May 21

Six Reasons You Need To Stop Focusing on Click-Thru Data

There is a scary trend rolling through the digital domain. A trend that if left unchecked, will lead to failed content marketing and lead generation programs. Yet, as you read posts penned by content marketing agencies and lead generation thought leaders, listen to popular podcasts or attend conference session lead by the leading digital minds, you never hear any of them speak of a simple, painful digital truth.

Earlier this month I tried to break that paradigm by challenging Authority Intensive attendees to set aside their slavish devotion to click-thru data. Specifically, we discussed six strategic missteps caused by chasing the click, instead of chasing the customer.

Why You Need To Focus on Conversions Instead of Clicks – a strategy my content marketing agency subscribes to every day.

  1. A click is invisible. It’s really hard to sell to invisible. A conversion, even if it’s just a newsletter or blog subscription requires the invisible sales prospect to turn off their digital cloaking device and reveal one small piece of identifiable data to you — their email address. This can have negative strategic effects on your efforts because you end up chasing every prospect instead of the real prospects that take the time to reveal themselves.
  2. Clicks shows interest but not necessarily intent. Clicks are the online version of “window shopping” and  sometimes where there is interest, there is also intent. But far more often, there is plenty of interest with no intent. That digital window shopper is happy to try on your content wares for free with no intention of buying the goods today or possibly ever.
  3. Clicks create content traps. When you focus on the click and you begin to value it like a conversion (think anyone that uses web traffic, clicks, likes, follows, etc as a KPI) you start to fall into content traps that can impair your ability to convert those invisible digital visitors to very visible leads and eventually customers. These traps take two forms. First, you start to create and share content in a way that is designed to create clicks instead of conversions – think lists posts or sensationalistic headlines. Second, you start to create content for your audience (fame) instead of your prospects (profit). Ego is a powerful drug. Internet fame can blind you to negative impact your content is having on your business.
  4. You promote your most popular content vs your most effective. When you fall victim to Click Think you become a slave to First Click content. This can often lead you to devalue and more importantly reduce your sharing of your less popular but more effective (at creating conversions) content. Case in point: look at your blog and other popular blogs. Do you (they) use widgets that show their most popular content on the right hand rail of their blog? Why do they do that? Instead, why don’t they show their best converting content on that same valuable blog real estate?
  5. You invest your time in guest posting opportunities that generate the most traffic vs the most business. Pushing your content out to your best Propinquity Points is a common theme I preach. But if you only evaluate your Propinquity Points based on click-thru data, you can easily end up spending a lot of time creating very popular content on highly trafficked Propinquity Points that appear to be driving the success of your lead generation programs. Unfortunately, when you evaluate that same content in terms of conversions… you very well might get a different conclusion. So you end up reducing your ability to produce and distribute content to less popular but better converting Propinquity Points as you continue to chase the click.
  6. You don’t write second click content. Second Click Content is all about the conversion. It isn’t written for Twitter. It’s written to help self educating buyers complete their education in a way they favors you and/or your company’s solution to their problem. That turns invisible visitors into visible prospects that you can begin to nurture and eventually close as new customers.

Is There An Argument for Chasing The Click?

During the Q&A after my talk, our gracious host and moderator, Brian Clark asked a very logical and important question. And I paraphrase…

If I focus all of my attention on conversion content and neglect awareness content, won’t I begin to harm my lead generation efforts? Isn’t there value in popular content that gets shared at a higher rate even if it doesn’t necessarily drive conversions?

The short answer is that nothing marketing and sales is ever an absolute to be focused on at the neglect of all other items or beliefs. There is no rule or law that drives 100% of your efforts. Everything in marketing and sales exists as part of a delicately balanced ecosystem.

As I noted in my response, before I could get my wife to marry me I had to convince her to have a drink first. (We’ll leave out Mr. Clark’s response) There cannot be a conversion without first establishing awareness… the law of propinquity states that all relationships move through a predictable series of steps beginning with awareness, followed by knowing, liking and ultimately converting.

So yes, there is an argument to be made for paying attention to popular. My point was simply, you cannot become a slave to the click. At some point, fame is fine but fortune is better. And to obtain fortune, you need conversion.

But enough about what I think…. what do YOU think? Is there too much focus on creating popular content? Do we as an industry need to focus more on conversion? Even if that means we’ll see less traffic?

Talk to me people.

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Tom is 30 year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing others how to combine the power of digital platforms and technology with the science of persuasion to turn conversations into customers.

He is the founder of Converse Digital, a former contributing writer for Advertising Age, and author of The Invisible Sale regarded by readers as a "must-read for any marketing and sales team."

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  1. I would think that there should be consideration of the ratio of clicks to conversions. I suspect that there is a parabolic relationship, meaning there would be an ideal ratio of clicks:conversions beyond which more clicks do not bring more conversion. This would mean that you want to optimize your content to reach that peak and then seek to scale it as large as possible. For example: if I have a 10:1 ratio, and I am currently at 10k clicks, then I am getting 1,000 conversions, therefore if I can scale up and have 50k click, then I get 5,000 conversions. And thus, the paradox: increasing the clicks but maintaining the ratio.

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