Many business owners do not understand what online marketers mean when we say "conversion." It doesn't always mean "sale," though it could.
What Is A Landing Page?
It doesn't do any good to discuss conversions until you understand what a landing page is, so let's talk about that.
A landing page is a special web page you design with a specific goal in mind. It doesn't matter what the goal is. It can be to sell a particular product, to get people to sign up for your newsletter, or to request information about a service. Everything on your landing page should work toward getting the reader to perform the end goal task.
In other words, if you want people to sign up for a seminar, then you can create a landing page that describes the seminar, who the speakers will be, where it will take place and when, and so on. You present all the pertinent details and give all the reasons why your prospect should attend the seminar. Then, at the end of the landing page, after you've made your pitch, you include a call to action.
The call to action should be specific, direct and related to the purpose of the landing page. In other words, if you want people to sign up for a seminar, then you ask them to sign up for the seminar.
Now, What Is A Conversion?
You can have a landing page for any purpose. You can also drive traffic to your landing page through various channels. You can drive traffic through organic search engine listings (non-paid search results), paid search ads (AKA pay-per-click ads), display ads on related websites, blog posts or articles on related websites, social media, and even by using off-line traditional marketing methods like TV or radio.
The key is to target your intended audience and let people know where to find information on something that interests them. Let's get back to that seminar example.
You want people to sign up for your seminar. So you build a landing page and drive traffic to that landing page through various channels. At the end of your landing page content is a call to action. Here's an example of a call to action:
Click here to sign up for the seminar
In terms of measuring the effectiveness of your landing page and various marketing campaigns, a conversion is any time someone actually performs the task you want them to perform - in this case, when they sign up for your seminar.
If someone clicks the link to sign up for the seminar and backs out before they pay and fill out your form, then that's not a conversion. Your prospect must actually complete the task before you can count that as a conversion.
Why Is This Important?
When you measure the results of your marketing campaigns, you want to know with a fair amount of accuracy how well your efforts are working. That means you have to be specific about your goals so that you can measure them properly.
If you are collecting leads to give to your sales team, instead of having people sign up for your seminar directly on your website, you could have them fill out an information form and have someone call them. In that case, your conversion is when your prospect fills out the information form, not when your sales team closes the sale.
Understanding what a conversion is and how to use landing pages to drive responses is key to managing an optimized marketing campaign. It can mean the difference between actionable metrics or comtinuing to play the guessing game with your marketing strategy.