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GROK Case Study 2: TotalGym.com 
A Single, Simple, FREE Sales Process Change Increased Sales 39%!

Gather round, guys and gals. Time now for my next insightful visit to another website. Welcome to TotalGym.com, a case study that will show you a great way to improve your sales is by increasing your Site Penetration Rate (SPR). Get your customers faster and more easily to where they want to go and more of them will buy. A lot more.


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Overview of the Company

TotalGym.com was established by Dave Dewey in 1996 (practically prehistoric in web time). Total Gym is very well known for their infomercial, starring a buff Chuck Norris and a sexy Christie Brinkley. Just last year, the Total Gym became the most successful infomercial product in history. Meanwhile, the U.S. Olympic Team has adopted the Total Gym as part of their regular training, and more sophisticated models of the Total Gym have become the standard in many hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and training facilities worldwide.

While Total Gym proudly offers “results you can’t get anywhere else”, they also offer great values, package deals, and support. TotalGym.com’s products range in price from $200 to $3275. Also, they average roughly 100,000 unique visitors per month. In terms of selling online, that price range is important to notice. Their products offer tremendous value, but they are not “cheap.” Likewise, they have “real” traffic.

It’s interesting to be aware that all of their traffic has been achieved thus far without spending any marketing dollars at all to drive it directly. The url is not even mentioned on the infomercial. (Sheesh! What were they thinking?) People have to remember the company name and either do a search or guess and type the url into their browser. Motivated traffic, wouldn’t you say?

Presenting Challenge

So, now you might be thinking, “With all of these great accomplishments, what could be wrong with their site?” Yet their Customer Conversion Rate (CCR) was extremely low. Here’s what TotalGym’s Website Manager and all around great guy Matt Rapoza told me. “I’d like to see if our products and accessories are easy to find, easy to add to the shopping cart, and easy to check out.” He wanted to know what could be done quickly and inexpensively to increase their sales. Follow me as I show you what we did.

GROK-Identified Primary Issues

· Site Penetration Rate (SPR): 63 % - which means 37% of visitors were being lost right at the home page.

· AIDAS: The home page was not engaging the visitors in the AIDAS process.

· By capturing more people at the top of the buying funnel (i.e., the home page), they would automatically retain more at the bottom, which would lead to a higher CCR and more sales.

The Key Short-Term Problem: Low SPR

Once we realized such a large chunk of people was being lost on the original home page, it became pretty clear this was the area that needed attention first. Picture the sales funnel and visualize how much of their traffic was “bouncing out” right at the top. They needed to draw more visitors into and through the funnel. Their original home page <http://www.grokdotcom.com/totalgymoldhomepage.jpg> was designed almost as a splash page. It attempted to qualify visitors into 1 of 5 categories: Home Fitness, Patients, Athletics, Rehab and Corporate. As we researched further, we discovered that approximately 80% of all visitors went to the Home Fitness page, leaving the other 20% divided among the other 4 categories. Sounds like there’s a clue here, right?

Clearly, most people by far were interested in Home Fitness. That should be no surprise when you stop and think about it: it’s the focus of the infomercial. Well, if 80% of the traffic is interested in Home Fitness, why make them take an extra step, figure out where they need to go next, and then finally get to the place where they can actually start the buying process?

Of course, to really maximize sales, Matt and I agree the whole site needs to be redesigned. There are many, many, things TotalGym.com needs to do better. For the purpose of the case study, though, we simply focused on one thing that should have increased their SPR leading, in turn, to increased CCR and increased sales.

One Simple Tweak

What we advised them to do was simply this: forget about the current home page and drive all traffic to the Home Fitness page.

The new process brings visitors directly to what 80% of them want. They get exactly what they came for, and they can start shopping and buying right away. The page also does include all the navigation necessary for the other 20% to go elsewhere if they want to. By no means a fancy solution, and not remotely a complete one. But this was a zero-cost tweak they could do immediately, and if our analysis was correct, it would have an immediate impact on sales.


This one small change increased their CCR 39%!

Of course, in a normal case of tweaking a page to increase SPR, we would be able to show you before and after pages as well as compare before and after results. In this case, though, we eliminated a page, so to compare the old SPR with the new one would be like comparing us Martians with Venutians (don’t get me started!).

Again, TotalGym agrees with us the site needs a lot of work. This is by no means a complete sales solution. Technically, in fact, it’s not even a real beginning. But isn’t it great to see how such a simple and inexpensive tweak to the process can have such a positive impact on your sales?

In closing, always keep in mind that an essential ingredient in any effort to improve your sales is knowing what your baselines are so you can identify where to start as well as track your progress. For that, I truly don’t know of any better tools than Future Now’s Digital Sales Calculators, and they’re free. They worked for TotalGym and they’ll work for you, too.



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Coming soon to a website near you – 
in fact, maybe YOURS!

Dear Digital Entrepreneur:

You guys and gals have been asking and asking, so OK: I'm now making house calls. That’s right, I'm visiting your own websites and will be writing in future issues about how you can apply the stuff we talk about here.

So, want a free Grokanalysis of your site? It’s simple. Just click here, fill out the form, send it to us, and if I think your site illustrates something that will be of interest to a lot of our readers, you’re in!

Good luck!!

The Grok

Measuring Performance, Creating Success

Your server logs are a gold mine if you know what to look for and how to analyze the appropriate data relationships. Combined with some basic financial information, the data can produce some valuable insights. Why, without even looking at your actual site, somebody else could tell you a lot about how successful you are just by playing with these numbers. So, let's play!

Pencils and paper at the ready, dudes and dudettes. Time to see how well your site is actually doing. These simple exercises will give a snapshot of where you are, and if you continue to do these calculations over time, you'll be able to track the effectiveness of your improvement efforts.

Customer Conversion Ratio

Customer Conversion Ratio (also called sales closing ratio and sales closing rate) is the Bottom Line Metric out there. It’s a measure of how many of your visitors actually buy something. I've talked before about this important indicator of your success (see article), so I won't go into more detail this time, except to say for most websites by far, the CCR is way too low. Shop.org reports the average order conversion rate for its members is 1.8 percent. That means less than 2 people out of every 100 who visit a site actually buy anything! Want a point of comparison? Bricks-and-mortar operations have an average CCR of about 48 percent. That’s 27 times higher! So if you wondered if there was room for improvement, now you know, and isn’t that great news?

If you could increase your CCR from 2 percent to just 4 percent, you will have doubled your sales and done it without having spent one extra penny on marketing. Obviously, then, increases in the CCR translate not just into significant increases in your sales but in your profits, too.

It's simple to calculate your CCR. Divide your number of orders per month by the number of unique visitors (unique “hits”) to your website. Multiply this number by 100. The result is the percentage of your visitors who actually buy. And even if the number is way higher than 2 percent, you can still improve it, and by a lot. Have I ever lied to you? <grin>

Site Penetration Ratio

Site Penetration Ratio (SPR) is a quick way to determine how successful your home page is in drawing customers further into your sales process. It often comes as a surprise to many e-tailers that most of their visitors never get past the home page. You spend all those marketing bucks driving traffic to your site and the traffic does an about-face on arrival. In fact, most of that traffic leaves before your home page is even done downloading.

To calculate your SPR, you divide the number of unique visitors who click to any interior page by the total number of unique visitors that “hit” your home page. Multiply this number by 100, and you've got a number that represents the percent of people who go at least one level deeper into your sales process. Subtract this number from 100 and you've got the percent of people who don't even make it past your home page.

The Fun Has Just Begun

These are just two of the ways you can get an accurate handle on what is really going on with your online business, as well as monitor its progress as you make improvements over time. The friendly folks at Future Now have put together a free suite of calculators assembled into an Excel™ spreadsheet that’s a breeze to use. In addition to CCR and SPR, the suite in its current version includes Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Retention Rate, Cost Per Visitor, Average Order Size, Sales Per Visitor, Customer Acquisition Gap, Site Penetration Index, Average Visit Length, Clicks to Find, Clicks to Buy and Time to Buy. Wow! You can "download" them (the file is actually e-mailed to you) by going here: http://www.futurenowinc.com/digitalsalescalculators.htm.

So help yourself (in more ways than one). Okay? Class dismissed.



click here for a printable version of this entire article

P.S. If you enjoyed this issue, why not share it with your colleagues and friends? They'll appreciate it.

GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledge and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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