Search Marketing

How Much Are You Paying to Send Customers Away?

Paying Customers How Much Are You Paying to Send Customers Away?Engaging in online marketing is all about customer acquisition, ROI and profits. If you see growth in these three areas, you can be reasonably confident that your online marketing efforts are paying off in some form or another.

But things might not always be as they appear. While it’s never a bad thing to grow in profits, ROI or a growing customer base, you may actually be paying good money to lose great customers.

I use this analogy often, so forgive me if you’ve heard this one before. But let’s pretend that you’re tasked with filling a bucket with water. The only problem is that your bucket has holes in it. You put water in, but it keeps leaking out.

What’s your solution?

You can A) add water into a bucket at a rate faster than it leaks out, or B) plug some holes.

Now, let’s say your website is the bucket, the water is your website’s traffic and the faucet is your online marketing efforts. Oh, and the holes are usability issues that cause you to lose customers before the sale is complete.

Every drop (visitor) that you let out of your bucket (website) is a lost opportunity to convert a sale. It’s a lost customer.

Since you want more sales, you can choose one of the options above:

  • A) drive more traffic to your website and hope to get more sales that way
  • B) fix your usability issues to retain more customers without having to put more money into turning up the faucet (marketing).

If you choose option A (driving more traffic to your site), you’ll ultimately retain more customers by sheer volume alone, but the money spent on your improved marketing efforts are not helping you improve your ability to convert customers. It’s only increasing the number of customers you have available to convert.

Option B is a better bet. By plugging the usability holes, you are not only getting more sales, you are doing so without having to pay for any additional marketing efforts.

But there is also an option C) Fixing your usability issues while you are increasing traffic to your site. This is what any good SEO should be doing for you.

Unless you or your SEO are improving your conversion rates by plugging usability holes, you might as well be paying your SEO to send visitors away from your site. Otherwise, your visitors will be leaving just as fast as they came – with no sale to remember you by!

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Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading online marketing strategy company helping businesses improve their online presence since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences all over the US, and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and website marketing related articles. If you're looking to velocitize your web marketing, Stoney and Pole Position Marketing are the crew you need. Follow me at @StoneyD, and @PolePositionMkg.
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9 thoughts on “How Much Are You Paying to Send Customers Away?

  1. Great analogy. I think this is where long term email campaigns and retention come into play. This is also why time on site and bounce rate are two of the most important things you need to improve.

  2. WHOA WHOA WHOA – stop the clock!

    So improving usability PLUS more traffic = better conversion rates?

    I might need some time to let this really sink in….

  3. Oh, Jake, I know you get the point. Too often we try to get more traffic before making the site better. It’s unfortunate, but all too common. Better strategy, fix the site THEN increase traffic. More bang for your buck! :)

  4. There isn’t a single site on the web that doesnt have room for ux improvements.

    “Traffic” is a crap word…I hear someone say it and I want to give them a shin kick.

  5. Great Stuff.
    Hence the reason why its important to have your house in order before you go out to obtain more traffic. As you can end up spending up, and not seeing any ROI, due to the leaks in your house (website).
    Thanks Stoney

  6. Traffic has a place, so long as it’s qualified traffic. Without traffic there would be no sales. But no sense having only one of one hundred people who come through your door make a purchase when you can increase that to 3 or 4 out of every one hundred. Do that and you can actually decrease traffic and still get more sales. It’s all a matter of making sure the site maintains and improves its effectiveness, and the efforts at bringing in traffic are succeeding at bringing in those that are most likely to become customers.