Day 2: Align Your Business’s Success Metrics with Steps of the Conversion Funnel

The customer journey is a complex lifecycle. When people come to your website, they may not be ready to make a purchase immediately — and that’s okay. Direct response marketers are typically concerned with how many transactions occur immediately. If you follow this mindset, you’re going to overlook an extremely important metric — lifetime customer value.

The first step of a successful conversion optimization strategy is to think of your marketing as a long-term relationship with your audience. There are key milestones in this process that aren’t entwined with direct sales.

This chart will help you align conversion goals to different user intents:

Conversion Goal Map

Funnel StageCustomer MindsetCustomer ActionsSuccess MetricsEarly/Top
of the funnelWhat do you do?

  • Discovery/awareness

  • Initial research

  • Information gathering

  • Unique visitors

  • Pages per visit

  • Time on site

  • Bounce rate

  • Social media shares

of the funnelWhy should I care?

  • In-depth research

  • Cost analysis

  • Competitor research

  • Return visitors

  • Return visits

  • Pages per visit

  • TIme on site

  • Bounce rate

  • Social media shares

of the funnelHow do I believe you?

  • Request for more details

  • Phone call to sales rep

  • Complete demo

  • Ebook downloads

  • Lead form completions

  • Wishlist additions

Lower funnelWhen can we start?

  • Purchase

  • Sign-up

  • Average order value

  • Average order size

  • # of transactions

  • # of purchases

The success metrics you choose should be custom-tailored to your business’s unique model. For instance, e-commerce success metrics may look different from an ecommerce stores. Don’t forget about off-site interactions either — especially if you’re running a brick and mortar storefront, conversions are likely to happen offline.

Example Conversion Goals by Business Type

Funnel StageE-CommerceAgencyBrick-and-mortarEarly/Top
of the funnel

  • Newsletter click-throughs

  • Social media shares from content

  • Social media shares from products

  • Newsletter click-throughs

  • Social media shares from content

  • Newsletter click-throughs

of the funnel

  • Return visits

  • Simulator completions

  • Stylist consultations

  • Ebook downloads

  • Whitepaper downloads

  • Email list sign-ups

  • Yelp bookmarks

  • Social referral

of the funnel

  • Website offers/promotions claimed

  • Wishlist additions

  • Bookmarks

  • Customer service queries

  • Requests for more details

  • Emails to a sales rep

  • Requests for more details

  • Calls to the office/sales rep

  • Ebook downloads

  • Lead form completions

  • Wishlist additions

Lower funnel

  • First time purchase

  • Repeat purchase

  • Deal closed

  • Sales in store

Today’s Homework

  1. Open up a Word, Notepad, or Google Doc in a window next to this guide. Notebooks work too. If you’re a manager or part of an organization, you may want to loop in your team by jumping into a conference room with a whiteboard.Generate a big list of every on-site goal you want your users to complete, and explain why these concepts are important to ROI for your particular type of business.

  2. Create a diagram of your company’s conversion funnel. There’s no need to create anything fancy. Just make a rough sketch of what your customers are likely to be doing and thinking.

  3. Map the relationship between steps 1 and 2.

Bonus step: Create a list of metrics that relate to the goals you’ve specified from 1. Ideally, you should track these trends as goals in your analytics software. If you don’t have analytics software, check out KISSmetrics and Google Analytics.

Align User Segments to Conversion Funnels

Conversion funnels can help you understand what your users want and the paths that they’re taking to find what they need on your website. That’s only half the marketing equation. In addition to monitoring what your users are doing, you need to understand who they are.

The fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sales. Conversion optimization is more complex than most business owners realize. Memorize the following infographic from

Here Is How Conversion Steps Look

Even for CrazyEgg, it’s rare for people to just come to the site and convert. They need to be wooed, and typically, this process takes a long-time. And realistically, the more expensive your product, the more steps you should expect your conversion funnel to have.

Here is an example conversion funnel for CrazyEgg:

Users first learn about CrazyEgg when researching heatmapping options through a PPC campaign. They come to CrazyEgg, read a couple of articles and then like the company on social media. This user keeps reading articles until finally, they’re ready to sign up for a free trial. After finding value in the free trial, he/she becomes a paying customer.

Conversion Step 1: Discovery through PPC Ad

Conversion Step 2: Engagement via the Blog

Conversion Step 3: Engagement with Brand via Social Media

Conversion Step 4: Free Trial Sign-Up

Conversion Step 5: Sale!

Customers Need Guidance

As you can imagine, customers and prospects need guidance to get through this process that can sometimes span weeks, or even months. The problem is, most businesses leave their prospects in the dark, without clear knowledge of conversion steps they should be taking. Even the most expensive of websites can experience this challenge. Take the Covered California Healthcare Exchange, as an example.

A big barrier to sign-up is that people aren’t sure how to enroll in the right health insurance plan. As a result, they need to rely on customer support agents, which can be expensive and time consuming.

Guiding your users means understanding their needs, pain points, and personality types. There is no one-size-fits all approach to conversion optimization. People come from a variety of backgrounds and have different levels of familiarity with the Internet. The challenge is that you need to talk to all of these people on a 1:1 basis.

Create User Personas

Who are the people you’re marketing to, and what do they value? What are their hobbies? What solutions are they likely seeking out when they find your business? To speak to your customers and prospects on a 1:1 basis, you need to understand who they are.

When you’re going through this process, don’t worry about visualizing groups. Instead, imagine that you’re talking to real people. Hop on Facebook or LinkedIn and print out pictures of your actual customers.

  • Here’s an example of a business buyer persona:

    • Jen is a 26 year old female who lives in California.

    • She is an Internet power user and frequently spends more than 10 hours a day online.

    • She’s well-versed in technology and taught herself how to build websites at an early age.

    • She has experience building multi-million dollar marketing programs for enterprise organizations, but she recently left her job as a manager at a tech company to start her own content strategy business.

    • She makes decisions incredibly quickly, keeps a tight hold over her credit card, and knows how to avoid BS sales tactics.

    • She prefers working with her personal networks, and takes a relationship-building approach to business development.

    • She only cares about ROI.

    • When she was working for a big company, she was not the ultimate decision maker but was a key influencer who worked with her team collaboratively (although she had the flexibility to spend more than $1MM with very little oversight). Now that she’s working for herself, she is the ultimate decision maker.

    • She doesn’t make impulsive decisions and gets annoyed by aggressive sales practices. She prefers doing business with organizations who prioritize consulting and educating above selling.

  • Now here is my consumer buyer persona:

    • Jen is a 26 year old female who lives in San Francisco.

    • She’s always cold and always feels inadequately prepared for winter.

    • She enjoys shopping but never has time for it because she is working.

    • She relies on the Internet to influence her purchasing decisions.

    • She is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to her expenses.

    • Since starting her own business, she has tightened up her budget to necessities only, but she is always open to great products.

    • She enjoys buying gifts for her friends and family.

    • She can be way more impulsive than with her business decisions, which are typically calculated, rational, and planned out in advance.

Or, you could have a little more fun with your user personas, and create something like my self-portrait:

Today’s Homework

  1. If you haven’t spent time talking on the phone with your customers and prospects, now is the time to start. Talk to 3-5 people, and interview them about their experience with your brand. Don’t run them through a checklist, and don’t come across like you’re fishing for information. Keep the conversation casual — this process is a type of qualitative research, a concept that we’ll review later this week.

  2. Work with your team to create comprehensive buyer personas of different customer types.If you’re running a B2B business, use the following questionnaire:

    • The basics:

      • Job title

      • Age

      • Education

      • Industry

      • Where they’re located (city, suburb, rural)

      • Who do they report to

      • Years in this role

    • Key job qualifications:

      • Responsibilities associated with this buyer persona’s job

      • Highest job priorities/responsibilities in this buyer persona’s direct area of influence

      • The top problems/pain points they’re facing that your company can help solve

      • Several perceived barriers to the above problems

      • What actions the buyer may have already taken to solve their key problems

    If you’re running a consumer-facing business, use the following questionnaire:

    • The basics:

      • Age

      • Education

      • Industry

      • Where they’re located (city, suburb, rural)

      • Favorite stories

    • Key characteristics of this persona:

      • What does he/she do for fun?

      • What does he/she value?

      • What is this person’s temperament?

      • What frustrates this person?

      • Who are this person’s best friends?

Alright. Another day’s over.
Let’s jump into day 3. If you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to get a head start.


Emily Anderson