Jolina Pettice

SES New York: Converting Visitors into Buyers

Visitors into Conversions Panel - SES NY

The conversions track at SES New York continues to be packed with those wanting to increase the performance of their search marketing campaigns.

The “Converting Visitors into Buyers” panel was moderated by Aaron Shear from Boost Search Marketing and the speakers included: Mike Moran from IBM, Nigel Ravenhill from McAfee, Michael Sack from Idearc Media Corp. and Howard Kaplanfrom Future Now Inc.

I missed the first half of this session but was able to sit in on the second half and hear Mike Sack and Howard Kaplan give the audience ideas on increasing conversions.

Michael Sack started 0ff with a story about why milk is always in the back of the supermarket.

Since milk has a short shelf life, shoppers are more likely to run in and pick some up. Since it is placed at the back of the store, shoppers are more likely to walk past and pick up other tasty items, increasing the overall average purchase.

Milk at the back of the store is not a coincidence, it’s not on purpose. Specifically, brick and mortar stores pay special attention to:

  • Orchestrating the experience
  • Flow of the store, as it is scientific
  • Testing of product placement

Retailers pay special attention to these items because what people see and when they see it can have a direct impact on buying behavior.

Lessons learned from retailers, can be leveraged in the online world, but often times is not. In particular, the following happen all too often on websites:

  • Information overkill on the homepage
  • Too many links, overlooking the trends in what visitors are most likely looking for
  • Confusing navigation that does not match in-store experience

Online offers a dynamic nature of which should be leveraged to its fullest. Too often companies are afraid to test new ideas, move call to actions or update headlines. Encourage them to try however, because the ability to do so is what’s great about websites!

As Mike so nicely summarized, “take advantage of the ability to put the milk anywhere, at any anytime” and measure results.

Howard helped the audience by breaking down the steps to better conversions in easy, bite size chunks.

Before working on conversions, he did a level set on the 4 types of personalities and Decision Making Landscapewhere they fall in the decision making landscape.

Howard made it easy to relate to by using Seinfeld as an example:

  • Kramer – spontaneous
  • George – competitive
  • Elaine – methodical
  • Jerry – humanistic

Marketers should make the effort to view the site through the eyes of their visitors, and their personalities, helping better understand how each interacts with the content.

You can see an eye tracking map for each of the 4 personality types, originally from Nielsen, in a Future Now article by Howard.

Once you are on board with paying attention to the 4 types of personalities, the following steps will get you started:

1. Define conversion goals – What action, what pages and what success looks like. If you are new to conversion goals, create a test pilot on your own website and get used to the data.

2. Define profiles – Howard made a great recommendation to start with logical and emotional and fold in the other two, when possible. Don’t start with so much that your end up discouraged.

3. Do the creative – Create the driving point, i.e. ppc or email, and make sure the message matches the motivation, type of personality and buying process.

These are the pages to test first:

  • Highest bounce rate
  • Highest exit rate
  • Lowest time spent
  • Key pages that drive inquiries/sales

The elements on those pages to test include:

  • Headlines
  • Forms
  • Button Size, Shape and Color

This session was really a fantastic starting point for folks looking to get more out of website traffic. In the end it really comes down to crawling out of your comfort zone and testing new/different ideas. All panelists reiterated that results from testing is really the catalyst for lasting changes and bigger, better conversions.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (No Ratings Yet)


  1. Thank you for the great posting! As an online fundraiser I see great parallels to giving behavior in the analysis you presented.

    I could not agree more with “take advantage of the ability to put the milk anywhere, at any anytime” – I suspect the little “donate” buttons at the bottom of electoral emails are selling a lot of milk!

    The Decision Making Landscape is a terrific analytical model and one I will be using to break down donor behavior. Of course decision to give is a very emotional and would skew towards Kramer and Jerry. Breaking these down, spontaneous Kramers in particular would be responsive to emergency appeals. Humanistic donors fit very nicely with institutional donors that give again and again to the cause, that’s the gold. The more competitive donors would be great for Matching Gifts and Gift Thermometers. Elaine is a tough nut to crack but perhaps sustainer programs would fit the personality type.

    Thanks again!

  2. Nice post Jolina. Sounds like a cool conference.

  3. Avatar Alan Green says

    I think there is a difference in B2C and B2B websites.
    On B2C websites the decision maker is solo and can buy immediately if he wants.
    In the case of B2B, the decision process is shared by several persons and will take longer and conversion is not always on line. In some Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 web services the buying can be on-line too, even using a credit card payment check-out.

    Still there are major differences between B2C and B2B websites.
    The goal of a B2C website is to get the visitor into a purchase immediately.
    Whereas in B2B it is important to identify the visitor, in order to follow-up on his visit.
    Identifying the visitor can be done by using a web service that reveals the company name.
    next the visiting company needs to be qualified as lead or as “not yet interesting”. This qualification can be done using data from the same web service concerning the visits of the company (by different visitors): search terms used, pages visited and time spend, click path, returning visitors, language, geographic location.
    Once the company is a lead, then the sales process can start.

    There are several web services available, just Google “website visitor identification”


  1. […] “Tips for Overcoming Client-Created Roadblocks” as well as session coverage of “Converting Visitors into Buyers” and the Orion panel on Universal Search. We also posted a video interview with Sara […]

  2. 大宇观察 » Blog Archive » 如何将网站访客转化为消费者 says:

    […] 本文翻译自On Line Marketing  Blog里的《SES New York: Converting Visitors into Buyers》 ,为达到最佳阅读效果,在翻译时略微做了一些改动。 […]