Browse Definitions:

conversion rate

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The conversion rate is the rate at which website visitors or potential customers take a specific desirable action. The actions desired in these conversion rates could include subscribing to newsletters, filling out forms, applying for credit cards, purchasing products or making service commitments.

The conversion rate is used as a metric to quantify the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, sales, salespeople, website designs and other sales tools. The rate is calculated as the number of potential customers or site visitors divided by the number that take the desired specific action.

Better conversion rates are sought and achieved in a number of ways including:

  • Better value propositions and clear sales pitches that show why the customer should choose you over competitors.
  • Contests.
  • Professional page (re)design.
  • Prominent display of contact info, guarantees, certifications and awards.
  • Social proof such as displayed testimonials and clinical trials.
  • Effective headlines and content on websites and marketing materials.
  • Continuous tracking of improvement efforts and testing pages or approaches to see what works best.

The conversion involved in the conversion rate can be thought of as, for example, turning a site visitor into a subscriber or a customer. Conversion rates are also part of the attempt to turn more visitors into revenue sources in one way or another. These revenues can come from making a sale, increasing customer trust and time investment, and gathering marketing info in the hopes of future payoff. Conversion rates focus on making the most of the visitors you have, rather than necessarily attempting to get more traffic.

This was last updated in January 2017

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