Conversion Path: The path a visitor takes through your website to become a lead. A typical conversion path requires a call-to-action, a landing page, a form, and a thank-you page.
Your website is the online storefront of your business. Like a physical store, your visitors are going to need help navigating your website the first time they visit.
Stores use signs, arrows, PA systems, employees, and other cues as a map. These cues direct customers to the merchandise and checkout - while subtly nudging them towards larger purchases. (Candy at the checkout station, anyone?)
The difference between your website and a store is the visitors' intent. In a store, there's a very good chance the visitors will purchase something. However, the vast majority of website visitors (98-99%) aren't ready to buy.
Does my navigation bar count as a conversion path?
Nope. It may be part of a conversion path, but a navigation bar won't drive conversions and improve sales on its own.
What Does a Conversion Path Look Like?
Webpage → CTA → Landing Page → Form → Thank-You Page
This is the basic outline of a conversion path. Let's look at a real life example to make it clearer.
Impact BnD is a master of conversion paths. Their website is full of different ways to convert. Here's a snapshot of their home page:
What does Impact want us to do? They want us to download their free inbound website guide. How do we know? Because the button is big and red and says GET IT NOW in all caps. And there's an arrow pointing to it.
Impact uses visual cues (color, arrows, placed high on the page) supported by text (description of the offer, actionable button) to make the conversion path obvious. These cues needs to be in-your-face, because people are surprisingly oblivious on the Internet.
Expert Tip: Impact has made this conversion path incredibly simple by blending their CTA and landing page together. Instead of using an image CTA to take us to a separate landing page, all of the information is right in front of our faces. CTA, two-field form, submit button. Boom.
What happens when we fill out the form and click the button?
We get the offer we were promised! No mess, no fuss. Now we have our own fancy little guide to inbound marketing websites.
Now what do we do? Just leave?
No! Below our fancy guide is the beginning of a new conversion path: "Check out some of our latest blog posts." A conversion is not the end of your visitor's journey. The thank-you page should direct your visitor to a new path.
How Does a Conversion Path Improve Sales?
Why are conversion paths so important for closing sales through your website?
Most Internet users are like ducks floating aimlessly in a pond. You want the ducks to come to you, right?
How do you get their attention? Stand there silently, sending out psychic brain waves? Hope they miraculously take notice and are interested in your milquetoast existence?
No. You grab this bull by the horns duck by the bill and make them do what you want.
What do ducks appreciate in life? Breadcrumbs. If you want to attract ducks, you're going to march your pasty ass to the nearest convenience store and come back with some m-f'ing bread.
You'll throw it far enough that the ducks see your delightful offerings. Then you throw it closer, and closer, until they realize you're the source of crumbly deliciousness.
Then you get swarmed by ducks. Congratulations.
Your website visitors are the same way. Your website is the pond. Your visitors are going to surf around aimlessly, and then they're going to leave because you didn't give them anything they want. (No, a comprehensive history of your company is not what they want.)
How do you know what your buyers want? You build your buyer personas and go from there.
However, providing things they want is only the first step. You also have to give explicit directions to the offer or product - that's the purpose of a conversion path. You have to pave the road for them with CTAs, landing pages, forms, and thank-you pages.
An irresistible offer combined with a simple, easy route to conversion? You'll get swarmed by customers next.
That's how you'll increase conversions, and ultimately sales.
Mobile Conversion Paths
In 2016, more than 50% of the world browses the Internet on a mobile device. That means you need to consider mobile users when creating conversion paths.
Tips for mobile conversion paths:
- Keep forms short and sweet - typing on mobile devices is a pain
- Remove all barriers to conversion - distractions, confusing content, non-mobile-friendly elements
- Utilize white space - make important things stand out
- Don't try to provide all the details on one page - provide a button or pop-up widget that leads to more information
- The less scrolling the better - don't make them scroll for more than a second to reach your CTA, form, or offer
When you optimize your conversion path for mobile devices, your desktop experience will also improve.
Make More Sales With Conversion Paths
Things to keep in mind when building conversion paths:
- You need to explicitly tell visitors where to go and what to do
- Your conversion path should be free of obstacles
- You need to give your visitors something valuable so they'll actually convert (and ultimately purchase)
- Mobile conversion experience is just as important as desktop experience
What happens after they convert?
Your job isn't done yet. Now, you need to nurture your leads so they move from conversion to sale. How do you do that? Check out this article: How to Improve Sales With Lead Nurturing.