16 Conversion Principles: Best Practices to Improve Campaign Performance

What factors (under a marketer’s control) have the greatest impact on conversion?

We ask ourselves that question a lot here at ID.  And over the course of all of the many campaigns we’ve designed, launched, managed, measured and optimized, we’ve learned a few things about conversion that have proven themselves to make a significant impact on improving the effectiveness of our campaigns.

Here is a checklist of “16 Conversion Principles” that we apply with every campaign we create. Use it to improve conversion—and revenue results—with your campaigns!

  1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST. Define your target audience, map their buying process, identify the key decision makers and influencers in that process, understand what each audience segment wants and needs to know at each stage of the buying process (not just the purchase phase), where they go for trusted information, advice, recommendations and education. Then, map their company and personal needs to your value proposition, messaging and content plan. Basically, none of the following steps will be as effective as you want if you haven’t done thoughtful research beforehand.
  2. TARGETING. Now that you’re sure who the right audience is (your target personas), how are you reaching them?  What needs to change in your mix of channels and tactics to improve your targeting and reach? How will you know that you’re connecting?
  3. VALUE PROPOSITION. Have one! Make sure it is easily understood, impeccably communicated, directly useful to your target audience, supported with proof and genuinely different from your competitors. Yes, this can take time to develop and refine. It’s worth it.
  4. RELEVANCE. Are you delivering the right message? Is your message communicating things that your target audience actually cares about, in language they understand? Are you helping them solve problems and access new opportunities? Are you inspiring them in a way that adds value while pointing them toward your value proposition? Do that.
  5. TIMING. Are you connecting with your audience at the right times in their buying process? Test this and confirm your notions with real world data.
  6. CHANNEL. Are you connecting with your audience via channels they actually use, trust and prefer? Not sure? Ask them! And then measure your responses by channel and tactic.
  7. FREQUENCY. Are you using the right number of touches, in the right order and with the right cadence? Would your results improve or worsen if you communicated more? Less?  Test, measure and find out.
  8. CREATIVITY. Stand out! Deliver your message in a compelling, eye-catching, engaging way that embodies and demonstrates your brand and unique value proposition. Figure out what your point of view is — and express it. Dare ya to take a risk and be different.
  9. PERCEIVED RISK. Lower the perceived risk of converting with social proof, understandable privacy policies, testimonials, results, 3rd party accolades, trust symbols, ratings and other approaches.
  10. PRICE. Is your offer priced correctly? What would happen if you raised your prices 20%? Dropped them by 20%? This is another fantastic area to test.
  11. ADD VALUE. Make sure your content actually delivers something of intrinsic value—with every step of every campaign. Solve a problem. Educate. Inspire. Don’t just sell.
  12. BENEFITS<>NEEDS. Is your product/service the correct solution for the audience’s pressing, urgent needs? This is like a more granular version of #2 above.
  13. SENSE OF URGENCY. Remember to make the case for why they should act now and not later.
  14. AUTHOR. Make sure the author is clear, known and trustworthy.
  15. PERMISSION-BASED. This goes far deeper than CAN-SPAM compliance. It’s about a brand and a prospect stepping into a relationship incrementally with each other by exchanging value for ongoing, deeper levels of permission to communicate… kind of the way actual humans get to know one another. What a concept!
  16. CLEAR CALL TO ACTION. Are you propelling and assisting your audience through their buying journey with clear, obvious, “I’m supposed to (and want to) do this next” calls to action?  Do it–it’ll help.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list for improving conversion, but hopefully it gives you a good start for your own conversion optimization efforts. The book of best practices is always evolving at ID; we’re always learning new things.

What things under your control have you tested and seen work well?

To learn more about how we apply these principles to generate leads, nurture leads and drive revenue, contact us at info@intelligentdemand.com.

John Common

John is Intelligent Demand’s founder, chief strategist and CEO. His energy and enthusiasm for transforming companies with modern approaches to marketing, sales, and customer success is palpable. He’ll happily geek out with you during a 2-hour conversation about your customer journey. He’ll cover any whiteboard or tablecloth in sight with revenue growth strategies, messaging concepts, and program designs. But his primary passion is connecting those ideas to highly executable programs that deliver measurable results.


  • I have to say this is a pretty comprehensive list of all the right steps. I especially appreciate step 11… Do you feel Denver is on the same level as other markets in this regard or behind? Thanks for a great post.

    • Thanks, Jon. I agree, #11 (Add Value) is crucial — and so often ignored! Denver has some great digital shops and a handful that seem to have a real focus on conversion. More broadly though, I think the entire agency world is going through a much-needed upgrade in a bunch of areas, conversion being a one of them.
      Thanks again for dropping by and keep in touch!

Leave your comment