Conversion: Less Volume, More Results

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Here’s something I told our newsletter subscribers a few weeks ago:

* Numbers don’t matter as much as results. Focus on conversion strategies over building volume. Because if you’re not set up to convert, the volume won’t help you one bit.

To clarify — by numbers, I mean traffic numbers. Of course, the numbers involved in calculating your conversions…those are still important. Again, I’m referring to sheer VOLUME and the dangers of focusing solely on that.

Think About How Hard You Work to Get Traffic

Being Popular Isn't Always What It's Cracked Up to BeGetting traffic isn’t always easy. You optimize your web pages and build links. You write wicked blog posts, hoping for a little word of mouth and link love. You make all the “friends” you can on the social web, so they will be interested in clicking through to your information and hopefully buy your products.

Here’s the problem – if you aren’t targeting your IDEAL customer in all that work, you’re just setting yourself up for a really high q2maintenance business. If you have decided that your business needs volume (rather than conversion) to succeed, you’ve probably done a few of the following things:

  • Tried to get as many “friends” and people who like you and your website as possible. Just like in real life, more friends and fans means more emails, more phone calls, more obligations. In short, it can be EXHAUSTING.
  • Were more concerned with volume than your idea target customer, hoping something would stick. Sorry, but the more generic and wide-appealing your message, the less likely you’ll convert and in the process you may alienate your actual target market.
  • Didn’t implement a strong conversion strategy because you thought it might affect your volume. We all want to be liked, but we’re also here to run a business…so run your business. If you lose people along the way, the reason is simple. They weren’t your customers to begin with.

So, here’s the big question. How are your conversions? Do you know?

Calculating Your Conversions

The calculation for conversion is simple and if you already get this part, bear with me while I explain for others. Plus, there might be a few tips in this section you hadn’t thought of before.

The basic calculation is this:

# of action (sales/opt-ins/etc.) / # of visitors = conversion rate (expressed as a percentage)

For example, if I have 3 sales during ad campaign that achieves 274 visitors, my conversion rate is:  1.1%

Or if I have 120 visitors and 30 opt-in to my newsletter, my conversion rate is:  25%

And hey, if you don’t want to get out a calculator, there is a handy conversion rate calculator where you can plop in your numbers. But honestly, it’s a simple matter of dividing your actions/sales/opt-ins by the number of visitors. Simple as that.

So What’s a Good Conversion Rate?

Measure Your ProfitIt varies. It depends if you’re selling a product or looking for a leads – obviously, a lead is easier to get than a sale. It also depends on your source of traffic.

Traffic from your opt-in or customer list should convert better than a general advertising campaign.

Traffic from affiliates who effectively warm up their referrals will often be higher than a pay-per-click  campaign.

Of course, people want some kind of barometer to ensure they’re somewhere in the ballpark of where they should be.

For a sales page with targeted traffic, a conversion rate of 2-4% would be a good thing to shoot for, but for many products it is possible to go higher.

For an opt-in page with similar traffic 30% or more is certainly attainable and if you’re sending pre-sold traffic to the opt-in page, you can go much higher than that.

You also want to look at conversions on a page-per-page basis. If you have a multi-page website and you’re looking at the visitor numbers as a whole, but you’re trying to figure out how well your sales page converts, you should look at the visitor stats for the actual sales page page. While knowing how your website performs as a whole can be a useful statistic, there are many administrative pages and pages people visit for other reasons (ex. membership log in areas, download pages, forums, etc.).

And as a final note (we aren’t going to go deep into numbers here – I hear you…math isn’t my favorite subject either!), your profit per sale also effects what type of conversion you might be shooting for. If you have a high profit product, a lower conversion rate might very well be acceptable because it yields a better return for you. So the second calculation you need to do is “value per visitor”.

Calculating Your Value Per Visitor

Sales Total / # Visitors = Value Per Visitor

For example, if I have 789 visitors and my sales are $523, that means the visitor value is $0.66 . Of course, you need to take into account your actual PROFIT, so if you know your profit per sale and use that, you will get a much more telling number. Of course, the higher profit your product is and the more targeted your traffic and page, the easier it will be to increase that number.

Improving Your Conversions

Now I didn’t mean to get into a math lesson, but it’s important to get those basics out of the way. The fact of the matter is, marketing to the masses is tiring and it’s way more work and if you look at your numbers, you might be surprised that you’re working much harder at getting volume than you need to.

With that in mind, here are some action steps for you:

  • Know who your audience is and keep your focus on that. A great resource for finding your ideal target customer is our 15 Things Guide.
  • Different pages, have different purposes, so you have to balance conversion with your end goals. For example, you’ll approach a blog differently than you would a sales page or opt-in page, but many of the basics are the same. You need to conscious of conversion, no matter the marketing vehicle.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell and learn to sell naturally. If you have a product that is the perfect complement to something you’re talking about in a blog post, tell them about it. Sell products regularly to your mailing list. It seems silly to say, but many people don’t seem to realize – If you want to sell something, you have to sell it!
  • Keep your reader focused. There’s no need to give them a thousand different options and hope they’ll click something or do something. Keep your site clean and focus on one main conversion goal per page (ex. sell a product, get an opt-in, etc.).

Now there’s nothing wrong with growing your volume, once you have those 4 things above in place. After all, if you’ve got the conversion thing down, more highly-target prospects will only benefit your business.

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Does Your Content Have Purpose?

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So big question, hey? No, I’m not talking about whether your content is deep, meaningful and will cause a life-changing epiphany for your readers.

Not at all…good content doesn’t have to be your life’s work or anything close to it.If you’re writing content for business purposes, it simply needs to serve a need for your readers…and in turn, how does it benefit your business?

A few days ago Annette, gave us some advice on using an editorial calendar and Kathryn provided more tips for planning your content.

All that planning is all well and good, but what I’m wondering is if you have a reason WHY you publish your content? It may not be something you think about consciously, but if you’re creating content, having a PURPOSE for that content is going to go a long way for you and your business. Because let’s face it, publishing content for content’s sake is only going to drain your time and/or wallet. So instead, consciously think about the purpose for each piece of content you publish.

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