Conversion Rate: Average website conversion rates, by industry


In our recently released MarketingSherpa 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, we asked about average conversion rates …

Q. Please write in your organization’s average conversion rate.

It’s human nature to see a number and to instantly think of it as a fact, so let me first briefly mention the limits of numbers. Just because you see the numbers above, don’t assume that all of your, for example, media and publishing competitors are getting 10% conversion rates for every offer.

These numbers are simply meant to give you a general idea of how certain industries are fairing as you work on your own conversion rate optimization efforts.

“Where ever you are, you should also try to figure out how you can improve your conversion rate 5-10% monthly,” is how Bryan Eisenberg, Managing Partner, Eisenberg Holdings, put it in “Average Conversion Rate by Industry 2012.”


The glass is half empty  *Full story


Lead Gen Form Optimization: Why a lower conversion rate can be a good thing


Daniel Burstein

Friction on your lead generation landing pages is bad, because it reduces conversions.

Except that is not always a bad thing. Hear me out for a moment …

As we teach in the MarketingExperiments Landing Page Optimization Online Course, you’re certainly not looking to eliminate friction. When it comes to lead generation, you’re not even always looking to reduce friction … what you’re looking for is the right balance that ultimately makes your company more profitable.

This might seem counterintuitive at first, especially if you work in a marketing department that has a relentless focus on only one number – the amount of lead generated.

However, high-quality leads will likely result in less dead ends for the sales force. Thus, Sales will invest more of its time on leads more apt to close, which should make everyone happier at the end of the day.


Use the lead gen dials to flexibly optimize your page

But you don’t have to be locked into only one approach. The great thing about the lead gen dial approach (shown in the image above) is that it can help you flexibly adapt to your company’s needs:

  • If your sales force is simply starved for leads, you can reduce friction to increase the number of leads they receive.
  • If your sales force has a long list of leads they still haven’t contacted, you can dial up friction to reduce the overall number of leads, but acquire higher-quality leads that go straight to Sales with a clear priority attached in them.

Of course, if you work in the marketing department, these changes shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. You should create a flexible universal lead definition with Sales that can adapt and scale as the company’s needs change.


Friction in lead generation forms

One of the most impactful places to adjust friction is in the lead gen form itself. Here are three places you can adjust friction, and then test to see which combination is most profitable for your company:

  • Make some form fields optional. If you use this technique, very motivated leads can choose to give more information, but you hypothetically wouldn’t lose any less motivated leads, since they wouldn’t have to fill out those form fields.

A word of caution, though — a long form presents a large amount of perceived friction. Let’s face it, even with optional fields, a long form just looks time-consuming in the split second a prospect decides whether to act or not.

  • Use a two-step process. You can capture basic information, and then ask for more in-depth information in a second step. You can test offering an incentive for completion of the more time-consuming second step, or just clearly communicate the benefit to the prospect (for example, that they will receive more relevant information from your company).

For leads that don’t complete the second step, you can follow up and try to gain more information at a later date (when they might be further along in the buying cycle, and, therefore, more motivated to provide that information).

  • Simply remove form fields. Take a good hard look at your form and sit down with every person or department that has an interest in that form. For example, does Job Title or Budget really help Sales? If so, it might be worth keeping.

If not, it may be like the appendix, a vestigial form field that had a good purpose in a previous era, but no one currently at the company remembers why exactly they needed that information. Leer más “Lead Gen Form Optimization: Why a lower conversion rate can be a good thing”

Conversion Rate Optimization: Building to the Ultimate Yes

What does it take to get a customer to act? Several micro-yeses that lead to the Ultimate Yes.

This graphic illustrates the different factors at play in obtaining that Ultimate Yes – a marketing conversion. Even more important, this graphic illustrates the factors you can optimize to improve the probability that you gain that conversion.


“The funnel represents and should be thought of as a representation of what is the heart of marketing, and that is a series of decisions,” said Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS.

“Those decisions are key transitions; I would call them micro-yeses. There are a series of micro-yeses necessary to helping someone achieve an ultimate yes. The Ultimate Yes is the sale in most cases. At each of these junctures, we have to help people climb up the funnel.”

Let’s break down each element in the funnel and the role it plays in achieving a marketing conversion.


Ultimate Yes

At the top of that inverted final, Yu stands for Ultimate Yes … the conversion action you would like your customers to take. This is likely a purchase. For a non-profit organization, though, it might be securing a donation. Leer más “Conversion Rate Optimization: Building to the Ultimate Yes”

Copywriting Contest: Write the best-performing subject line and win

As we gear up to test the subject lines suggested by you, the MarketingExperiments blog reader, in our recent contest, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at some email testing research conducted by our sister company, MarketingSherpa:

This research chart, from the MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Advanced Practices Handbook, packs a lot of interesting information in a small amount of space, so let’s break down just the most common, most effective and easiest elements to test … Leer más “Copywriting Contest: Write the best-performing subject line and win”

Lead Generation Optimization: Finding the right amount of friction

Three keys to keep in mind when testing your lead generation process:

Choose the right time to add more friction. Think of your lead generation process as a personal introduction to someone. The moment you meet someone you don’t ask for a lot of personal information. If you do, you scare people away. The same concept applies here. For example, in a recent experiment, we tested moving the phone number field from the first step to the second step. Lead generation rate increased by 68% and the conversion rate remained stable.
Prioritize your requests properly. Think carefully about what information you ask first, second, and so on. It is important to keep a natural flow as you add and subtract friction elements. A good way to check for this with your pages and processes is to review every step and consider two questions: 1) Do we need this information? 2) Do we need it at this stage?
Pay close attention to your final conversion rate. We tested a three-step process against a four-step process. As expected, the three-step process had a higher lead generation rate. However, once the sales team got the leads and started following up on them, they found that leads from the four-step process were more qualified and easier to close. Bottom line: the four-step process had a lower lead generation rate, but ultimately a higher final conversion rate (sales).

Gaby Diaz


If you’ve got a B2B website, you’re always looking for ways to generate more leads online. But while recent research shows 71% of B2B marketers view their site as one of the most important marketing tools, only 31% said their site is “highly effective” at generating leads.

That leaves a lot of room for testing and improving business results. However, optimizing for lead generation is not as straightforward as optimizing for conversion rate.

Conversion rate is the final metric that decides whether or not your online process/funnel is working. In contrast, lead generation only tells you a portion of the story. The leads you generate are really the start of a long process of qualification steps, both online and offline. If you don’t pay attention to each step, you will never be able to get the best out of this process.

How to use friction to your advantageAdjusting Your Leads

Think of the process of optimizing for lead generation as two interconnected dials. Each dial represents a step in your online process. One dial increases volume of leads by reducing friction. The second dial increases quality of the lead by increasing friction.

You can increase friction in several ways, such as adding more form fields or steps in the funnel process. Or, you can reduce it by subtracting various page elements or process steps. To adjust your lead flow, turn the dials: more friction will yield higher lead quality; less friction will increase lead volume.

Too much friction can make your visitors quit, but not enough friction will fill your pipeline with leads of a lower quality. So you need to test different approaches to determine what balance works best for your lead generation process. Leer más “Lead Generation Optimization: Finding the right amount of friction”

Form Optimization: 3 case studies to help convince your boss (and Sales) to reduce form fields


So your boss still thinks that “optimization” means making your site load faster.

We get it.

Marketers are constantly battling the highest paid person’s opinion (HiPPO) in favor of real conversion response optimization tactics based on a sound methodology.

And they usually lose because they don’t have a testing program with real results to show those misguided HiPPOs (and Sales leaders) that they’re wrong.

So to help you win your HiPPO/Sales battles, we’ve created a deck with three case studies highlighting the importance of that most basic of optimization principles: