How Do You Measure Conversion?

Enter alternative textWhat does a visitor have to do before you consider her "converted"?

"Uh, duh, Grok," I hear someone say. "Like, buy something, dude."

Bing, bing, bing. Confetti falls. The crowds cheer.

Nobody would get that wrong, right? Well ... it's a good partial answer. But the real answer is that most Web sites have multiple points of conversion. Dozens. Hundreds. Sometimes thousands!

"Say what???"

Come into my parlor.

Here's what I'd really like to tattoo on the ebusiness lobe of your brain: Conversion takes place whenever a visitor takes an action we want them to take. And because it can only be the participant's decision to take that action, we must persuade them. If you want a bottom line on doing business online, that's it.

A better answer to my question above would be: She's converted when she signs up for the newsletter, downloads a .pdf white paper or calls for more information. These are also conversions.

Stroll with me through the home page of Future Now, Inc(opens new window). Just off the top of my green head, I can see six obvious goals we have for folks:

  • Sign up for The Grok newsletter

  • Download calculators

  • Check out resources

  • Request a Real World Sales Analysis form

  • Download a free report

  • Contact us by phone

Each of these points is an entry into a process that is not complete until the goal is achieved. That goal is the "macro" action, the Big Picture Conversion. You can measure it: today 72 people downloaded the free report. And if 200 people came to the site, we have a conversion rate (for the report) of 36%.

Sometimes we get so focused on the end point, though, we forget there was a journey to achieve that end point. You see, not all your visitors know exactly what they want when they land on your site. On top of that, they are each in different stages of the buying process. They might not be ready to take that macro action right off the bat.

In fact, to complete a macro action (the Big Picture Conversion), your visitors take any number of steps. "Micro" actions. And every one of those is a conversion too!

Let's say you landed on our home page, read all that text and were persuaded to click through on the "Conversion Assessment System" hyperlink (a measurable conversion point in the process, but not the goal).

You land on a page that gives an overview of the value and nature of an assessment. If you can't be bothered with the text, we offer the option of going directly to the assessment information via the top navigation. Or we offer itemized options in a bulleted list. You decide you want to convert more eCommerce traffic, so you click that hyperlink.

You land on a page that gives you a detailed description of what goes into an assessment, and, if you scroll down, you'll find a request form and the telephone number. The goal is not achieved until you have clicked "Contact Us" to submit the form.

One macro-action conversion, three micro-action conversions. And at each point of conversion, we must persuade our visitors to take the next action. Think about it ... counting casually, I now find at least 27 points of conversion on our home page. Not all of them look like they have the goal in mind at this point, but they all provide a point of entry. They're like the point of the spiral that starts the Yellow Brick Road.

Are you measuring these different points of conversion? They all matter. When you think of each step on your navigation paths as a conversion point you can test, measure and optimize, you will truly know if you are converting your visitors successfully through each stage of their journey.

Volume 87: 2/1/2004

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