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3 Simple Steps to Determining Your Website’s Conversion Rates

Conversion Rates


The idea of conversion rate is nothing new, but I’m always surprised by how many small businesses with a web presence are ignoring this key metric in their business.

If your website is a key component of your sales and marketing process, determining your conversion rate can paint an accurate (and often surprising) picture of what’s really going on with your website.

If you’re wondering what a conversion rate is, here’s the simplest answer for a complex topic. It’s the percentage of visitors to your site that complete a specific goal. For example, how many visitors to your site purchase a certain package, sign up for your newsletter or book a consult.

You can calculate your conversion rate using this quick formula:

# of Goal Completions/ Total # Visitors = Your Conversion Rate

#1. Understand Why You Should Care About Conversion Rates

Typically, when it comes to measuring website success, we look at our total number of visitors per month.

We login to Google Analytics and note we’re getting a certain number of visitors per month, so we feel like our marketing efforts are working. Or we decide that we need to work on getting more traffic to our site.

But measuring website traffic without understanding our conversion rate provides a skewed picture of our performance. We can focus our marketing efforts on trying to increase our traffic to our website, or we can spend our time optimizing the site so we can convert more visitors into action.

If you already have people visiting your site, improving your conversion rate gives you a tangible way to boost key business metrics. For example, if you currently convert 1% of your visitors into buyers, what happens if you double your conversion rate to 2%, or even 3%?

Instead of focusing marketing efforts on generating more and more traffic that may not convert, focusing on conversion rate optimization enables you to improve your performance over time.  The truth is, if you can’t convert your traffic into subscribers or buyers, your marketing is failing so matter how much traffic you may have.

#2. Figure Out What You Want to Measure

To get started with figuring out your current website conversion rates, you need to first figure out what exactly you want to measure.

What are key things you want visitors to your website to do when they arrive? Here are some ideas:

  • Purchase a specific product or service.
  • Book a consult.
  • Request more information.
  • Sign up for email updates or a free offer.
  • Free trial signups.
  • Whitepaper or ebook downloads.

These are some basic to measure as you get started. As you get more comfortable working with your conversion rate, you can get more sophisticated and segment your data to give you even more insight. For example, with sales, you may look at how many of your sales are from new visitors or returning visitors, or looking at the source of that traffic in more detail.

#3. Use Google Analytics to Track Your Conversion Rates

Measuring conversion rate is much simpler than more people realize, and can be done using a tool that most of us are already familiar with, Google Analytics.

Google Analytics’ Goals feature enables you to set up goals on your site that will track your conversion rate on specific visitor activities.

Before you go ahead and set up a goal, you’ll need the following:

  • A clear idea of the goal you want to measure: sales, subscribers, etc.
  • A separate thank you or landing page that your visitor arrives on once they’ve completed the goal. This can be a page on your site or set up using a tool like LeadPages. The most important thing is that your page is attached to that goal and you’re not sending other traffic to it or you’ll skew your data.

Now you’re ready to set up a goal, which will only take you a few minutes. You can find a short tutorial from Google here, or you can watch a video walk through of setting up a goal here.

There are several different types of goals you can set up, but for basic conversion rate information on your site, focus on URL destination goals.  Once you’ve nailed the essentials, you can come back and set up goal funnels or look at event-driven goals for more advanced data.

Tracking your conversion rates may seem like extra work, but once you get started, you’ll quickly see how various offers and elements of your site are performing and what visitors to your site are actually doing once they arrive.  From there you’ll have what you need to work on optimize your site and start turning more browsers into buyers.


LPsquareheadshotMaggie Patterson is a communications strategist and conversions-focused copywriter who works with small businesses to help them create thriving online-based businesses. She has 15 years of experience as a marketing consultant and her work has been featured on sites including, and Social Media Examiner. You can learn more about how to optimize your small business website to convert more browsers into buyers with Maggie’s free 7-Day Conversions Challenge. You can get immediate access to the challenge here.

1 Using Media Relations to Boost Your Business

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Maggie Patterson – Enjoy!

Duct tape marketing_source-shutterstock

photo credit: stuartmiles

Content marketing. PR. Blog posts. Social media. Email marketing. It’s enough to make any small business feel overwhelmed when it comes to figuring out marketing.

The reality is that as a small business owner, you’ve got limited time and money to make marketing work, so you need to find the most effective plan of attack.

While the strategies and tactics above can all be highly effective, you need to choose the right strategies for your audience. For your marketing to help meet business goals you need to be actually reaching your customers and not just looking good to the rest of the world.

Get Into Your Ideal Customer’s Head

There is no denying the power of social media or email marketing but all the posts and emails in the world won’t matter if your customers don’t use that network or read their email. You need to start by understanding where your ideal customers look for and consume information.

While your customers may not be on Facebook or reading blogs, they may read the local paper or be an avid reader of trade magazines in your market.  That’s where media relations comes in.

Traditional media relations can act as a powerful supplement to the marketing you are already doing, helping you find new customers in an affordable way.  By working with the media and having them share your story, you can boost your credibility and reach a wider audience.

Research and Understand Your Media Targets

The best place to get started with media relations is to carefully research relevant media. If your business has a strong local presence, you may want to look at your local TV stations and newspaper as a place to get started. Perhaps you are in a market where your customers all read specific trade magazines. Talk to your customers and get an understanding of what media they consume.

You can also check out where your competitors and partners are being featured in the media and do a search on Google to reveal publications that could be a good fit for your audience.

Once you have a short list of media outlets, you want to dig in and research them further including:

  • What types of stories do they cover?
  • Do industry experts contribute stories?
  • What trends or issues have they not covered?
  • Who are the best contacts?
  • What requirements do they have for working with them?

Making Your Pitch

With your research done, you’ll have a good understanding of what types of stories each outlet is looking for and how you could possibly approach them. For a local TV morning show or business newspaper, you may want to offer to speak on a trend or issue. For a trade publication, you may be interested in being a source for an upcoming article or in writing an in-depth article.

Generally, pitches can be sent via email.  The focus of your pitch should be on establishing your authority on the topic and how it is relevant to their audience.

A good pitch should include:

  • An engaging intro. Let them know why you are a good fit and be genuine about it.
  • A summary of your story idea in two or three sentences.
  • A two-line bio to establish your authority.
  • Your contact information.
  • Writing samples if you are pitching a guest post or article for publication.

The key is to be helpful and remember that your pitch is just one of many they receive each day. Once your pitch is sent if you don’t hear back in 7 to10 days feel free to gently follow-up. After that move on to another target that may be more receptive to your pitch.

Remember, not every pitch will result in a story, your goal should be to build your relationship with key reporters over time so they do think of you when there is the right opportunity.

Media relations is a powerful way to increase your reach as a small business using a proven, highly affordable marketing strategy. Taking marketing offline may just be the way to reach your target customer and boost your organization’s credibility in your industry.

150pxMaggie Patterson is a content + communications strategist who works with small business owners to help them use content marketing, PR and social media to meet business goals.  She is the author of the Press Kit Principle, a guide to website mistakes that often hold entrepreneurs back. You can get a copy of the Press Kit Principle here or connect with Maggie on Twitter @magspatterson.