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Is More Website Traffic The Key To More Sales?

February 5th 2018

When we talk to customers they often have one key focus in mind; getting more website visitors.  Whilst this is an understandable goal for any business owner, we sometimes have to convince our clients that it shouldn’t always be at the top of the priority list.

The Cost Of Website Traffic

When you bring visitors to your website, there is an associated cost. The cost might come from;

  • Paid adverts (eg Adwords)
  • Cost of offline advertising
  • Cost of SEO
  • The cost of building and maintaining your website
  • The cost of your/staff time in editing the website’s content
  • The cost of building your brand

It likely that your competitors, in the same industry, will have similar costs.  For example, if your cost of a click on Adwords is £1, your competitors will have a similar cost (stick with me I’m getting to the point).  The point being that no traffic is free….there is always an associated cost (in time and/or money).

Now imagine your website converts at 1%, which means you gain one sale for every 100 visits.  Now imagine your competitors convert at 5% on average.  This means one simple thing;

“You have no chance of competing with your competitors. Full stop, the end, time to re-think”.

But before you shut the doors and lock up…..let’s just clarify;

If you and your competitor’s average sale is £50.  Let’s say that on average a visit to your website is costing you £1 and you get 1,000 visits;

You

(1,000 visits * 0.01% (conversion rate))  = sales per 1,000 visits * £50 (average sale value) = £500 (Total Revenue)

Your Competitors

(1,000 visits * 0.05% (conversion rate))  = sales per 1,000 visits * £50 (average sale value) = £2,500 (Total Revenue)

And here is a very sobering thought;  The above means that you’re going to have to get 5 times more visitors to your website than your competitors.  Which is going to mean spending 5 times more than they do on advertising, or spend 5 times more time than they do on gaining the traffic.  Either way….your not going to be able to compete.

So What Should You Focus On?

In the above scenario, you should shelve any ideas about getting more visitors to your website. Shelve any ideas about spending more money on advertising….and focus on just one thing…..improving your conversion rate.

A good conversion rate varies from sector to sector, but as a very rough benchmark, an acceptable conversion rate will be 2% minimum, with 10% being on the high end.  Keep in mind that a conversion from your website isn’t always a sale…..sometimes a conversion might be an enquiry form being completed.  Either way, you should have conversions setup in Google Analytics.

How To Improve Conversion Rate?

There’s the million dollar (pound) question.  It very much varies from website to website and sector to sector.  But some things which could impact your conversion rate include;

  • Are your prices too high?
  • Are you not providing visitors with clear calls to action
  • Does your website have functional problems (bugs)
  • Are you building trust

When investigating poor conversion rates for our clients, the order of play is always as follows;

  1. Check technical aspects
  2. Check pricing
  3. Check calls to action

The Technical Aspects

When it comes to the technical aspects of investigating low conversion rate, the place to start is Google Analytics.  Navigate to the Audience > Mobile >Overview section of analytics, and you should see a report similar to the following;

analytics-report

In the above example, we can see one very obvious statistic which is leaping out.  The mobile and tablet conversion rate is around 5% less than desktop.  Desktop is converting at a superb 14%, and mobile just 9%.  In this example, had mobile converted at 14%, the revenue would have increased by just under £250,000.

The above example is quite extreme, but not unusual.  As users are moving away from desktops to mobile, this is often a great place to start when trying to understand why your customers are not checking out.

Pricing

There’s no getting away from the fact, that when it comes to e-commerce, “price is king”.  Gone are the days when price comparison meant a 2-mile hike across town; now tab-based browsing is the norm, and users will rarely be willing to shop with you unless you can show the best price, or a better inclusive (eg bundles or free delivery).

Create a list of your main competitors, and try to establish to your price competitive, and if not why not.

You may have set margins in your business plan, but when it comes to e-commerce, the first customer should lead to many more repeat purchases.  Building buyer confidence through efficient delivery times, and good service will result in a better conversion rate through repeat custom.

Calls To Action

Often customers want to know that the conversion (sale or form), is going to be quick and easy to complete.  Signposting the way at every step is key to building confidence that using your website will be quick, and straightforward.  The wording of the text is crucial, as much as having clear and sharp images which work well on a desktop, mobile and tablet.

The wording of text on buttons is also crucial, as is the colour of any buttons, and their position.  If you have a decent volume of traffic, you can test colour variations, tweaking text and moving the positions, to split test which works best.

This article from MOZ is a good reference point when experimenting with Call-To-Action buttons, and conversion optimisation.

In Summary

Getting more website visitors is always important, and something every website owner should look to achieve.  However, it can be a much easier and more lucrative exercise to look at the existing traffic, and try to understand how you can take more of them from being visitors to customers.

Need help? Contact us.