I always hear people ask, “my site has a 2% signup conversion rate — is that good?” What they should be asking is “why aren’t the other 98% who visit my site signing up?”
Knowing the answer to that question will tell you if you can get better and how you can get better. Then you can spend your time on the “getting better” part and forget about what other companies’ conversion rates are.
This is one of the key reasons why we built KISSinsights (which has since been acquired by CatchFree) – to give ourselves and our customers a way to ask those “why” questions that complement quantitative analytics.
You probably don’t know why your site visitors leave without signing up or giving you a try. It’s a tough question, because visitors don’t tell you. The vast majority of them simply don’t have the time or inclination to find a contact form or feedback tab and write up a message explaining themselves. They may not even consciously realize why they’re leaving your site.
You have to ask, and there are some tricks for how to ask to maximize the quality and quantity of answers:
- Timing: Interrupting people before they’ve had some time to orient themselves and skim your site is perceived as rude. Asking questions after someone has left your site yields very low response rate and people may not remember the specific questions or concerns they had.
- Placement: You want input from people who have demonstrated interest in your site — not just “drive-bys”. For that reason, the homepage is often not the best place to ask your question. Pricing/plans pages are often better; fewer people see them but they’re the people who are your most likely customers.
- Wording: Ask a yes-no question, and you’ll get a “yes” or “no” answer – not very helpful. I’ve also found that asking “why” (as in “Why aren’t you signing up?”) is perceived as accusatory. I’ll provide some suggested wordings below, but I strongly recommend iterating on your question text to see what subtle variations lead to more useful responses.
How to do it:
Write your question. The default question KISSinsights provides is “Is there anything preventing you from signing up at this point?” Other variations you may wish to try are:
- Is there anything preventing you from signing up for [Product Name] at this point?
- What else can we tell you about [Product Name]?
- Adding a second question, “Include your email address if you’d like a reply” with a text field.
Choose where (and when) to ask your question. My default recommendation is to ask the question on the page where a customer would actually click a sign up button or submit an inline signup form — this is probably either an explicit “signup” page or your homepage.
- The default delay is 20 seconds. If your signup page is fairly information-dense, it may be better to try a 30- or 40-second delay instead.
- Pricing pages are another good place to ask this question. You’re more likely to get a greater percentage of responses asking (or complaining) about price, but that might be what you need.
- If you’re not sure which page is best, you can set the survey to appear on any page after your visitor has already visited 2 pages on your site. This is a good all-purpose way to catch visitors who are interested enough to do some due diligence into your product but haven’t accessed the signup page yet.
Do a spot check. After you’ve gotten the first 5-10 responses, read them to make sure that your question is being answered the way you expected. Because each customer will only see the survey once, there’s no downside to tweaking it. A subtle rewording or configuration change may get you dramatically more useful responses.
For example, we initially asked “Is there anything else we can tell you about KISSinsights?” and our first ten responses included seven one-word “no” answers. We then reworded the question to “What else can we tell you” — a more open-ended phrasing — and started getting more substantial replies.
How many responses is enough? You’ll know when you start seeing the same responses repeat over and over. In my experience, 30-50 responses is usually a good indication to go ahead and make changes based on those responses.
Here’s you’ll see our KISSinsights survey and a sampling of the responses (edited to remove customer email addresses):
Follow up. We’ve continuously updated our FAQ page with information that keeps coming up from our survey responses. So now, when customers submit their answer, we thank them and point them to our FAQ so they can get an immediate answer. This provides a bit of immediate gratification until we’re able to reply personally or to try another homepage revision that will address these customer needs.
About The Author: Cindy runs product management and customer development for KISSmetrics. You can read more from her on Thursdays at cindyalvarez.com.