What sort of conversion rate (CR) should I be aiming for with my B2B website? This is one of the most common questions new customers ask us, and it is an important one because conversion rate is the most reliable indicator that your website is doing a successful job. In this context, conversion means not the proportion of website visitors who become paying customers, but those that convert to leads i.e. people who take the leap from merely browsing to signing up to a newsletter, picking up the phone or sending you a message.
How conversion rate is defined
Different businesses define conversion in slightly different ways, of course. For instance, for some businesses it may be enough that you gain someone’s email address to consider them a lead. For others, different criteria may be used, such as whether the visitor has opted into a newsletter, or downloaded an e-book, or arranged a call-back. It is important to have an agreed understanding of what you mean by conversion before you begin. As a broad brush definition, conversion is the process by which a prospect enters your sales and marketing funnel. From there on in, you can cultivate them by other means and hopefully convert them further, into paying customers. Conversion rate is given as a percentage of web traffic.
Why average conversion rates are important
We have already touched on Average Conversion rate briefly in our blog ‘How to Improve Your B2B Website Conversion Rate’, so wanted to cover it again in greater depth. It is important to get a sense of averages because this gives you a reliable benchmark against which to measure the success of your marketing campaign. Research has shown that average conversion rates vary quite widely from industry to industry, as we shall see below.
Setting a realistic benchmark
It is easy to go into a campaign with unrealistic expectations, and many businesses are startled when they find out how low some average conversion rates really are. However, this shouldn’t be cause for despondency, as the percentage figure indicates the total volume of your web traffic who will convert to leads. So, if your website attracts 1,000 unique visitors each month and you have a conversion rate of 5%, then you can expect your site to bring you 50 new leads each month.
Conversion rate optimisation is, of course, just one side of marketing. The other important cornerstone of inbound marketing is increasing your total web traffic, through methods such as SEO, content marketing and PPC. To some extent increasing conversion rate is a numbers game, as the more web traffic you get, the more visitors are going to convert to leads, but primarily, conversion rate optimisation is about improving your web content to give your visitors a better user experience. We go into practical methods in greater detail in other articles on our blog.
Average Conversion Rate by industry
US market research firm MarketingSherpa carried out an extensive survey into average conversion rates in 2012. Despite being a few years old now, the research is still widely recognised by marketing agencies as an accurate reflection of the online economy and is used as the benchmark study. All the figures below are taken from this research.
- Average CR across all industries: 7%
- Professional and Financial Services (solicitors, accountants, IFAs etc.): 10%
- Publishing and media: 10%
- Software and IT services: 7%
- Hardware and technology: 5%
- Packaged Goods and Manufacturing: 4%
- Online Retail: 3%
- Charities and non-profit: 2%
Conversion Rate Optimisation Methods
There are a number of different methods businesses use to improve their B2B conversion rate. These all involve making your website more accessible to users and making it easy for your visitors to get in touch. A good place to begin is by streamlining your written web content to make it easily scannable and present it in a way that important information is immediately visible. Content forms should also be made as prominent as possible, and rationalised so that only the most important fields are visible to each visitor. The three factors that have the most negative impact on conversions are poor website navigation, long, cumbersome contact forms, and dense, inaccessible web content.
For professional, no obligation advice on how to improve your website conversion rate, please pick up the phone and talk to one of our experts today. We look forward to hearing from you.