by John Eberhard

You work hard to get traffic to your web site. That’s great.

But now the job is to get conversions. In other words, you want a good percentage of your visitors to either:

  1. fill out a form to give you their name and email address, or
  2. become a lead, or
  3. buy something

If they give you their name and email address, you can email to them in the future repeatedly and market your products or services to them. If they become a lead you can call them and sell them. If they buy something from you online, great.

Let’s talk about each of these items above separately.

Filling Out the Form

Years ago web designers used to put up “guest books” to try to get the name and email of web visitors. But in today’s world, people get way too much email. So they are very selective in giving out their email address. That means you have to come up with items of real value that they want, and then require that they give you their email address in order to get that item.

So what do I mean when I say “items of real value” that will entice the visitor to give you his email? I’m talking about information products. Things like an email newsletter. Or white papers, i.e. reports on some topic related to your business. If you’re a software developer you can offer software demo downloads.

I have used email newsletter subscription offers, and free report or white paper offers, with great success on the web sites for a variety of companies.

The trick with a free report or white paper is to come up with topics and titles that will appeal to your target public. You can apply quite a bit of ingenuity to the creation of a white paper or coming up with a great title, and this can make quite a bit of difference in the response.

The trick with an email newsletter is to decide on a schedule (weekly, monthly, etc.), stick to that schedule, and come up with articles of interest each time.

Partly what you are doing with either a newsletter or white paper is establishing yourself as a source of helpful and accurate information. As a trusted source, the reader then feels confident in buying products or services from you, because he can see that you know what you’re talking about.

I use autoresponders when someone responds. When he signs up for the newsletter, he gets an email back right away saying “thanks for signing up.” When he requests a white paper, he gets an email right away that says “click here to download the white paper,” and “by the way, we’re also signing you up for our newsletter,” and “you can unsubscribe at any time.”


If you are using the web site to do lead generation, then the lead is your highest quality conversion from the web site. This allows your sales team to contact him. But don’t forget to automatically add him to your email newsletter list. This is for two reasons. One is that, in case he doesn’t buy right away, he can still be receiving information from you regularly and will this not forget about you. And the other reason is that if he does buy right away, the newsletter keeps your name in front of him for when he is ready to buy again.


If you are selling products directly on the web site, make sure you make it easy for the prospect to find them. You should have a “buy” button, or “shop” button or something of this nature on every page of the site. Your prospect could decide to buy at any time. Make it easy on him when he makes that decision.

Web Statistics

I recommend Google Analytics as a great, free tool offered by Google that allows you to know how many web visitors you’re getting weekly, where they are coming from, what keywords they typed in on a search engine to find you, what pages they visited and so on.

You should look at these statistics once a week (I graph them). Then look at how many conversions you’re getting weekly, i.e. how many people are filling out a form to request one of your free offers, or asking for more info and becoming a lead, or buying something online. Divide the conversions number by the total number of visitors, which will give you your conversion percentage.

So the million dollar question is – what’s a good conversion percentage? That depends. If you are just selling products on the site and aren’t offering any free offers, then the percentage will definitely be lower. Online marketing guru Ed Dale says that 0.5% is an acceptable conversion percentage for selling products. I would say that for sites with free offers, I have had as high as 50% conversion, but that’s unusual and with a really great offer. If you are not getting at least 3% conversion, you should work on your site and come up with ways to increase it, with new offers, bright buttons, etc.

Good luck.