In our recently released MarketingSherpa 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, we asked about average conversion rates …
Q. Please write in your organization’s average conversion rate.
It’s human nature to see a number and to instantly think of it as a fact, so let me first briefly mention the limits of numbers. Just because you see the numbers above, don’t assume that all of your, for example, media and publishing competitors are getting 10% conversion rates for every offer.
These numbers are simply meant to give you a general idea of how certain industries are fairing as you work on your own conversion rate optimization efforts.
“Where ever you are, you should also try to figure out how you can improve your conversion rate 5-10% monthly,” is how Bryan Eisenberg, Managing Partner, Eisenberg Holdings, put it in “Average Conversion Rate by Industry 2012.”
The glass is half empty
Dave Hubbard, CEO and founder, Marketing Outfield, spoke more about the need for conversion rate optimization. After all, you are already investing all of the resources – whether it’s a PPC spend or simply social media effort – to get people to your website; any conversions you lose are hurting your overall marketing investment.
“When over 90% of the visitors to your website leave without becoming a registered prospect or customer, it clearly shows a huge missed opportunity,” Dave said. “After all, by visiting your website, these customers have demonstrated initial interest in your company or service. In this post, I share some ideas for closing the gap, but I’m continually looking for more ideas from others.”
Exactly what (and when) is a conversion anyway?
Of course, to optimize a conversion rate, you first have to define what exactly you mean by conversion. After all, a conversion can be many things. That definition then leads to another challenge … when and where exactly did the conversion take place?
“A responder may have received several touches, and only after previous touches do they respond to the current contact. I realize this will get us into an attribution discussion, but it’s simply to illustrate that the conversion rate for the current contact may be overstated,” Prugh Roeser, founder, LeadLogix said.
As a result, Prugh usually tracks conversion rates at two levels:
- The individual touch
- The entire campaign
“For many, I know the two are the same. But for those whose campaigns are comprised of multiple touches, it’s the campaign level that really matters since this rolls up all the variables that may affect the individual touches,” Prugh said.
Focus on profit, not conversion
In the end, conversion rates are only important to a point. They may help you optimize certain stages in your funnel, but they should not be the ultimate barometer of marketing success.
“In Denmark, we have a saying (not sure how well it translates): If you’re standing with one foot on a hot plate and the other in a refrigerator, it doesn’t mean that on average you’re okay,” quipped Søren Sprogø, owner, Afdeling 18.
“It’s the same with average conversion rates, especially when you start comparing them across websites/industry!”
Søren went on to share an example …
Your conversion rate very much depends on where you are getting your traffic from. For example, brand-name bid traffic on PPC networks tends to have a high conversion rate, but costs a lot. Whereas, organic traffic from Google has a low conversion rate, but cost a LOT less. And then there’s email newsletters, which are cheap and have a high conversion rate (depending a bit on where you got the email addresses from, of course).
So want a high conversion rate? Cut out the low-converting channels (read: Block access for the GoogleBot via a robots.txt. Or worse, make your website entirely in Flash), increase the high-converting PPC bids (read: Bid $20 per click on your brand name, nothing else), and make sure you make some killer newsletters (read: Give out 20% discount codes in each and every newsletter).
So, want a better conversion rate than all the other competitors in your industry? Use these simple tricks. You won’t make any money and your revenue will greatly suffer, but you’ll have a kick-butt conversion rate.
263% Higher Conversion Rate: How reducing anxiety helped one company improve conversion rate three-fold — MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay