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Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008 at 9:22 am

Optimizing for Conversion, Ignoring Consumption

By Bryan Eisenberg
November 19th, 2008

We have worked with many demand or lead generation companies over the past 10 years. Most of the time when they come to us, they ask us to help them increase the number of people they convert into a free trial, a free download, or to create an account.

Conversion Isn’t an Event, it’s a Process

We always like to focus first on increasing the number of leads towards the top of the sales funnel. However, without the next step, consumption, the companies don’t necessarily achieve their better but usually unstated goal of increased revenue.

This is the same fuzzy focus that has companies intent on getting more clicks to their PPC ads just so they can show the increased traffic numbers without focusing on converting that visitor into a lead or sale. To tell you the truth it is not as hard to get visitors to take the uncommitted step, as it is getting them to actually use and consume the product.

When you optimize for customer experience you really need to take the whole scenario from awareness (clicking your ad) through conversion and ultimately to consumption (and ideally to evangelism) into account.

An Example of Trying to Create Consumption

Yesterday I received this email from TimeBridge. I set up an account when I received an invitation from a friend at another company to setup a meeting. You know how challenging it is to coordinate a meeting amongst several people using email, etc.  Well I responded to his request and I really enjoyed the experience (partially because it was seamless using my Mac and Entourage) so I decided to setup an account. I even told several people about it. But I was never converted enough to incorporate it into my work flow.

I must have setup countless meetings since then all without the use of TimeBridge. What do you think went wrong? I converted, did a little worth of mouth for them but never consumed the product. Somehow the persuasive momentum was lost.

This is one way to try to initiate consumption. Use emails to try and prod engagement, add a bit of bribery (such as a contest for a $10 Starbucks card) and see how it works. We’ve seen several other really good examples over the years, what is the best method you have ever seen?

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Comments (10)

  1. I have to say if you have paid and free accounts. Every now and again when releasing an awesome new feature give the free accounts (and those they refer) a taste of that feature.

    For instance if you are giving 10 to the paid accounts, give 2 to the free accounts. Or when releasing a new feature, have some that are for all accounts.

    I like it when I feel value in a free account, I’m much more likely to know that I’ll be able to get value from a paid account if I’m treated like a real person on a free account.

  2. The best experience I’ve had at increasing consumption is to change the balance of spend on keywords.

    We have two Google Analytics goals: 1) Thank You page for becoming a lead, and 2) Thank you page for becoming a customer.

    When optimization dramatically increased the number of leads from AdWords, the sales people started complaining about bad leads. In Google Analytics, I found 30 keywords we bid on that were strongly associated with new leads but not associated at all with new customers.

    I paused those keywords and the complaints from sales just stopped. With the extra money, I expanded the spend on keywords that brought in customers.

    This would be even better if I was using that hack from Brian Clifton, where you can see the first keyword that brought them to the site, instead of the last click before the conversion.

    Which reminds me, if you have any experience with Brian Clifton’s hack I’d be really interested in hearing what you have to say about it.

    Happy marketing! You guys are amazing.

  3. [...] Conversion ist ja ganz nett – tatsächlicher Konsum aber besser: Das find ich einen höchstinteressanten Denkansatz! Vor allem, weil es mir selbst nicht anders [...]

  4. Thanks for the link, Bryan. For those who are interested, there’s a bit of a ‘book’ on the topic of consumption at


  5. I’ve seen some good examples by Snag It. They released a video showing you the ‘secret’ features. Which were in fact, existing features that users didn’t know about at all.

  6. [...] the client, in consuming the advice can be the log jam or the hero of every consulting engagement. It’s rarely the consultant [...]

  7. [...] You, the client, in consuming… [...]

  8. [...] op basis van de aantal inschrijvingen en dan is iedereen snel tevreden. In een reeds verschenen artikel van Bryan Eisenberg wordt er echter niet gesproken over het belang van conversie, maar eerder over consumptie. Het [...]

  9. Good points… a $10 starbucks card even given to 1 of 10 signups is FAR FAR cheaper than adwords would ever be for similar results.

  10. [...] op basis van de aantal inschrijvingen en dan is iedereen snel tevreden. In een reeds verschenen artikel van Bryan Eisenberg wordt er echter niet gesproken over het belang van conversie, maar eerder over consumptie. Het [...]

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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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