One of the really cool things about using the internet to grow your business and increase sales, is the ability to fine tune your marketing campaigns and accurately measure each step of your sales process or "funnel".
As you already know, once you the yellow pages comes out, you are stuck with that ad for twelve months and you can’t change it.
Same thing with a newspaper ad - once you've paid for it, and the paper is printed that's it - you will have to pay for another add if you want it changed.
The difference with a website is that you can change it any time instantly- and if you have what's called a "content management system" (CMS) then you can do most changes or updates yourself without having to pay a web developer each time.
If you want to take this to the next level, you can create what's called a "split test" whereby you are essentially showing half of your audience once version (of your website) and the other half of your audience a slightly different version. This means you can test which version performs better.
You might want to test your pricing, your offer, your gurantee - anything at all can be tested.
The only thing that comes close to this is where you can have a newspaper print one version of your add to all the papers that are delivered in say, North of the River, and a different ad in the papers that are delivered south of the river, but with a website, you can perform this comparison test regardless of your prospect's geographical location.
Google offers a free version of software that does this, is that it will automatically send 50% of people to one version of your web page and 50% of people to the other version of your page.
You run the campaign for as long as you want...it could be a week, a month (or daily if you get a several hundred people coming to your site every day) and then see the results of your test.
Google will automatically present each version of your web page to half of your audience. Even if a person comes back to your site again they’ll get the same version of the page they viewed the first time. They see the same page because a "cookie" is stored on their computer.
Now, what happens is you’re measuring the outcome of someone visiting that particular page. It could be that the person phones you, or that they email you, or download something, sign up to your newsletter or even buy a product. Whatever the outcome you want is, this is called a "conversion".
So your conversion rate is something you can measure with online marketing. You’ve sent 50% of prospects to one version of your web page and 50% of prospects to the other version of the page. Since both pages give you the same outcome - you can see which page gives you a higher conversion rate.
You can continue to do this on a month by month basis, thereby forever tweaking your results.
What does this all mean to yoru bottom line?
Let's say for example you have 1000 people coming to your website every month. And let's say of these 1000 visitors, 5% phone your business - this means you’d have 50 phone calls for that month. Let's also assume out of every 10 phones calls, half of them turned into a paying customer. So your 50 phone calls would turn into 25 paying customers.
So how do you get more paying customers? You could spend money on getting more leads to your website, by paying for ads, spending money on SEO etc.
If you could increase the number of visitors to your site each month from 1000 to 1500, then all things being equal, you'd end up with 37 paying customers.
But what if we could double our converison rate from 5% to 10% instead? Rather than having 50 phone calls, you would have 100 - which means 50 paying customers.
If you compared the cost in getting an extra 500 visitors to your website versus the cost to run a "conversion rate optimisation" (CRO) test, you would most likely find it cheaper to tweak, and improve your conversion rate.
So conversion rate optimisation can be a very effective way of maximising your marketing spend.