In the realm of website best practices, you may have heard of the term ‘conversions’ or ‘website conversion rate’. Simply put, this is the percentage of your website visitors who complete a certain task, or goal. Often, for online shopping sites, this goal is completing the checkout process, i.e. buying a product. In this case the conversion rate is the percentage of total visitors who buy a product. By the way 2% is considered good.
“But I’m not selling anything online.”
No, but your website should be working for you by contributing to the selling process, even if it’s just a place for visitors to download a manual.
In fact, setting clear goals for your site and monitoring them is an excellent way of gauging your website performance and analysing the success of your site. To set up goals that really enhance your site you’ll need to think about what you want your site to add to your business.
Goal setting for non e-commerce sites.
Download a white paper, manual, brochure etc. You can monitor the number of visitors who are motivated enough to download your information. This is a great indicator of how interested in your products a visitor is, and also demonstrates how well your website is promoting your products.
This is an especially important metric to track if you are trying to lighten the load on your customer service staff. If your business aim is for potential customers to download information for themselves rather then ask you directly, then you can track downloads and compare against how many documents you would expect to hand out in person.
Bounce rate. This is the percentage of visitors who arrive at your site and then leave without looking at any other pages. The inference of this is that they are not motivated to click on any other pages; they simply aren’t interested in what your site has to offer. The lower the bounce rate the better. If you are analysing this metric (and hopefully you are) then your goal is simply to reduce it.
Email sign-ups. The most powerful online sales technique there is; it should be a consistent goal to get visitors to sign up for your company e-newsletter. The conversion rate is how many people sign up vs how many visitors. Low sign up rates can be due to many factors: low quality traffic, poor placement of sign up forms and non-convincing landing pages.
Sales. Although your customers buy directly from you and not from your website, it is likely that you site was involved in the process somehow. Whether they found your business online in the first instance, or went and downloaded an application note once they were interested, your website played a part in the buying decision process. It is possible to track online and offline behaviour and find out whether your website is your strongest advocate or weakest link. You’ll need specialist marketing automation software to do this and you must ask permission to collect first party cookie data on your site.
Track, monitor, improve.
So, decide which conversion goal is the most important and track conversions. The best tool to use for this is the excellent and free Google Analytics. It’s a simple matter to implement tracking and your goal setting can be as easy or complicated as you want. To make life even easier, simply ask it to email a summary of your chosen conversion rates to you. It won’t be long before you’ll spot trends or cracks in the process and will be able to make changes that really improve your conversion rate.