Novel vs. Necessary

Jenny K. Hill

Laser focus on your primary conversion gives definition to ancillary marketing efforts.

In a recent client meeting, conversation centered on a vision for a new blog. The focus would be ancillary to their primary business. Developing content would require a lot of employee time, so the investment was significant – and they had an already stretched marketing communications team. Even so, folks around the table were pretty excited about the possibility … until the discussion shifted to how the initiative fit into their sales funnel and how it tied to their primary conversion.

The What and the Why

If the concept of a “primary conversion” is new to you, you’re not alone. At Papercut our specialty is digital marketing, and we often find that our team is the first group to coach our clients through the process of identifying the “what” and “why” of their marketing.

The What: Primary Conversions Drive Business

Consider this: what is the one, most important thing you want potential customers to do? What is the activity that once complete, indicates that a potential client is ready to convert into an actual client? Every organization has its unique sales processes, but we find a handful of activities mean business for most folks:

  • completion of a product demonstration
  • completion of a facility tour
  • participation in an initial appointment
  • request for information or a catalog
  • request for a meeting
  • provision of a request for proposal
  • making an inquiry via phone

For some businesses, the act of customer intent – booking a tour or requesting an appointment – is the signal that a person is ready to be connected with a salesperson. For others, marketing has a higher threshold for qualifying a lead – waiting until that tour or appointment has actually happened before handing the lead off to sales.

Know what the final move is for your customers and make sure your marketing and sales funnel points all activity toward it. This is your primary conversion. In the simplest of terms, it may look like this:

  • Get a Demo
  • Schedule a Consultation
  • Contact Me
  • Book a Tour
  • Take a Test Drive
  • Apply Now
  • Buy Now

The Why: All Points Lead to…

Once you identify your primary conversion goal, use it to vet marketing and communications efforts. Whenever you have a great idea, ask yourself: “Why would we do this? Where does it fit in the funnel and how does it move folks toward my primary conversion?”

Work backward and determine the other touches a potential customer might require before they complete your primary conversion.

These earlier activities are “microconversions” and they matter too! Depending on your products and services, these microconversions could include:

  • Subscribing to an email newsletter
  • Opening an email newsletter (or clicking a link within one)
  • Downloading a document from your site (catalog, whitepaper, sales brochure)
  • Registering for a class or webinar
  • Playing a video on your site

Microconversions indicate a potential customer’s journey into your sales funnel. Track them as best you can and weave them into your marketing and communications efforts. Whenever a potential customer interacts with you, have a plan for what action that will trigger from your company.

If they watch a video, will you then invite them to a class…or suggest a whitepaper with additional information? At what point is it appropriate to invite them to your primary conversion — to “Book a Demo” or “Buy Now?” The answer is different for every customer, so we recommend clients always keep their primary conversion goal invitation readily available for a potential client to initiate.

Back to that Blog

On that beautiful spring day in a comfortable conference room it seemed as though anything were possible – and the lifestyle-esque blog was the boss's idea…so we had to do it…right? Maybe not.

It wasn’t that the idea was bad – it was that the team had to set some priorities to be sure that the tip-top of the funnel activities would pour down to a clear, primary conversion opportunity. The project, while novel, was a distraction from the more specific work they needed to do around solving their primary business issue. For them, that was growth, and their main marketing objective was to generate leads for their sales team. They opted to stay focused on the necessary conversion work and table the less actionable marketing activities for another quarter.

Learn from a Pro

If your team needs to find your focus, consider joining Papercut Interactive for our class “Making Good Better: Search Engine Optimization” June 13 from noon until 1 p.m. We’ll cover how to expand your online visibility, technical SEO, conversion planning, funnel development and messaging analysis. Learn more and register at this link. (This is a microconversion for us!)

Jenny K. HIll is a partner at Papercut Interactive, a web development and digital marketing company founded in 2001. Papercut services include custom website design, marketing strategy and digital marketing. Learn more at

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