Thursday, August 30, 2007

Conversion: What About the Other 98 Percent?

Conversion rates of 2 to 5 percent are explained by the misunderstanding of personas' roles in persuasion. Not every buyer is ready to buy now. Only the primary persona or, worse, an average visitor is addressed. No surprise, then, most sites convert badly. When a mass audience with diverse needs can self-select based on click-through, you can't focus on the needs of only one. Account for the psychographic, emotional, and linguistic needs of your diverse buyer universe.
There are plenty of sites out there with conversion rates in the 10 to 40 percent range. Many more can convert 80 percent or more of their search engine traffic for specific key terms and optimized landing pages. Six Sigma is meant to drive sustained improvement in productivity, customer satisfaction, and loyalty to reduce cost and increase revenue and profit.
Six Sigma is an ideal, particularly in a service environment such as a Web site. The term literally means 3.4 or fewer errors per million opportunities (99.9997 percent accuracy). Don't get caught up in the number; it's not representative of the complete methodology. It's like a glass being half full or half empty. If we focus on an average 2 percent conversion rate, the best we'll get is incremental improvement.

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