Here’s the good news: Some percentage of your site visitors will convert. Therefore, if you improve your B2B website conversion rate, you’ll get more leads.
Here’s the bad news: Conversion rate optimization (often called “CRO”) isn’t as cut and dried as it seems.
In this guide to improving B2B conversion rates, we’ll try to simplify things. We’ll cover:
- What a typical B2B website conversion rate is
- Best practices for measuring conversions
- Five ways to improve your conversion rate (and generate more leads)
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
CRO is quite simply the increasing the amount of visitors who convert on a website or landing page.
The formula for conversion rate is simple:
(Conversions) ÷ (Website Visitors) = Conversion Rate
In other words, if you have five conversions from 100 visitors, your conversion rate is 0.05, or 5%. Striving to increase this is conversion rate optimization, or CRO.
Now, it’s common to talk about CRO specifically in the bounds of a landing page, often from digital advertising. But it’s important to think about the big picture. You’re trying to get more conversions from all your site visitors. That means folks coming via PR, direct traffic and (most of all) organic SEO.
So, what is a good or typical conversation rate on a B2B website?
The answer: It varies widely.
If your main ask is very high-commitment (such as asking the user to talk to a salesperson), it’s not uncommon for your total B2B website conversion rate to be as low as 0.25%. (That’s really not as awful as it sounds.)
So, what is a good or typical conversation rate on a B2B website? The answer: It varies widely.
On the other hand, if you’re mostly asking for pretty low-commitment stuff (such as a 100% free trial on a SaaS product or a guide download), you could see overall conversion rates north of 5%. It really depends.
That being said, we do have a best practice for measuring your conversion rate.
*Google Analytics Goals has entered the chat*
Goals are what measure conversions in Google Analytics. You know, this guy on your GA homepage:
Easy? Sure. But it’s important to set these goals up correctly.
For example, it’s quite common to see Google Analytics goals such as:
- User visited site for more than 30 seconds
- User visited more than 1.9 pages
- User clicked a link
- User has owned a pet
- User breathed in the last 24 hours
See the problem?
We’ve seen “goal conversion rates” as high as 70% with setups like this. That’s completely unbelievable – and completely useless for improving B2B conversion rates.
These “goals” are meaningless metrics used to reach an arbitrary goal. (And to make a marketing person look good.)
The real way to measure your conversion rate performance is by using the K.I.S.S. principle.
The K.I.S.S. Principle for CRO
The K.I.S.S. Principle means keep it simple, stupid.
Before talking in-depth about B2B CRO, it’s important to understand the K.I.S.S. principle and how you can use it to measure your website performance in a way that makes sense.
Here’s what it comes down to:
Track “thank you” page views as goals. That’s it.
For one, this is super easy to set up. Either the user saw the page, or they didn’t. And it’s easy to attribute that page to a form on your website. One form, one thank you page, one easily trackable (and meaningful) conversion.
The point is, if someone landed on your “thank you” page, it means they actually converted. Increasing this metric is what you want to do when you’re trying to improve your B2B website conversion rate.
Look at it this way. If Google Analytics says your conversion rate is 70% and you’re not in a private jet right now, your goals are screwed up.
With that in mind, let’s look at how to actually improve your website’s conversion rate.
Think “Big Picture”
Here’s a little tale we like to tell when trying to get people to see the bigger picture of a B2B website:
There was a farmer with a starving cow. A foolish farmer keeps measuring the cow. He keeps weighing it. The farmer thinks to himself, “It was 412 pounds the other day, and now it’s only 410 pounds. How is that possible?”
But what would a smart farmer have done?
He would have fed the cow.
Moral of the story is, folks get so caught up in the numbers when all they have to do is feed the cow.
If something isn’t working, actively try to change it. The worst thing you can do for conversion rate optimization is paralysis by analysis – obsessing over the results without doing anything about it.
For example, having an analytics dashboard doesn’t make someone “data-driven.” It’s using that data to affect behavior and create meaningful changes that does.
Try something. Modify something.
Maybe sometimes even break something.
The best advice you can get for thinking about the bigger picture is to get into action mode. Don’t worry about your conversion rate. Think about delivering a better experience. Then deliver it.
Feed the cow.
Match the Offer to the User
The big question to ask here is: What are you putting out there to try to make someone convert?
Does the offer match the user who’s actually on your site?
Are you asking them to do something that’s super high-commitment? A five-step form, perhaps? Or scheduling a long sales call that they know will kind of suck?
Is there something you can offer up that’s low-commitment, but still gives you something of value?
What about a guide or a white paper? Why not a free trial, or even an explicitly short canned demo?
You’ll still get their contact information. They’ll still land in a nurture funnel. And if you impress them, they might even become a lead.
This will automatically improve your conversion rate, and even impress the big boss: Google.
That’s right. If you use Google Analytics, Google can see when people are on your website and enjoying their time there.
And why does that matter?
Because you want to be on Google’s good side. If you can show Google that you’re offering users more value than your competitors are, they’ll deliver on their end of the bargain by getting you noticed.
So when you’re working on improving your website for conversion rate optimization, think about how your offer aligns with your audience. It really boils down to what you can give to make people more apt to giving you their information.
Provide the Ultimate User Experience
Just because your website is B2B and not B2C, you don’t get to ignore the world we live in. You’re not a special snowflake. So don’t get too comfortable.
When considering the user experience, you have to remember one thing: Everything today is instant gratification.
“We don’t publish pricing” is rarely acceptable anymore. “But the sales team needs more information!” isn’t any good.
Ask for less. Give more.
Don’t ask users to participate in a process unlike anything else in their lives.
Think about how easy it was to order the last thing you bought on Amazon. Heck, think about how pricing out your last car. Probably took seconds.
And you think users – even business-to-business users – will convert on your five-page form that asks for their mother’s maiden name?
If you’re trying to improve your B2B website’s conversion rate, think about the person on the other end of that conversion. Give them an Amazon- or Uber-level experience, and they’ll come into the fold.
Optimize Your Form Factor
Are you doing the right thing in the right way at the right time?
Those popup and slide-in notifications are popular now. So are live chat, chatbots, proactive notifications, push notification opt-ins and the like. But they’re not a one-size-fits-all thing.
Someone won’t get annoyed if you pop in to give them what they already wanted in the first place.
Think about it.
You’re probably reading this blog post to learn about improving your conversion rate. So it would be acceptable to pop up a short form right now asking if we can run a quick conversion rate audit.
(We should probably do that. Yesha, can you get on it?)
But if we gave you some irrelevant message right now with a breathless call to action, a countdown timer and some seasonal clip art, we’ll probably just tick you off.
You might convert on the first one. You almost certainly won’t on the second.
Right thing. Right way. Right time.
Here’s a real-world example of form factor done right.
A client of ours that sells hardware to high-end, large-scale landscapers. Being a product-based company, they require some specific information from their potential landscaper clients.
As we’ve seen, most people aren’t fans of taking the time to fill out a meticulous form. So what was our solution?
After the user spent 15 seconds on the form, we put a pop-up box on the bottom right of the screen. It’s a message telling them that if they didn’t want to fill out the form, they could call a number to talk instead.
The result was wildly successful.
Our client had dozens of users call them who would’ve otherwise abandoned altogether because they were getting sick of filling out the form.
Sometimes the simplest ways to improve conversion rate on a B2B website are the best ones.
Remember the Magic Formula
Number of Conversions ÷ Number of Visitors = Conversion Rate
That’s the magic formula.
Same one as before, right?
The point here is that you can increase either part of the division exercise to improve your website’s ROI.
CRO isn’t just about conversions. It’s also about traffic. SEO. Getting people to the website. As we mentioned before, if you’re creating things that the visitor likes, Google will notice that.
Google likes when you play nice.
And we like when Google plays nice.
This is an active call to make your content structure more user-friendly. Spend a few more hours on those little things that can make a huge difference. Think about what people actually want, and give it to them.
It’s important to remember that Google doesn’t want your sales pitch. Neither do users.
If you give them the tools and information they need, conversions will ultimately go up. You can double the percentage of users who convert to double your conversion rate. You can also double the number of conversions by doubling the number of users.
If you do both, you’re doing even better.
After reading this, it may feel like we’re asking you to give away stuff for free. Because we pretty much are. You’re welcome. But it’s all about optimizing the user-experience.
Deliver users the form factor, content and offers they want and BAM! – you’ll get conversions.
This drives more traffic. And it increases the chance any one of them will convert. You’ll get more leads. You’ll get more money. You might get that private jet.
(Probably not on the last one.)
Easy? Absolutely not. But if you’re focused on optimizing conversion rate on your B2B website, you can get there.