Webolutions Recap of the Marketing Sherpa 2012 Optimization Summit

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One of my favorite aspects about Online Marketing is the fact that it is always changing and the only way to stay ahead of the game is through experience, up-to-date research, and trial and error.  In the world of optimization, both search engine optimization and website optimization, best practices are always evolving. In an effort to make sure that our Denver SEO consultants are up-to-date in the latest Optimization best practices, Webolutions sent my colleague, Mike Hanbery, and me to the Marketing Sherpa 2012 Optimization Summit. While a lot of the knowledge we gained reinforced what we have been saying in our Online Marketing Blogs for years, there were a lot of key points we took away from the Summit. While this is just a brief look into the Summit, here are a few of the most interesting facts I took away from the experience.

Every step of the conversion process is a series of “micro-yeses”
A lot of times, marketers will get too caught up in the overall number of conversions their Online Marketing efforts are yielding. By doing this, they forget that every step of the conversion process is important, not just the beginning and the end. For every step of the process the user essentially is saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to what you have to offer, and it takes a ‘yes’ on every step to create a conversion. If at any point the user says ‘no’ to the next step they essentially fall out of the conversion funnel and become another bounce from your website. Ensuring that your messaging is not only clear but also consistent is essential to increasing conversion rates. Users are a lot more likely to convert if they are anticipating the next step in the process, especially if they know what they are getting from continuing.

Quick tip: While eliminating steps may seem like a no brainer in order to reduce the number of times your user has to say “yes,” would you approach someone at a bar and immediately ask them to marry you? A lot of those little yeses are key in guiding the user through to the ultimate yes, converting. Finding the right balance of information and guidance in the conversion process without going overboard is key to optimizing conversions. So how do you know what is the right amount?

Ask “why” your users are converting (or not converting), not “how” to increase conversions.
By asking “why” instead of “how” you get a much more in depth look at the conversion process through your target markets’ eyes. Asking “how” leads to information but asking “why” leads to wisdom. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the process of optimizing your website for search engines and you lose sight of what drives your target market. After all, Online Marketing is just another form of marketing, understanding your target market is still essential to creating conversions.

If you simply ask “how” to increase conversions you may miss the bigger picture. How questions may lead you to answers such as we need to increase traffic to our website or we need to redesign our website. Simply increasing the amount of traffic to your website is not the answer to creating more conversions, if visitors have no interest in what you have to offer they are nothing more than traffic. While redesigning your website may be a viable option, if you don’t look at it from a standpoint of your target market your efforts may be a lost cause. Sometimes the smallest design changes can have a dramatic impact on your conversions while the big changes make no difference.

The key to making well informed changes to your website is asking “why” your target market functions. Knowing how your target market thinks should be the driving factor in any changes you make to your online marketing efforts. Once you understand what makes your target market tick you can start making precise changes to your Online Marketing efforts that provide the greatest results. Every change you make should be made for a reason, and that reason should never be as simple as “we want more conversions.”

How to use this Information
Obviously, you cannot sum up an entire 2 day Optimization Summit in just one blog. There were many great keynote speakers and optimization experts at the Summit who shared a lot more information and real-world case studies.  If you would like more depth about anything in this post or want to know more about Optimization in general, feel free to leave a comment or Contact Webolutions today!


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