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Open up any Facebook group for online business owners and you'll find some variation of this question posted on the weekly:
What's a good click-rate on my emails?
What about open rate?
What should my sales page conversion rate be?
On and on it goes.
Would it shock you to hear me say that those conversion benchmarks you've read about aren't actually all that relevant or meaningful?
(At least not in the way that most people are looking at them.)
I've been a little hesitant to talk about this because I love me some data — especially since most people aren't paying as close attention to their metrics as they could be…
But if you want to be smarter with your launches and turn your metrics into meaningful insights, know this:
When it comes to the data, you've gotta keep your eyes on your own paper.
Example: let's say you've heard that Some Other Guy has a sales page that is converting customers at 20%. That means that for every 100 people who visit, 20 of them buy. So you run the math on your sales page and you realize that yours is lower… a lot lower… it's converting at 3%.
Does this mean you suck? Have you brought shame to your family? Is it time to flee to the woods and live the rest of your days in solitude as a lumberjack?
No. Step away from the flannel. Because these numbers mean nothing in isolation! It's a lot like comparing your weight someone else's — totally ignoring that you lead wildly different lifestyles, have different genetics, and oh yeah — they're actually 6 inches taller than you and also happen to be training for a marathon.
To go a step further, a person's weight tells me very little about how healthy or happy they are on the inside…
And the same goes for your conversion rate.
Maybe Mr Smartie Pants Jr. with his 20% sales page conversion rate is actually haemorrhaging money behind the scenes because he's selling a $27 product, and based on his traffic costs, he's spending $30 to acquire every new customer. So for this campaign, he's running at a deficit. Maybe Smartie Pants Dude is OK with this because he knows he is going to make that money back over time, as his leads go on to purchase more offers in the coming weeks and months. Or maybe Smartie Pants McDudeBro is actually full of it, and just wants to brag about his "mad conversion rate" while he eats beans out of a can in his mom's basement.
All of this to say, you have to know what the numbers mean for you. As someone who works behind the scenes of launches every single day, let me tell you first hand that I’ve yet to see a meaningful, predictable average between businesses. There is a range that most people fall within, yes.
But rather than focusing on averages, every business owner should know what their own average email click-rate looks like, or what their sales page typically converts at… because the only number you should ever work to beat is your own.
Case in point: I've worked on massively profitable launches that converted like crazy, and another that converted just over 1% of subscribers into buyers. Perhaps that sounds low, but in this case, that 1-ish percent conversion rate was incredibly profitable for this client. They were spending about $65 to acquire a new customer, which seems high until you factor in that the minimum lifetime value of each new customer was $2000 (and typically, much more).
Let me say again: there isn’t a number that everybody magically hits when they’ve “made it” with their online course. You are different. Your audience is different. Your business and your offers all come together to create a unique system that you need to optimize and make work for you. And the numbers required to do that are probably going to look very different to whatever the entrepreneur next door is bragging about inside the Clickfunnels Facebook group.
With that said, you know I can't leave you without something more concrete to take away….
So here are some principles to come back to, whenever you're feeling all comparison-y and shame-y about someone else's "out of context" sales figures.
1.Seriously, know thy numbers.
Do some quick math on how much you can feasibly spend to acquire each new lead and customer, and what kind of conversion rate you would need to make your offer work for you.
I can't emphasize this enough. The only person who knows what your numbers need to be is you, and only you can decide which conversion rate you need to hit in order to make your offer profitable, based on your expenses, overheads, and how much money a new lead typically spends with you over time.
Once you know your goal, keep tweaking and testing until you get there. (Knowing what to test and tweak is a whole other post in itself — I’m workin’ on it!) If you can’t seem to make it work, be open to the possibility that your profitable offer may not be the one you have now — at least not in it’s current form, with your current audience. Great copy and a slick funnel can’t fix an offer that people don’t want. This is a hard pill to swallow.
2. Pricing matters.
Sometimes the answer is as simple as raising the price for your offer, then seeing how it performs. Other times, you may need to tweak the offer itself and how you position it in order to bump up your conversion rate.
It's hard for me to know the answer without knowing you & your business, but as a rule, if less than 1% of people who see your premium offer go on to buy it, then you likely have a conversion issue and need to refine your offer and message.
For lower priced products, if you're converting less than 2% of people who see it, then again, you probably have a conversion issue, which means something about your offer and how you're talking about it isn't connecting.
Were those minimum numbers lower than you were expecting? When I first began working on launches and evergreen funnels, I was surprised too! I want to add a big fat disclaimer that these ranges vary wildly. But as a bare minimum, this is what you need to hit to know you’re onto something worth optimizing. And you can get there without hiring someone to do it for you. Usually, all you need is a great offer for the right audience to get off the ground. No fancy copy or funnels required.
The cool news is that once you've hit these benchmarks, you know you have an offer with potential — and this means you can work on growing your audience, refining your message and nailing your launch strategy to improve those numbers — perhaps even hiring a very smart yet incredibly humble copywriter like me to help you do just that.)
3. Nobody likes to say this, but most big launches are about scale.
Those 6 & 7 figure launches you hear about? They are possible, and they are profitable, but they don't happen by accident. The people I work with on these launches have spent years getting to where they are. They've invested considerably in growing their audience and showing up for them like crazy all year round. They started out imperfectly, just like we all do.
Most people who are making big money on their launches are doing it because they've experimented until they found a strategy that works for them, they know their numbers and are willing to spend money scaling their audience. They're also testing and tweaking and getting better with each launch.
… Isn't that all rather un-sexy?
Like most things in business, the truth is often more simple and less glamorous than the guru in the rented Lambo would have you believe.
So, where to from here?
Know that every blockbuster offer has different math behind the scenes. Keep your eyes on your own paper and find your "enough" number. Then, we can optimize it from there.
Recognize that if your offer isn’t converting at minimum 1-2% of your audience yet, then you've likely got some kind of mismatch between your offer and what your audience wants. Even the best copy can’t outpace an undesirable offer.
If you're converting this much or higher, but still aren't ROI-positive after expenses, then you need to decide whether you're willing to take the hit, knowing that you'll recoup from other offers in the back-end, or work hard on reducing your expenses and lead cost, while perhaps testing a higher price.
Something nobody likes hearing: if you’re struggling to make the numbers work, maybe you just need a different offer. Sometimes, all of those hours that you’d spend trying to tweak and test just to break even could be better spent learning more about your audience, what they actually want, and then building that instead.
And, for the love of Zuckerberg — stop asking whether your conversion rate is any good. Anyone who answers without asking more about your business can not give you a meaningful answer.
Have questions? Comment below or reach out. I'd love to hear from you!