.
There are several strategies and many variations that make up a Conversion Architecture blueprint. How do you determine the one best suited for your business? How do you know it will work? Testing combinations and options with different target audiences is the only way to derive maximum results.
Junked or Juiced?
Marketers and business owners have realized the power of email marketing. The primary stumbling block still remains – how do you get your email to get past filters (not only automated ones, but also the filters of a cluttered and busy mind) and reach an Inbox? More importantly, what can you do to make sure your email is read and that your target audience responds with a good click-through rate? What steps can you follow to ensure that your call-to-action actually gets a good response and translates into conversions? The answer, is Conversion Architecture.
It means, literally, working out the entire structure of your email marketing campaign, all its components, building blocks, entry points, action pathways and closing buttons into a blueprint. Again, following a blueprint does not ensure results. Test, as often as you can, in as many ways possible. Find out what’s working for others in your industry and customize a plan that meets your business goals and objectives.