Manifesto for Conversion Optimization Excellence

Empathy. Value. Emotion. Relevance. Connection. Process. Speed. Understanding. From the beginning in 1996 until now, we realized that successful digital marketing is a result of eight fundamental principles.

In a matter of cause and effect, these principles are responsible for high conversion rates. Failing to adhere to these principles endangers the success and reduces the return on marketing investment. As we firmly believe in these principles, we wanted to share them in a manifesto for successful digital marketing.

These are the eight pillars of successful digital marketing and conversion excellence:

1. Listen to your customers.

Successful experts in digital marketing love understanding their customers. They are curious to find out what really happens. They internalized the idea that conversion rates are not just a KPI in their analytics system, but actually the result of the customer’s decisions for (or against) products. This is the reason why a deep understanding of the customer’s decisions, his needs and fears, is the core of a successful digital value chain. Customers will tell you precisely what they need – as long as you listen to them. The biggest threat to successful digital marketing is the illusion of thinking that you know already everything about your customer’s needs – but you don’t.

The ability to analyze and understand customers’ behavior is the most valuable ability of a conversion optimization expert.

>>> Know your customers. Profitable concepts are always built on solid knowledge about real customer experiences.

2. Create value.

We love the internet because it simplifies our life. The purpose of digital marketing experts is not to win a creativity award. Their job is to help people make their lives easier. Once upon a time in offline advertising, brands were looking for target audiences to sell their products to. Today, the process is the other way round: People browse websites looking for products to buy.

They are looking for help. They want things that work. They are looking for value. We know that this change of consumer behavior is a game changer. Ad agencies are still looking for the most creative ideas to attract the interest of the target audience – we know that this doesn‘t work anymore. The world has changed. To win the game you need to understand the rules. If you want to be the one that the customers chooses then you have to deliver value.

>>> Be a part of the customer‘s life. Focus your work on persuasive experiences where customers perceive the value of your product.

3. Think about emotion.

Human decisions are far too complicated to be the result of only rational processing. The homo economicus doesn‘t exist. We strongly believe in the insights of modern neuro sciences and the massive impact of emotions on a customers decision. Emotional resonance and the irrational factors of the customers’ mind are basic principles of our framework to create persuasive customer experiences.

Everything is emotional. Withstand the simplified and superficial belief that customers always look for the cheapest price. Find out more about the real emotional patterns that drive human decisions.

>>> Conversion optimization is about customers decisions. The knowledge about the impact of emotional factors on human decisions delivers the highest ROI.

4. Be relevant.

AIDA is dead. Don‘t beg for attention. To get people’s attention by interrupting them is like a slap in their face. It‘s even worse. Interruption is a blatant way of ignoring your customer’s needs. It is our firm conviction that companies who supply relevant and useful information to their customers will gain their attention. The reason is simple: They respect their customers’ needs. 

Ask yourself everytime you develop a new thing: is this really relevant to my customers? Don‘t be in love with your own concept – try to see it with your customers eyes and find out if it is relevant to them.

>>> Eliminate everything that is annoying or interrupting and replace it with something relevant to get the attention of your customers.

5. Think connected.

Remember: Conversion Optimization is a meta discipline. Conversion Optimization Excellence is a result of combined disciplines such as psychology, copywriting, design and technology. The ability to think beyond the borders of your discipline is the key to creating customer experiences that deliver a fast and high ROI.

Conversion optimization excellence needs people that work together in interdisciplinary units where the knowledge of all disciplines is clearly focused on the results. Knowledge exchange without barriers is one of our crucial factors for successful digital marketing.

>>> Break old structures. Connect people. Think beyond your departmental areas to achieve conversion optimization excellence.

6 .Think CRO as a process.

Regard successful conversion optimization as a process, not as a project. Don‘t believe in just buying a software to dramatically increase your conversion. You just can‘t run some split tests and call yourself a conversion expert. Successful digital marketing is the result of continuous improvements in a process that involves the whole company. 

Masters of conversion optimization have internalized the idea of putting the customer in the center of all thinking. They constantly analyze their customer’s experience in order to improve it. They permanently struggle to eliminate everything that kills the customer’s motivation.

>>> Set up a process for permanently analyzing and optimizing the customers experience.

7. Speed up!

Speed will be a crucial factor in the digital ecosphere. Don‘t waste your time on small changes with little or no impact. The organic growth rates of the internet are rapidly slowing down. Companies with high conversion rates will dominate performance oriented markets. A poor conversion rate will allow your competitors to kick you out of the ranking. 

This is why the ability to improve your customer’s experience faster than your competitors will be a survival factor for the years after the internet explosion is over.

>>> Focus on setting up fast, strong and competitive optimization processes in your organization.

8. Know the rules.

Understand that digital marketing is a game changer. To win the game, you have to know the rules. After all, we know that digital marketing reverses the process of marketing. You are not selling – customers are buying. The authority shifts from the merchant to the customer. Brand and coverage are no longer relevant strategic assets. Engagement, loyalty and trust are the new currency to survive in the digital ecosystem.

>>> Know about the impact of these changes. Knowing the rules helps you win the game.

This manifesto is for everyone who has stopped believing in the old rules of advertisement. It is for those who are brave enough to think beyond classic marketing and those who are questioning the knowledge of the last century. It’s about cause and effect. It is for those who believe in the basic principles of social interactions and the way the internet is changing them. It is for those who know that our world is changing.

It is for those who want to win the game.

(Thanks to Darren who helped me with this english version…)