One of my longtime clients called me just before it was time to update my wall calendar.
“Have you done anything different with my website this month?” he asked.
We’ve worked with him for years, helping him market his local carpet repair company, but this question took me by surprise at first. “No, why?” I asked.
He went on to explain that he had received so many more phone calls compared to the same month the previous year. So many, in fact that his income for the month had DOUBLED.
I was happy for him but a bit puzzled…until I remembered the change we had made. It was a small — but impactful — one.
At the beginning of that month, we added a new picture to this business owner’s homepage slider, an image of him, smiling next to his two brothers. Before that, visitors saw only before-and-after pictures of carpets.
Adding the new photo had a major impact on this owner’s bottom line. One small change which did not impact his website ranking nor the traffic volume but had a really significant impact on the number of prospects who took the next step after visiting the website. They picked up the phone, wanting to know more about his business. Even better, many of them wanted to hire him for the job.
How to make the best out of your website traffic
Would you like your website to rank on the first page of Google?
Of course! Who wouldn’t?
Small-business owners like yourself get asked this question on a regular basis by companies promising to push sites into the first page of Google every day.
But how much does ranking on the first page of Google really matter?
That’s the question you should be asking. Ranking high in a Google search helps for getting folks to find your business, but it’s just one piece of the getting-new-clients puzzle.
To make the most of your marketing efforts, you need to also focus on converting your traffic into clients. In fact, I’m suggesting this should be your primary focus.
How to improve your conversion rate
Let’s face it; your real goal is to get more clients (well, truthfully, it’s to make more money). When pulling in prospects from the giant maw of the Internet, you need to hook them in and don’t have much time to do it. So you’ve got to give them a reason to stick with you and start a relationship with you.
How successful you are at getting website visitors to do what you hope them to do is measured by your website’s conversion rate. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who actually take the action you dangle in front of them. The action could be calling you, filling in a contact form, downloading your latest ebook or signing up for your email newsletter.
For example, an e-commerce site has a conversion rate of 3% if 3 out of every 100 visitors ends up pulling out a credit card and buying something on the spot. Another example: A local plumber that can turn 5 out of every 100 visitors into a booked appointment has a 5% conversion rate.
In many cases, focusing on improving your conversion rate can be a much more viable and efficient way to increase your sales than if you put all your marketing energy into your Google ranking.
Think about it: increasing the conversion rate by a few percentage points, e.g. from 2% to 3%, will up your sales by 50%. If you would like to get the same increase in sales by bringing more visitors to your website, you will have to increase the effort by 50%.
In other words, improving your conversion rate helps you leverage the existing traffic to your website.
3 simple ways to improve your conversion rate
Show them who you are: Before people fork over their attention, their contact info, or even their dollars, they want to know whom they’re doing business with (not so easy when they’re searching around various sites). Include a picture of yourself or your employees on the homepage, to personalize your business and let visitors know that real people are working hard for them behind the scene.
Be clear on who you serve: Lots of visitors are nice for your virtual ego but you’re only interested in people who may want your services. If you’re strictly a local business, be clear about it. Only sell retirement advice services to baby boomers? Anyone who goes to your site needs to know that. You’ll gain their respect when you don’t waste anyone’s time and they’re more likely going to want more of what you have to offer.
Plaster your phone number: With today’s laser-focus on all things virtual, some sites only offer email contact forms when visitors want more information. But you want to capture the communication preferences of any prospect, so be sure to include your phone number on every page.
Ideally, you need a way to track the phone calls you get from your site, along with any other actions your visitors take. You can see how your conversation rate is performing—it’s the only way to tell if you’re improving or if some tweaks are in order. Not sure what your conversion rate is? Consider turning to pros who can help you figure it out and help you improve it.