Focus on conversions, not page rank

Study the analytics

Recently, I worked with a client and the first thing I did was set up website analytics to start collecting good data. After a period of 9 months, we looked back at the data and made some startling discoveries:

  • The site received 30,000 visitors
  • 23,000 of the visitors were unique
  • Over 13,000 immediately pressed the back button
  • Of those 10,000 visitors who stayed 700 contacted the company
  • Of the 700 who contacted the company only 70 became customers

Web Optimization (SEO) Score card:

  • 56% of the unique visitors bounced, they immediately pressed the Back button
  • Of those visitors who managed to stay on the site, 5% decided to make contact
  • However, this represents only 3% of the total unique visitors who visited
  • Of those visitors who made contact, only 10% became customers
  • However, less than 1/3 of 1% of unique visitors became customers. That sucks!

So, what does all this mean?

It means that even though you may rank 1st place on Google for your desired keywords, and even though you have tremendous website traffic, you cannot neglect the rest of your stuff. People get so obsessed with ranking first place or first page on Google, but they completely lose sight of that fact that it’s the conversions that matter most, not the website traffic.

True, it’s difficult to convert customers if you don’t have website traffic. But, my point is this. If you did a great job of converting your prospects then you could do just as well on a fraction of the traffic. My other point is that if you don’t step back and look at your data, if you don’t measure and track results, if you don’t monitor your performance then it’s almost impossible to recognize what areas need to be improved. Website analytics provide the data necessary to take a rational look at your performance and make solid recommendations for improvement.

Measuring your Call to Action

In most cases, a websites primary Call to Action is for the website visitor to do something, i.e., pick up the phone and call, send us an e-mail, fill out a quote request form, or click the buy now button. Other Calls to Action might be to sign up for a newsletter, download a PDF White Paper, or maybe comment on a blog. Whatever it is, your Call to Action is a clearly measurable action, monitored by Web Analytics, and reportable. In the case of my client, the primary call to action is to contact them and it gets done 3 ways:

  1. Pick up the phone and call
  2. Send an e-mail
  3. Fill out the quote request form

Now, how do the first 2 actions get tracked? In the case of my client, it gets traced through their Customer Relationship Management (CRM)< tool, which in this case is SalesForce.com. They also integrate the SalesForce.com API into their quote request form and Google Analytics to better track the keywords and PPC campaign return on investment (ROI).

Bounce Rate: Reasons for Failure

In the case of my client, I am convinced that the reason why 56% of their website visitors bounce is because their website has become too sloppy and crowded over the years. It lacks a clean and simple interface. Their navigation is not conventional. They have some items on the website that might have been cool 5 years ago but are just not that cool right now. And, they feel compelled to throw a lot of junk on the home page thinking that this is what is driving their website traffic.

Most importantly, they don’t clearly answer the client’s most burning questions: Have I come to the right place? Who are these guys? What do they do? What have they done in the past? What can they do for me? And, how much do they cost? If you don’t answer at least 4 or 5 of these questions then you are going to lose them forever.

Failing to answer these primary questions are, in my opinion, why they are wasting 13,000 unique visitors over a 9 month period. That’s well over 1,000 potential clients per month they are turning off or turning away by their poor user interface.

Conversion Rate: Converting your Prospects

Okay, forget about the lost visitors. They are gone. What about those who have actually contacted you? The ones who have taken the initiative and the effort to actually make contact. There is a wealth of information here that most people fail to recognize.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you respond quickly to your clients. If they contact you and you don’t respond soon, sometimes immediately, then they move onto the next vendor. Every business is different. Some business need to respond within seconds, others within minutes, others within hours, and perhaps a couple within days. Although, few companies can get away with returning a phone call or e-mail 2-3 days later.

Next, you need to qualify your client. What are they looking for? Do you do or offer what they want? What is their budget. I know they don’t want to tell you, and I know they’ll tell you they don’t have a budget. But believe me, EVERYBODY has a budget, even people with almost infinite money have a budget because even though they can afford it, they still don’t like to burn money or throw it away.

Finally, you need to satisfy their questions, approach them with an offer or proposal, follow-up regularly (until they say no), and go for the close … ask for their business. You don’t have to be pushy, but if you don’t express an interest in serving them, if you seem disinterested or too busy then they are less likely to take the action you want them to take. They will be served by somebody else who is more professional and proactive.

Checklist for Converting Clients

  1. Make sure you respond quickly, adequately, and professionally
  2. Ensure your portfolio is up-to-date and reflective of your quality
  3. Ensure that your prices are optimized properly (the sweet spot)
  4. Ensure your proposals and documentation adequately explains
  5. Follow up in a professional manner

Good luck and remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you need assistance with web analytics, web optimization, web design, or sales automation, please contact us.