As an eCommerce marketer, there are only two types of conversions to optimize for:
Micro-conversions are valuable actions (e.g., click, comment, email list opt-in, product preview) that your target audience take when they visit your website. These actions lead to macro-conversions (e.g., sales).
Going from being a child to an adult takes a process. In real life, no true success happens overnight and never will.
Sure, it could happen, but don’t set such a high expectation. Otherwise, you would feel discouraged if you fail to achieve your BIG goals.
Truly, getting a potential customer to visit your product page is a step towards the right direction. It’s better than no action at all.
There’s no magical push button to becoming a successful eCommerce brand. You need to take baby steps in the right direction.
There are several micro steps that website visitors can take. Knowing how to choose the right ones and optimize for them is critical. In the chart below, Jeremy Smith shows you how to do it:
Top eCommerce brands like Dodocase.com, Colorit.com, and Made.com all started out with their first sale.
I’m sure that at some point, the founders do not envisage the level of success their brands have now gained over the years.
If you discover the hidden power of micro-conversions, you’ll fall in love with optimizing your campaigns to get consistent conversions, no matter how small.
If your product page converts at about 1.4% daily, you’ll generate more revenue than having a 7.2% weekly conversion rate.
Here’s the simple math:
1.4% x 7 days = 9.8% conversions per week.
In his session at the International Ecommerce Day Conference, Valentin Radu, founder and CEO of Omniconvert shares some thoughts on how to maximize your conversions by nudging ideal customers to take micro actions.
But first, a quick definition.
What is a micro-conversion?
Persuading ideal customers to take baby steps, such as:
- Visiting the checkout page
- Clicking the ‘view pricing’ link
- Adding an item to the cart
- Writing a comment on a post
- Watching a quick explainer video
…Can help you engage them in a natural way.
Interestingly, when people are engaged, their trust level increases. And they’ll be in the right state of mind to buy your product.
Most brands are conversant with segmentation. Because it’s a great way to group visitors and customers based on their specific behaviors and what they want.
But the ultimate question is, “how do you segment effectively?”
Micro-conversions can help you.
Note: Micro-conversions are goals. Often times, the goals are not to increase sales or revenue directly.
Sadly, the eCommerce conversion rate is at 0.5% – 2%. So when you set a micro-conversion goal, you want to build some strong relationships with your website visitors via your marketing funnel – before asking for the sale.
Of course, you know that when the relationship is there, it’s easy to make more sales.
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, we can perceive 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 to 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.
“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.
In the same vein, 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?