If you had a hole in your gas tank, would you stop to fix the hole, or would you simply fill your tank up more often? With gas prices being where they are today ($4.35/gallon in LA – Gasbuddy.com), I hope you would find a way to fix the hole in your tank! What if I told you that your website was leaking visitors, and that visitors were more costly than gas? Would you try to fix the problem, or continue spending marketing dollars to drive more visitors?
According to IBM Coremetric Benchmark Reports, the global average website conversion for Black Friday was 5%, with an average order value totaling $190 per conversion. Why this is important? If your site follows that trend and you convert 5% of 100 customers (5), you can find the average value per user by multiplying the sum (5) by the average order value ($190) and divide the sum by the 100 visitors.
5 conversions x $190 average order size / 100 visitors = $9.50 per visitor
That would mean, that every visitor on your site is worth TWICE as MUCH as a gallon of gas!
This analogy should get the wheels turning on the value of conversion and the impact it can have on your revenue. Here is how you can get started.
Step 1: Establish a Benchmark
First establish the goal of your site. This may sound fundamental, but understanding what activities – subscribers, newsletter signups, orders, whitepaper downloads, leads, etc— drive results is critical in understanding where to begin optimizing your site. A good rule of thumb is to start with a conversion activity tied directly to revenue. Monitor your site for an entire sales cycle and establish your benchmark for conversion. If you want to compare how you are doing versus your industry, I like IBM CoreMetrics Benchmark study as they give a snapshot across various industries. The average is between 3-5% but there are many factors you need to consider – industry, channel, seasonality, etc. This will tell you how big the hole in your gas tank is and how much fuel you are losing per visitor.
Step 2: Test. Test. Test.
Now that your benchmark is clear, it is time to prioritize the pages and begin optimizing.
- Identify. Which pages have the highest bounce rates and highest traffic volumes – start here.
- A/B Test. Google has a sufficient (and Free) A/B testing platform. During your A/B test, get creative when trying new layouts. A simple button color change from Green to Red usually won’t result in test results of any significance (at least not for your first test)
- Understand the Symptoms. Beware of getting so caught up in … look at where the page fits into the most common navigational paths… What information does the user have before they reach that page? What is the objective of the page?
- Simplify. The reason big brands tend to be so successful, is that they find simple ways to display complex products or services. Position your product and market that position on your site with laser focus.
Don’t get me wrong, conversion isn’t easy (learn “Top 7 Tips to Landing Page Optimization”); however, putting in the time to develop effective landing pages, investing the money and effort to analyze and a/b test these pages, will have a significant return on your investment. What is the alternative? Let’s hope you are close to a gas station.