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Monday, Nov. 9, 2009 at 9:00 am

There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Conversion Rate

By Melissa Burdon
November 9th, 2009

increase conversion rateA 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?!

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Comments (31)

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  2. As you say the conversion rates do depend on many factors, and there is no one size fits all. But the best conversion rate is the one that makes you money and to get there you’ll need to use some good old fashion elbow grease and test.

  3. “or even thousands % increases in conversion rate”

    Incredible… THey must have been really poorly designed webshops.

  4. great article here, realize that there’s no one size fit all. spot on!

  5. only focused on driving more traffic is good anyway, but I agree with your idea about increasing conversion rate.
    I think better we have lower high quality traffic rather than having higher low quality traffic that not give any sales.

  6. Its true that there is no one size fits all conversion rate.But if you are regularly optimizing your site then your conversion rate is bound to improve.You may use analytics for this purpose.

  7. You also have to add the conversion of people that come from your site to your “brick and mortar” as well. Maybe your website is converting at 10%, but what about the people that come to your store from your website and buy inside? All of this can be added to your conversion, which makes it that much harder to gauge. Which can also effect an industries average. If you don’t have a “brick and mortar” then your conversion is going to be completely different from someone with a store offline. Great post!

  8. As you say the conversion rates do depend on many factors, and there is no one size fits all. But if you hire professional web designer and SEO experts . You are bound to have a much much better conversion rates .

  9. Not strictly speaking conversion rate.. but last week I managed to reduce the bounce rate of a site by 10% by just moving an accreditation graphic to a more prominent position!

  10. [...] There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Conversion Rate | FutureNow’s GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimizatio…. Amen! I’ve always been saying that there are no one-size-fits all average conversion rates. Your goal should be to increase your current rates and do so by optimizing your efforts. And you need to take a look at your rates individually (traffic source, etc.) versus in aggregate. Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: optimization « What’s the Best Way to Improve Conversions? You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

  11. The trick is to increase traffic significantly while maintaining and increasing the conversion rate.

  12. The last sentence is important: “If you’re conversion rate is 2%, why are you letting 98% of your visitors go to your competitors?!”

    This is the secret: to look at the people who nearly converted – but didn’t quite make it. Find out why and help them…

  13. My goal should really be to increase my conversion rate by 40-80%? That sounds like a ridiculous amount? Does anyone really have a 90+% conversion rate?

    I guess you say you that you look at the traffic sources, I could see optimizing that to get higher quality traffic would increase your conversion rate, but don’t you sacrifice overall traffic that way? Don’t you still want volume unless you are paying big money for all your traffic?

    It seems to me like you want as much “free” traffic as you can get, regardless of the conversion rate of that traffic (in most cases). If you are paying per click, then the highest conversion rate seems a lot more important.

    I’m not saying you are wrong, I’m just saying that that number surprises me. Feel free to convince me ;) .

  14. thank you for the great post. i dont think its possible to reach a 90+% conversion rate? unless you are a already big name and have something that everbody from all walks of life needs.

  15. well it depends on what business you are in.if you are just looking for adsense income then bouncing rate doesn’t effect much

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  17. There is a problem we face at our company to meature coversion rate on organic traffic because there is no coockies attached to this kind of traffic, unlike ppc traffic that can be meature effectivly because we will attribute the visit to a certain keyword after coming back through direct traffic.

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  19. When it comes to conversion, it is also important to look at content on the page, what type of visitors there are, what they are looking for and what type of conversion you want.

  20. While Comcast and industry links of london groups want us to think that their Links of London Charms mega-media merger is good for business links of london jewellery, we’re reminding everyone that it’s a bad deal for consumers links of london sale.

  21. I thank you for this informative article. And I thank you for this I follow your vendors. It’s verry good. I wish you continued success.

  22. There is so much that goes into having a good site that will convert visitors. Of course it all starts with having site that is found online. Every business owner should at least have a basic understanding of SEO. The second part of the equation is to have content that keeps a visitor interested. There should be a way that the consumer can easily contact the owner of the site. There is so much that goes into converting clients.

  23. why it is so difficult for me to get the traffic. i just knew that there is qualified and unqualified traffic after reading your article above. definitely, lots of hard work should be carried out. huih….

  24. interesting information on your article above regarding There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Conversion Rate. I will try your tips

  25. Agree with you that no one size fits all conversion rate. Everybody, everything has it own measure, condition. Everything is unique…

  26. Your writing above has hit me alot. Most of the time, I only focus on traffic traffic and traffic. I never pay attention the details. Thanks for your sharing. I shall try to implement your tips on my blogging activity…

  27. There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Conversion Rate. It depends on many factors, its not easy to predict.

  28. i didn’t know you can get double digit conversion rates. I was thinking 5 percent is the norm.

  29. The trick is to increase the flow significantly, while maintaining and improving conversion rates

  30. Do you have a list of industries that seem to convert higher than others? I have not seen a list like that where could I find the stats for it?

  31. Obviously there are not, Conversion rates widely depend on factors such as product’s demand, saturation in market, price and landing page. While you certainly control on landing page but rest are always not control. Nice article.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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