Is the Conversion Rate (CR) really the key stat for a website? It is when you are paying for clicks. The conversion rate is a similar stat to ROI (return On Investment) though not exactly the same, since one (ROI) stat has to do with money in your pocket after advertising expenses and the other (CR) focuses more on the efficiency with which you convert clicks to sales.
We can safely conclude therefore, that when you pay for clicks, the conversion rate is really the only measure that counts in determining your website theme and message. The thing about conversion rates, though, is they can change quite dramatically with things like the website design, sales copy, products on the front page, range of products, product descriptions, guarantees, pricing, ease of payment and such things. In short there are many things you can do to get conversions up.
One of the unique features of any Web business is that you can make a change, measure the result and if it doesn’t work, you can change it back. You’re constantly trying new things to see if it affects your figures. There is a danger that you can change too many things too quickly in which case you might find it difficult to gauge the results of different factors. Sand if you’re going to be tweaking and testing make sure to not do it during busy seasons like the Christmas holidays.
You can experiment with pricing over a 30 day period. If you’re not getting any clicks, you should reduce your initial price and compare the results. If this does not increase your conversion rate then pricing may not be the problem. Or you may want to compare your hottest product with one that is not so hot by using the exact sales page and message. If sales fall on the hot product then you know the sales page, the message or both must be changed.
You can also experiment with your sales copy by making your “money back guarantee” more prominent. This way when people visit your site, credibility would not be the thing that they become concerned about. You can also put the address at the page top so that people know you are easy to physically track down, and put the Visa and Mastercard symbols near the top for legitamacy. These are all areas you can tweak in order to affect conversion rates.
There is a feature in both AdWords and Overture which, once you have inserted a piece of html code into your payment page, it will allow you to track conversion rates by keyword. You’ll need to build enough data for the tracking to make sense, but it allows you to cut out keywords which don’t convert well.
Having said all that, if your product or service is inferior or somehow does not fill a need in your marketplace (something in demand?), there’s probably nothing you can do to improve sales except replacing the product/service. Most sales pages are effective and some are extraordinary (almost works of art…painting a picture with words?), but none of them can perform a magical feat to sell something that is unsellable.
You shouldn’t have a problem with finding a good-to-excellent product to sell, if this is indeed the problem, because there are so many available product sources. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just search for a few of the eCommerce merchants with affiliate programs already in place and you can get started immediately. Whatever your approach to business on the Web, I hope you find the following tidbits helpful:
- Work with relatively unknown niche products (excluding the book business)
- Your product/service should be a familiar item in the Internet community (you don’t want to have to create a whole new market by yourself)
- You must have keywords that people are searching for that can apply to your product/service, but which are not shared with other products (for example “gift baskets” and “oil paintings” are good “gifts” would probably not work)
- Do a search on Google for the product. If less than 5 advertisers come up on the right hand side, then chances are you can get reasonably priced traffic.
- Try to avoid a support apparatus to get it working. Things that need technical support are often too problematic. You need a product that is easy to use so that you can sell it and forget it.
- Make it a habit not to hold or carry stock, especially if you’re working from home which many Web marketers do. At least until you have strong sales and good demand.
- A final point that you shouldn’t have to wait and learn from your own experience. Try to work with a $50+ margin per product. The cost of attracting customers for paintings or massage chairs is not much higher than the cost of getting customers for gift baskets, although the conversion rates may indeed be lower. It is easier to reach break-even with bigger ticket items.
- It also helps if your affiliate product is one that you have bought yourself and got interested in and passionate about.
Based on these criteria I have opted to promote and market electronic goods at Amazon.com, Marketing of a revolutionary WordPress websites creation system and classified advertising at AdlandPro, among others. One of the constants found in the marketing of anything on the Web is the need to tweak and test and update on an ongoing basis if you are paying for advertising because ultimately, your conversion rates lets you know exactly where you stand.