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, or 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!