Click Through to Conversions

“Wow! Look at this”, my client said excitedly, “I had over 250,000 unique visitors in September.”

Forest, meet the trees. Sometimes it’s all noise. Raise your hand if you would rather have 250,000 visitors and 0 sales that 100 visitors and 1 sale. That’s what I thought. So how do you get enough traffic to convert without going nuts? Ah, good question grasshopper. The straight up answer is, “I don’t know”. And neither does that company with the really recognizable name that gives your hub a great spot. It’s all semi-guesswork in the beginning and the cure can take quite some time.

Calculating Conversion Ratios

Before you decide if and how much improvement your conversion ratio needs you must be able to track it. Google Analytics provide several great tools for this and you may have something built in you your CMS or hosting account. Explaining in detail exactly how to use even one of these systems is beyond the scope of this short article so please refer to your system’s documentation.

In any event if you know the number of visits to your site and the number of actions, be that mailing list members or sales, you can easily count your conversion ratio. The first number you need is your number of actions. For our example let’s say that is new subscribers to the mailing list represented with N. For our purposes we’ll say we had 31 new subscribers in January. The second number you need is either (recommended) first time unique visitors or unique visitors. We’re going with first time visitors and for January we had 217 represented with F. We’re going to “solve for x and c”, your favorite 5th grade algebra, where x equals the decimal representation of conversions and c = conversions expressed in percent.

The formula is very simple and looks like this: (N/F = x)*100=c

Use your Transaction numbers (N=31) and divide that by your first time visitor numbers (F=217). The result will be x=.1425 which when multiplied by 100 will return c=14.28 rounded to 14% conversion. We should all be so lucky.

Subjectivity Dominates

Clients always ask, “what is a good conversion ratio?” My reply is the same in every case because that answer is highly subjective and based on many variable. Product, service, price range, and even site function all play a major role in that determining factor.  There are also products and services which are purchased entirely offline though presented online. There are products with a high perceived value offered for pennies on the dollar which sell “like hot cakes”. A good example is a person I know offered a book on how to increase Twitter followers by 10,000 and sold it for $3.14 and sold a “ton” of them. In fact he left his former industry and is now a Social Media Guru.

Here is a short article by research firm Forrester. While this article is specific to manufacturers you can follow the trail to your industry and service orientation. This article shows a few ways for that sector to improve conversion rates and we visit those, I believe in a better way, below.

Golden Rules

Getting a higher conversion rate is more simply said than done. Fortunately for me I start with the easy part – the saying. Start by following these simple Golden Rules

  1. Give them what they want – if someone does a search for “hand towels” and finds your “real estate” site because you posted an article about choosing hand towels for your new home chances are that’s a wasted click for both of you.
  2. Make sure it is obvious the visitor can buy right now – put that “Buy Now” button in a conspicuous place and make it stand out. If you’re site is kitschy that button will be lost so smart design comes into play.
  3. Welcome your visitors in a way that says “buying from me is safe and easy” – a screaming video may do that for some but many will simply click away. Flash front pages are for losers – except in very rare instances. The best use I can think of for flash landings is either a musician or a photographer. Maybe, just maybe, an automobile manufacturer but not the dealer.
  4. Treat visitors better than you expect to be treated – how many times have you been dumped into a cart asking for your payment information before you have been shown a price? Never going to happen on my end.

Set Reasonable Expectations

You likely are not going to see 100% conversion rates. If you do please allow me to package your process and distribute it to the world! Reasonable expectations vary by product, service, industry and many other variables. As always I recommend a professional consultation with someone in the business with deep experience. Listen to Social Media Edge Radio for more information on this topic.

Convert your own:

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Digital Mechanic at The Ken Cook
I love small businesses and solopreneurs. There truly is no job too small for me because I believe everyone deserves great service and access. Hire me and I'll prove it to you!
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