Anyone who arrives on your website is a potential customer, otherwise known as a prospect or a lead. A lead conversion occurs when a prospect takes a desired action, including making a purchase.
Examples of lead conversions include:
- Email newsletter signups.
- eBook downloads.
- YouTube channel subscriptions.
- Webinar signups.
- Purchase transactions.
- New sales contacts.
In the B2B arena, it’s usually the marketing department’s job to convert prospects into qualified leads for the sales team. In this case, the conversion occurs when the prospect agrees to hear a sales pitch or meet with a sales representative in person or over the phone.
Lead conversion strategies that support business growth
Depending on the nature of your business, you may place more or less value on different types of conversions. For instance, B2C eCommerce companies may focus exclusively on purchase transactions, while B2B SaaS companies may place more emphasis on phone call conversions.
No matter what your conversion goals are, the strategies and metrics below will help you capture and convert more leads:
As part of a conversion strategy, content marketing needs to be convincing. If prospects are on your company’s site reading content, there’s a good chance they are already thinking about making a purchase. This applies to B2B buyers who are looking for solutions to company challenges.
Web content, blogs, videos, infographics and other content types can be effective at convincing prospects to take a valuable action — whether that’s providing an email address or making a purchase. For example, an infographic can provide immediate value in the moment by helping prospects to better understand a trend or challenge. A call to action at the bottom of the graphic can encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter to get similarly insightful content sent directly to their inboxes.
Social media campaigns
Your social channels are perfect for converting potential customers into qualified leads. Your social media posts can draw in readers to check out a blog, download a piece of gated content or sign up for your mailing list. By connecting your Google Analytics account to your website and social media accounts, you can track exactly how users flow to your conversion assets.
Keep in mind that not every post needs to lead visitors to your website. Getting inbound leads should be a priority, but it’s also important to give readers content they can enjoy without leaving the social channel. For example, you can still benefit from social media posts that generate conversations in the comments section.
Email marketing campaigns
Your company’s mailing list is one of your most important assets because it’s made up of qualified leads who may be close to a purchase decision. Segmenting your mailing list based on interests, demographics and other criteria can help you target messaging that encourages conversions.
For example, let’s say you have a segment of potential customers who have downloaded a white paper about your products and services. You could send a follow-up email containing reviews and testimonials about your services and link to a piece of content that encourages readers to move further down the sales funnel.
Pro tip: Email marketing platforms make it easy to segment and automate your campaigns.
What is a converted lead?
Simply put, a converted lead is someone who has taken a desired action.
For sales professionals, a converted lead has a higher value than an unqualified lead. On the one hand, converted leads have already shown interest in the product or service, and they may have provided their contact information. Unqualified leads, on the other hand, are much harder to track down and may not actually be interested in making a purchase.
Here’s a quick example:
Say you published a piece of gated content like an eBook. When visitors download the asset, they provide their email address. These are converted leads. Now, the marketing team can design high-value content to deliver to this exclusive list. Alternatively, salespeople might reach out to these leads directly.
What is lead scoring?
We mentioned that converted leads are more valuable than unqualified leads, but converted leads also have varying degrees of potential value.
To determine which leads to prioritize, sales professionals use data to assign numerical values to converted leads; this process is called lead scoring.
How your organization scores leads depends on the type of data that is most valuable to your sales process.
You can manually score leads by:
- Calculating your conversion rate (see below).
- Determining which converted leads provide the highest value.
- Finding patterns among high-value leads, based on how – and how frequently – they interact with your brand.
- Assigning points to leads based on data you have about them. For example, if leads who sign up for sales demos present higher value than leads who download eBooks, you would assign a higher number of points to demo signups. A lead who both downloads the eBook and signs up for the demo would have a higher combined score.
Manual lead scoring is time-consuming and may not give you the depth of information you need to make meaningful adjustments to your conversion process. Cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software, like Salesforce, can automate this process using machine learning algorithms.
Lead conversion metrics every marketer needs to track
You should be tracking all of your site’s user data with Google Analytics. However, if you’re not familiar with everything GA can do, you may get overwhelmed. There are thousands of potential metrics to help you track lead generation and conversions. While it’s essential to track, measure and optimize your site metrics, you don’t want to get trapped in a cycle of constantly checking your GA dashboard.
Start with these essential lead conversion metrics:
This is one of the most important metrics to track when making adjustments to your conversion strategy.
For example, if you’re using an inbound strategy to draw customers to your website, then your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, downloading a white paper, requesting a sales demo or something similar. You might also track your conversion rate for social media and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Someone who taps on an Instagram ad would be considered a converted lead in that case.
Visitors by traffic source
Understanding where your site visitors are coming from is essential to optimizing your content. Seeing how conversion rates differ depending on traffic sources will help you fine-tune your campaigns and messaging.
For example, visitors coming from organic search may not be ready to make a purchase yet. In that case, those visitors should be served engaging content that helps them move closer to a purchase decision. Alternatively, visitors coming from your mailing list may be ready to convert, and they should be served high-value content that encourages visitors to take action.
First-time visitor conversions
The conversion process can take several months, especially if you’re in B2B sales. Understanding what first-time visitors are doing on your site will help you tailor content to their needs.
If new visitors go straight to your review pages, it may indicate that they are comparison shopping. On the other hand, if they are bouncing between multiple pages without staying in one place for very long, it indicates that visitors aren’t finding the information they’re looking for and you may need to revise your landing pages or navigation structure.
Return visitor conversions
Returning visitors are more likely to convert than first-time visitors.
If someone didn’t convert the first time they visited your site, chances are they’re back to either get more information or make a purchase. Finding patterns among returning visitors will help you refine your content to encourage conversions.
Cost per conversion
It’s vital to keep track of how much it costs your business to get conversions.
If the average cost of conversion is higher than the average value of a conversion, you’ll soon be in trouble. Pay close attention to how much you spend per conversion, especially as you scale up your campaigns.
Landing page bounce rate
Your landing pages should provide site visitors with valuable information and direct them toward other valuable pages.
If a higher percentage of visitors bounce — i.e. leave your site without visiting another page — it could be an indicator that your landing page content needs need some work. You may need to make your site navigation clearer or include a stronger call to action.
From which pages are your visitors leaving? How close are they to making a conversion? Ask these questions when you review your exit pages report in GA.
If visitors are leaving just before they convert, you need to revisit your CTAs. If they’re leaving somewhere in the middle of your sales funnel, you may need more micro-conversions to get readers to stick around or come back when they’re ready to make a decision.
Developing a marketing strategy around lead conversion goals
If you take a step back and look at where lead conversions fall within the scope of an entire marketing campaign, you’ll notice that they appear in several places. In the traditional sales funnel, conversions occur when leads move downward. Potential customers at the top of the funnel convert to qualified leads when they take an action that moves them into the mid-funnel, for example.
We’ve covered several ways to increase conversion rates by optimizing your user experience and creating engaging content. But if you want to increase the total number of leads coming to your business, you’ll need a strong lead generation strategy. Check out our comprehensive guide to learn effective strategies for getting more leads. Or, see a real-world example of how a combination of strong lead generation and conversion strategies supports business growth.