A lot of people who call us want to know what the average conversion rate is for a particular industry, because they’re trying to assess whether their website could be performing better and could therefore benefit from website optimization.
The problem is that there isn’t a one size fits all answer to this question, even for a particular industry. There are so many factors that could be influencing your conversion rate.
The first step in recovery is admitting there is something wrong. In your case, maybe you’re doing well online and making sales, but there is room for improvement. Maybe there isn’t anything seriously broken with your online strategy, but it’s possible that the “something wrong” in your case is that you can just bring it up a notch and do better than you are today. In other cases, “something wrong” means that your web site is seriously broken and you can have a serious impact on your conversion rate by just fixing some basic things.
There is no average conversion rate that I can give you to help you identify whether or not there is something wrong with your online strategy. Some online retailers are experiencing double digit conversion rates, and this should inspire you to reach for the stars. I’ll also tell you that the majority of web sites FutureNow helps to optimize come to us with conversion rates that range from 0.1% – 3%. After working with us, some experience small increases in conversion rates, while others experience hundreds or even thousands % increases in conversion rate.
First, let me give you some advice on how to look at your conversion rate: Don’t look at your “average” conversion rate. This is pretty much useless. Instead, separate your traffic into the various sources that send traffic to your site so that you can look at the average conversion rates based on the type of traffic that a source is driving to your site.
Let me use search engine traffic to help you see how to do this. In order to do this effectively, identify your qualified and unqualified traffic. First, look at your organic traffic and bucket the traffic that is searching for your brand as part of the keyword into one group. Then look at the traffic that is searching specifically for the products and/or services you offer in detail (without your brand) and put those into a second group. Next, separate out the very general keywords that apply to your industry, but are so general that they really don’t show any strong motivation or intent and place those into a third group. Finally, separate out the traffic that might not apply at all to your industry and call these your unqualified visitors. Now, look at the average conversion rates for each bucket. Likely, your unqualified visitors will result in a very low conversion rate, and in many cases, it’s not even worth trying to increase that conversion rate for that group.
Now you can really assess how well you’re speaking to and persuading the three groups of qualified visitors who demonstrate different levels of intent when they come to your site. Instead of looking to increase your overall conversion rate, your goal should be to persuade each group of visitors more effectively and increase those individual conversion rates, which would obviously result in an overall increased conversion rate.
When we begin analyzing and helping to optimize a web site, we look to increase the individual conversion rates based on marketing efforts and sources of traffic because these are really the first pieces of evidence we have to help us understand what the motivation or intent is of each visitor. By looking at your traffic as real people with motivations and needs, you’ll begin looking at the experience you’re giving these people when they come to your site with these motivations, and it will help you determine what types of things you should work to change to make their buying process more seamless.
If you’ve never done any website optimization on your site and only focused on driving more traffic, then your goal should be to increase your conversion rate by 40 – 80%. If you’re more experienced and have been testing and optimizing your site for awhile, you should still expect to experience 5% – 10% lifts in conversion. We help our clients reach these goals consistently.
Remember, your visitors are volunteers in their buying process. They are coming to your site with a need or want. It’s your sale or lead to lose. If you’re not converting double digits, you need to ask yourself why that is and begin optimizing your web site today.
If you’re conversion rate is 2%, why are you letting 98% of your visitors go to your competitors?!