June 4, 2009
When I first started learning how to make money online, I read that “content is king.” Well, I am here to tell you that “content is not king.” It is an illusion (a mirage) that traps many online business owners in the quick sand of failure.
“Content for the sake of content” is pointless.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Content is a good thing, so long as it will help deliver a potential customer to your sales page or the sales page of your advertisers. Any content that does not deliver a potential customer to a sales page is content that has not lived up to its true purpose, plain and simple.
A Number’s Game
No web page or website will ever deliver a 100% conversion rate, so it is imperative for a website owner to devise some method for tracking patterns and sales conversion results on their websites.
Many people use and recommend Google Analytics for tracking website sales conversions (http://www.google.com/analytics/). The best benefit of using Google Analytics is the cost… it is free.
Personally, we are unsatisfied with the results that we get from Google Analytics, and we feel there has to be a better way. A few similar products worth considering include:
Real Numbers For Consideration
The Internet Retailer website compiled some interesting information back in 2005 and 2006. You can buy the 2006 data on their website, and they provide a good portion of the 2005 report on their website for free. This information comes from its 2005 report of the Top 500 online retailers: http://www.homebizcowboys.com/2005-net-sales-stats
In 2005, the top 500 online retailers completed 523.9 million separate sales at an average ticket price of $118. This in itself is a number that can encourage smaller website owners to have confidence in their future, but it is not the number I am most concerned with sharing with you today.
This article is about “sales conversion”, so it is imperative that I show you what you should expect from your own sales conversion.
The Internet Retailer report shows us how the top online retailers are performing as far as sales conversion on their own websites. As you will see in this breakdown, sales conversions based on monthly visits (by visitor) varied widely, even within the same industries.
- Chain Retailers ranged from 0.45% to 23% conversion;
- Catalog and Call Center Operations ranged from 0.39% to 23.5% conversion;
- Web-Only Merchants averaged between 0.10% to 31% conversion; and
- Consumer Brand Manufacturers ranged from 0.75% to 20.2% conversion.
Web-Only Merchants stand out in two ways: they scored the lowest conversions and the highest conversion rates at 0.10% and 31%.
Closer To Home
One of our “cowboy” friends has been working on his conversion rates with our help, through his free report and online newsletter. It is always easier to give away information than it is to close a sale on someone’s first visit to your website. So, he has adjusted his approach to build his email list first, and then to use good content to drive his sales down the road. (Yes, good content does have its place in the world.)
He still uses the old methods of promoting his websites that he has used for years. But now, he is trying out different advertising models to strengthen his opt-in numbers.
We have all heard about how bad banner advertising is, but my cowboy friend had read someone’s eBook, where they said that they are making tons of money with banner advertising.
Willing to try anything once, my cowboy friend undertook his first banner advertising promotions with the AdBrite Network (http://www.adbrite.com/).
In his first run at the system, his banners only generated 0.0005% CTR’s (click-through’s) to his website. So he readjusted his banners and took another pass. With his second run, he generated 0.0054% CTR’s. Again, he redesigned his banners and took another pass at the system. This third time out, he had managed to raise his banner clicks to 0.0695%.
On his third run of 144,000 banner impressions, he generated 101 clicks to his newsletter sign-up page. By spending one-third less money than he spent on his first run, he generated 100 times more CTR’s than he did on his first pass.
These numbers only reflect how many of his banner displays generated a visitor to his website.
The industry conversion rates shown previously in this article only reflect the actions people took once they were at a website. For my cowboy friend, once people landed on his website after clicking a banner ad, he was able to convert 3% of his visitors to subscribers.
Co-registration is a process by which one company will offer a subscription to its visitors, and then on its “Thank You” page, it will offer other subscriptions to similar but non-competing publications.
At the end of my friends’ banner advertising campaign, he started a co-registration campaign. He started running his campaign in small increments, so that he could tweak his system as it progressed.
In his first 5,000-exposure pass, he generated a 0.5% CTR to his subscription page and converted 4% of his visitors to subscribers.
So, he tweaked his landing page and was able to increase his conversions to subscribers to 12% on his next run.
The next time through, he tweaked his co-registration advertisement. He saw his CTR increase to 2%.
He checked his stats, and then tweaked his system again. With the latest tweak, he is jubilant about his results. On his fifth pass, his results were so promising that he kept the system moving forward unabated.
With his last 4926 co-registration exposures, he generated 104 clicks to his website (2.11% CTR). Although he is still running about industry average on his CTR’s from the co-registration page, he is getting a 55% visitor-to-subscriber conversion rate (58 subscribers from 104 visitors).
Good Statistics Are Integral To One’s Success
Without good conversion statistics, it is nearly impossible to know how one can improve their overall conversion results.
Good tracking stats can show you when you have improved your conversions, and they can show you when you have diminished your conversion rates. Every time you make a change to your advertising, you should keep a backup of your original copy, just in case your changes produce poorer results instead of better results. If you see your conversions go down, then go back to the copy you had used prior to your last change.
By using his conversion statistics as a measure of his success, my friend was able to increase his results from banner advertising 100-fold in just a few weeks. When he took the same process to co-registration, he was able to increase his conversion results again, getting 58 times more subscribers for the same cash investment.
Learning From Our Friends…
We are working to duplicate the success of our friend. We had always thought that our own 10% visitor-to-subscriber conversion rate was pretty good, but 55%? Wow!
Going forward, my point is simple. Before investing great sums of money into driving traffic to one’s website, the first and most important task should be to drive enough traffic to your website to get some real conversion data and to tweak and improve your conversion results. Once you know that you are converting well on the traffic you are already receiving, then and only then should you consider stepping up your investment into driving traffic to your website.
If I had called this article, “Increase Your Sales by 5,800%,” you would have assumed me to be a hype-salesman, and you would have skipped over my article altogether. But, if you ask my friend, he would tell you in his own words, “If he can do it, then anyone can do it.” And that includes you, my friend. If he can do it, then YOU can do it too.
About The Author:
Bret Plummer is one of the Home Biz Cowboys. Learn Today, how to successfully start your own Online Business and start generating a sustainable income within a few short weeks. Visit our website now, and sign up to receive our FREE 8-Week Training Course. Be sure to also confirm your subscription right away, so that you will not miss a single day: http://www.HomeBizCowboys.com Read more articles written by: Bret Plummer