These days, your website is the central hub of activity for all your online marketing activities. No matter if your business is driven by word-of-mouth, referrals, online marketing, or direct sales, almost all your customers / clients will visit your website before making the decision to buy from you. And as the world goes more and more digital, your company website could be the best source of potential clients that you aren’t using to it’s fullest potential.
Aligning your business revenue goals with your website is an important exercise to do in order to get the maximum return on your website investment – and to make sure that your website is getting you the results that you want. Goal alignment can happen during the planning of a new website, or while you’re tweaking your existing website.
Aligning your website goals with your business goals involves drilling down into the specifics: I.E, I want X amount of new business. It takes X number of customers / clients to reach that amount of new business. On average, of interested parties (i.e. “leads”), X % become new customers – therefore I need X # of hot leads. X% of visitors to my website become leads. … ready for the full exercise?
So, gather up your existing business goals, sales information, and website analytics, and fasten your seatbelt, as we suggest the formula to achieving your business goals and some strategies to get there.
We’re going to work backwards from your end goal to the numbers to get there.
1. How much new business do you want? (Calculate the revenue gap)
Suppose your business did $200,000 in sales last year, and this year you want to grow the business by 25% (or to $250,000). You know that you can expect $100,000 in sales based on existing agreements, or from leads that come from outside your website. That leaves you with a gap of $150,000 in sales to reach next year – your revenue gap. You’re going to put your website to work to meet that gap.
Strategies to reduce this gap:
There are options at this point to figure out how to make the revenue gap smaller. Options include increasing revenue from existing customers, increase retention rates from current customers, and finding ways to increase your average sale price.
2. How many new clients / customers do you need to reach that goal?
So now, take your revenue gap and divide it by the value of your average sale. For example, if the revenue needed is $150,000 and your average sale is $7,500, then you need 20 new customers to reach that goal.
3. How many hot leads does it take to get that many new customers?
From here we’ll keep working backwards to identify how many opportunities you need. So if you need 20 customers and your closing rate is 50%, and 50% of your opportunities go for a close, then you’ll need 80 opportunities in order to hit your revenue goal.
Not all the opportunities that come your way are going to be “qualified” leads – ones that are a good match for your product / can pay for it. So supposing the 80 opportunities are all qualified, let’s double that to include opportunities that aren’t qualified – so assume we need we need 160 warm leads to get to 80 qualified opportunities. (If you have better data based on your business on how many leads are actually qualified, use that number for your calculation rather than the 50% estimate we have here.)
Strategies to increase this conversion:
What methods can you use to increase the conversion rate from 50% to 60%? To 80%?
The easiest one is to reduce risk. When people are buying from you, they’re taking a risk. How can you remove some of that risk? Is it by offering a money back guarantee? A prompt customer service policy to help resolve problems when they arise? A promise to replace things that don’t work? Find all the places where you can assure the customer on your website, and build that in.
4. How many cool leads
There’s also a group of people out there who are interested parties but not yet ready to buy – lets call them cool leads. This group needs more nurturing before they’re ready to become your customers: more questions answered, more benefits provided, more contact, more assurance. So we’ll assume that 50% of people are cool leads that need to be warmed up to the idea of the sale (again, you can adjust this to a more appropriate number for your business if you have one). Building on our example, we’ll then need to generate 320 cool leads over 12 months.
If you want to break this number out to set monthly goals, you should apportion your monthly numbers based on sales data for the previous year. Sales are often be seasonal, depending on your business and consumer habits in general – for example, August in the Northern Hemisphere isn’t a great time for many businesses – unless you sell sunscreen, sand castle tools, or back to school gear – and expecting the same number of leads in slow months and not achieving them will lead to shortchanging your expectations for months where activity should be stronger.
Strategies to increase this conversion:
How can you get more cool leads to turn into hot leads? There are a lot of options, the best being: Know your customer. Put together a list of questions you are frequently asked in the process and seek to proactively answer them whenever possible, find out what their pain points are and then start showing how you can solve them. Do content marketing targeted at their pain points, come up with nurturing email campaigns, and retargeting ads. Don’t know what your customer’s pain points are? Ask them – through quizzes, surveys, and/or phone calls.
5. Number of total general leads needed
From here we can extrapolate the total number of general leads you need to meet your revenue goals. Here we’re calling a general lead a visitor that has somehow contacted you through your website, by signing up for your newsletter, asking for more information on a product, or downloading some content; they’ve somehow provided you with some contact information. Not all of these general leads will be qualified or nurturable cool leads, so we’ll want to estimate a number that will provide you with enough cool leads to achieve your goals.
The more ways you give for people to engage with you in and the more value provide in those interactions, the higher your conversion rate from general lead to cool lead will be. So to generate 320 leads, in this example, you may need 600 general leads to achieve your revenue goals. The better you get at converting general leads to cool leads by providing value and engaging them, the smaller this number will need to be to hit your goals; the strategy is value and engagement at this phase. So you can adjust this number over time.
Strategies to increase this conversion:
What ways can you be providing more ways for customers to reach out to you and become general leads? What value can you be providing people in exchange for their contact information?
6. How are you going to reach that many people? Web traffic
The rate at which website traffic converts to a general lead will vary based on the service / product you’re providing, your industry, and how engaged you are in providing opportunities to become general leads. The general rule of thumb that is oft stated in the internet world is that 96% of your website traffic isn’t ready to become customers – they’re web surfers. So supposing you could engage 4% of your traffic to become general leads, and you need 600 leads, you’d need 15,000 site visitors over 12 months, or 1,250 site visitors per month.
7. Identify the traffic gap, and formulate a strategy
To do this last step, you need your website analytics information. Our key questions are: How many site visitors are you getting now? And what sources are driving most of your website traffic?
Say you average 750 visitors a month; that means you have a traffic gap of 500 visitors a month.
350 visitors come from organic search (Google, bing, etc.). 150 of those visitors come from Facebook. 120 come from links you’ve sent out in email, 50 come from blog or news sites where other people have written about your company, and 30 come from Twitter.
Which of these sources have the greatest growth potential? Could you increase each by 25%? Develop a more focused Facebook strategy to increase engagement and traffic there? Ramp up your email game to get 120 to turn into 240?
A series of modest improvements could bump up any of these sources. A focused social media or email campaign could ramp up any of them significantly, as could a few pieces of great press.
A combination of these efforts could hit the ball out of the park. Your next chore, then, is to figure out which of these methods or the combination of these methods makes the most sense for your business. And execute them.
8. Implement Your Other Key Business Goals
So this is the big picture overview of aligning your revenue goals with your website. Revenue goals of course, can be further broken down into more specific goals, such as sales of a particular product or service, the number of downloads you get for specific lead magnets, increase in your email subscribers, or up your engagement on social media. Our next piece in this series looks at streamlining your specific business goals with your website, and figuring out the metrics for those.