Inbound marketing: how to fix your leaky bucket

Entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “conversion optimization” junkie Peep Laja should know that inbound marketing is best driven by experiments. After all, even his name is an experiment, he tells the crowd at Toronto’s Mesh Marketing 2013 conference on Nov. 7.

His last name is pronounced with a silent “j” as in “Jaomir Jagr” and that’s what he tells people. But when he hands them his business card, they read his last name and always prounce it with the hard “j” as in “Jarome Iginla.”

“People trust their eyes more than their ears,” says the face of Then he gets to his real message of the day: “All the money you’re investing in SEO, SEM, content marketing is being wasted. You’re not investing in conversion optimization.”

Laja and his ConversionXL firm specialize in taking visitors to a website and converting them. Not to a religion, but to whatever it is your business is selling them – perhaps products via an e-commerce site, or a piece of research you’d like to educate them about. It’s what marketing experts refer to as the sales funnel – tracking users from the point of catching their attention at the wide-reaching mouth of the funnel on Google search, for example, and guiding them along all the way to your action goals.

The practice of conversion optimization is now a must, Laja says, because pay-per-click pricing has become saturated, making it expensive and hard to acquire additional website visitors. So it’s time to convert more of your visitors into buyers.

Laja demonstrates how to start thinking about conversion optimization with an example of what not to do on your Web site, targeting Nebraska-based Continuum Financial.

Continuum Financial

  • The cheesy stock photo looks fine at first, but does nothing to express what this brand is really about or connect with the audience any personality.
  • You don’t need to state “Welcome to our website” because there is really not any Web site that one is not welcome too.
  • Hitting the customer with your company’s philosophy on the main page isn’t very compelling. It’s not the way to win them over.

Instead, aim for a landing page that is more like mobile payment solution Square’s:

Square landing page

  • The message of “Start accepting credit cards today” instantly communicates what the product does.
  • The image visually reinforces exactly what the product does too.
  • An easy-to-complete form and actionable and clear button with the word “free” in it makes it very enticing to convert.
  • The 2.75 per cent fee information answers a key customer question right away without requiring them to dig for it.

If your current Web site is more like Continuum Financial and less like Square, don’t feel like you have to schedule all the changes to take place at once, Laja says. The average company redesigns its site every five years, but that leads to a lot of lag time when its site is under-performing. In other words, just because your bucket is leaky, the answer isn’t necessarily replacing it with a whole new bucket – try putting a few patches in place first.

“When was the last time Amazon had a revolutionary design of its site?,” he asks. “Never.”

Instead, do iterative changes of your Web site and treat each one as an experiment. Set up a test of different versions with user groups and look at what the data tells you about their effectiveness.

But what if your company doesn’t have the resources to invest in conversion optimization? Well, Laja has an answer for that too. “Take the ad budget and put it into conversion optimization. You’ll convert more and have more money to buy ads,” he says.

Are you converted yet?


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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