Where can I find a legitimate website conversion consultant?
May 9, 2019 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find someone who isn't a scam artist to help me with converting leads on my website?

I have an ecommerce/online business with around 100k visitors every month. I've been sidelined by family medical problems and my site is neglected. I'm just not making the sales I could and I basically need to overhaul my site AND improve conversions, since I'm getting a ton of traffic but not a ton of sales. I've talked to some people in the field and they all seem stunned by my traffic and my newsletter open rates. But my sales just don't compute. And, when I talk to people, they either charge thousands of dollars a month (because I guess you usually have a big business for this kind of traffic?) or they have no clue what they are talking about. It also kind of seems like an Old Boys' Network, where men who have this kind of business get taken more seriously. But when I try to connect with people, they tell me maybe I can use the traffic to get a part-time teaching job. It baffles me. But, on the other hand, I'm not converting sales. This has to be a conversion problem as obviously there are tons of businesses with less traffic that make money. So I certainly have areas where I could improve. I just don't know where to go to find people who (a) know more than I do and (b) aren't scam artists. I've tried different small business associations, but people are always wowed by my stats and even local web conversion companies say I know more than they do. So I probably need to look nationally or internationally. I suspect there are people in my own town, but they don't want me to scoop their business - it's probably easier to find someone in the US, who isn't worried I'm actually angling to become a conversion consultant. Anyway, I hope that makes sense. I'm open to ideas. Also, in case I made it sound like I'm overly confident, I'm not. I know that having a lot of traffic and no sales does not a business make and I guess I've done a great job of getting people to the door, but not through it. I am unsure if I should just walk away from the whole thing, but this seems like the kind of traffic that other people would love to have, so I guess I still can't let go because it seems like there must be an opportunity. It's just my business is really neglected.
posted by shockpoppet to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hi! My family runs a web design company that isn't the expert on this, but they would definitely take you seriously. They've helped a lot of companies with this sort of thing, though they usually operate locally. I'm sure they would consult for you on this for very little dollars.

If you don't have any other more sure-sounding leads, give me a PM, and I'll work with you!
posted by bbqturtle at 6:32 PM on May 9, 2019

How much are you actually looking to spend?

I know on its surface "Thousands of dollars a month" sounds like a lot, but someone getting paid $36,000 a year makes "thousands of dollars a month".

Optimizing sales funnels and conversions usually can be fixed a bit with some optimizations based on traffic analysis and experience - but most of the work is found through some research and A/B testing. I'd think you'd need at least a few months and someone working between 50-200 hours on this. At a dirt cheap rate of $40 an hour this is 2k to 10k but honestly this should be costing around (at least) $100 an hour for someone worth their salt.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:17 PM on May 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Do you know what's driving that many folks to your site? Are you doing log analysis? Are they clicking through identifiable patterns? Is there some information they are looking for that is insufficient to grab attention, perhaps the story the site tell needs some tweaking? Is this an immediate purchase, if so is the order processing breaking? Again log analysis. Can you get email addresses to ask why they left the site? Just a few answers could provide hints what needs tweaking. As for finding someone attend some local user group/meetups, face to face can be the best way to find the right person.
posted by sammyo at 9:00 PM on May 9, 2019

I have done extensive keyword analysis. The searches are clustered around certain terms, all in a particular field. But I think I probably haven't set up the goals in Google Analytics properly and I don't really know what happens once they head to the shopping cart. I think my site is now looking dated and probably not as reassuring as it did years ago. I'm kind of struggling with the layout. I do have a big opt-in mailing list and good sign up rates, with a very high open and click through rate. Most of my buyers have never been to the site before. I've tried offering discount codes but it doesn't affect purchases. It's kind of weird and goes against what I would expect. I think I need to put my energy on conversions, as I am getting thousands of people to the sales pages. I'm just not converting enough of them.
posted by shockpoppet at 9:37 PM on May 9, 2019

What is your cart abandonment rate? IE, which side of the conversion problem do you need help with?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:22 AM on May 10, 2019

A few ideas:
- Getting thousands of traffic is good.but are you sure it's within your target demographic? You want to make sure you are generating traffic that corresponds to who you think might purchase your products. Are they located in a country to which you offer shipping?
- i agree you might want to check the cart abandonment rate. Are people actually adding things to their cart but not completing the purchase, or are they merely visiting your website but navigating away before they buy something? If the former, are people seeing a high shipping rate when they check out that is deterring them from completing the purchase? If the latter, is there something about how your products are displayed that could be improved to make it easier for them to find what they're ostensibly looking for? What about pricing. Are your prices competitive compared to what similar e- shops are offering?
posted by winterportage at 5:09 AM on May 10, 2019

One thing you can do before spending money on a paid SEO consultant is SCORE. It's a volunteer-based organization where retired professionals help small businesses for free.

(The quality of the advice can be hit or miss but then the quality of top-dollar SEO consultants can be very hit or miss also! In my personal experience a lot depends on how "coachable" you are and how much actual potential your business has. I've had 3 different SCORE mentors over the years - one was amazing, another one was meh, and yet another one was somewhere in the middle; I got good value out of all three.)

I highly recommend that you try to connect with a mentor as soon as possible. I think a retired marketing or tech executive would be right up your alley but depending on the type of product you sell you might want to connect with a generalist in your niche, too. As far as I know you don't get several advisors simultaneously - you get one and then that one connects you to more as needed.

Also: in my experience with my own businesses, SEO is truly trial and error. For example I've just had someone set up 3 facebook ad variants for me, and the highest performing ad turned out to be what's in my personal opinion the worst copy next to the weirdest photo. You just never know until you test it out - which means time, which means money if you are not DIY.

Good luck, your traffic numbers are very good so I am sure with a little bit of elbow grease you can turn it around!
posted by rada at 10:35 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hi there. This is something I actually do for people. Most of the folks coming to me think they have a traffic problem, when in reality it's a conversion problem. I think you're ahead of the game just recognizing the real problem you have.

Here's what I would recommend - work backwards.

1. Actually reach out to customers via email and even (oh my!) phone. Find out why they bought, were there any surprises, did the website work as they expected, etc. That might give you some good info on what might need fixing. I would also make sure that you have a process to encourage repeat purchases, such as an email sequence, with follow ups.

2. Next, I'd look into catching the folks who abandon carts. With automation software, that's not to hard these days. If they abandon cart, send an automated series of emails to get them to return, and if not that, tell you why they didn't buy (sample a few).

3. Third, tighten up your sales funnel process. You want a funnel, not a colander. There are lots of strategies here, depending on your market and your niche, and what you learned from 1 & 2 above.

This may be simplistic, but it's a place to start. Web design is only a problem if it's hard to use or navigate, or so old that it looks like 1996. (which is now a new trend, so...who knows?) I wish you the best!
posted by banjonaut at 1:37 PM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

If they abandon cart, send an automated series of emails to get them to return, and if not that, tell you why they didn't buy (sample a few).

This is incredibly obnoxious. You may get a few customers short-term but long term your email deliverability will plummet when angry customers mark your emails "spam" (as they should).
posted by rada at 9:27 PM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

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