First of all, what is a micro conversion?
A micro conversion (in e-commerce) is an action visitors do before they buy something. Of course, not all of your visitors will place an order, but you can encourage and stimulate them. Each micro-conversion done brings them one step closer to the final purchase.
A micro conversion might be:
- downloading a file
- joining an emailing list
- using the search filter
- looking at a specific product
- visiting a landing page
- subscribing to a newsletter
- engaging in social actions (like & share)
- searching and comparing product prices, etc.
But how do you know which micro conversion is the most important for your business? According to Jeremy Smith, you should look for:
Focusing on micro conversions will make you understand the audience of your website because in order to micro-convert you have to segment the traffic and identify the main buyer personas. Once you have analyzed the traffic and the customers’ behavior divide it into segments and define the buyer persona categories. Doing this, you can now address them with personalized pieces of content.
Micro-conversions are the first step towards macro-conversions. Build up your way to the big elephant by creating a database with people who have an interest in your business and give them what they need and want. Persuade and transform them into buying clients.
The best thing to do once you have a considerable mailing list is to introduce them in a sales funnel. The first step was done: you have their attention, and the goal of this funnel phase was accomplished. The next step to get better results with the marketing efforts is testing which subject lines or offers have a higher conversion rate.
Micro Conversions and the Sales Funnel
According to Nielsen Norman Group, “Micro-conversions help you measure the impact of incremental user-experience improvements. Often, the effect of individual small changes cannot be detected at the macro-conversion level.”
Take a closer look at the store funnel. You’ll see there are several micro steps that people take, before they visit your product page and add an item to cart.
Generally, if you’ve 100,000 visitors to your homepage, if you optimize efficiently, you should expect about 30,000 of them to visit your Shopping cart.
That being said, if you gear all your efforts towards generating sales (macro-conversions), you’ll miss out.
In early 2001, Bryan Eisenberg wrote about micro-actions. According to Eisenberg, “conversion rates suffer when sites fail to drive customer micro-actions and maintain momentum through the sales path. Once the path is defined and each of the micro-actions described, you can work on optimizing the most effective call to action for each step.”
Without much ado, here are the 2 ways to drive micro-conversions:
1) Design a high-converting funnel
Your marketing or sales funnel should be designed to cater to your ideal customers at every stage.
For example, at the top of the funnel (TOFU), you have a lot of people entering your funnel (i.e., when they fill your sign up form).
In Marketing 101, we know that these people aren’t ready to buy yet.
Of course, you could get trickles of sales occasionally, but you would make more money if you educate, entertain and inspire these people to move towards the bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
The harsh truth is that when ideal customers visit your website the first time, no matter how targeted they are, your conversion rates will be low.
We’ve already stated that the average eCommerce conversion rate is 0.5 – 2%. Best case scenario, it means that only 1 out of 50 visitors will complete an order.
Therefore, it’s clear that a lot of traffic is wasted, about 98%. If we focus on getting fresh visitors to an online store or sales page to buy right away, they’ll ignore you.
Since 2% of your cold traffic will nonetheless purchase your product, it’s wise to redirect your mind towards those 98% uninspired customers.
Here’s another chart showing the possible distribution of this 98% wasted traffic.
Let’s assume that 40% reaches the landing page, 30% the category page and 20% the cart page, but they all bounced, the smart thing to do is to pinpoint why these customers aren’t converting.
At this point, if you ask them to add a product to cart, they might run away. Because they are not ready to buy – and there are reasons for that.
As people enter your funnel, you don’t want them to take the ultimate step (i.e., to purchase your product).
Even though that’s what you care about at the end of the day – but asking first timers (strangers) to buy right away is not smart.
2) Target small wins
In eCommerce, there’s an experiment that would help you understand how to get the big sale.
Below you’ll see how a small stone bar pushed down the biggest stone bar. That’s exactly what micro-conversions are all about. Concentrate on the small wins and stay consistent.
At a glance, you can see that when you get traffic, push it to your category/search pages, then you will convince them to use the filter so that they can reach the product pages. Gradually, persuade people to add items to cart and complete the order.
Of course, in each stage of the experiment, you’re providing enormous value to your website visitors, in terms of video trainings, blog posts, podcasts, product reviews, and more.
As it is with a SaaS business model, so it is with eCommerce and selling of physical products. Psychologically, consumers like to take basic steps to build confidence in your brand – before purchasing your products.
In a nutshell, this is what the micro-conversions funnel entails. If you start using it, you’ll build a strong customer loyalty – and at the end of the funnel, more people will convert and become paying customers.
Here’s the breakdown of this chart:
i) The micro-conversions of your website visitors is to make them visit the product page and subscribe.
ii) Once they’ve subscribed to your newsletter, you’ll engage with them via email, and help them think like shoppers.
iii) Next, you want these shoppers to visit your product page and add items to the cart.
iv) Then, you nudge them to finish the order and because they’re already subscribed to your list, you can educate and inspire them further to come back and buy again.
v) But it doesn’t stop there. You also need these repeat buyers to become raving fans. When they do, they’ll tell everyone about your shop. This is so important.
Apple Inc., Amazon., and other top brands don’t necessarily go after quick sales. Their marketing funnels are designed to lead the shopper to become a raving fan.
For example, when Apple iPhone 6 was released, it was my spouse who told me about it, not Apple or its founder. Once your online store starts getting word of mouth referrals, your brand awareness will increase – and sales will roll in profusely.
Micro Conversion Case Study
Sometimes it might happen to already have a micro-converting traffic segment and do not know about it. For example, on an e-commerce website, people who use the search tool qualify as micro-converters and they have an interest in a product category on your store. Here at Omniconvert, we have investigated this aspect for some of our clients, and we have discovered that visitors who use the search filter have a 6 times higher conversion rate.
Here’s an example to make the case for it. TinaR, one of the biggest fashion retailers from Romania, created a personalization experiment to remind visitors to use filters. Showing the users who didn’t use the size filter an exit intent popup that communicates the available sizes will help them close the sale. The aim of this personalization experiment was to increase sales for some specific product categories such as dresses and sandals.
The results? The conversion rate increased by 57.87%.
“Does your visitor take micro actions?”
The truth is that if your website visitors aren’t confident to check out your “Request a Quote” page, leave a comment on your post, or navigate to your product page, the problem isn’t in the product but how well your pages are optimized for micro-conversions.
Similarly, when people talk about getting repeat buyers, I don’t think they’re looking at the right metrics. Because, if, for example, you aren’t getting first-time buyers already, how on earth will you replicate the success?
No matter the products you sell in your online store, remember that delivering value is the key factor to growing a thriving business.
The major reason why optimizing for micro actions and not macro conversions from the get-go is powerful, is because the former improves your brand. It increases the trust the customers have towards you.
A successful eCommerce business thrives in the face of harsh economic downturns, not because of a great product or pricing model, but its brand.
Here’s my question to you: If you had the opportunity to choose between making quick sales, and building trust with customers, which one would you choose?