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When visitors to your website are not buying or subscribing, it becomes obvious that you have a conversion problem.
However, the real danger lies when your visitors ARE actually buying and subscribing. When you have what you believe to be a “good” conversion rate, and you are making a little bit of money from your site (or even a lot of money from your site), you have the natural tendency to change your focus away from maximizing conversion rates.
If you know you have a conversion problem, then you are motivated to do what it takes to fix the problem. But if you’re making sales and getting optins, you just may begin to take conversion for granted.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. A few years ago I had a niche site selling an ebook on how to relieve arthritis pain naturally. And of course (as “The Conversion Doctor”) when I first began driving traffic to the site, I ran dozens of test rounds and pushed the conversion rate on the salesletter to over 6.5%.
But, as I began working on other sites and other niches I never got around to going back and running additional test rounds on that site. After all, a 6.5% conversion rate is great. Right?
So over time the conversion rate naturally began to slip and sales started to fall-off. Since I had dozens of other sites to focus on, and since the arthritis site was still making decent money I was just too fat, dumb and happy to worry about the drop in conversion.
In fact, I didn’t worry about conversion on that site until one day when I was looking at my monthly sales trends for my niche sites I noticed that the sales on the arthritis site had fallen to below $500 per month. (At its peak this site was making me over $6,000 each month!)
When I began to dig deeper I discovered that two new competitors had popped up selling nearly identical products, and one of them was aggressively focused on conversion. It was obvious to me at just a glance that they were doing everything right, and testing continually.
To make matters worse, all of my top affiliates had jumped ship and began promoting the higher converting offer.
You see, in most markets 80% to 90% of all affiliate sales are generated by a small handful of super-affiliates. And these super-affiliates, live and die by their conversion and visitor value numbers.
Think your affiliates are loyal to you? Think again! If your competition has a better converting offer or one that produces a higher value per visitor, your best affiliates will jump ship in a heartbeat and begin promoting them. And that’s exactly what happened to me.
Of course I did go back into the market and test and tweak my way back up to a decent conversion rate. But by then it was too late, the biggest affiliates never came back and sales never rebounded to where they were before.
I eventually sold the site for far less money than I would have got if I had only continued testing regularly. Neglecting the conversion rate on that site probably cost me over $100,000.
What I want you to take away from this story is this…
Even if your sales and conversion rates are good now, if you want to survive (and thrive) online, then you MUST begin (or continue) focusing conversion rate improvement and need to do it right now.
There is a quote that I just love from the movie “Tommy Boy” with the late Chris Farley.
In a scene where “Tommy Boy’s” father (played by Brian Dennehy) is negotiating with his bankers to give him a loan to expand his business, he says something very profound…
“In business you’re either growin’ or you’re dyin’… There ain’t no third direction!”
The smartest and most successful business owners in any market understand this important principle.
And, this wisdom applies doubly online. If you are not continually testing and optimizing the persuasive power of your website, you are losing ground.
Barriers to entry for completion are ridiculously low, and in most online markets few players are focused at all on conversion rate optimization. This gives any business that makes a long term commitment to conversion rate improvement a devastating advantage over their completion.
I’ve seen the same thing play out in market after market and niche after niche. Once a competitor with an obsessive focus on testing and conversion enters the market, it’s “game over” for anyone else who doesn’t quickly begin to improve their own conversion rates.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
You don’t have to wait for a better converting competitor to come into your market and eat your lunch. Begin immediately changing your focus from simply driving more traffic, to maximizing your website’s persuasive power to convert your existing traffic.
Only by developing a long term commitment to continually improving your websites conversion rates, can you ensure that your business is growin’ and not dyin’. Because there really “ain’t no third direction!”
About the AuthorEric Graham is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, copywriter and consultant. Enter your name and email address below to get notified when new response boosting tips, tested conversion strategies, updates, articles and videos are posted.
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