Big Data, Small Improvements: Use Marketing Data to Improve Your Website Lead GenerationBig data.

It’s something that I’m sure you all have heard about, but few people know what it means, or more importantly, what it can do for your conversion rate optimization.

Your website and associated tools collect a ton of data, and combine that with the numerous ways to visualize and analyze that data and you’re left with what could be a confusing mess.

It can be paralyzing to have so many data points. Very few small companies have an analyst on staff to tell them what the data means and recommend changes. I recommend more of a simpler approach, because many companies just need a starting point to identify improvement opportunities.

Here are two of the most important data points that matter to your conversion optimization efforts.

Bounce rate

For those that may not know, a bounce rate is defined in Google Analytics as “the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).” In other words, people are coming to your site and leaving after viewing only one page. Most companies experience bounce rate issues on their homepages.

A high bounce rate is an indicator that you have a problem with the “stickiness” of your website. For one reason or another, people are hightailing it away from your website because it doesn’t meet their needs. Here are some of the most common reasons people might bolt:

  • Visitor can’t identify what the company does quickly enough
  • Content doesn’t offer any hints at a solution for the visitor’s problem
  • Hard to navigate and find what the visitor is looking for
  • Slow download times
  • Hard to read on mobile devices

How to Fix a High Bounce Rate

Fixing a high bounce rate can be a long and laborious process, as it’s usually done through trial and error.

The first approach is to make a list of things on your homepage that might need clarification or might get visitors’ attention, and start fixing them.

Try qualitative research by conducting some usability testing. During a remote test, you can recruit people in your target market to use your website and give you honest feedback. We purposefully instruct people to “think out loud” as they do the tasks we give them so we get good feedback.

Second, turn to Google Analytics. The best way to see how well your website matches up with your customer’s intent is to look at keywords used to find the website. Google has hidden that information from us, but we can still look at Bing and Yahoo keywords that bring visitors to your website.

If you’re advertising on Google Adwords, you can also see keyword data if Adwords is hooked up with Analytics. Is the information your customer is looking for on your landing page? If not, put it there in a prominent place and see how your bounce rate changes.

The websites that link to yours also affect bounce rate. Using the Acquisition > All Referrals report in Google Analytics will give you a list of websites people visit before yours. This information can help you determine how well the content of the referring site matches up with the content of your website. Any disconnects may cause a visitor to leave, so fixing the disconnects can help lower bounce rate.

Landing Page Conversion Rate

Conversion rate of a specific page on your website will tell you how many people successfully completed a goal. While some companies might look at goals that involve multiple pages, we find it most helpful to measure the conversion rate of each page.

For B2B companies we work with, landing page conversion rate is a hot topic. The goal for these companies is to have a potential customer download a piece of information, creating a lead for the company to follow up with.

While you can certainly measure landing page conversion rate in Google Analytics, we like to measure this in our marketing automation software.

You’re probably looking for a good benchmark for landing page conversion rate. I’d say that the “pass/fail” mark is 20%. Lower than 20%, you need to optimize. It’s not uncommon to see a landing page conversion rate at 40% or higher.

A low landing page conversion rate could mean one or more of the following:

  • Your landing page is too complicated.
  • Your landing page doesn’t have a singular focus.
  • Customer expectations are not set properly in the content of the page.
  • There’s friction between the path your visitor took to get to the landing page and the copy or offer on the landing page itself.
  • Your offer is weak.

How to Fix a Low Landing Page Conversion Rate

A low conversion rate results from a page doesn’t resonate with your website reader.

Start with a path analysis. How are people arriving at your landing page? One of the most common problems we diagnose is when a company uses one landing page for all marketing channels. Are you using the same landing page for your paid search, website links, social media, etc.?

Try setting up separate landing pages for each campaign and marketing channel. This is especially important if you’re diagnosing a low conversion rate from paid search. Ideally, you want a separate landing page for each keyword you’re bidding on so you can make it as relevant as possible.

Page design can also impact conversion rate. Make it a standard practice to remove the top or left navigation links on your landing pages so that the visitor is laser-focused on reading the page and taking the offer.

Finally, your landing page copy is incredibly important. Awareness of how people are getting to your landing page will help you craft a relevant message and “connect the dots.” Be sure to also set your visitor’s expectations for what they will receive and how they will benefit from your offer. Consulting your customer personas will help you write copy that resonates.

Companies spend thousands getting more traffic to their websites, but often neglect data analysis and optimization, leaving lost sales on the table. Lowering your bounce rate and raising your conversion rate can bring tremendous increases to the bottom line.

Don’t be intimidated with the mountains of data your website collects. Keep it simple, measure what matters, and plan your optimizations to keep your website converting at a high level.