Focus On Conversion, Not Traffic

January 11, 2020

I was talking with a business owner yesterday who’d been struggling with optimizing his Google Adwords. He’d just opened a second business location, and while his ads were working fine in the first location, the exact same ads weren’t effective with the second one.

He’d been running Adwords ads himself for years and a lot of his business came from people searching for his services and finding his website, so he knew what he was doing, but he had no idea what the issue was.

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We started to dig into the situation, and one of the first things that came up was that the first location was in a city, and the second was in a more suburban area, so the volume of searches was definitely lower for the second location.

In fact, there was a good chance he was already buying up all the ads he could there — to where he literally couldn’t spend more money with Google Adwords for the searches he was targeting, just because there weren’t more people searching.

He wondered if Facebook ads would help. I said that they probably would, because he would be getting more exposure and therefore more volume.

But, I said, there was something else he should look at before opening up another marketing channel: optimizing conversion.

When the amount of traffic you can bring to your website is limited either by budget or low search volume, figuring out how to make that traffic count as much as possible is top priority.

Think about it: if you double your ad budget and get twice as many people visiting your site, you might (or might not) bring in twice as much work, but you’re spending twice as much money as you were before, and your cost per acquisition isn’t improving. In fact, it might actually go down if your targeting isn’t great, or your conversion sucks.

However, let’s say you take that money and instead use it to improve the conversion on your site (whether that’s by building a funnel, improving targeting, doing more market research to better understand your target audience’s pain points and language, or what have you). If you manage to double your conversion, bringing it from 1% to 2%, you’ve just achieved the same thing as doubling your traffic.

Read that again: doubling your conversion produces the same result as doubling your traffic.

And the icing on the cake is that this is a one-time expense. Once you build your funnel or do whatever you have to do to get that conversion up, you don’t have to keep spending money to keep it up, like you would with a larger ad budget — the work is already done, and it’s most likely going to stay done for a while.

And let’s not forget that your cost per acquisition just got chopped in half too, which means your ad budget just doubled without you spending an extra cent. And if you double your ad budget on top of that, you’d get 400% more leads than you would have before!

But back to our guy from earlier, who was buying up all the ads in the new location’s geographic region but still not seeing results. In his case, he can’t just bring in more traffic by spending more money, because he’s already capturing most — if not all — of it.

So he’s got two options: break into a new advertising channel, which is expensive and risky. Or, he can take a look at the traffic that he is capturing in that second location to figure out where it’s dropping off and how to improve conversion.

Now, there’s a chance that the search volume really is too low, in which case his next step would be to hit up Facebook advertising to get wider exposure, but with Facebook ads conversion is even more important than with Google Adwords, so he’d likely have to do that research anyway.

So what I told him is that he absolutely should figure out his conversion first, and see what he can do with the current budget and location, and then take it from there if he’s still not getting the results he wants.

The neat thing is too, if he decides to look at conversion more closely, anything he learns from that can be applied to his first location as well, for free (since he’s already spent the time and money to learn), so it’s really a twofer.

So, before you go out and spend more money directly on ads to capture more traffic, consider how you might be able to invest in improving your conversion, since that will make every marketing dollar you spend more effective.

Originally posted May 23, 2018.