Online Conversion Path

What is the Online Conversion Path

The online conversion path is a series of steps your potential customer takes on your website before they become a lead. While there are many variations of conversion paths, it generally has the same flow.

What Is An Online Conversion Path

Think about your own behavior for a moment.

What do you do when you want to buy a new laptop or phone?

I figure you’d do something like this:

  • Open a browser and type the brand & model (e.g. MacBook Pro)
  • Read several articles that talks about what you were looking for
  • Refine your search to something more specific to your needs (e.g. Can the MacBook Pro handle Photoshop)

That process is most likely the same process your customers do when they want to buy something.

The Importance of the Online Conversion Path

If you look closely at the path I described above, people aren’t looking for prices and discounts.

When people start their buying journey, they care about getting answers to their questions. They care about solving their problems.

This is where a lot of businesses go wrong.

In digital marketing, it’s important to remember that people’s buying behavior have changed. In some cases, people are already 80% through their buying journey when they reach out to businesses.

If you are not present in that early part of their research process, you will most likely not be their top choice.

And that’s where the online conversion path comes in.

Focus on the Customer, Not Yourself

Most of the time, businesses produce content that only talks about themselves. Promos. Discounts. How awesome their products and employees are. That they care about their customers.

But do all that content help prospects who are looking to buy something during the early part of their journey?

A big no!

The 5 stages of awareness tells us that if you focus on creating content about yourself, you’re alienating a lot of people.

What you should do is start creating content that solves your industry’s problems. Focus on your customers’ needs first, before your own.

What Is Google Tag Manager

What is google tag manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a tag management software — a tool that allows you to add/delete/modify code on your website (or app) without the need for programming knowledge.

The current trend in digital marketing is to install a piece of code (or snippets of code or tracking pixels) from the different software that you use. For example, if you want to track your website’s traffic and user’s behaviors, you can install Google Analytics.

To do so, you need to install a code that looks like this:

<! – Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
<script async src=""></script>
  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
  gtag('js', new Date());

  gtag('config', 'UA-12345678-9');

This comes with an instruction to add it to all pages on your site at the start of the <head> section of your website. But most often, a business will want to use several of these tools.

Problems of Not Using Google Tag Manager

Let’s say you want to capture visits and target those audiences on Facebook, you install the Facebook Pixel. Then you heard about the new feature in your CRM software that allows you to track your contacts’ website visits as well. That way, you know which pages interest them. What about your email marketing software? Or that shiny new live caht or chat bot software

You need to install several lines of code for each of these tools to make them work.

Traditionally, these sets of code is added by programmers/developers manually.

Marketers give the code to be added and where to add it. Then, the programmer/developer comes back to you in 1-3 weeks to say that they’ve added it.

Using GTM to manage all these code implementation/changes makes it simple.

Main Benefit of Using Google Tag Manager

Using Google Tag Manager eliminates all these unnecessary steps.

Instead of going through a lot of time and effort coordinating with 3rd parties, you can easily implement and manage the changes on your website quickly. You can also test whether the app or software is working properly without going back and forth.

To get started, all you need to do is give them the GTM code to install. Once that is installed, you can use GTM to handle all additions/deletions/changes of code inside it.

How to Add a Tag in Google Tag Manager

Let’s say you want to install the Facebook Pixel on your website. Once you have Google Tag Manager installed on your WordPress site already, here’s a quick overview for adding a new tag on GTM:

  1. Add a New Tag
  2. Change the Name
  3. Choose Custom HTML
  4. Paste the code
  5. Use All Pages as the Trigger
  6. Save
Create New Tag in Google Tag Manager

You can set the code to be added on the page by a simple copy-paste from your tool or software you want to implement. In our example above, that’s the Facebook Pixel.

You can easily apply the rules or firing conditions in which they appear.

If you need to create edits or modifications, you simply choose the tag and edit it directly.

Once you hit submit, all the changes will be live. You will be asked to add some details so you can remember what the changes are about.

Google Tag Manager Publish Container

No need to send it off to your programmers/developers. No need to wait for weeks for a single change or implementation.

I also shared that this is the ideal way to install Google Analytics as well.

Of course, there are a lot more you can do with GTM like using it to create events that you push to Google Analytics, or use the Data Layer to gather more information to your reports. But that’s for another time.

Are you using GTM on your website? Does implementing new software take you so long because your developers and programmers take a while to get back to you?

Let me know in the comments below!

What Is a Content Pillar

What is a content pillar

A content pillar is a large piece of content that can be broken into smaller, bite-sized pieces of content. This allows you to focus on a single topic or theme, but at the same time, meet the needs of every department in your organization.

Sample Content Pillar

Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and guides. You then repurpose this big content into individual blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, social media updates, and more.

The Need for Content Pillars

A content pillar approach is both an efficient and effective way to create and distribute content. It benefits your entire organization, not just your marketing department.

Imagine a potential customer browsing your website. She is very inclined to buy one of your products and called your hotline to confirm some specs. The customer representative then said something different from what she read on the website. She got turned off and decided not to buy any more.

This situation is not uncommon, even in big companies.

Most of the time, this happens because the people in-charge of the phone (sales) have a different piece of content that came from another part of the organization (product team). The content on the website is also different because it’s handled by different people as well (marketing).

The product team updates the product, they updated their technical specifications, both marketing and sales didn’t get the updated notification. Another scenario is marketing receives the specs, tried to reword it so the public can easily understand its benefits, but understood the features in a different way.

Multiple departments creating and handling their own versions leads to content chaos.

Creating a mash-up of content from experts and other teams without a unifying theme or approach results in a disjointed customer experience.

The solution to content chaos is to have every department involved in the content creation process. They should buy-in the idea that content is everyone’s shared responsibility.

Why? Because of the customer.

The customer only sees one entity — your organization.

The customer doesn’t make any distinction across the different “departments’ content” — sales brochure, fact sheets, website, calling cards, press releases, social media, flyers.

That leaves you with the only effective approach to solving content chaos — a content pillar.

Remember to involve the other departments when planning content campaigns. That way, everyone has a centralized content resource — avoiding different messages conveyed to customers.

Have you used content pillars in your digital marketing?

Let me know in the comments below!

What Is the Customer Lifecycle

What its the customer lifecycle

Customer lifecycle, or lifecycle stages, is an organization’s way of grouping their contacts. Take note that this is different from the buyer’s journey, where the customer goes through different phases from their perspective. Here, customer lifecycle is segmentation from the perspective of your organization.

Customer lifecycle is an organization’s way to describe the various stages a contact goes through when they are considering, buying, using, and remaining loyal to your organization.

The most important benefit of the customer lifecycle is it gives both marketing and sales a way to understand exactly where their leads and customers are at any given stage.

I’ll write a more thorough article about the main differences between the buyer’s journey and the customer lifecycle next time. But for now, I’ll focus on what the customer lifecycle is.

7 Customer Lifecycle Stages

1. Subscriber

A subscriber is someone who is slightly interested in hearing more from you and is not ready to buy now.

They may or may not be a good fit for whatever you are selling. The main reason for this is you don’t know anything about them.


Most of the time, these are people who subscribed to your blog and newsletter updates.

That is why selling to your subscribers often have disappointing results. Both parties don’t know anything about each other, but one party (you) already started selling to them.

It’s like proposing to someone to marry you on the first date. 🤦‍♂️

[pullquote align=”right”]Customer lifecycle is segmentation from the perspective of your organization. [/pullquote]

2. Lead

A lead is someone who is more engaged than a subscriber.

These people have self-qualified themselves by completing one of your macro goals. These come in the form of engaging your marketing offers like downloading PDFs or asking you some questions about what you offer via your contact us page.

Comparing to the other frameworks I’ve written, usually leads are in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. This also coincides with stages 2-3 of the awareness stages.

I suggest reading those articles because they can give you a clearer picture of how people buy and how your organization can be part of that buying process.

For small businesses or those who are starting out, most of the time you can group subscribers and leads together. The more important distinction are what follows next.

3. Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Marketing qualified leads or MQLs are people who performed selected actions on your website.

For example, they filled out your contact us form that asks them thoroughly so you know exactly what you need to know. If you’re a software provider, these people are the ones who downloaded your software and/or requested for a demo.

It’s important to remember two things here:

  1. MQLs are more engaged than regular leads. These are the people who performed selected actions on your site. Not everyone will convert to an MQL.
  2. Usually, this is the point where marketing passes of the lead for sales.

It is important to note that MQLs have been pre-qualified by marketing to meet certain criteria that would make them a good fit for your products/services.

4. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

A sales qualified lead or SQL is someone who has progressed further down the funnel.

In practice, these are people whom your sales team have contacted and have responded positively.

5. Opportunity

An opportunity is a contact who is ready to buy, able to buy, and willing to buy.

This is the only time when you (or sales) create an associated deal for the contact. It means they have fulfilled the 3 conditions listed above.

What this means is sales have re-qualified these people and have weeded out people who are just looking around. These people are, in fact, in the buying process. They are actively looking for a solution to their problem (or put it differently, trying to seize advantage of something).

In your CRM, when a contact becomes an opportunity, it creates a deal associated with the contact. That’s when you can clearly attach a ₱ or $ value to it.

6. Customer

This is the stage that everybody loves — a paying customer.

When a contact becomes a customer, several things happen. This should trigger a proper onboarding series. Along the implementation, you should create several milestones where you can ask for feedback, get some reviews, and ask for some referrals.

7. Evangelist

Evangelists are people who you know will never buy from you but are raving fans of your business. For example, these can be brand ambassadors or simply someone who likes what you do but can’t afford you. Other people also call this Promoters.

For example, I’ve been following HubSpot since 2012. I’d count myself as being one of their evangelists since they have given me so much value through their content. Up until 2015, I personally can’t afford their software, nor do the organizations I worked with at those times.

If you were to only categorize me in the normal sales cycle, I would have already fallen out. No lead nurturing campaign lasts for 3 years.

But, when I had the chance to handle the digital marketing of an organization with a relatively big budget, I jumped on this opportunity and subscribed to HubSpot’s marketing platform.

8. Others

Not everyone can and should be your customer. By trying to sell to everyone, you will eventually experience customer churn and/or realize more problems for your organization.

For example, you sell enterprise software. A small business will eventually stop subscribing to your software because it’s expensive and that they aren’t using it that much. Another scenario is if you’re a startup and your target are small businesses. You certainly don’t want to target bigger organizations because, even if they have the budget, you”ll often be asked to do more than what you can offer. This can take in the form of more customizations, favors, and a whole lot more. Basically, more headache for you.

Pro Tip: if you are using a CRM, you’d notice that the lifecycle stages are tied to the Contacts (or People, depending on how your CRM calls them). They are not associated with deals. What this means is that you don’t only look at deals. Deals, like discussed above, are real business opportunities that have a ₱ or $ value to them. This framework allows you to focus only on customers that are a high fit for your business.

So, what are you going to do next?

Use the customer lifecycle to segment your contacts internally. Having a proper marketing and sales alignment on how each stage is defined will save you future headaches. Both marketing and sales will know their respective roles and won’t keep blaming each other for not reaching their goals.

How are you using the customer lifecycle in your organization?

Let me know in the comments below!

What Is the Buyer’s Journey

What is the Buyer's Journey

The buyer’s journey, as the name implies, is the journey a buyer goes through before buying. In recent years, there have been a number of variations on this, but the main principles behind them remain the same — not everyone who interacts with your brand is at the same stage nor have the same problems.

It is a concept that explains the path that people typically go through before buying a product/service.

There are multiple variations of the buyer’s journey throughout the years. So, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on the most popular and simple one.

Before diving in, remember this: look at the buyer’s journey from the perspective of the buyer.

External to your organization.

It is what they go through from learning about you until they buy from you.

Not your sales process.

But about them.

A Simple Analogy to Understand the Buyer’s Journey

We’ve all been to at least one of the malls that are scattered throughout the country.

We’re all guilty of simply walking around, saw something that catches our attention, decided to go in that shop, ask some questions from the attendant, then ultimately buy it.

No need to be shy.

National Book Store. Typo. Landmark.

All these establishments (and many more) have taken my money over and over.

And that’s how the buyer’s journey works.

3 Phases of the Buyer’s Journey

First, you were minding your own business. Then, you saw something that caught your attention. You realized you want it. Even told yourself you need it.

You weren’t “thinking” about it. But that stimulus of seeing it made you aware you have a problem — no matter how trivial that is.

Next, you went inside the shop. You start making inquiries. You held the item. Rationalized that you need this.

You tried wearing it or using it.

Then you head on over to the counter to pay.

Remember this story as we break it down into the different components of the buyer’s journey.

Phase 1: Awareness

The awareness phase is when people know they have a problem/need/want but haven’t defined it yet.

It’s that craving at the back of your head. That feeling in your gut that something is off and want to know what it is. It’s the “aha” moment. It’s when you realize something isn’t working as it should and could be improved.

In the story above, the awareness phase starts by seeing that item. A postcard, notebook, blouse, poster. Really, anything. It might even be that cute dog video you were watching on your iPhone a few minutes ago.

This triggers an impulse in you that made you went inside the store.

Phase 2: Consideration

The consideration phase is when people defined their problem/need/want and are currently looking for options.

By now, you’re inside the store, casually browsing.

“I’m only window shopping,” you tell yourself.

But deep down you already know that if you find something you like, you’re going to ask a lot of questions about it. You’d think about where you’ll use it for. You’d argue with yourself that you need this. That it really doesn’t cost that much. That it won’t break your budget.

And that’s what you exactly did.

Phase 3: Decision

The decision phase is when people narrowed down their options to a few and is doing their due diligence before buying.

Here, you are thinking of whether or not you’ll regret this “purchase” later on. You’ve narrowed down your options into 1 or 2 things. Now, you’re asking questions like price, warranties, and return policies. You’re now thinking if it will really fit into how you do things.

“Will this new blouse go with my shoes?”

“Can I try this on?”

“Does this laptop have a better value for money than this one?”

“Can you demo it for me?”

These down-the-line questions are the things you ask yourself when you’re holding the product and ready to buy.

Final Thoughts on the Buyer’s Journey

Let’s recap what you have learned so far.

First, we went through the concept of the buyer’s journey by going through an example most, if not all, of us, experienced. Next, we looked at this experience and mapped it into the buyer’s journey.

In this section, I’ll be sharing two final thoughts on the buyer’s journey.

  1. Not everyone who interacts with your organization is at the same stage
  2. People go through the buyer’s journey at different speeds

1. Not everyone who interacts with your organization is at the same stage.

Have you ever walked into a store, went directly to the product you’re looking for, took it, head straight to the counter, and bought it?


Have you ever walked into a store, knowing you won’t buy anything, but simply browsing around — just window shopping?

I’m sure you’ve done this before. The same applies to your organization.

These two questions support the fact that people interact with you at different stages all the time.

For the first scenario, any attempt at talking is a nuance. It’s annoying. For the second scenario, you’d prefer someone there answering all your questions. And when they are not there, you get annoyed too.

How can you apply this?

When you look at the social media accounts of Philippine organizations, you’ll see them constantly selling. Probably around 95% of them sell 95% of the time.

It doesn’t work.

Especially if it’s the only type of content you have.

Promotional content — sales discounts, buy one get one offers, etc. — reside at the decision stage.

Most organizations place promotional messages throughout their entire website and post the same content on their social media. When this happens, you are alienating a vast majority of people. Remember that people don’t go online just to buy. They use it to learn, educate themselves, and research.

The best approach here is to create content that caters to the different stages of the buyer’s journey. A good ratio of content will look like this:

  • Awareness: 50%
  • Consideration: 30%
  • Decision: 20%

Also, if you’re a fan of the Pareto principle, the awareness and consideration — which can be grouped into educational content — is the 80%; while the selling part is the 20%.

2. People go through the buyer’s journey at different speeds

For most of us, the speed at which we go through the buyer’s journey depends primarily on the price.

For example, when we see something that we fancy at Typo, we often go through the buyer’s journey in a matter of minutes.

We realized we have a problem — i.e. “I don’t have this cute stuff.” Then, we started looking at available options. We compare this with other items we saw before in our minds. Then decide whether to buy it now or not.

But if the item we are looking to purchase is a new laptop, or a new bag, or a condo to buy, we often take longer.

In the early stages, we are looking for the best ones or the most popular ones. Then once we narrowed our choices down a few options, we start digging in deeper.

We evaluate them against certain criteria depending on our needs/wants at that moment.

Then, we decide and choose which one to purchase.

This process can take weeks or months from the moment we become aware until the moment we purchase.

How can you apply this?

Because you can’t control the speed at which people go through the buyer’s journey, there are only two things you can do:

1. Create a lead nurturing campaign across all channels, then supplement it with advertising

I’ll share an in-depth guide on how to do this in another post. It’s currently in drafts and in the process of proofreading.

The post is primarily about nurturing via email. But you can apply the same concept using advertising.

2. Repurpose your existing content

The other thing you can do is to repurpose your content (assuming you have the content tailored to the different stages of the buyer’s journey) into different formats.

  • Blog articles
  • Videos
  • PDFs
  • SlideShares
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts

These different types of content vary from one another. People learn differently and have their own preferences. For example, there are people who prefer videos, and some prefer reading. It’s also one of the reasons why I started creating video content.

They also perform best on different channels. As of this writing, Facebook puts a “premium” on video posts vs regular post updates with links to your articles.

But one of the things you have to consider is the buyer’s journey as well.

A video walk-through of your software won’t do well on Facebook despite what I said above. Why?

No one cares.

If you’re posting publicly or targeting random people who have never heard of you, people won’t care.

That example I just shared uses a decision stage content (a walkthrough of your product) targeting a broad audience that doesn’t know you (awareness stage).

To capture these people’s interests, use an awareness-type of video instead.

Pro Tip: You can apply the lead nurturing ads concept here. For example, if they requested a product demo or in the process of onboarding, you can use this segment of people as the audience in your ads. Then, you only show them these videos. This will be received well than randomly targeting that video to everybody.

So, what are you going to do now

The buying process is not linear. Buyers can jump from one phase to another. But this doesn’t mean that you should take this for granted. In fact, because you cannot control how people go through the buyer’s journey,

So, rather than perfecting and mastering all the different buyer’s journeys, all you need to worry about is mastering this one.

If you understand the main principles behind the buyer’s journey, you’ll realize that there are specific content types that are best for each phase. Map your existing content to the buyer’s journey to visualize which point you are lacking. Then, start creating content for that stage.

How are you using the buyer’s journey? Let me know in the comments below!

What Is Segmentation

What is Segmentation

Segmentation is a process of dividing your email list into smaller groups based on certain criteria. Think of it as grouping people based on similarities or differences.

Have you ever received an email (or perhaps an SMS) that doesn’t feel quite right? Here are some indications of those:

  • It starts of with “Dear Mr./Ms….” or “for sale…”
  • The sender is unknown

I know I have. And I’m sure you are thinking of a company or someone in your head right now.

Others try to avoid this by dropping the honorifics or getting straight to the point. While that’s ok, it still doesn’t solve the main issue — the lack of relevant content.

Spam: a fact of life? Or not

A lot of Filipinos simply accept the fact that they can get bombarded with unsolicited emails, SMS, and other form of harassments. Sadly, we don’t have laws in the Philippines such as the CAN-SPAM act or the GDPR that can resolve this.

But that shouldn’t be the case. Even if there are no “laws” governing how these things go, professional marketers ought not to be doing these harassments.

Marketing today is all about helping the buyer get all the information they need so they make a decision to purchase (or not).

The underlying principle is to be helpful.

And the easiest way to do that is through segmentation.

Two Objectives of Segmentation

1) Relevance

There are two primary objectives of segmentation. First, you create these segments so that you can send the people in these segments relevant content.

For example, if you’re an organization that sells clothes. Would your entire email list be receptive on an email campaign about blouses? I don’t think so. It’s the women in your list that would be interested.

And the men? They’ll be annoyed. Some might even unsubscribe. Or worse, report your campaign as spam.

Segmentation helps you avoid this problem. It gives you a chance to create personalized and relevant content.

Just take a look at this eCommerce shop who didn’t bother segmenting their list — nor tried to get to know me.

img 3134

Take a look at the dates and the subject lines. Every day, this eCommerce shop offers a sale/discount. Sometimes, they send an email twice and it’s still about a promo.

Does this look familiar?

2) Insight

The next objective of segmentation is to give you data that you can analyze later on to gain insights on your audience. The earlier you start collecting data, the better your analysis will be.

For example, at the time of this writing, I ask the following question on my forms with these answers: “Which statement best describes you?”

  • Owns the business
  • Works in marketing
  • Plans to work in marketing

People who answer my forms are divided into these segments. For example, if I found out that 50% of my list are business owners (owns the business), I might create something special just for them. The same holds true for other segments.

You can use this to make effective decisions.

Bonus: Create Reports from the Data

You know the best part of this? You can create your own business reports that you can turn into a marketing offer.

Ever wonder how international organizations come up with “State of the ____ Reports” yearly? They all start with data collection and segmentation.

Then, they analyze the data they need, ask more questions if needed, visualize the data into charts, add some copy to explain them. Finally, they organize and compile this into a PDF.

They then use this as a marketing offer to generate more leads. They get to ask more questions, collect more data, and get better insights. Then they repeat the entire cycle again.

You can apply this to your organization as well starting today.

So, what are you going to do next

Every organization is different. There is no set list of segments that will fit for everybody. Some are necessary while some doesn’t make sense.

What matters is you start collecting now.