- newsletter signups
- add to cart even
- account creation
- white paper download etc.
All minor events in the customer journey are called micro conversions. It is essential to track micro conversions for it can tell you a lot about your customers and at what steps deals tend to go south.
I think this approach works exceptionally well for SaaS and e-commerce websites because there are apparent process milestones and transparent value transaction at the end.
The psychology of micro conversions
Getting straight to your main offer may force your clients to feel confused and uncomfortable. Use micro conversions to minimize any collisions and improve your clients’ experience.
American professor Robert Cialdini, the author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” accentuates the power of micro-commitments. Cialdini researches the subject of commitment and consistency. People tend to stick to the decision they once made, and as the first step is done, commitment usually goes all the way.
Cialdini is convinced that commitment and consistency go hand in hand. If we take a loan in a bank, most of us want to pay it off responsibly, without delays. If you promise someone to look after a purse on a train station, you are going to make sure it’s safe no matter what and stick to your commitment.
People attribute a high amount of value to commitment because they directly connect it and keeping promises to “good sides” of human character. Everybody wants to be perceived as a good, positive person. That’s why that image of a captain who only abandons his ship last, even if it means certain death, is so romanticized.
Implement micro commitments as a part of your marketing strategy: you can manipulate or better say persuade people by using aspects of human psychology. But don’t expect people to jump at your command and don’t introduce a ridiculous number of intermediate steps in the chain the customer has to go through.
Micro conversions are a success due to these psychological concepts:
- Obstacle response: clients do not like when they’re told they cannot have something. They will perform all the actions necessary to get what seems unreachable.
- Higher attention value: a thing that is hard to get only becomes more attractive and forces customers’ attention to lock on it for a long time.
The adult world of marketing follows the rules of child psychology it seems: the more kids hear that they won’t get some particular toy, the more they want it.
Why macro conversions are not the only thing to consider
Conversions are easy to track and measure with Google Analytics, but there’s a catch.
Conversion metrics are crucial but unable to show you all the actions people perform on your website. Conversions only track activities that only performed by about 2-10% of people. No need to spend 100% of the time to monitor and analyze 2% of customers, but increasing the amount of those customers from 2 to 10 percent is an excellent profitable decision. Avinash Kaushik, the guru of analytics and conversion optimization, recommends following the percentage of real completion numbers instead of concentrating on conversion level.
Essentially, you need to understand why people visit your website. To purchase? Yes, probably but it is a pretty small share of customers. There are many reasons: some people want to gain knowledge, to read something, to do something, maybe they’re just redirected from your blog article and want to find out if there are more of those here. The actual completion number determines how soon and how easy visitors manage to reach their respective goals.
It’s good for clients and good for your team: it helps improve the website usability and determine what needs fixing and tracking.
User flow needs to be determined before concentrating on individual elements.
The advantages of tracking micro conversions
- You get a better understanding of your clients and the reasoning behind their actions. You’ll see the whole picture — not just actual buyers.
- You are going to detect weak links in the sales chain, thus improve the critical aspects of the customer journey. Users get stuck at a particular step? Remove the obstacle or even give them a boost.
- Micro conversions cover territories far beyond your website. You can even track the level of engagement through subsequent actions as page views count, the product added to the wishlist, newsletter signups, etc.
- It allows us to evaluate the efficiency of different conversion increasing strategies and individual elements of the website. All a/b tests are built on a principle of micro-conversion tracking.
- It allows us to put together informative and detailed reports for executive teams.
- It is also a solid foundation for a retargeting strategy. Shopping cart abandonment is a most famous example of micro-conversion being used in retargeting
What is user flow optimization?
A user flow (user journey) is a path of a user through an interface of your website one takes to perform a specific action of interest (to place an order, purchase a product or submit to a newsletter) — according to Peep of ConversionXL.
A typical e-commerce funnel finely represents a user flow and can also be applied to users who not converted in the general sense of it.
Micro conversions help track user flow and optimize it.
For example, your website can be visited by a customer-led by an ad campaign, who registered or made a purchase.
At the same time, it can be a person redirected to your blog from Facebook, or someone familiar to your brand who hangs out on a homepage for a while and then goes straight to “Services” or “About Us.”
Each user flow is different and shows different intentions.
Google Analytics contains a User Flow chart to show you:
- Sources users come from;
- The first page they initially visit;
- The following pages;
- The final pages, where they leave your website (user exit points).
The method has its flaws: it revolves around sessions and not users, but it should be enough at the start. You are going to be able to spot general behavioral patterns (e.g., organic traffic leads primarily to the homepage) and make some assumptions. For example, those organic users are well aware of your brand, since they need to google brands to get right to your homepage.
You can also see the reverse flow to tell what pages presumably stimulated the initial conversion.
Look for these pages. It is going to help you improve conversion and the quality of user flow for your customers.
You also need to look for bottlenecks in your conversion chain to indicate which links require improvement.
Here’s a classic scenario.
Your boss says the conversion is too low. In reality, your conversion rate is around 2%, and it is entirely reasonable for e-commerce. Yes, it can be better, but it is far from awful.
But you notice then there’s a deficient percentage of people who view a product page and then add this product to cart.
That’s when you decide to focus on the start of user flow. How many people of those who view a product page tend to click on “Details”/”More” or submit to a demo of the product?
Now find out how many micro-conversions happen on each page of the product (such as reading user reviews, viewing photos, special offers or discounts).
What’s best about micro conversions is that you can test them.
Let’s say having a video on your landing page increases conversion by 80%. Those who view the video are 80% easier to convert. So each view is a micro-conversion. Do it! Compare two funnels: those who watch the video and those who somehow get past it. All this data can be useful not only for you but for your boss when the time comes.
Micro conversions can be
- Catalog navigation;
- Use of search function;
- Opening of a product page;
- Adding a product to cart;
- Newsletter subscription;
- Downloading promo materials (pdf catalogs, price lists, presentations);
- Viewing and inspecting a product;
- Adding a product to cart.
A bit more examples (for different stages of the sales funnel).
Micro conversions of the interest stage
- Adding to cart;
- Viewing product page;
- Redirection from search results;
- Using a feedback form;
- Using a search function on a website;
- Clicking on “Detailed product description”;
- Viewing a price page.
Micro conversions of the influence stage
- Downloading files (price list, brochures, catalogs, etc.);
- RSS and newsletter subscriptions;
- Video views;
- Leaving comments;
- Visiting corporate social network accounts redirected from your website;
- Likes, reposts, retweets, and other social media/network and blog activities.
- Using the “Contact Us” feature.
Micro conversions of the action stage
- Time spent on the website;
- Number of pages viewed;
- Account creation;
- Repeat visits;
- A search of accompanying products.
Important metrics of email marketing
Email marketing is essential in company-customer communication. Finely written emails can dramatically increase the quality of personalized communication with your clients. Analytics help evaluate the efficiency of interaction between you and your customers. Here are the metrics:
Open Rate (OR): a percentage of people who opened your letter.
+ How to increase Open Rate
- Use dynamic timing — send emails when each subscriber is more active;
- Consider the topic: implement the element of intrigue, use emoji, or maybe state a question, etc
Shows the number of redirections to your website from the letters you send.
To develop the most efficient newsletter templates, test different elements and experiment.
The team of Growth Hackers helped 220-volt.ru online store increase its CTR by 12,7% just by adding a single line above the product description in the letter. That line was “bought today.”
Conversion Rate (CR) is the ratio of purchases made through newsletters to some unique clicks from newsletters.
+ How to increase the Conversion Rate
- Segment your subscribers by different criteria (from gender and age to interests and psychological types) and compile newsletters for each group.
- Send personalized offers based on clients’ interests.
Use UTM tags and goals in Google Analytics or Yandex.Metrics for more precision.
Revenue per email
Revenue Per Email (RPE) indicates a percentage of profit each email provides. It also reveals how profitable your newsletter is and how different letters affect profitability.
+ How to increase RPE
- Segment your subscribers.
- Use personalized recommendations.
Here’s a couple of more metrics just as vital for business.
Remarketing is a primary tool to use when working with abandoned carts. It is vital to not only track these carts but also the specifics: banners shown, clicks, purchases, etc.
Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) shows the percentage of people who filled the cart but made no purchase and left. According to research conducted by SaleCycle, 74% of users abandon carts and do not come back.
How to decrease Cart Abandonment Rate
- Remind about abandoned carts via email.
- Recommend accompanying products and accessories on the cart page.
- Simplify the checkout process as much as possible. Make registration not necessary to check out.
Use all methods available to decrease CAR and don’t forget to include personalized recommendations in your letters.
Recommended reading by human: E-COMMERCE METRICS – WHAT NEEDS MEASURING
Practical examples to help you generate your ideas
Micro commitments of social exchange
These are the easiest in terms of implementation — just set up a social network widget and ask your clients to share your content via Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can also request an email address in exchange for some free content.
You might be familiar with the process of lead generation and commercial offers, but you never thought of it as micro-conversion. Use micro commitments to make users interact with your brand and channel them down the conversion funnel.
Micro conversions that identify customers
It is much more productive to split customers into two broad groups: buyers and non-buyers. Use micro conversions to separate profitable users from non-profitable ones.
Buyers represent the most valuable segment as they demonstrate the intention of customers to perform actions to get the offer and increase your marketing force attracting new customers.
Non-buyers are ineffective leads who only waste your time and will eventually leave. Focus on those customers who are committed to your offer.
Free trial offers as micro conversions
Minimizing risks to drive up conversion is a smart marketing move. Offering a free trial is a way of reducing risks for your clients, effectively nullifying those risks. It is an effective way to make clients interested and stimulate micro-conversions on their side. It is a way to identify and attract quality leads to make your business grow.
Paid micro conversions
Minor payments hurt clients much less. Dividing a full price into several micropayments is a better way to make a client pay. It is psychologically more comfortable for a customer, less risky and also a way of micro-conversion.
Ben Anchal charges several times for his 30-day business course: $7.95 for the first week as a trial and three $47 payments for the rest of the period.
Ben’s case is a method of user segmentation via micro conversions. It may seem flawed, but the approach allows a person committed to the first trial payment of $7.95 evaluate the actual value of the whole 30-day course and motivate people to continue and buy the complete package. People who are not ready to commit to severe financial obligations are going to be filtered off.
Polling and testing for micro conversion
App Sumo (a company that developed a plugin for WordPress) states that polls and quiz tests can increase the number of opt-ins by 400%. According to marketers in App Sumo, different products attract different people for various reasons. Once you have segmented your audience by demographic categories, it’s time to go deeper and analyze each segment. Ask questions, and your opt-in growth is going to skyrocket.
Positive effects according to App Sumo:
- Micro conversions: you involve your visitors into decision making. A client may be not ready for purchase but already decides to answer a couple of questions.
- “Open loops”: just by asking a series of questions you encourage your clients to go all the way to the end to see the result.
- The Barnum effect. Customers tend to perceive the blurriest of all descriptions as correct and relevant to their persona. It can potentially solve the problem customers defined for themselves.
These three aspects motivate visitors to interact with business one way or another and engage communication. Passing a quiz test makes people take responsibility for their answers and can significantly increase the sale. The Barnum effect perfectly describes that phenomenon, when people value different ratings, systems, and other data that defines their personality. That’s why psychological quiz tests and horoscopes are so popular.
So the main thing to do is to write and implement a quiz test (using a widget or a third party app) and ask for an email address at the end of it to send the results.
TIP: even though we have a digital marketing analytics solution we do not set up proper conversion tracking until the first sale made (just simple GA install that it).
To sum it up on micro conversions tracking and optimization
The bottom line is that primary conversion numbers are usually just a few percent big which leaves a considerable portion of users untracked, while the intelligent combination of micro-conversion rates can cover 90%+ users.
As part of conversion rate optimization works exceptionally well for e-commerce websites and SaaS (btw, this article of ours discuss e-commerce metrics in more details)
Don’t hesitate to contact us to talk about how to reach your business objectives.