How Analytics Saved One Business’s Online Sales

Read this before changing your Web site

It’s time-consuming to offer 45 minutes of my time to anyone who wants to improve their online sales conversion rates. I just can’t think of any better way to introduce businesses to conversion concepts.

And the people I meet on the phone are priceless.

One such person is Tom Jackson of Heliski.com. His is a rare and instructive look at the power of the written word and the ineffectiveness of standard design strategies when it comes to conversion.

Tom had two sites targeting the same audience, and getting about the same traffic. Both had analytics installed.

According to him, one was “dated, awkward, wordy, but it’s working.” The other, he said, was “newer, looks better, better organized but WAY underperforming in lead gen.”

This was a rare opportunity to see how two very different approaches to Web site design performed out in the real world.

Which would you pick as the conversion winner?

Take a look at Tom’s two sites. Which would you pick as the hands-down winner? Which would you image would have cratered his income had he relied exclusively on it?

 

 

     

       

       

     

     

       

     

   

HeliskiingReview.com  Heliski.com 
Which would you pick as the best converting site?

 

I did a complete evaluation of these two pages in my Search Engine Land column, and you might be surprised at my conclusions: strong copy beat slick new design.

What we can Learn from Tom

The moral of the tale is that Tom measured his sites’ performance. He had the analytics in place, and was smart enough not to make changes to his site without being able to measure their effect. By leaving both sites up, he was able to rollback the changes.

Do you know how changes to your site affect your business? You should.

I’m offering a two hour short course on June 11 in Austin entitled Web Analytics: Tools and Best Practices.

This is an Austin Entrepreneur Network short course, which means that it’s only $25. We love our entrepreneurs.

Join me and find out how you can avoid huge mistakes – mistakes that rob you of leads and steal your sales.

This is the second time I’ve done this presentation. Find out what attendees thought about my January short course.

Read my full report on Search Engine Land, and I hope to see you on June 11.

  • I would say the one on the left is the better converting one. I’f Im about to drop in excess of $2K on a ski trip, I’d want to know as much as possible.

    But perhaps the reason the one on the right isn’t converting all that well is because it looks like an ad for ski gear, and is not clearly heliski, whereas the one on the left has an excellent photo of what it is that he is selling. The guy sking says nothing. At least replace him with a group of skiers in front of your helicopters.

    I bet the content from the one in the left in pushed into the design of the one on the right would do better than both.

    • Chris, you are correct. I recommended that Tom pull the content from the old site (on the left) to the new one. He’s working it in. There are some structural differences between the sites that may also be affecting his results.

      To your point on the image: Yes, the skier image is less relevant than the one on the left, with skiers in pristine snow and a helicopter hovering above.

  • I would say the one on the left is the better converting one. I’f Im about to drop in excess of $2K on a ski trip, I’d want to know as much as possible.

    But perhaps the reason the one on the right isn’t converting all that well is because it looks like an ad for ski gear, and is not clearly heliski, whereas the one on the left has an excellent photo of what it is that he is selling. The guy sking says nothing. At least replace him with a group of skiers in front of your helicopters.

    I bet the content from the one in the left in pushed into the design of the one on the right would do better than both.

    • Chris, you are correct. I recommended that Tom pull the content from the old site (on the left) to the new one. He’s working it in. There are some structural differences between the sites that may also be affecting his results.

      To your point on the image: Yes, the skier image is less relevant than the one on the left, with skiers in pristine snow and a helicopter hovering above.