Start a Conversion Optimization Conversation

By Todd Barrs, Webroot Software & VisitorCentric

It is old news that communication is critical in nearly every facet of business, and conversion optimization is certainly no exception. Conversion optimization, by nature, requires interdepartmental coordination to ensure strategic alignment with an organization’s overall vision and marketing efforts. Failure to communicate leads to divided efforts, mismatched marketing messages and missed opportunity. A “conversion optimization conversation” between teams and with coworkers and managers can go a long way to ensuring that every effort yields positive conversion results, and growing a conversion optimization program in your organization.

Aside from the end-user, websites often have multiple internal stakeholders, and lack of communication between those stakeholders can derail conversion optimization efforts and lead to uncoordinated and potentially disastrous marketing campaigns. The difference between success and failure often lies with a simple conversation – get everyone’s objectives on the table.? And, while communication is an obvious key to success, there is no question it is something many organizations struggle with. However, there are a variety of ways to open the channels of communication within an organization, and to maximize your optimization efforts.

Internal Training

Develop an introduction or series of conversion optimization training sessions for your team. This is your opportunity to show your team the tactics used to convert visitors, and help them understand the value of conversion optimization. They may understand the concept of “website conversion”, but rarely do they understand how it’s done. Share your knowledge of website usability, and plant the seed for growing a successful conversion optimization program. Keep the training interactive by asking team members to vote on the results of A/B tests, showing an eye-tracking model of a page, or even a usability video of visitors navigating the website. The idea is to show that there is a “method to your madness”. Explain how you analyze web pages through a “conversion optimization lens” and develop the strategy to optimize pages and launch conversion tests. A simple overview of conversion optimization can often be an eye-opening experience, and is a great way to pull it all together in an easy-to-understand package.

Show and Tell Sessions

Show and tell sessions enable the team to present their methodologies specific to their marketing channel and business objectives. Understanding the approach, goals, and success metrics for different marketing mediums can often remove the barriers of “our team” and “their team”, creating a more synergistic environment to allow a conversion optimization program to flourish. Internal groups often have little understanding of the nuances of the media channels in which other teams operate. It is critical for all teams to understand and embrace that what works for print and branding doesn’t necessarily work for online marketing and vice versa.

Round Table Discussions

Round table discussion can provide a more informal atmosphere. This works well for working with groups that have team members who believe they already understand conversion optimization and website usability. It provides a level playing field for everyone to discuss their issues and concerns with the topic. More importantly, it can give you the needed face time with other teams to get everyone on the same page regarding conversion optimization strategies. Furthermore, other teams often have great insight into other marketing tactics that you may not have thought about that can help boost your conversion optimization efforts. Round table discussions can be a great learning experience for everyone and highly productive in getting your conversion optimization message across to other groups.

Conversion optimization does not operate in isolation, and cannot be driven by just one person. It requires buy-in at many levels and across teams. Investing time on the front-end to communicate the premise of conversion optimization and good website usability can improve internal efficiencies, streamline marketing efforts and, ultimately, and best of all maximize conversion rates.

You can learn more conversion optimization strategies and “join the conversion optimization conversation” at

About the Author

Todd BarrsTodd Barrs is Senior Manager of Website Optimization at Webroot Software, a leading security as a service (SaaS) provider, and is also the founder of the Visitor Centric conversion optimization news and resource community. Todd has worked on web marketing projects with a wide variety of companies throughout his career including National Geographic, HD Radio, Key Equipment Finance and other Fortune 500 companies. He is a frequent speaker regarding conversion optimization and landing page optimization including Affiliate Conference, SEMPO events and Visitor Centric events.

Todd will present at the “Conversion Strategy & Team Building” session at Conversion Conference West 2011.

One thought on “Start a Conversion Optimization Conversation

  1. Marketing and technical teams in particular need to work together from the get go. In my experience, clients that ignore this, are setting themselves up for poor results and a limited scope to test.

    We’ve been fortunate that most of our clients campaigns are driven from the top down, so management does what’s necessary to enable us and get us talking directly with the right people. Even then its necessary to ensure the client communicates effectively with their departments internally. That’s an issue we struggle to fix.

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