One time, I was hired by a firm who sells financial products to increase their business.
They were spending a few thousand month on Google adwords, and from that traffic, their website got them about six solid leads a day. This was profitable for them, and they wanted to expand it.
They came to me to write new ads for a second campaign – you see, they figured if they increased their ad spend on another campaign, they’d increase their leads. Fair enough.
I looked over their website and right away saw that I could help more by rewriting their current website copy, which wasn’t very good.
I told them “let’s get more out of the traffic you’re already receiving” (always a good thought).
I rewrote their copy, and nearly tripled their conversions immediately. Instead of averaging six good leads a day, they averaged about 16. No expensive second campaign needed.
And the best part for my client? They paid me once. The rest of the year (and years after), that copy kept working and working and working. I made them a literal fortune.
And I do this all – the – time.
I do it for web copy. I do it for letters, e-mails, and other marketing collateral. I even do it for things that don’t have a traditional ROI, like an employee handbook or process instructions.
So How’s Your Website?
While I mention stuff like letters and emails, these days conversion is traditionally thought of as a website thing. So let’s talk about that.
In general terms, a business website has one real job: to bring business. How it goes about doing that, and in what numbers, can be quite varied though.
I have clients where success is measured in hundreds of product sales a day. Others want/need a few sales a week. And some might be fine with one to three quality leads a week – it all depends on the business.
Also, conversions themselves are different. For some businesses, a conversion is a sale. For others, it’s a call or email.
There are plenty of metrics that are measured in conversions. It could be whether an ad got clicked on (so that ad converted.) Then you measure if the selling page converts. Then you can measure whether the ad is converting the right people. Maybe an ad with a lower conversion actually results in more conversions for the page (because it drew a better overall prospect). It can go pretty deep.
Conversion can also be the opposite of what you think it is. In other words, not taking an action can be a form of conversion, depending on your industry and needs. Let me explain:
If someone checks out your rates, and doesn’t move forward, that could still be a positive visit (since your page told them you were beyond their budget, your time is not wasted with them.) Personally, if someone goes to my quote page and doesn’t contact me, that’s still somewhat of a win in my mind: they didn’t waste my time asking me to write for $12 an hour.
Usually when a number gets put to conversion, we call that a “conversion rate”. If your website has a 2% conversion rate, that means 2 out of 100 people did the thing you wanted them to.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no “accepted” conversion rate. It used to be “2% conversion is excellent”, but that’s an old direct mail thing and has no bearing on your website. Maybe 2% is great for you, and maybe it’s not – there are too many variables to put a hard number on what is accepted and what isn’t.
To me, conversion rates have to be measured against themselves. Your conversion this year as opposed to last. The conversion of this page vs that one. This ad vs that one. The new website copy vs the old. And so on.
Lastly, some conversions cannot be easily measured, except in the bigger picture. Remember before I mentioned I do it for things that don’t have a direct ROI? How do you measure how well process instructions are understood? You can’t immediately, but in the long term, it can become clearer by measuring mistakes (or whatever bad thing happens when instructions aren’t understood.)
I like talking about conversion, as it really shows how powerful writing can be.