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Conversions. You know they’re important and you’ve likely heard a lot about how they figure into your marketing strategy, but do you know what the term actually means? If not, you’re not alone. Read on for a little marketing jargon 101.

What is a conversion?

A conversion occurs every time a prospect completes some sort of goal action on your website. What counts as a conversion for your brand will depend on the journey you want users to take as well as your institution’s goals. These can range from filling out a form to learn more or downloading a resource to making a purchase or completing an application. In the end, whether it’s buying a product or applying to your institution, the goal of your marketing efforts should be to inspire action of some sort in your consumer.

How quickly can I expect users to convert?

The length of the journey to a conversion will depend on the length of your sales cycle, the level of commitment, and how well you nurture folks along the way.

For many (but not all) B2C industries a purchase isn’t seen as a big commitment and the journey to a conversion may be a quick one. A person knows what they’re looking for, jumps on your website (or Amazon’s) and makes a purchase.

However, in some industries the decision process could take months or even years. Maybe someone needs to take time (and get approval from others on their team) before making a decision. Or maybe a student is looking at your university and others before making their big decision. In cases like these, there will probably be smaller conversions, or what we like to call micro-conversions, that occur along the way before they’re ready to take the plunge and make that big decision.

Why is it important to measure conversions?

If you’re not measuring are you even marketing? Like most things in digital marketing, you’ll want to track these conversions so you can optimize and improve moving forward. Beyond the number of conversions, you’ll want to track metrics such as conversion rate, cost per conversion, and of course those micro-conversions we talked about so you know how people got there. Knowing what’s working (and what’s not) goes a long ways toward nurturing more folks down the right path.

Now that you know your conversion basics, set up the appropriate Google Analytics tracking and start measuring!