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How Conversion Paths Inform Your Inbound Campaign Strategy

By Meghan SullivanApr 17, 2014

examining conversion paths
As inbound marketers, we love our data. Today’s digital marketing channels let us track and measure more than any channel that came before it, and we’re actually in a position to pick and choose what we track based on how much it can inform our decisions.

We’re able to monitor—down to the minute—website traffic, leads at each stage of the sales funnel, email open rates, email click rates, landing page views, form conversions, blog views and a lot more. Looking at these numbers regularly will provide insight into performance and indicate where there is room for improvement.

As important as it is to analyze performance data from individual campaign components, it’s equally important to evaluate in context, or how the metrics from each component relate to one another. We do this by evaluating a conversion path, which offers new actionable insight used to improve campaign performance.

A conversion path could look like:
Google Ad > Landing Page > Confirmation Email
Website CTA > Landing Page > Confirmation Email
Email > Landing Page > Confirmation Email

HubSpot offers an even more detailed conversion path definition that contains five components:
CTA > Landing Page > Form > Thank You Page > Confirmation Email

For example, we may look at email performance numbers in terms of sent, delivered, bounces, opens and clicks, but we also need to look at the conversion rate on the associated landing page to determine whether those two components—the email and the landing page—are working together to drive conversions.

What is the weakest link in your conversion path?

Taking a holistic look at conversion path metrics identifies weak spots. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

CTA > Landing Page

If your click rate on a website CTA is good, but your landing page conversion rate is not, there is an issue with the landing page. Visitors are clicking on the CTA and bouncing off of the landing page without converting. Here are some possible causes to investigate:

  • The H1 on your landing page isn’t compelling
  • There’s a perceived disconnect between the CTA copy and the landing page copy, in terms of what the visitor thinks they’re going to get after clicking on the CTA
  • Your form is too long or asks questions that aren’t appropriate for the level of the sales funnel

On the flip-side, if your landing page conversion rate is high, but the CTA click-throughs are low, you know your landing page is strong because those who are indeed landing there are converting. It’s a matter of improving your CTA to get more people to that landing page. Some elements to look at include:

  • CTA copy
  • CTA design
  • Button copy or color
  • CTA placement

Email > Landing Page

A similar logic applies to studying the conversion path starting with an email. Rather than ending your analysis with the email click-through rate, put that in context with the landing page your recipients come to if they click on the email’s call to action.

If the email open rate is low, take a look at the email’s subject line. I also recommend reviewing your list. If it’s not segmented well or isn’t up-to-date, you might be trying to reach people who aren’t interested in your brand.

If the click-through rate is low, the content of the email is not resonating with the reader. Some possible causes include:

  • An offer that is unappealing or unexciting
  • The message and offer are not adequately tailored to the target audience
  • The call to action is weak and doesn’t motivate the reader to click

If your landing page conversion rate is low relative to the email click-through rate, then there is a problem with the landing page. The email got the reader’s attention but the landing page couldn’t keep it. Make sure the landing page clearly communicates added value over what is explained in the email.

It’s not enough to look at campaign performance metrics as standalone numbers. It’s critical to look at performance holistically to understand how one step in a campaign impacts the next. Doing so sheds more light on how to optimize for conversions and achieve greater inbound marketing success.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs

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