You weren’t lied to – you just asked the wrong questions. Ask the right questions and watch your business thrive beyond your expectations. Ask the wrong questions and needlessly pay the price of working with the wrong answers. Does your business depend on leads? (Hint: unless you’re selling commodities, you need leads.) Is your website eCommerce? Start with the right question – for lead generation and eCommerce alike. So, what’s the wrong question?
Wait! There’s a question before the question. What’s a conversion for you? For eCommerce, that’s easy. Someone bought something. What’s a conversion for you if you’re not eCommerce? There’s a buyer’s journey that leads up to money changing hands. There are multiple steps to get there which we call micro-conversions. What are your micro-conversions that lead to a sale? Unless you are living in the 1980’s, your website is at least one step in that journey – probably multiple steps. Do you know? Have you measured?
Here’s the wrong question: What’s the landing page with the highest conversion rate?
Here’s the right question: What’s the landing page that starts the journey that eventually leads to the highest number of conversions?
Does that sound nit-picky? Maybe it is. But the difference in the two answers will surprise you.
Amazon Prime members convert at 75%. That means most Amazon Prime buyers search, select, and buy in a single visit. But that’s not normal. Your customers almost certainly visit your website multiple times before converting or micro-converting. Focusing on the final converting visit in isolation leads you to make bad choices because you’re working with the wrong answers.
You want to know the landing page that began the journey that led to conversion (or micro-conversion). It was probably several visits ago and it’s bashfully hiding in the data waiting for the right person to summon it to the forefront.
Your customer’s journey is like a relay race. Each runner plays a critical role. But if your first runner runs poorly, you never win the race regardless of how fast your last runner runs. You want to understand the content that convinced your visitor to engage in this multi-step journey that led to a sale. When you optimize that, you send more people down that road to eventually become customers.
A lesson from Michael Dell
Michael Dell understood this concept in high school. As a result, he made more money in one summer than his economics teacher made for the whole year. Not selling computers – but selling newspapers. Yes, before Michael Dell sold computers, he sold newspapers and made $18,000 in a single summer. That’s the equivalent of $45,000 today. He knew the right question to ask, and it paid him handsomely. But what was that question?
What were people doing before they bought a newspaper subscription? They were getting married or buying a house. Once he understood that, he only knocked on doors of people getting married and buying houses. He segmented his lead list to focus on people with the greatest mortgages. And voila, he made the equivalent of $45,000 from a summer job in high school. The key was knowing and optimizing the first step. Are you asking the right question?
Lies, damned lies, and statistics
Mark Twain popularized that phrase, but he attributed it to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Yes, statistical data can be the worst of liars – but usually because you’re asking the wrong questions. After asking the wrong questions, you’re easily trapped in cognitive biases that perpetuate the lie. One example is confirmation bias – we interpret data in a way to confirm what we already believe. It’s a powerful force and you need a structured methodology to overcome it.
Ask the right question and change your PPC spend
Where should you send your paid traffic? Not to the page that has the highest conversion rate. Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t send it to the page with the highest conversion rate. You’ve asked the wrong question and got the wrong answer. The right answer is you should send the paid traffic to the landing page that starts the journey that leads to the highest conversion rate. Ok, yes, this can sound confusing, so let’s look at the numbers.
First landing page was paid traffic and eventually became a paid subscriber
If you just ask what page has the highest conversion rate, you would send all paid traffic to the free sample page. You may even be happy with a 23% conversion rate. But two secrets are hiding in the data:
- The pricing page is twice as effective at driving revenue as the free sample page
- The free sample page is actually the worst performing page (of the 3) at driving revenue
When you change your question, a valuable insight rises from the data. The more important question is what is the paid landing page that starts the journey that eventually results in the most paying customers. That question reveals a page on this site that is twice as effective at driving revenue as your first answer. Strike up the band. Pour some drinks. It’s time to celebrate for having such clarity.
What are the right questions in your business?
Ask the right questions and watch your business thrive beyond your expectations. Ask the wrong questions and needlessly pay the price of working with the wrong answers.
We once had a client that said they only cared about making the phone ring. After trying to explain the importance of other steps preceding the phone ringing, they said they didn’t care about those steps and asked us to focus on making the phone ring. They’re no longer a client. Now there’s a “for sale” sign in front of their headquarters.
Don’t pay the price of asking the wrong question. You want to drive revenue to your business. Ask Google Analytics to reveal the early steps in your customer’s journey that result in them becoming a customer. Then optimize those steps.
The data doesn’t lie. It just responds to the questions you ask. Your job is to ask the right questions.