Matt Minarik

Conversion Optimization in Direct Marketing: Turning Prospects into Loyal Customers

Brand advocacy from loyal customers is a priceless form of marketing – there is nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth! While businesses cannot (or at least should not) pay customers become brand advocates, they can invest in conversation optimization strategies that naturally convert consumers into brand ambassadors.

Matthew Mann Minarik explores how conversion optimization in directing marketing can turn prospects into loyal customers.

How to Guide Prospects Through the Sales Funnel

Most businesses can simplify their process into the standard five-step sales funnel. (The formerly four-step traditional model was updated to five steps with the advent of social media.) The steps are:

  • Awareness – making a consumer notice the product and brand
  • Consideration – the consumer decides whether or not to make a purchase
  • Conversion – the consumer makes the purchase
  • Engagement – the brand continues to communicate and stay top of mind for the consumer
  • Advocacy – the consumer naturally recommends the brand to others

Conversion Optimization

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process by which a business increases the number of customers who take a specific action on one’s website. These actions can include clicking a link, following a social media account, signing up for an email newsletter, or making a purchase.

Employing Conversion Tactics

Businesses can employ conversion rate optimization through several strategies. First, a business should review its SEO (search engine optimization) to make sure that its website is showing up high in appropriate search results for what it is that they offer. They can also include text-based calls to action (CTA’s) within their blog posts and web pages, so that customers will naturally be led to click to engage in the next step of the purchase process while they are reading the business’ content.

Customers tend to experience something known as “banner blindness” – meaning they are less likely to click a banner – but are far more likely to engage with links within text. CRO is also successful with lead flows on a website, also known as pop-up ads that offer value and attract attention.

Businesses should test an analyze their websites to track conversion and optimize results. Running A/B testing on landing pages can inform marketers about which link locations, designs, and messages work best with visitors. They should also recognize which visitors are most likely to convert to customers – i.e., which actions are taken before purchase – and then optimize those specific business paths so that conversion for those high-intent customers can happen quickly and easily.


Applying Strategies to the Direct Marketing Funnel

Conversation optimization is an integral complement to the direct marketing funnel. By making the sales process fun, informative, and easy to navigate, customers will complete the sales process with a more positive sentiment about the brand and will therefore more naturally wish to recommend the process to others.

Transforming Customers into Brand Advocates

The ultimate step of the sales funnel is advocacy, where the customer is so satisfied with their experience with the business that they become natural advocates for the brand, recommending it to others without incentive.

By cultivating customer loyalty through repeat purchases and consistent brand engagement to stay top-of-mind, businesses can encourage customers to naturally recommend their products to others as their product becomes ingrained in the consumer’s lifestyle and content consumption.