Actually, I’m a bit surprised at just how little discussion I see out there about Conversion Rates. Conversion Rates are critically important to achieving sales online and should be near and dear to every marketing and business professional conducting business over the internet.
To frame the discussion in terms of traditional face-to face sales, I would point to a sales formula that’s well know to most sales people:
TS = TAB * HR * ASP
- TS = Total Sales
- TAB = Times at Bat or Customer Encounters
- HR = Hit Rate
- ASP = Average Sell Price
This formula is always true. For purposes of this discussion [and analogy], let’s drill down a bit on face-to-face sales first. Looking at the TAB number, there are real practical limits to this number as humans have a limited amount of time that they can actually meet with customers. For our purposes, let’s say that is a constant across the board for all sales people.
The ASP number . . . while I would argue that sales organizations go to great lengths training sales people on how to sell up in order to increase their ASPs, for practical purposes and for this discussion let’s assume that give or take ASP is also a constant. Generally speaking across the board, the variance here salesperson to salesperson is fairly small.
That leaves us with Hit Rate as the key variable. Sales Managers get this in a big way. While they will spend time with the sales force training people on closing skills, product skills, and strategic selling techniques, they know that by far, the largest impact on total sales is sales qualification. Specifically, since the sales force by definition has limited time they need to use it where it can be used best. That is, spending time with customers that are qualified: ready, willing, and able to buy. How that is done will determine the pipeline and largely total sales for the organization.
Getting this right is a ton of work for direct sales. Getting it right for online sales is just as hard [maybe harder] and makes you wonder why many in the Online community don’t recognize the amount of sales and marketing process work required.
Translating this formula to Online Sales:
TS = Hits * Conversion Rate * ASP
We can see it’s pretty much the same formula. That shouldn’t be a big surprise.
If you’ve been involved with this for any amount of time, you have experience with SEO [Search Engine Optimization] and SEM [Search Engine Marketing]. Often, the primary focus of both of these disciplines is getting the visits as high as possible generally using techniques designed to optimize the site for search engines. While I would tend to agree that getting the number of hits high will generally help with sales, getting qualified visitors to the site is far more profitable and important. This is essentially the same as qualification in the face-to-face world.
To accomplish this in the online world and specifically in the world of search, understanding sales process as it relates to your specific product is critical. The sales process will vary from product to product, but generally speaking, the closer the potential client gets to a buy decision, the more specific their search terms become. This is why, when doing Keyword Analysis, understanding your sales process and specific keyword phrases can be critical. Having general keywords may get you a lot of visits, but may not [read probably will not] bring you qualified sales opportunities. On the other hand, selecting specific keyword phrases to your product and centering your marketing programs toward that will bring you more qualified visits. More qualified leads means higher conversion rates and higher total sales. Additionally, it is far easier to dominate searches for specific terms than it is for general term. Less competition.
So why all the talk about conversion rates? Getting the potential [qualified] client to your site is critical. Now that they’re here, how do you get the sale? By now, the potential customer has done a reasonable amount of product research and diligence to get this point. They are now ready to make a final decision, between you and 1-2 competitors. They have their credit card handy and will probably spend 30 seconds to 2 minutes max on each site before they make their decision.
This is conversion time. We’ve all read about “words that work” and other systems which is one of the reasons that I use Glyphius. Glyphius scores your sell words against thousands of sales phrases that have been proven to work and not work. Glyphius helps you vent your language and get out “negative” sale words. That’s critical! Further, using proven words that sell can move the customer to select your product NOW over the competition. Given the short decision cycle, having the right buy words is critical.