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Momentum investing is an investment strategy that aims to capitalize on the continuance of existing trends in the market. The momentum investor believes that large increases in the price of a security will be followed by additional gains and vice versa for declining values.” ~ Investopedia

The quote above describes a style of investing based on the idea that people will keep doing what they have been doing. Whether or not you believe that from an investing perspective, it’s an interesting idea to consider from a marketing perspective.

Momentum in Conversion MarketingOne of my favorite digital marketing tactics for conversions is to use a low friction “marketing” event to lead to a potential “pre-sales” event that takes a higher level of commitment.

For example, a marketing event might be something like getting someone to sign up for an educational webinar that isn’t directly associated with the sales process. It does capture contact information, and the lead can then be put into a lead nurturing program, but this is a top of the funnel activity.

A pre-sales event would be a bottom of the funnel activity that is closer to the point where a lead becomes a paid customer. Examples of this include actions that show a higher correlation with sales, such as signing up for a trial to a SaaS product or trying a subscription to an investing newsletter that requires a credit card.

From a revenue perspective, pre-sales events are obviously more desirable but they often aren’t the right conversion point for new website visitors who aren’t familiar with your product. This scenario led to the development of lead nurturing and lead scoring where low-friction conversions could be used to capture and cultivate leads.

While I am a definite proponent of lead nurturing, the process from the top of the funnel to the bottom can be shortened by applying the momentum principle. A simplistic illustration would be using a low-friction event, with high appeal, to first capture a lead’s email. Then, on the thank you page following the completion of that event, the pre-sales event action is presented.

For some insight into why this might work, I turn to Dan Ariely. In his book Predictably Irrational, he discusses the theory of self-herding where people take actions based on their previous behavior. Here’s an excerpt:

Recall your first introduction to Starbucks, perhaps several years ago. (I assume that nearly everyone has had this experience, since Starbucks sits on every corner in America.) You are sleepy and in desperate need of a liquid energy boost as you embark on an errand one afternoon. You glance through the windows at Starbucks and walk in. The prices of the coffee are a shock—you’ve been blissfully drinking the brew at Dunkin’ Donuts for years. But since you have walked in and are now curious about what coffee at this price might taste like, you surprise yourself: you buy a small coffee, enjoy its taste and its effect on you, and walk out. The following week you walk by Starbucks again. Should you go in? The ideal decision-making process should take into account the quality of the coffee (Starbucks versus Dunkin’ Donuts); the prices at the two places; and, of course, the cost (or value) of walking a few more blocks to get to Dunkin’ Donuts. This is a complex computation—so instead, you resort to the simple approach: ‘I went to Starbucks before, and I enjoyed myself and the coffee, so this must be a good decision for me.’ So you walk in and get another small cup of coffee.  In doing so, you just became the second person in line, standing behind yourself.

The author goes on to explain that during this process, you move beyond asking yourself whether this is an action you should take as it just become part of your regular activities.

The momentum approach looks to tap into this by chaining the events together. Getting a prospect to take a small action opens up the door to quickly get them to take a bigger action as their mindset shifts to being someone who engages with you.

About the Author Nick Perry is a marketing and digital strategy professional who has worked in both B2B and B2C environments. With deep experience in software, SaaS, and financial publications, he specializes in helping small- and medium-sized businesses build, grow, and optimize their digital marketing. He can be reached at (513) 279-2075 - or emailed directly.