This post will explain what conversion architecture is and how you can get a website that converts leads from potential customers to loyal advocates of your products and services.
Websites are marketing tools. The purpose of the website-as-marketing-tool is to increase customer and client purchases of your products and services.
As your brand’s online home, your website does this by creating a digital structure for the traditional conversion funnel.
A Better Bottom Line
Unfortunately, this message can be lost between web designers who make things pretty and web developers who makes things work.
Conversion architecture is the function that makes sure your site is not only pretty and functional, but tricked out for it’s true function: developing your brand and making you money.
In case you need a reminder (or never knew in the first place), let’s review the traditional conversion funnel.
Traditional Conversion Funnel
Although there are variations in the way the model is presented, the traditional conversion funnel generally consists of the following elements:
- Awareness. This means, of course, that potential customers have become aware of your brand, product or service.
- Consideration. At this stage, potential customers are considering your products and services along with those of your competitors.
- Preference. Preference means that potential customers have decided that your product or service meets their needs or desires.
- Purchase. This is the moment of conversion when cash exchanges hands.
- Loyalty. This means that you have succeeding in getting a customer who will come back to you for more products or services.
- Advocacy. Advocacy, conversion’s gold standard, means that your customer is not only loyal but is also willing to share information about your products or services with friends and colleagues.
In the offline world, the conversion funnel is an in-person sales process. You can imagine the door-to-door salesman of yesterday who spent time with a potential customer (“lead”) and converted him or her to a paying customer through exchange of information and personal charm.
Contemporary Conversion Funnel
Today’s conversion funnel combines traditional marketing theory and practice with contemporary marketing tools such as:
- Email newsletters
- Search engine optimization (SEO) and
- Social media
The above tools — social media, search engine optimization and online content such as blogs and newsletters — create web presence and generate traffic that will take potential customers to your website.
Once they get to your website a new — and critical — process is begun.
Conversion architecture (see above) is the design process and blueprint for building that is specific to changing website visitors from mere visitors to customers who make purchases or take other actions such as signing up for your newsletter or filling out an online form to request a free report or sales call.
If you are a conversion architect, you probably aren’t reading this post. If you are reading this post, this probably means that, sooner or later, you will be interviewing and hiring a web designer.
This primer on conversion architecture basics is designed to allow you to have those conversations in a way that will make your web design (or redesign) process less painful and better for your bottom line.
Here are some things to consider:
- Awareness. This post was written to help you understand the importance of making your website not only attractive and functional, but structured so that it meets your marketing goals and business objectives — which is the purpose of conversion architecture.
- Personas. The design of your website revolves around two important considerations. The first is researching and understanding who will be using your website and creating a persona from that information.
- Goals. The second important consideration is what your potential clients will be trying to do on your site and what your business objectives are.
- Calls to action (CTAs). After you have clarified what you are trying to accomplish, you will create a CTA. One example of a CTA is a box or banner that says “Sign up for our free newsletter.”
- Infrastructure. The CTA must be accompanied by a structure for completing it, such as a subscriber form that leads to an email service provider (such as MailChimp).
Although the above list makes it sound simple, conversion architecture is anything but. For one thing, it is depends on SEO and social media channels (see above) to generate traffic that goes to your website.
You can work with your designer to create multiple landing pages (entry points to your website) that lead from posts you publish and your various social media sites that will send specific market segments to designated URLs on your website.
A great conversion architect will understand how to not only make your site easy-to-use, but also integrate it with social media and online content such as blog posts and test different versions of your landing pages and CTAs as well. You can’t know, for example, whether your audience is more likely to make a purchase if your banner is purple or green — until you test.
Finally, conditions change over time. Conversion architecture, at its finest, is not a one time event, but an iterative process. This is because, for better or worse, the web is constantly changing and new products and services are constantly coming on the scene.
The important thing for you, as a small business owner, is to understand that conversion architecture well done can make a huge difference in your online success.
Have you considered conversion architecture?
Fettman, Eric. The Google Analytics Conversion Funnel Survival Guide. Kissmetrics. November 26, 2012.
Conversion Funnel. Wikipedia.
What is Conversion Architecture? We Simplify The Internet (WSI).
Website Conversion Architecture. Marketing Matters Inbound.
The Conversion Funnel & Persuasion Architecture: How to Continually Fine-tune Your Site to Deliver Superior Results (PDF)
Image produced by Future Now, Inc.