Traffic and conversions. That’s what we want. And we usually start at the beginning, with traffic.
I agree. Traffic is great. Have you ever logged into Google Analytics on a Monday morning and found something like this waiting for you?
That’s a fantastic feeling.
But unless you’re a 16 year old YouTuber with a fame complex, you’re not actually interesting in traffic. You want conversions. You want to see the above graph on your income report, not your Analytics display.
But hold up. Doesn’t more traffic equal more conversions?
Well technically, yes. I’m assuming your conversion funnel is good enough that a 30,000 increase in visitors will net you at least a few additional sales. But you don’t want a few additional sales. If you’ve managed to significantly increase your traffic, you expect to be getting a proportional return on your investment.
So what do you do when the traffic numbers are steadily increasing but your conversions remain relatively stagnant?
Well, like any other problem, you root out the source and fix it. In this article, I review the issues surrounding traffic and conversions, and I’d bet there’s a fantastic chance your problem is listed among them.
1. You’re Acquiring the Wrong Type of Traffic
Yesterday, I Googled a number of search terms: “cookie recipe,” “Jacob McMillen” (don’t judge), “buy panasonic gh2.” and “my onenote notebook disappeared.”
Out of those searches, which was I most likely to follow up with an actual purchase?
The answer, of course, is “buy panasonic gh2.”
When I type in that phrase, I have purchasing already on my mind. On the other hand, if your sexy new laptop brand, QuickNote Notebook, is somehow ranking for “note notebook,” you’re going to be getting a lot of people like me bouncing off your site—people looking for solutions to problems that have nothing to do with your products. It’s safe to say your conversions will be abysmal.
Acquiring the wrong traffic is the single biggest reason your high traffic website isn’t converting.
It’s a simple concept, but let’s look at another example to see how easily it can affect your business.
You run a financial software company for small businesses. You’ve been reading all about how content is king and a high-quality blog is the way to increase targeted traffic and generate conversions. You understand that small business owners will need an intro-level education to help them understand how your tools work and why they need them.
So you start a blog, focusing on intro-level financial education and providing high-quality content on the basics. You invest in amazing guides, target relevant keywords, and after a few months, you are generating significant traffic to your blog and website. But your conversions aren’t increasing. Maybe your email subscriptions are skyrocketing, but none of this activity is turning into sales.
You do some testing and analysis and discover that instead of business owners, all your traffic is coming from college students. Your keywords are attracting frantic test-takers to your intro guides rather than small business owners in need of financial software tools.
In order for traffic to turn into conversion, it needs to be the right type of traffic. It’s need to be traffic with problems or needs your business can answer.
If your traffic and product/service aren’t lining up, you have two options:
- Acquire different traffic
- Change your product/service to match your traffic
Personally, I’m a big fan of the second one, because demand is always harder to generate than supply. But #2 won’t be an option for many businesses, so you might need to invest in #1.
But maybe neither of these apply to you. Maybe you have a steady stream of purchase-primed, solution-needing visitors streaming through your site on the daily. Perhaps you have a different problem…
2. Your Offer Isn’t Compelling
As a copywriter who has worked with a wide range of companies, I’ve found small businesses are least likely to have an offer that is truly compelling.
The problem typically isn’t their product or service. They do extremely well locally, where the actual value in their offering is better understood. The problem is that, to compete online, you need something more compelling than local convenience. You need to identify why your product/service is too good for customers to pass up and then tell them about it in no uncertain terms.
If you’re first to market, you don’t need to explain why your product is better. You are the only one offering that product. But very few profitable businesses remain unchallenged. As a 2nd entry, 3rd entry… 129th entry… you need to know exactly what makes your offer stand out.
A big part of this is understanding the real reasons a customer buys your product.
Crazy Egg isn’t selling heatmap software. They are selling easy-to-use data analysis for non-analysts. There are 100 places business owners can go to for in-depth conversion software. Crazy Egg isn’t trying to be the most comprehensive or even the most accurate conversion software.
The idea is simply to provide easy visual access to business owners who want a better understanding of their customer base without a master’s degree in data analysis. Nine dollars a month to stop shadow-boxing and finally start understanding your customers is a compelling offer.
I’ve worked extensively with law firms in increasing their landing page conversion rates. Many of my clients come to me initially with the idea that they need more information on their pages or more descriptive explanations of the legal processes involved. A personal injury victim recovering from a traumatic run-in with a semi truck doesn’t care about the legal process. He doesn’t care about what constitutes “negligence” in the state of California.
This potential customer cares about one thing. He has medical bills to pay, and he wants to know if my client is able get him the money he needs to recover and go back to living his life.
What are you actually selling? What do your customers actually want? There are a number of factors that go into creating your pitch, but if you can’t answer those two questions, you can’t create a compelling offer.
3. Your Interface Is Too Complex (or it’s Malfunctioning)
Intuitive navigation and adequate site maintenance are a must if you want to convert your traffic. The easier it is to click “Buy,” the more often it will happen.
Every hurdle, on the other hand, drops a few more potential customers out of the conversion funnel.
I was contacted by a prospective client the other week, and when I went to review the website, it took more than 60 seconds to load the home page. 60+ SECONDS!?!?
Forty percent (yes, 40%) of your incoming traffic will abandon ship after just 3 seconds. The stat reports don’t go as high as 60 seconds, but I’d imagine you’re well past a 50% (even 75%) drop rate if your website is still loading one minute in.
Or what about a broken shopping cart? After stand-by flights didn’t work out on my honeymoon, I purchased tickets on Delta only to get an error message at the end. Then I purchased tickets from United, only to also get an error screen. I finally ended up flying American Airlines because they were the only website that could handle a simple purchase through their mobile site.
If you have loads of traffic entering your site, they are probably interested in what you’re offering. If they never seem to buy before they leave, it could be the cash register isn’t working properly… or perhaps customers couldn’t even find the cash register in the first place.
Poor navigation will also gut your conversions. If it’s not immediately obvious to users where they’re supposed to go on your site, they probably won’t stick around to figure it out.
Go ahead and role play as your target consumer. Click on your home page and count how many clicks it takes to finish a transaction. Time yourself. How long did it take? Did you ever have time to twiddle your thumbs between pages? Was everything easy to find?
A broken site is the worst possible reason to lose sales. Never stop making test-runs through your site.
And on the subject of testing…
4. You Aren’t Testing Enough
Let’s say you’re a conversion expert. You know exactly what makes a site convert, and you’ve implemented all the winning features on your site. Or maybe you’ve opted to use a service like GetResponse, and simply use pretested conversion winners for your site’s landing pages.
That’s all well and good, but what if your site is the 1 out of 100 that actually increases conversions with the inclusion of an image slider?
As I talk about extensively in the article linked above, the rules of conversion optimization are a general guideline for what works across a large selection of websites. They mean nothing in terms of your specific site.
The general rule is that more traffic equals more conversions, but if that were always the case, you wouldn’t be reading this article. If you aren’t seeing the same conversion bump with a video that most sites do, maybe your crazy audience actually likes static images sliding incessantly across their screens. Maybe they don’t want images at all. Maybe an 8-bit gif is the Holy Grail your consumers crave.
Who knows? You certainly won’t if you aren’t testing. NEVER STOP TESTING!
If you’ve yet to dive into the world of testing, testing, and more testing, check out my guide to choosing the right testing software for your business.
Click Here for more Crazy Egg articles by Jacob McMillen
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