In many consumer-oriented industries, potential buyers have to be convinced of their need to buy. This isn't true in many B2B industries, however. Potential B2B manufacturing buyers are well aware of what they need and are actively researching potential solutions and options online. And the more considered a purchase is, the more research the buyer is doing—so much so that about 80% of the B2B buying cycle is completed before a sales person ever gets involved.
Given the amount of research these potential manufacturing buyers do, they are “pre-qualified” in a sense, so if you were to focus on achieving the industry-average conversion rate you’d be golden, right?
Well, not so much. But why?
Why Conversion Rates Don't Translate Across Niches
First, comparing conversion rates within any industry can be difficult. Not only are there a lot of variables that affect them, there is a lot of variety in how they are reported. In doing research for this blog post, I found average conversion rates that ranged anywhere from 1% to 5%, but for the various sources there were questions in terms of how data was reported and what the definitions were.
Second, every manufacturer is different. When it comes down to it, it’s not really whether you’re above or below a certain benchmark, but rather how well your own efforts are driving conversions.
So, rather than focusing on trying to reach an industry average conversion rate, focus your energy on building and measuring the basics – that is, the individual aspects critical to building the conversion average:
1. Traffic Quality
To be a bit “captain obvious,” you simply can’t attract the wrong site visitors/unqualified prospects and achieve appropriate conversions. As a manufacturer, you have a bit of an inherent advantage over general consumer-oriented companies in this context as your site visitors are typically researching for answers to specific problems that they have. That said, visitors still need to find your site when searching, which speaks to the necessity of creating appropriate, compelling content.
2. Content Quality
Since visitors are looking for specific solutions to the specific problems they’re working to resolve, if your website is thin on content (e.g., not enough technical information, content that doesn’t speak to buyer needs, and so on), visitors will either be unlikely to find you in a Google search or, if they do, quick to leave your site.
Consequently, you need to have well-structured and comprehensive site pages as well-researched, well-developed advanced content (eBooks, project checklists, resources guides, and other downloadable publications) that provides visitors with a ton of useful information in exchange for a bit of contact information.
In addition, developing engaging blog content and customer nurturing email campaigns can provide visitors with an ongoing source of relevant information that speaks to their needs and answers their key questions.
3. Contact Clarity
Don’t make it hard to find contact information – either for your company in general, or for calls-to-action (CTAs). Make it easy for visitors to take the next step rather than just give up and move on. This means making CTAs highly visible and keeping forms at a length that matches the type of content being offered and ensuring your contact information is visible on all site pages.
With the basics implemented, it’s time to monitor your site, blog, landing pages, CTAs, and content downloads to establish your own baseline conversion metrics. You’ll then have an idea of what a good conversion rate is for you and can set your own conversion goals. In addition, you’ll be able to see which types of content receive the most interaction as well as what topics resonate well with visitors. You can then expand upon the pieces that successfully convert, while going back to retool any that aren’t performing well.
No matter what your current conversion metrics may be, constant improvement should always be your goal. So instead of becoming overly concerned about how your rate compares to an industry average, focus on your own objectives and how to improve your own process.