Understanding Conversions

Topics: ,Growing Your Practice Article

by John Gulino

In the context of inbound marketing, a conversion is defined as a moment when a website visitor takes a desired action. This action could be anything from clicking a button to filling out a form or booking a meeting.

When a conversion takes place will vary depending on where the prospect is in their customer journey, the content developed, and overall website experience. Generally, prospects interact with websites in the way they have been designed, and the conversion guides them through their journey.

Conversions are meant to act as checkpoints for content that ultimately aid in changing and advancing the lifecycle stage of a prospect.

Content is an integral part of every stage of inbound marketing. While lead generation may be the main focus, marketing, at its core, is about relationship management. This means that even after a visitor becomes a lead, content of interest based on their prior activity or level of interest should continue to be delivered in a timely fashion.


A call-to-action, or CTA, can be defined as any element on a website or blog that prompts visitors to take an “action.” The CTA could be in the form of an image, clickable line of text or filling out a form. Think of CTAs as the fuel that powers the conversions on a website. They track a prospect’s progression and promote the exchange of information for offers.

Next, is a conversion path, which is the process by which a prospect becomes a known lead. This is generally accomplished through a series of CTAs paired with offers.

For example, a financial professional may have an eBook that they want to offer visitors in exchange for their contact information. They can create an enticing CTA button that directs a visitor to complete a contact form to download the eBook. Once the form is completed, the visitor is redirected to a thank you page with a download link. It’s always a good practice to follow up with an email which also contains a link to the asset.

Here are a few best practices for creating a conversion path:

  1. Create awareness. 
    Develop an element to attract visitors to an offer. Prospects are coming to this web page for a reason. They may even have a specific question. The first conversion tool used to attract their attention needs to show them you have the answer, or at least showcase the value you add to their experience.
  2. Determine your endpoint.
    If visitors are being directly sent to a PDF through a CTA button, that’s a single-step conversion path. However, the ultimate goal for a website visitor is to complete a series of steps.
  3. Chart your course.
    Figure out an element that kicks off the conversion path and identify where a prospect should end up. You need to design and plan for the prospect’s experience and journey through each conversion stage.
  4. Analyze.
    The work doesn’t stop after the final conversion. Once the visitor has their question answered and is off to enjoy your offer or has left your website delighted with their experience, it’s time to check on how the conversion path is performing.

Conversions mark an exchange with prospects. They can also signify movement in the customer journey and an advancement towards a final decision. For this reason, conversions are one of most significant metrics to track.

Conversion can take a variety of formats. A website can have buttons, landing pages, blog posts with buttons, forms, pop-ups, live messaging, meetings links, or chatbots as conversions, and that’s just to name a few.

A tried and true conversion path that aligns well with inbound marketing is the landing page. This usually includes an attention-grabbing CTA button, which redirects to a landing page tailored to speak directly to prospects. An optimized lead generation form usually sits “above the fold” on a web page, meaning at the top of the web page before needing to scroll down, and acts as a gateway to the offer. After completing the form, the prospect, now considered a lead, is redirected to a thank you page where they can then download the offer and access navigation back to the rest of the website. 

This method is typically used for offers, such as eBooks and demos. Each item can function as the right tool for what a visitor is trying to accomplish. The exact combination of tools or how many conversions needed is not an exact science – it may take several tries to get the journey just right.

Download our conversion checklist from the resource area and use it as a guide to continue growing your business in today’s digital world.


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