As a business owner, you’ve probably heard the term “conversion rate” before and have a fairly good idea of how important it is in your key performance indicators (KPIs).
But you may be surprised to hear that most small business owners don’t truly understand what their business conversion rate is, how they can measure it, and how it stacks up against their competitors.
If that sounds like you then you’re part of a very big club. Conversion rates are a tricky metric to measure for a business.
To get it right you need to be able to measure all the data from strangers through to your biggest fans, both online and offline, while also making sure you can attribute the same data to the same person as they go in and out of your customer journey.
It’s something nobody can ever truly get a grip on 100 per cent. Yet it is the most important metric to determine whether your marketing efforts are working to grow your business or not.
Before we dive into a few ways you can improve that conversion rate for your business, let’s cover a few essentials that you’ll need to remember on your journey.
1. Conversion rates are consistently imperfect
You are never going to be able to collect all the data you need. Ever. You will always be missing something, making assumptions, manually counting. So, if you are consistently imperfect in the way you measure your data, you can ensure that any improvements you make across your business will show up.
2. Your business has many conversion rates across the journey of your customers
A customer doesn’t jump from being a stranger through to being your biggest fan. They stake steps along the way, and at each step there is a conversion rate that needs to be measured and can be improved. Your website has a conversion rate, your sales team has a conversion rate, even your customers convert at different rates into lifetime customers.
3. The goal is improvement not perfection
Remember that if you want to grow, any incremental movement in your conversion rates can have a huge impact. Doing better than you did yesterday is a pretty good goal. So, given these truths, how exactly can you set out to improve all the conversion rates across your business?
One of the big things you can do to improve every conversion rate is to focus on how you are communicating the problems you solve for your customers. Instead of leading with who you are, how you are great, what your company does – start every conversation with the problem you are helping solve for your customers. Positioning them as the ‘hero’ of the conversation and not yourself creates more connection and always improves conversion rates.
Another thing you can do right away is to document the process you are currently using to convert customers. The act of capturing how you are currently converting customers often does one of three things:
- It illuminates the reality that you may not have a process now (eg you may not have a process for converting your leads into customers)
- It becomes clear you have not one process, but many processes that you deliver multiple ways
- You spot opportunities right away that you can begin making for improvement.
The act of documenting your processes within your marketing system can completely change your business. You can’t improve that which has not been captured!
Finally, to improve the conversion rates across your business you will need to pay attention to the technology, techniques, and processes of industry leaders around you.
It is not enough for you to get a great conversion rate one day and to expect it to continue forever. Because of the way technology, competitors, techniques, and human behaviour evolve over time, what has worked for you once may not work for you forever.
Studying what others are doing around you to convert customers is often a great starting place for your future improvement endeavours.
All this may seem like a lot, but the process of growing your business is all about constantly improving every touch point forever and ever and giving attention to the one business system that is bringing revenue into your organisation from strangers.
Amy Miocevich, author of The Very Good Marketing Guide (Wiley $29.95), is a marketing expert and founder of Lumos Marketing
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