Why Conversion Rate Optimization Shouldn’t Be Your Only Focus

You probably think that title sounds crazy.

It doesn’t just sound crazy. Surely, it is crazy. After all, conversion rate is the number one metric for measuring business success – right?

Partly true. For measuring success? Yes. For guaranteeing success? No.

The conversion rate is the very end of all the other crafted together elements. It’s the sum total of whether or not your efforts worked. Not how well every other element is working.

So we shouldn’t say it should be prioritized for optimization over these other elements. At least not until all the other elements are being addressed first.

Confused? Don’t be. Let’s get into it with some questions to evaluate what you might be overlooking while prioritizing your conversion rate optimization (CRO).

1: Do You Have Something to Offer?

You should be far past this point in your business.

Most thinking about optimization have an offer, found the demand and have started offering it already.

However, to be inclusive: Imagine you’ve not built an offer yet. So, you’re just trying to grow an audience. Likely by starting a mailing list around a few ideas.

Does it matter how many people convert onto your mailing list at this point? Is this how to sell products online?

Just think… You create the best converting mailing list ever. But you have nothing concrete – or even a polished idea – to offer that audience.

Is the time investment worth it, considering you have nothing to do with that audience once they’re on the list?

Hint: It’s not.

Here’s what you need to do instead

optimize for conversions

Your priorities should be as follows: Develop an idea into a product or service. That’s it.

An audience helps to validate ideas with. You don’t need a huge mailing list to do that though. You certainly don’t need an optimized mail list catchment system, either.

Simply put, your conversion rate doesn’t matter right now. So don’t even think about it.

Build a worthwhile offer for your audience and an effective delivery system first. Always.

Two key action steps to take

Step 1: Define the problem that you solve with your product or service. If you need some inspiration with that, give this article by Bryan Harris a read. He goes on to say you don’t need an idea to create a product in it, but the advice definitely works with a specific idea in mind too.

Step 2: Start crafting your sales funnel around that product or service. If you’ve read the article above, you’ve already learned how to do part of that too. The next step isn’t too hard to find either.

2: Are You Targeting the Right People?

So, now you’ve got a product/service and you’re delivering it to people.

Great start. It’s still not the place to start optimizing the end result though.

What many new businesses, and sadly some older businesses, fail to do is get to understand their audience. You need to make sure the right people are being targeted.

Otherwise people are never going to get to the point where CRO matters in your funnel.

conversion optimization strategies

Take this popular ‘marketing fail’ by Aflac for example. While this was likely not under Aflac’s control in this case, it does make the point nicely:

If you’re showing up in the wrong places – to the wrong people – they’re not going to want to know what you’ve got to offer. No matter how good you make your offer look.

For example: Imagine you’re trying to sell a course on creating your own soap.

Who would your audience be? Where would you find them? What do they talk about? What sites do they visit? What articles do they read and share? What’s their problem language?

If you don’t know these things, you don’t know your audience. You’re just casting a wide net and hoping to get lucky. It’s unlikely that a soap sales rep wants to make their own soap, for example.

You will get some sales. Eventually though, luck runs out.

A highly optimized conversion rate will help recoup losses here. But that’s prioritizing cleaning up the blood on the floor while your business is still bleeding out. Your business will die (fail).

Here’s What to Do Instead

Step 1: Jump for joy. Your paid advertising campaigns are either going to be cheaper or a lot more effective. (Larry Kim has a good read on this geared towards Facebook marketing)

conversion optimization best practices

Source of Image: Wikipedia.

Step 2: Sit down with your team and figure out who your target audience is. Struggling? Try this article by CoSchedule.

Boil it down to a simple sentence, like CoSchedule’s example: “[INSERT YOUR BRAND] creates content to help and inform [INSERT DEMOGRAPHIC] so they can [INSERT ACTION] better.”

(Replace “creates content” with “creates X product,” “produces X product,” or whatever else fits your business type.)

Step 3: Create your marketing/buyer personas. A buyer persona is a research-based fictional/semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

higher conversion rates

Source of image: Larry Kim founder of WordStream and Mobile Monkey

Step 4: Reap the rewards. You might even see your conversion rate grow from this too, as you’ll be marketing directly to the demographic interested in what you do.

3: Is Your Audience Buying All They Can?

Your target audience is eating your offer up. You’re a success.

Now it all comes down to optimizing your conversion. To squeeze as many buyers as possible out of those visitors you’ve effectively targeted, right?

Not quite yet.

While you deserve credit for doing things properly up until now, there’s more you could do to earn more without prioritizing the CRO.

The goal of your business is ultimately to profit while providing value, right?

Here’s How to Optimize the Value of Your Leads

With that in mind, there are a number of things you could be doing here:

  1. Creating new products/services/courses
  2. Creating a membership site
  3. Offering coaching
  4. Referral sales
  5. … and much more.

However, most of these fall under a fairly new term to explain them. Lead Value Optimization (LVO). Here’s how it works:

lead value optimization techniques

Source of image: Anton Kraly at Dropship Lifestyle.

Essentially what LVO boils down to is making each lead spend more, as opposed to making more visitors convert to buyers (CRO). Especially effective with an expensive product line.

It’s simple in concept: Get a customer to a checkout. Make sure they don’t forget about you by getting them on a mailing list. Upsell them. Promote other products. Make more money.

But it’s significantly under utilized by many businesses. As they write off anyone that hasn’t converted on their first pass and continue to strive to optimize conversions instead.

With LVO, you can make more money than with your focus on CRO alone. As it focuses on getting more money from who you already have buying, as opposed to getting new buyers.

We all know, once you’ve spent money somewhere once and had a good experience – you are likely to be willing to spend on their services/product again. That’s how it works.

If your customers see it as worthwhile, they’ll trust you enough to invest in what you do again.

So, enough talk. Let’s get into the action of how you can begin your LVO journey.

Conversion Optimizations You Can Start Right Now

Step 1: Read this article by Anton Kraly on LVO. He actually has a video on Lead Value Optimization too.

Step 2: If you’re not already, start building your mailing list. Even if people don’t buy on their first visit to you, you still have the chance at pulling them back if they’re on your mailing list.

facebook tracking pixel features

Source of image: Facebook’s article on Pixels.

Step 3: Read this article by Rick Mulready (or get your tech guys to) and start implementing Pixels as soon as you can.

Step 4: Begin a marketing campaign geared at bringing people back through the Pixels and email marketing. Here is an article by Andrew Hubbard for inspiration on this topic.

Step 5: Refer, promote and upsell. Make more money. Make your business more successful. Celebrate.

Final Thoughts on Optimizing for Conversions

So, now you’ve probably found some things to work on besides your CRO. Get on them!

If you haven’t, steam right ahead and get on with your CRO. Because there is a time and place for it in business. It’s important, and this article never intended to detract from that.

Every successful business will continually address all of these elements. Including CRO. On a regular and proactive basis.

Just make sure that the rest of the funnel is working first.

If you’ve found this article helpful, insightful or just plain interesting, please give it a share with others who might also.

And as always, if you have any questions just drop them in the comments below.

James Baker


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