Want to Increase Your Conversion Rates? This Is the Biggest Threat to Your Success. While many conversion rate optimizers are worried about following the latest trends, avoiding the competition and maintaining consistency in existing conversion rates, the biggest problem is lurking under the surface. The biggest problem for most conversion optimizers is complacency.

By Timothy Carter

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Businesses with websites need conversions to thrive. A conversion is any meaningful action that a user takes that eventually leads to the possibility of generating revenue; it could mean purchasing a product, calling your business or even just watching a video. In any case, getting more conversions will lead to higher revenue for your brand and eventually, greater profitability.

That's why conversion rate optimization (CRO) is so important. Conversion optimization is the process of tweaking your copy, your design and other onsite elements to maximize the chances of winning a conversion whenever a user is exploring your page.

Although many conversion rate optimizers are worried about following the latest trends, avoiding the competition and maintaining consistency in existing conversion rates, the biggest problem is lurking under the surface.

Related: Should You Prioritize Traffic or Conversions on a New Website?

The biggest problem for most conversion optimizers is complacency.

Defining complacency

In this context, complacency simply means accepting your conversion rate for what it is. Rather than pushing for a higher conversion rate or trying out new things to see how they work, you're content to sit back and let your existing engine continue working as it has.

Why complacency is a problem

Why is this such a problem?

  • Accepting "decent" conversion rates. If you're already seeing decent conversion rates for your brand, you may not see complacency as much of an issue. For example, let's say when you first launched your business, you saw a conversion rate of less than 1%. After a few months of experimentation and the incorporation of a few new strategies, you've managed to increase that conversion rate to 2.5%. That's a big increase and something to be happy about. But too often, marketers see this as a reason to functionally stop improving; they focus on maintaining this conversion rate, rather than pushing it even higher. If it's possible to get to 3%, or 5%, or something even greater, you owe it to your brand to try.
  • Avoiding experimentation. Complacency also typically means avoiding experimentation. You might continue to run new AB tests, seeing how certain headlines perform or tinkering with little changes like alterations in color or font. But you won't spend much time or energy on the bigger, more robust experiments that can introduce you to game-changing ideas.
  • Ignoring new strategies and innovation. Resting on your laurels also means you'll deliberately ignore the emergence of new strategies and innovations. If a marketing guru announces a new experiment that showcases a breakthrough new tactic, you're not going to see it, because you're not actively looking for it. Accordingly, you're going to miss out on some of the latest new trends.
  • Inefficient practices. It's not just about conversion rate optimization. It's also about the efficiency of your habits and workflows as they relate to your conversion rate. If you're too complacent with the way things are, you'll never learn to work more efficiently and you'll miss out on opportunities to reduce costs.

How to overcome complacency

So what can you do to overcome complacency in your business's approach to conversions?

  • Study the competition and industry averages. One of the best things you can do is break out of your bubble by studying your competition and overall industry averages. Different industries tend to see different conversion rates, and yours may be higher or lower than you think. If you notice your competitors getting a much higher conversion rate than you are, it's a sign you're in need of a massive overhaul.
  • Experiment (beyond AB tests). Keep experimenting constantly. AB tests are important, and they're relatively easy to implement and observe. However, you'll need to think beyond AB tests if you want to achieve your true potential. That means going back to first principles thinking and challenging some of your biggest assumptions.
  • Hire and reward creative thinkers. Build a team of creative thinkers, and encourage people to think creatively by rewarding them for doing so. Ideally, all your marketers will be thinking like innovative entrepreneurs. People who consistently think outside the box and come up with new ideas will keep you moving forward.
  • Keep learning more about your audience. Get to know your audience as much as you can. Use surveys, demographic research and onsite behavioral patterns to inform and feed your strategy. The better you understand how your users think and behave, the better you'll be able to design calls to action (CTAs) that work for them specifically.

Related: What Makes Persuasive Web Copy Work?

Your conversion rate is arguably the most important variable for your online company's profitability and growth. Accordingly, you can't afford to grow complacent with it. Keep challenging your baseline assumptions and your existing workflows as you continue optimizing your website and content for higher conversion rates — and never fall into the trap of feeling "good enough."

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer of SEO.co

Timothy Carter is the CRO of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & digital marketing leading, building & scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and driving growth from websites and sales teams.

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