Any website related decisions should be data driven - yes your website may not look fantastic, but if it's getting the results you want, don't dismiss it out of hand...what appeals to your prospects' tastes might not cater to your own. Likewise, if your website looks great but never brings in the leads, it's obviously not as good as it looks.
So, how can you tell whether your website is getting the results you need? First you need to determine what success looks like...A good gauge is often your conversion rates, so this blog will break down how you can calculate and improve them.
Step One: Define 'success'
Every business has goals - whether it's a revenue target, a number of new customers, subscribers, online sales, awareness levels of a brand or a particular issue, or something less commonplace.
The starting point is to quantify what success looks like, into a SMART metric;
- Specific - No room for ambiguity
- Measuable - Can you track improvement
- Aspirational - Will it make a difference?
- Realistic - Is it actually possible?
- Timely - If it's too soon, or too far into the future, it's not relevant
A good example would be;
"We want to close 5 new customers, at an average order value of £10,000 by April 2017."
Step 2: Define your website's role in getting to 'success'
Success will depend on more than just your website - it'll rest on the shoulders of all individuals and teams within your organisation, each having their own roles and responsibilities. Your website is no different, so think about what you can task your website with for the next 6, 12, 18 months to make sure it's pulling it's weight.
Let's say you want of those 3 of those 5 new customers you want to close in the next six months to come via the website...great, now let's figure out how to get there (Hint, this is where your conversion rates come in.)
Step 3: Work back from your goal
Conversion rates are most valuable when you can visualise where any gaps are preventing you from achieving your goal. To work this out, you need to start at the end and work back. Here's an example using some typical benchmark conversion rates (yours may vary):
Goal: 3 new £10,000 customers through the website in the next six months
Conversion rate (sales opportunitiy to customer) = 50%
You'll need 6 sales qualified opportunities
Conversion rate (qualified leads to opportunities) = 10%
Marketing will need to deliver 60 qualified leads
Conversion rate (lead to qualified lead) = 20%
Marketing need to generate 300 leads in 6 months
Conversion rate (traffic to lead) = 1.5%
You'll need 20,000 visits to your website (around 3,300 per month)
Once you have your conversion rates, the next stage is to start identifying stages of the funnel where you can reduce friction. Perhaps your traffic volume is letting you down? Maybe leads numbers aren't where they should be?
Step 4. Plug the gaps
Once you've identified the biggest source of friction in your funnel, focus on finding a measurable solution to improve it.
It's best to tackle one stage at a time, so don't to fix everything at once...Plugging all the gaps with duck tape will only last so long before you spring another leak. Remember, different stages of the funnel will require very different solutions. Let's break these down.
How to improve conversion
|Strangers > Visitors||
Bringing more prospects at the top of the funnel depends on how easy your website is to get found. Consider; where are your prospects searching for information? What are they looking for? How and where can you reach them?
Activities: Blogging, Social Media, SEO, Events, PR, PPC
Visitors > Leads
Conversion optimisation comes into its own at this stage of the funnel. Your website user experience, and all the pages that fit into a prospect's user journey need to be optimised with conversion points to help signpost users towards the page's conversion goal.
Activities: Calls-to-action, content offers, landing pages & forms
|Leads > Qualified Leads||
Your prospects' information needs will change depending on their stage in the decision making process. A demo request offer may be too presumptuous on a top level page. Equally, not including it on a pricing page would be a missed opportunity. Align your website user journey with your prospect's decision making process
Activities: Personalised content for returning visitors, lead nurturing & marketing automation
Step 5: Don't stop now
All fixed? Phew, grab a cuppa and put your feet up. Sorry, the work is far from done, you'll need to repeat this process on a monthly or quartetly basis, using data to inform tweaks and changes to keep those glowing conversion rates high. If you read our recent post about avoiding the dreaded two year website design, you'll already be familiar with this school of thinking. If not...give it a read now.
Interested in learning more about a data-driven approach to managing your website? Discover all you need to know about growth-driven design: