Why are my Conversions Dropping?
When meeting a potential new digital marketing client, they sometimes report a steady decline in enquiries, despite a remarkably stable traffic graph. Why, if traffic has remained stable for the past two years, has the number or quality of enquiries dropped?
Surely, if a business’s website is known to convert a specific percentage of visitors, and the monthly traffic volumes are stable, or even increasing, the monthly enquiries/leads should also remain stable?
Sometimes, this isn’t the case, and can be attributed to a number of possible reasons, detailed below.
The web is progressing at very quick rate, and as such, web-user’s expectations are also progressing. With advancements in mainstream website aesthetics and functionality, small businesses have to work harder to achieve the accepted standard.
To use a rather extreme example of this, the following websites are both for Hollywood Blockbusters, but one was created in the late 90s (Space Jam), and one was created this year (42).
The above example shows just how far we’ve come in a relatively short space of time. For those that are interested, the original Space Jam website can be found HERE.
Web users are quick to click ‘back’ if the website they are presented with doesn’t look professional, or doesn’t make their journey through the website pain-free. Compared to a year ago, users want websites that load faster, look better, and function more efficiently. As such, even if you have the same amount of traffic as you did 12 months ago, it may not be converting as well as it did before, simply because of changing expectations.
Modern web users expect websites to be quick, mobile friendly, intuitive, and easy to use. Website conversion rate optimisation fundamentals include:
Does the page that the user has landed on deliver the right message to that user? Does it answer their question? Does it deliver on their expectations?
Does your website deliver a consistent message? Is the navigation, page structure, tonality and aesthetics consistent?
Does your website deliver its message quickly and efficiently?
By addressing the above points you have created a user friendly website that is intuitive to use. The more efficiently a user can use and navigate your website, the more likely they are to enquire/buy. The easier your website is to use, the less drop-off you will experience. Make it easy to enquire. Make it easy to buy.
We all know that more and more users are browsing the internet on their mobile devices. This is a great thing; combined with more PC, laptop and Tablet users, there are currently more people on the web than ever before. This does however mean that websites that aren’t mobile friendly, may possibly see a drop in conversions, even if their traffic doesn’t.
Using the following website as an example, in August 2012, 5.2% of this website’s traffic came from mobile phones:
In August 2013, this percentage grew to 12.6%.
For the sake of this example, we will consider this website ‘mobile un-friendly‘ (eg: it has flash elements that don’t work with Apple devices, confusing enquiry/contact forms, and a sluggish server). Mobile traffic is not likely to convert on this website.
In August of 2012, the website may have been losing out on 5% of its potential leads. In August of 2013, it is losing out on 12% of its potential leads.
If the website traffic had steady monthly traffic volumes between 2012 and 2013, their enquiries would actually be decreasing. If the website had an overall conversion rate of 4%, and received 3,000 visitors per month, the potential enquiries lost would be as follows:
- August 2012: 6 Enquiries Lost
- August 2013: 14 Enquiries Lost
In the case of high ticket price products and services, these lost enquiries could make a significant difference to ROI.
Quality of Traffic
Your traffic may be consistent, but the quality of traffic may be dropping. This will obviously impact the number/quality of enquiries reaching you through the website.
All Traffic is Not Created Equal
There are a wide range of traffic sources that have potential to drive traffic to your website. Organic traffic via search engines, referral traffic from other websites and social networks, and even direct traffic (those who know your brand/website, and type you in to their browser directly). Each of these sources will send traffic of varying quality.
Those who find your website organically may be highly likely to convert, depending on what they searched for. Someone who found your website via a link on another website will probably have a much lower conversion rate; they weren’t actively searching for your service/product, they just stumbled across it! Browsers vs Buyers.
Eg: Someone searching in Google for “Red Coffee Mug” is more likely to result in a sale, than someone who found a Coffee Mug retailer’s website on a friend’s Facebook feed. The Google user is already in the buying cycle. They know that they want to purchase a red coffee cup. The Facebook user is simply browsing (but it’s important to note, they may later convert when they decide they need a coffee mug!).
To relate the example to the original point, if your good quality organic traffic is dropping, and being replaced by lower quality traffic, your conversion rates will be dropping, even if the overall traffic graph looks stable.
Please note: Traffic quality varies greatly, depending on the type of business/industry you’re in, and the source of the traffic. For example, your referral traffic may be your best converting traffic if it’s from a reputable/trusted source!
Fixing These Issues
The first priority, when marketing a business online, is to make sure the foundations are in place. As such, your website is the first port of call. Maximise your ROI by maximising your website’s potential to convert your visitors.
If your traffic is stable, but less people are enquiring, identify why this may be happening. Is the quality of your traffic dropping? Are more people viewing your website from their mobile devices? Has something on your website changed that may be confusing/displeasing visitors?
Does this look familiar? Perhaps diving into the detail will help you to determine the cause. We’re experiencing similar trends with some clients and we’re working to counteract the negative effects through proactive planning. Re-investing or adding additional resource to capitalise on the opportunities will create more engagement with potential customers. As a consequence it will no doubt have a positive impact on return on investment, which is what it’s all about!