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MORE or less - it's all about website conversion
By Kevin Gold, Managing Partner, Enhanced Concepts, Inc.

If you are getting an adequate number of visits (and you're not experiencing a 100% conversion rate) you have a group of "others" waiting to be served.

Ask yourself this question... "would you rather earn $22,500 or $90,000?"

$90,000, right? OF COURSE - unless you're insane or just bad at math:)

That's the SIMPLE reason why you need to focus on improving website conversion.

Let me explain using a simple yet powerful example...

If your website received 60,000 visitors in a month and 300 visitors purchased your product for $75 (average sales value) - you'd earn $22,500. Your website's sales conversion rate is 0.5% (300 sales divided by 60,000 visitors).

Happy with those results? Maybe, right?

Unfortunately, this is about the conversion rate for a majority of e-commerce websites. For non-Retail 500 e-commerce sites, the average conversion rate ranges from a frail 0.1% to a decent 2.4%. Although a conversion rate is an elusive metric because of the varying data points used among marketers for calculating it, our research places most e-commerce sites in the 0.5% to 1.8% area.

In the example above, whether you're excited about the results or not, the reality is that the website failed to relevantly serve the other 59,700 visitors who left without purchasing. These "others" were lost and although some may return later in their buying process to purchase; many have drifted away forever.

As astute business people, we need to think about the "others" and what we aren't doing that we could be doing to influence more of them to stay, purchase and return. In some way, we attracted 60,000 visitors to our website - so what broke down along the way and sent 99.5% of them leaving? This is the question we need to ask - how do we influence the "others"?

Furthering our example, assume we asked the "why" questions. We diligently studied our visitors, gained some insights and tested some conversion strategies like new headlines, new call-to-action text, re-arranged some benefit bullet-points and added a more-relevant image. As a result of our process-driven efforts, our website's sales conversion starts to trend upwards - a good sign that the implemented conversion strategies are taking hold of a greater percentage of our customer's intentions. Slowly but surely, our conversion rate climbs from the meager 0.5% to a consistent 2.0%.

What happens? Now out of the 60,000 visitors, 1,200 become buyers. Through our careful visitor analysis and process-driven conversion optimization plan, we effectively influenced 900 of the "others" to buy.

What is the result of a 1.5% conversion rate improvement?

At a 2% conversion rate, 1,200 sales are generated at $75 each - an earnings of $90,000!!!

We generated a $67,500 increase by analyzing our visitors and improving our conversion strategies - all without paying for additional marketing! More sales; no additional marketing cost.

Hmmm... $22,500 or $90,000...??? Same number of visitors... same order size... no additional traffic costs yet 4X the REVENUE!

Although this example illustrates an e-commerce opportunity, improving website conversion isn't exclusive to just generating more sales. It's about maximizing our website's business value.

If we can improve our outcomes whether measured by more phone calls, more in-store visits, more white paper downloads, more email opt-ins, more page views or more contact us requests without spending a single penny more on marketing, it's worth our attention.

How do you get started? Follow these three steps:
1. Implement a reliable website analytics program
Relying on your web hosting stats package won't help in better understanding visitor intent. An analytics program needs to identify click streams, track content consumption, marketing channels, keywords and other behavioral data. Using Google Analytics is a start while more advanced programs offered by IndexTools, WebTrends, ClickTracks and others deliver greater value and insight.

2. Analyze the data in the website analytics program
Having an analytics program only presents the opportunity to learn; applied effort uncovers its value. The goal is to formulate "why" questions. Figure out what is happening now, why do you believe it's happening and start to develop some theories for potential improvement. Use conversion and usability best practices as a starting point but realize that every business is unique. Focus on understanding your customers and how to most effectively attract and influence them.

3. Develop a Plan, Test and Measure
Success does not happen overnight. Improving website conversion is a process; not a one-time event. Once you develop your improvement theories, test them out by implementing them one at a time and measuring the results. Approaching the testing process scientifically is ideal but don't get hung-up on it. Be patient and watch the trends over a period of time. Conversion rates have an odd way of improving slowly over time and not immediately after they're implemented.
Improving website conversion isn't simple, but it is worth-while. If you are getting an adequate number of visits (and you're not experiencing a 100% conversion rate) you have a group of "others" waiting to be served. Don't attempt to serve them all (it could potentially be disastrous) but shoot for catching an additional 1.5%. The results are rewarding - right to your bottom line.

So ask yourself again... "would you rather earn $22,500 or $90,000?" Now go get started improving your website's conversion.


Kevin Gold is Managing Partner of Enhanced Concepts helping businesses increase their online leads and sales through improving conversions and gaining greater visibility. Download "20 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Website

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