If you think back to old-school e-commerce methodologies, you’ll remember the conversion funnel. That straightforward diagram that helped you identify what types of marketing messages and tactics to apply to various consumer personas with one intent in mind. Get them to convert on a sale.
Three broad categories largely defined the conversion funnel. Curiosity represented consumers who were looking to fill a need, maybe kicking the tires, but primarily were seeking more information and identifying options. Then we moved further down the funnel to create a zone we labeled as consideration. This area represented consumers who had narrowed the possibilities down to a few and were mostly looking at specific features and making comparisons to come to the right decision. Finally, commitment represented consumers who had made up their mind, were dedicated to the brand and ready to make that purchase.
The conversion funnel worked in an OK manner for many years, and then we introduced data to the mix. We started tracking individual consumer behavior, we deployed remarketing tactics, and we could micro-target our messaging to significant effect. The result was the ability to reach consumers in a deeply personal and relevant fashion. But as marketers became savvier with their targeting and consumers developed a deeper relationship with their favorite brands, something else happened. Consumers insisted that this deeper relationship come with heightened customer service and follow up engagement. Thus, we threw out the funnel and are now looking at the overall strategy as more of a conversion journey.
The conversion journey adds on to the original three stages of consumer decision making and tacks on a fourth stage, ongoing customer loyalty engagement. We know that it takes a lot of effort to bring a consumer to the party for the first time, but keeping them engaged once they’ve arrived is relatively simple and cost-effective in comparison. That’s where this fourth stage comes into play, and the journey starts to take shape.
We no longer think of the overall approach as linear, but as more dynamic. How do we round out our tactics to ensure that there is appropriate follow-up at every stage and that automations are deployed to shift focus as consumers move in and out of the different stages?
Some of the tactics that are critical to look at in this customer loyalty stage are:
- Remarketing in both Social, Google Display, and Email
- Social and Email can be leveraged to contend with cart abandonment along with other tactics to keep consumers coming back
- Drive those reviews, whether it’s on your website or through Google Business Listings, Facebook, or Yelp, reviews are a critical component today
- And Don’t forget the offline world – Especially if you are local. Billboards, newsprint, radio, are all very much relevant today and are sometimes far more effective than any digital tactic you can deploy locally.
It indeed takes time and investment to build out your complete conversion journey through all the available tactics. The best thing you can do is make a plan and start implementing today. Even if you only get a few items checked off each month, you’ll be moving on a path to greater marketing success.