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How to be a marketing rock star without spending a nickle on traffic generation

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of executing digital marketing strategy for a lot of different companies. From lead gen to e-commerce. From mom & pop to Fortune 100. And if there’s one prevailing theme that I’ve garnered from these experiences it’s the vast majority of organizations either don’t know about or refuse to engage in the one marketing tactic that can literally grow ROI exponentially without having to drive a single incremental site visit.

Have you guessed which tactic I’m referring to?

If not, let me spare you the suspense. I’m talking about conversion optimization.

Regardless of whether it’s a huge brand or some small, local start-up it seems like conversion optimization always takes a back seat to more conventional marketing and advertising initiatives if it’s part of the consideration set at all.

And this is nothing less than tragic in my opinion because some simple math proves the immense value that conversion optimization and testing can provide. For example, if your marketing program generates $1,000,000 per year in revenue and you currently convert at a rate of 2% (e.g. 2 out of every 100 visitors) improving your conversion by just half of a percentage point (e.g. 2.5%) will increase your revenue by $250,000 per year. Moreover, that increased revenue will continue to roll in over time, making conversion optimization efforts a high equity activity (e.g. the impact is felt well after the work is rendered).

In other words, that incremental $250,000 will likely continue to roll in year after year well after you invested the time, resources, and marketing budget to lift your conversion rate (and that’s assuming that ongoing conversion optimization testing doesn’t result in ever growing conversion rate percentages).

Factor in the relatively low cost of conversion optimization services and technology (Google Analytics offers a very sophisticated A/B & multivariate testing platform for free) as well as the fact that improving conversion means you can make more money off the existing volume of traffic you receive and the value of this tactic becomes all the more clear.

And there’s one final and fairly subtle benefit that’s worth mentioning. For companies that struggle with very low conversion rate, investing in advertising channels like paid search can be a real challenge due to negative ROI, and so for those companies investing in conversion optimization can help open the door to paid channels that would have previously been more or less out of reach.

If your company or clients haven’t seriously invested in conversion optimization you know what to do. Get cracking because you’re leaving all sorts of revenue on the table.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://twitter.com/khushbaht Khushbaht (Kush)

    Spot on Hugo, a small investment in CRO makes a HUGE difference. Showing the numbers gets the project rolling, e.g. improving conversion rate at checkout by X% will result in additional Y dollars/mo.

    For further reading on how I’d recommend checking out the following articles:

    Definitive how to guide for CRO:

    See #3: Try one (or two) new usability tools

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for stopping by to chime in, Kush! I also appreciate you sharing the article links. CRO is truly a no-brainer once you look at the numbers and yet so few companies leverage it. Amazing really.

      • http://www.convert.com/ Convert.com Experiments

        Hi Hugo, love to invite you to try http://convert.com since you love testing and know CRO is a no-brainer. Love to hear you opinion… on the A/b and MVT features.


        • Anonymous

          Hey Dennis. To be honest, I’m not a fan of folks coming by and pitching their wares in this manner. In fact, I’ve written about that on this very blog in the past. What I would suggest is taking time to add some value to the blog and my community of commentors. Then, after you’ve established some rapport, perhaps reach out to me (via email as opposed to a public comment for all to see). Just a suggestion, though. Good luck with your ventures.

          • http://www.convert.com/ Convert.com Experiments

            Hi Hugo, point taken… thank for the learning.


  • http://twitter.com/DanielSpeicher Daniel Speicher

    Great article Hugo. I just wrote a report yesterday for a client talking about how CRO is often overlooked in an SEO/inbound marketing campaign. They’re now making a push to improve their conversion rates. There is a ton of value in making small percentage increases.

    Just a heads up. The wording is a little off:

    “For example, if your marketing program generates $1,000,000 per year in revenue and you currently convert at a rate of 2% (e.g. 2 out of every 100 visitors) improving your conversion by just half of a percentage point (e.g. 2.5%) will increase your revenue by $250,000 per year.”

    I think you meant “…will increase TO $250,000 per year.”

    Take care bud.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for stopping by, Daniel! Glad to hear your client is taking your advice. It will pay solid dividends.

      Not sure what you meant regarding the math. If you’re making $1MM per year and increase your conversion rate by 25% (e.g. from 2% to 2.5%) you’ll go from making $1MM to $1.25MM, hence an increase of $250,000.

  • http://www.convert.com/ Convert.com Experiments

    Hi Hugo, take a 30 day free trial of http://convert.com and love to see your feedback on paid vs free A/B testing.


  • Anonymous

    Sleep deprivation is never fun!

    One of your fellow readers linked to a few solid resources within the comments section of this post, so I’d recommend checking those out. I also linked to a good article within the post itself.

    There are also some solid conversion optimization agencies out there that can offer full-service support.

    And lastly, I find that the best way to learn is to go ahead and construct and execute some tests.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    If you are getting traffic to your site but it’s not converting it could be an issue with the site. Get an opinion from a conversion professional. Sometimes it’s just a small change or tweak that can result in better performance.

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