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FutureNow Article
Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2006

Conversion versus Persuasion: What’s Your Challenge?

By Bryan Eisenberg
June 21st, 2006

Persuasion takes you beyond linear conversion funnels to help you achieve your conversion goals.

Conversion is no longer the biggest problem facing online marketers; persuasion is. However, a misconception about the nature and value of linear conversion funnels persists. Some say the linear conversion funnel is dead. Others still conceive of their efforts as entirely based on linear conversion funnels.

This misconception about linear processes has been a pet peeve of mine for years. Fortunately, misperception is an opportunity for clarification. So please allow me clarify.

The linear conversion funnel has its place. Though rudimentary and limited, it’s a great blunt-force beginners’ tool for online marketers with few or no metrics in place (and there are far too many of those left). But the linear conversion funnel won’t take sophisticated marketers very much further in their optimization efforts. No conversion funnel will, 2.0 or otherwise.

Instead of considering the conversion funnel by itself, we should think of it as living at the bottom end of the buy/sell process. Let me say again, conversion is no longer the biggest problem facing online marketers; persuasion is.

Without persuasion, there’s no incentive for visitors to walk through your linear sales process. Unlike conversion, persuasion isn’t linear. The conversion funnel is smooth and simple, but the persuasive reservoir that feeds it is as complex and non-funnel-like as your visitors are.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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