Who’s knocking – who’s buying? What’s your Conversion Rate?

Most business owners know that they NEED a web site. Some don’t know WHY they need a site. Others see it as a compliment to their existing marketing strategy. If you’re one of the later, good for you! You’ve taken the first step toward making the Web really WORK for you.

Do you ask customers on the phone “how did you hear about us”? Sure you do. You need to know if those advertising campaigns are paying off. You need to know which are working and which are not. Because when it comes time to renew, you may think twice about a non-performing advertisement.

Well, what about your web site? How’s that doing? Have people come to visit? Have they used your information? Do they need more information that may be missing? Do they reach some goal on the site? How can you tell?

Conversion Rate – making your site WORK harder

Let’s say you have a “Contact Us” form on your site. Or you sell product. Or you have a “Request for Quote”. Each of these is a Goal that you want the visitor to reach. So, how many people actually reach it compared to how many people visit your site? This statistic is called the Conversion Rate, and it’s the primary measure of how well your site is performing. Conversion Rate is computed as the number of people who reach a goal, divided by the number of unique visitors to your site. Conversion rates measure how well your web site encourages people to meet goals that you have set.

Conversion rates can be anywhere from 0 (no site goals or very low performance) to 1-2% for high-end e-tailers, and as high as 6 or 7% (catalogers).

Where does this leave you? Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Set goals. Unless you have a goal for your site, you can’t quite measure it’s performance.
  2. Once you have goals, measure your Conversion Rate.
  3. Analyze a visitor’s experience at your site. Make changes to your site that encourage the visitor to reach the goal.
  4. Repeat.

This seemingly simple process should not be taken lightly. There’s a lot to it; it can literally double your sales overnight. One high-end retailer we’ve worked with increased their conversion rate from 0.35% to 1.1% with a site redesign that focused on the customer experience and guided/encouraged browsers to reach the designated goal, buying a product. As “Conversion” to them meant sales, this more than doubled their sales, in the time it took to redesign the site. In the “Repeat” phase, they did it again, raising the conversion rate to 1.34%.

There are numerous other metrics used to gague a businesses success on the internet, but Conversion Rate is considered by many to be the most important. If you have not ever looked at your site statistics, set goals for your site, and computed your Conversion Rate, I highly recommend it as a first step toward making your Web Site really WORK for you.