Business planning

You don’t have a traffic problem, you have a conversion problem

StartupSmart /

I’m going to say something you might not like to hear. Why? Because it’s probably the easiest way to excuse all of your problems.


Not getting enough leads? Sales are sluggish? No people signing up to your newsletter? Haven’t acquired a new user in weeks?


Traffic isn’t high enough, we need more visitors.


Quick, spend more money on ads and the best SEO guy your limited amount of money can get and make sure MORE people come because that means MORE money, right?




The answer to your woes is not always the amount of traffic you are getting, rather the amount of conversions coming from this traffic.


Conversion rate is, quite simply, your conversions (sales, signups, downloads) divided by the amount of website visitors. So, yes you need a level of traffic you can convert on your website, BUT…


All traffic is not good traffic


What do we mean by this?


Well, let’s say you sell an awesome B2B CRM platform.


You’ve spent all this time, money and effort on driving traffic to your sleek, modernist, perfectly-designed landing page.


There are so many hits! So many new visitors! We are going to make so much money off this game-changing CRM, finally!


And yet only one person converts. Only one person hands over their credit card. One out of thousands. Why?


Because the traffic you had driven was not good traffic. It was not qualified.


It was not comprised of business owners looking to better manage their customer relations; it was comprised of teenage girls and uni students (NOT your target market).


Therefore, NOT helpful and most of all not qualified! And this is why a tonne of traffic is not always the best goal to have.


So, how do you become a magnet to your target market, then?


Step 1: Do your research. Talk to potential customers. Find out where they hang out, what they read, and what they think about goats grazing their overgrown lawns.


Do they google stuff or ask their Twitter and Facebook friends? What words do they use? There are tools for these, by the way. SEMRush and Social Mention is a good start.


Step 2: Use this information to your advantage. Hang out where they hang out.


If they’ve never heard of Twitter, no point hanging around there either. Be seen where they are. Speak their language.


Sooner or later they’ll want to talk to you about your products or services.


Also, it’s not enough to push raging rapids of people to your site when it’s like a bucket that has holes, is it?


Make sure your bucket doesn’t have holes


Buckets? Sorry, what?


Your bucket is your website. Imagine filling a bucket with water when it is riddled with 50 holes anyway. Why are you filling it with water? It is pointless. It’s all going to run out again.


This holey-bucket could be your website if all you are doing is focusing on traffic instead of optimizing it for your visitors. The water is your traffic in the form of lost leads. Plug those holes.


Here are the absolute basic conversion tactics every marketer needs to nail.


1. Make sure your website is super-fast because speed is a killer


Did you know that visitors expect your website to load in just 2 seconds? They also tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds!

79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.

And guess what? Kissmetrics says that once you lose a conversion from a visitor, they are almost CERTAIN to pass on the negative experience to their friends and colleagues too.

That’s a lot of lead loss due to a simple sluggish load time.

2. Have a compelling value proposition


Why would customers use your new CRM platform over well-established brands? Answer that question.


3. Make it easy to find stuff


If anything is more than one click away, you’ve lost more than half of your web traffic.


Why? Because people are busy and want everything instantly, and they are easily annoyed if they have to work hard.


Do some usability testing to eliminate annoying experiences for your customers.


Don’t test it as you, test it as them. Their annoyance threshold is much lower than yours!


4. Look like someone that can be trusted


Show off your happy customers and what they have to say about your service.


An ecommerce site needs to have an SSL Certificate or trust badges that tell people you’re legit and that their information is safe and secure.


5. Do some A/B testing


If you change the colour of your “buy now” button to green, do you get more sales? Does a $1 offer work better than “free”?


Test it. Test everything.


So, which is more important then?


That is the question.


We say plug your bucket. Optimise your website so you know it will convert. Make sure you have done everything possible on your site to capture your leads.


Then focus on driving those few people who want your goats eating their lawn into your intact bucket.


And they will convert.


Optimise first, drive traffic second.


Gary Tramer is CEO at LeadChat – a Melbourne-based tech startup that helps businesses turn their web visitors into hot leads around the clock. For more info, visit or tweet @leadchat. 

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