It’s easy for marketers to fall victim to vanity metrics. What are ‘vanity metrics,’ you ask? These are numbers that get us excited, despite a total lack of relevance to a business’s bottom line. Think: pageviews, raw, downloads, and registered users.
These are awesome, top-of-funnel numbers that kickstart the customer acquisition process. But they’re not enough to boost your business’s bottom line. You need to focus on tactics and numbers that move audiences through the conversion funnel.
Check out this blog post that I recently wrote for Unbounce, as an example:
I see thousands of shares, but I don’t even care. At the end of the day, I want to help Unbounce achieve the best value for what they’ve invested in creating that blog post. They better be generating new user sign-ups and leads from that blog post — a 3,000% ROI.
My mind is at ease, however, because I know that Unbounce is the leader is conversion-centered design. Their entire business model — a solution for creating awesome landing pages — is based on the company’s conversion rate optimization (CRO) masterminds.
My suspicions tell me that Unbounce generates a metric ton (read: I don’t know their actual numbers) of leads though ebook downloads.
Their secret is no secret at all. It’s a conversion widget at the end of every blog post:
And here what the blog’s sidebar looks like with clear, compelling, and conversion-centric offers:
Conversion optimization isn’t rocket science – it’s common sense. Small, micro-decisions have the potential to amplify sales and revenues. Exponentially. Here are 3 non-hacks that will rock your company’s world.
Hack #1: Trust Signals
People want to do business with companies (and people) that have track records. If people like your brand, you need to show it. Trust signals include user reviews, case studies, and testimonials.
Here is how women’s retailer ModCloth encourages buyer interest through reviews on its product pages:
Customers love their brand — they’re consequently willing to provide open and honest feedback:
Consumers are more likely to buy when they’re confident in what they’re going to get. Plain and simple.
Hack #2: A Conversation
You’re probably sitting here thinking – “What? Is this bullet point seriously on the list?”
Yes. Yes it is.
Here’s a recent debate on GrowthHacker that speaks to my point directly.
Conversion optimization mastermind Michael Aagaard shared a case study in which he was able to amplify his clients’ CRO rates by changing just one word:
His argument is that Aagaard’s brilliant CRO hack didn’t work. So who’s right?
The long-yet-short, complicated-yet-uncomplicated answer is that they’re both right. Conversion optimization is all about context. Success stems from the opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes grit. It takes testing. It takes a lot of failure until you can finally feel like you’ve ‘hit the nail on the head.’
The best way to shortcut (read: ‘hack’) this process is to conduct qualitative research – to have a conversation (or 10) with your users. You can implement conversion-boosting strategies based on their recommendations. Think of your customers as the ultimate consultants. And most likely, they’re willing to give you information for free.
So, yes! Something as simple as a ‘conversion’ is in reality, the ultimate conversion hack.
Hack #3: Vanity Metrics
Remember the beginning of this blog post when I told you that vanity metrics were totally useless? I’m going to challenge that claim to all-ends-of-the earth.
Take another look at that Unbounce blog post. What are you impressions?
“Holy cow, people really love this brand.”
“Woah! What a cool blog post – I’m going to give this brand free marketing by sharing it 2,000 times.”
“Yowza, they must have a really bomb product.”
Social media activity and web traffic stats do more than kickstart the conversion funnel – these numbers provide powerful and substantive social proof. My mind is actually doing somersaults as I write this sentence — supposed ‘vanity metrics’ can help move audiences through your company’s conversion funnel.
Why These Perspectives Matter
Marketers have goals that are indisputable – we know that we need to increase revenue. We know that we need to boost sales. These facts are given. What’s less than clear, however, is the journey. You have infinite resources and tactics at your disposal. What the heck do you do?
You start testing stuff. You fail. You iterate. You kick butt. You do your very best to make educated decisions and to make sure that you’re not throwing darts in the dark.
The ultimate growth hack is the realization that you can’t hack growth. You can avoid absent minded failures by making educated decisions, but you still need to go through a dedicated learning process to understand what your customers want.
What is your favorite conversion optimization hack or non-hack? Share your lessons (preferably lessons that you’ve learned the hard way) in the comments below.