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A Post-Click Marketing Heuristic

Post-click marketing is a big umbrella. There are many concepts under it, intricately interrelated to each other. It can be challenging to picture the entire ecosystem. But let’s give it a try!

Here is a proposed “post-click marketing heuristic” that offers a guided tour through the creation and optimization of post-click experiences. (Click the image below to enlarge.)

A Post-Click Marketing Heuristic

Post-click marketing starts—in the upper left corner that says START HERE—by subdividing a market into distinct audience segments. For this article, we won’t delve into pre-click marketing: how to place the right ads and distribute links to reach your audience. Instead, those sources of traffic will be our starting point.

Great Post-click Marketing Starts With Context

To create effective post-click marketing, you need to start with the context of your audience. Based on where someone clicks from — a particular ad, keyword, email, or socially distributed link — or what you may already know about them if they’ve visited you before, you want to answer five questions:

  • Who are these respondents? Do they have well-defined identities?
  • What “job” are they looking to “hire” a product or service to do?
  • In B2B/complex sales, what “roles” are participating in the decision?
  • What likely stage(s) in the buying process are they at?
  • Any special “in the moment” context, such as campaigns, seasons or current events?

You may not be able to answer these definitively, but the better sense you have of who your respondents are, and the context in which they’ve arrived on your landing page — the more effective your post-click marketing will be.

To help answer these questions, recommended reading includes What Customers Want from Your Products by Clay Christensen to learn more about marketing to the “jobs” that your audience looks to “hire.” Read The BuyerSphere Project by Gord Hotchkiss to learn about marketing to different roles at different stages, especially in B2B. And read Real-Time Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott to appreciate the power of “in the moment” marketing.

Great Post-click Marketing Delivers Great Content

Two questions should drive development of content on your landing page:

  • What do these respondent want or expect in this context?
  • After that immediate expectation is fulfilled, what is the next step?

It’s that “next step” that is often the true goal of the respondent — if not today, eventually. For example, a prospect may respond to an offer for a webinar on digital HR best practices. Access to the webinar is what they expect when they click through. But eventually, their goal is to implement those best practices.

You want to pursue purpose-driven design with that goal in mind. This informs which kind of flow and format your post-click experience should be organized around, such as:

  • A single page with an immediate offer
  • A multi-step conversion path to guide and segment
  • A microsite to encourage focused learning and exploration
  • “Romance” pages to segue people into a store or website

The most appropriate kind of navigation is often suggested by this format choice — full navigation, a more limited contextual navigation, or implicit navigation made by choices in the main page content.

If you offer visitors segmentation choices, carefully consider the axis of those choices: by “job” (per Christensen), by role, by stage, etc. Remember the MECE principle, and read Sheena S. Iyengar’s The Art of Choosing to make those choices as “frictionless” as possible.

The majority of your effort in building a post-click experience should go into crafting persuasive content. Often, many of the lessons of content marketing can be adapted on conversion-oriented pages. Such content should be relevant, engaging and authoritative (see the READY framework). It should be differentiated from the competition and reach people on three levels:

  • Rational and logical
  • Emotional and intuitive
  • Social—including social proof

Persuasive content should culminate in an offer — the “next step” you want visitors to take. The components of an offer include the proposition itself, which should be meaningful and timely, but also how it is presented: its position and layout, imagery, copy, and increasingly interaction features. Interaction can be nurtured with video, social features, or app-like experiences, such as a “configurator.”

Great Post-click Marketing Follows Through On Conversion

The moment of truth in an offer (where content turns into conversion) is the call-to-action. This is appropriately a key focus of conversion optimization. Forms should be considered carefully for length, relevance and ease of use. Progressive conversion (collecting information from the visitor across two or more pages) may be an effective engagement model to employ as well.

For the call-to-action itself, you should weigh several different aspects of its presentation:

  • Position
  • Size
  • Color
  • Wording
  • Button design

This is the nitty-gritty of conversion optimization, but it can make a tremendous difference. (Check out WhichTestWon.com to see examples of just how significant small changes here can be — you’ll be surprised and amazed.)

But post-click marketing isn’t just about winning the conversion. It’s about delivering upon the promise of that conversion to the customer. In e-commerce, the shopping cart and the check out must facilitate an intended conversion through to receipt. Fulfillment delivered via email or video or as a downloadable file must be fast and work properly for all recipients.

Behind the scenes, you should efficiently incorporate that conversion event into the rest of your marketing operations machinery (e.g., CRMs, marketing automation platforms, business intelligence systems).

And as Sandra Niehaus wrote in an insightful column last year, don’t forget about the “thank you” page. It’s a terrific (and often overlooked) opportunity to build that budding relationship—and build your brand. It may even lead to an additional follow-up conversion.

Great Post-click Marketing Is Driven By Metrics & Testing

Finally, post-click marketing goes beyond optimizing a single experience. It’s about developing an engine for continuous production and improvement. To accomplish this, great post-click marketers embrace agile marketing practices.

Performance metrics are the dashboard for this engine: bounce rate, engagement, conversion rate, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), average order value (AOV), lifetime value (LTV), return on advertising spend (ROAS), and overall return on investment (ROI). Often the real value here is breaking down these indicators by segment—which in turn inspires new post-click experiences.

Correspondingly, testing — A/B tests for big ideas and multivariate testing (MVT) for more subtle optimizations — is the fuel for post-click marketing. As Bryan Eisenberg, John Quarto-vonTivadar and Lisa Davis advocate in their classic book of the same title: Always Be Testing.

And so post-click marketing continues in perpetual motion.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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