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Conversions Are Friends, Not Food

As the power of human-to-human inbound marketing becomes exceedingly popular amongst the noise of traditional outbound marketing, content marketers are being forced to reconsider the impact that content makes on the bottom dollar for their brand. Marketers that understand how to connect with their target audience have the humility to experience the world through their users' perspectives and approach them with a gentle, empathetic whisper, delivering meaningful, relevant content in a highly engaging and seamlessly convertible fashion. These marketers are meeting their audience where they are, rather than begging these users to come to them. Traditional (fancy word for "old school") marketers, on the other hand, believe that shouting a message to a demographically correct audience over and over will enhance brand recognition, and somehow drive enough motivation to actually convert users to the brand. Stop. Convert? Really? Let's start fresh, shall we?
What is a conversion, really? The term "conversion" has been taken way out of context when discussing an emotionless transactional relationship between a brand and a user. What most marketers are describing when they use the term "conversion" is actually a measureable form of success that helps a brand achieve its business goals, such as sales, subscriptions, website visits influenced by social media, etc. In truth, a conversion is an adoption of a belief, in which the natural response is a radical behavioral shift to actively pursue engaging others to convert to that belief. Historically, the term "conversion" is used to describe a spiritual transition, in which a person adopts an entirely new belief system after experiencing a radically selfless, counter-cultural behavior within a body of people.
Conversions do not only apply to spiritual encounters, though. The term, when used in marketing, is not a term that should be dropped, but altered to define something much more powerful than a monetary transaction. "90% of consumers find custom content useful, 78% believe the organizations behind the content are interested in building good relationships." (Kapost) What is more important for brand sustainability; sales or relationships? If you've been in marketing long enough, you recognize that both are extremely important, maybe even equally important, seeing as a business cannot operate without either, but there must be an understood hierarchy of the two. Trusted relationships are the motivation behind why your users purchase from you. Sales alone cannot sustain, but empathy and transparency will convert your users into influencers. At the point when your users are routinely engaging with your brand, actively pursuing opportunities to get involved, spreading the word about your brand, and sustainably purchasing and/or influencing a sustainable purchasing behavior with their connections, you have successfully created a conversion.
Alright CMO's, listen up, this is for you. Conversions are fantastic, but are they measurable? Yes. As you may well know, technology is evolving to the degree where most marketing efforts are measurable in some form or fashion, and there are several emerging tools that can measure the direct influence of conversions in extreme detail. Keep in mind that conversions are not merely transactional, but relational in behavior, so any tool that claims it can measure conversions must be able to measure the relationship lifecycle between a user and the brand leading up to a transaction, rather than simply the transaction itself.  So, let's talk about how to accurately measure conversions influenced by shareable content. Below is a list of tools dedicated to doing just that.
Epic Playgorund’s BOOST
BOOST builds a mailing list of people that have already found your website, and are already interested in your products and services. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, BOOST is building a new lead list—one based on actual consumer intent, one that you can download at any time with no fees, and a list that will only get better with time. BOOST knows the precise location of your website visitors, eliminating the reliance on the inherent flaws found in PURLs, tracking codes, campaign websites. 
SocialRest is a web-based software platform that allows brands to measure the influence that content and users have on the relationship lifecycle for conversions, telling a brand which pieces of content attributed to what percentage of the brand's conversion goals.
SourceMetrics is an online platform that helps retailers track in-store and online purchases from social. They help help large retailers know how many people have come into their stores and purchased products as a direct result of their social media marketing campaigns.
Aimed heavily at affiliate marketers, Improvely collects data not just from ad campaigns, but from landing pages as well so you can see exactly where your customers are coming from. It also shows you which keywords and referral links brought buyers to your site, which is important information for future ad campaigns and on-site content creation.
Chartbeat provides realtime analytics to Websites and blogs. It shows visitors, load times, and referring sites on a minute-by-minute basis. The service also provides alerts the second your Website crashes or slows to a crawl. This allows brands to turn their loyal audience into their most valuable asset. 

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