The heartbreak of “bounce” and what to do about it.

That’s the sound of someone finding your site, but not finding what they wanted ON your site.
That’s the sound of Web site content that doesn’t match your marketing.
That’s the sound of a Web site that talks about the company instead of the visitors’ problems.
Technically, a “bounce” is a visitor that looks at only one page, or a visitor that spends an embarrassingly short time on the page.
A visitor bounces when they don’t find anything close to what they were looking for when they visit your site. Either you’re attracting the wrong visitors or you’re don’t know why they are visiting.
Bounce is the most extreme form of conversion problem. High bounce rates are an indication that you are throwing good marketing dollars down the tubes. Whatever you’re spending to get traffic to your site is being wasted.

The Campaign Culture

The conversion problem is one of culture. Most marketers and business owners have a campaign culture. This is a marketing department that creates programs with fixed goals over relatively short time periods.
It is the culture of marketing people focused on monthly and quarterly objectives.
It is the culture of limited marketing resources.
It is the culture of project-oriented agencies.
It is the culture of IT departments lording over online resources.

Curiosity and the Conversion Culture

A marketing department that has escaped the campaign culture is one that produces campaigns effortlessly. The primary attribute of a conversion culture is curiosity.
Just as great companies like Google and 3M have given their employees freedom to explore new ideas, a marketing department must have the time, budget and permission to learn from their efforts.
It is a culture of that knows why it has or hasn’t met objectives.
It is a culture in which every communication is a test.
It is a culture in which momentum carries it across project boundaries.
It is a culture that builds brand while it educates and persuades.

Are you a Curious Marketer?

You may be a curious marketer trapped in a campaign culture. I believe that curiosity is a basic human trait. Where can you start to instill curiosity in your organization?
Start with yourself. Exercise your curiosity muscle.
On October 8, a group of the most curious among us are gathering for a day of conversion tactics, strategy and culture in Austin, Texas.
I’ll be leading a workshop in which the entire conversion “stack” will be introduced and discussed. The goal is for everyone to leave with a new set of skills and a renewed curiosity.
We’re going to understand how to start asking, “why” in each of our communications. We are going to adopt some tools that will help us organize our work around the visitor.
I’ll be leading the workshop, and by the end of the day, will have covered almost everything I know about online conversion.
Will you be a part of this curious group?
You can also join me in San Diego for DMA 09. The Direct Marketing Association has invited me to present this material in a two-day pre-conference workshop, followed by four days of mingling with some of the brightest marketers on the planet. This is another place that curious marketers come to ask “why.”
Marketers that know how to apply curiosity will be writing their own ticket in the next five years. Join us in a place where curiosity is welcome and celebrated.

Brian Massey
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