You’ve created your flexible website, that’s a huge milestone, congrats!
I’m sure you’re ready to sell sell sell sell sell!
Well, YOU might be but your WEBSITE isn’t. It’s not ready for you to go all in on marketing.
If you did, you’d be paying to get visitors on a website that isn’t ready to receive it.
You see, your new website is jam packed with something called Friction – the #1 cause of visitors not converting.
Friction is anything that’s getting in the way of turning your visitors into leads and sales. Or another way to think about it, is that it’s anything on your website causing problems and snags for a potential customer.
It’s little things that make your visitors think too hard.
It’s things like having a header that’s too bright and loud, causing visitors to click on the tabs instead of scrolling down the homepage to read about your product.
Or it could be a slow loading page causing your frustrated visitors to leave your website too soon.
After friction causes visitors to leave, how many people are left to click your CTAs? Maybe not many…
The Friction Impact
On the left is what my website looked like when my designer was finished. I LOVED it! And I knew it was full of friction, so I wanted to remove it before I sent in a bunch of traffic.
On the right, you see my conversions went up 220%!
The design on the left only got 15 clicks per 100 visitors while the one on the right got 48 clicks per 100.
To get 48 clicks with the first design I would have needed 320 visitors.
You can see that my website just became 220% more efficient, making my marketing so much less expensive for the life of my website.
Wait, remind me…
How Do You Measure Conversions?
Conversions are typically ‘leads or sales’ and you measure them with a simple calculation, called the conversion rate.
To get this value, you take the number of conversions and divide it by the total number of visitors. For example, if you had 100 visitors this week on your website and 1 sale over the same period, then you have a 1% conversion rate. (1/100=1%)
What is a micro-conversion?
A micro-conversion is just like it sounds… it’s a small part of a conversion, and it signifies you’re heading in the right direction. So since a conversion is typically a lead or a sale, a micro-conversion is a step in that direction, like a link click or CTA click, or it could be adding a product to a shopping cart or even just a visitor spending extensive time on the site.
All of these are good indications of eventual conversions.
In my conversion rate calculation above, I use micro-conversions as the numerator. So in the first design, for every 100 visitors that came in, I got 15 clicks on my CTAs. In my friction-free design, for every 100 visitors that came in I got 48 clicks on my CTAs.
Throughout all my content I tend to use the terms micro-conversion and conversion interchangeably — obviously a conversion is more valuable than a micro-conversion, but they both provide positive signals to measure and will tell us if we’re moving the needle in the right direction.
Removing Friction Vs. Getting A Website “Working”
Now, just because I got more conversions by removing homepage friction, that doesn’t mean my website is “working”.
There are multiple steps between getting a visitor to click and getting them to become a valuable lead or purchase my product. And there’s friction involved all along the way.
To get your website working, you need to go step by step, removing friction on every page and form.
After a visitor clicks on a CTA. Are they completing that next step, like filling out the contact form? Or purchasing what’s in their shopping cart?
When removing friction, you’ll want to focus on things like, how many fields the contact form has, are they all necessary or can you remove one? What about the shopping cart, are customers purchasing what they add to it or is there something in the purchase process that’s causing visitors to abandon their cart.
[This sounds like a lot of work but stay tuned because I have two tricks to help you speed this up. #1 A Mighty Tool, #2 My Exclusive ‘Growth Engine’.]
All of this friction removal essentially boils down to making the experience simpler, easier, and more effective — with not only the layout and functionality of the website, but also the words and images that are used.
A good UX designer will help you think through all of this during the design process and prevent a lot of friction from showing up on your site in the first place. But the truth is, no matter how great your designer, every website has trouble spots that need taken care of.
And many times you have no idea you have friction until you see your visitors experiencing problems with your own eyes.
Fire Starting Vs. Pouring Gas
This whole process of removing friction focuses your attention inward — you’ll be working on starting the fire.
To get the fire started, you first need your website to generate a lead or paying customer.
How do you get just ONE customer to convert? Do you know how you did it? Can you do it again, and again? Now, can you send in more traffic and expect the same results?
If yes, then you know the fire has been started and you can use marketing to pour gas on it, sending in more and more traffic and growing your business in a predictable, scalable way.
What if you already have your foot on the marketing gas?
As painful as it may be, you may need to take your foot off the gas and focus inward. Remove all that friction and then start scaling up your marketing efforts again.
Plus, once your website is “working”, it becomes a numbers game — send in #X users, get $Y revenue and your only limit is the size of your target audience and your marketer’s ability to bring them into your website.
Measuring Your Marketing
Calculating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Once you can track users all the way from marketing to conversion. Your website is “working” and you’ll be able to measure how much it takes to acquire one customer, which is your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
How do you measure Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)?
You measure it with a simple calculation, in which you take the total amount of money you spent on marketing divided by the number of customers you acquired over the same time period. For example, if you spent $1,000 on marketing and got 10 new paying customers, your CAC is $100. ($1,000/10=$100)
One More Reason To Remove Friction… Google.
Search engines care if your website is full of friction.
Google is keeping track of the traffic it sends to your website with a secret scorecard — measuring if your visitors are happy or not. Are they sticking around? Are they clicking? Are they reading multiple pages? Are they converting into customers or are they confused and leaving too soon.
If your website is full of friction, your google scorecard will have bad marks telling Google not to rank your site as high. So not only does friction cause less visitors to convert, it also causes you to pay more for SEO to get the organic traffic you desire.
The Bottom Line
Web designers don’t typically remove friction, to do that it would require traffic, which is the marketer’s job.
And marketers don’t focus inward — they either can’t remove friction because of how the website was created, or they aren’t rewarded for taking the time to do it.
The popular trend is to create more. More blog posts, more pages, more ways to grab visitors and hope the traffic converts.
But if you think about it, every time a new page is created on your website – a blog post or even a form to fill out, you could be creating more friction and potentially adding negative marks on your Google scorecard.
So, while it may be difficult to take your foot off the marketing gas while you focus on friction, it’s the right long term approach to reduce marketing spend and get your website to work for you.