SaaS Conversion Analysis – 4 Key Factors

As a SaaS provider, you are focused on optimizing your customer acquisition channels (at the same time as keeping your current customers happy with new products, features and services.)  More then ever, you’re diving into your business intelligence reports to better understand the metrics behind the economics of your company, as well as customer and prospect behavior on your website (marketing analytics.)

One of the commonly overlooked pieces of your business is “conversion analysis” – that is, the who, what, when, where, why and how around prospects hitting your application marketing site and “converting” into a lead, free trial user, and/or customer.

There are a number of key factors that drive any SaaS conversion analysis.  Here are the 4 most important:

1.  Traffic Sources

It’s one thing to know that your website traffic converts at a 5% rate.  It’s another thing to be able to break that 5% into rate by channel, and without a strong analytics package driving this you’ll be hard pressed to get to a realistic number.  At a minimum, though, it’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and how it’s converting.

For example, you may see in Google Analytics that organic traffic from Google is 25% of your overall traffic.  Do you know, though, the keywords that are driving this traffic, and what your top terms are?  An affordable SEO software application like Optify can help you uncover these important metrics.  Understanding how your prospects are finding you through the search engines is a great way to refocus your marketing strategy around the buzz terms in your industry.

But organic search is only a small piece of the pie.  You’ve heard this many times before, but more then ever, social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn are a fantastic source of traffic generation if used correctly.  So maybe you are getting 12% of your traffic from Twitter – but do you know what Tweets your followers are responding best to and re-tweeting?  Visitors are coming to your site from LinkedIn, but from where specifically?

Peeling back the layers as much as you can is a great way to uncover new data sets you can use in your conversion analysis.

2.  Visitor behaviors

You’ve invested major resources in your application and marketing site’s UI – so understanding how website visitors are using the site is paramount to understanding your conversion rates and gaps.

Let’s say you get 10,00o unique visitors to your site in a month.  Sure you know where these visitors came from, as we discussed above.  But what pages did they look at, and in what order?  What trends can you see by looking at 3 months of website traffic data – are blog posts driving visitors to conversion pages, or the opposite?  Are your executive bio’s creating fall-offs or dead-ends?  What happens when visitors hit your conversion pages – do they linger, leave the site altogether, jump back to your pricing page?

What are your top bounce pages?

Gathering as much of your website visitor behavior data is possible is a key component to any conversion analysis.

3.  Landing pages/forms

Carefully constructed landing pages can make or break your conversion rates.  So it’s important to utilize best-practices when creating your pages, but even more important to measure their success and use that data to improve your conversion rates.

Erez Barak from Optify wrote a great blog post about landing page best practices, using examples, for Search Engine Watch.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part is understanding which landing pages are converting the best, and why.  You’ll need to look at traffic sources for each of your landing pages, then measure the difference in conversion rates by channel on each page to understand what your traffic is responding best to.

4.  Conversion type

Conversion is a broad term when applied to a SaaS website as there are many different types of conversion, all important steps in the process of acquiring (and retaining) customers.

Phone calls, form submissions, white paper downloads, free trial initiations, free trial conversions (to paid) are just a few of the unique conversion events your website offers and that you need to measure.   Again, data is key so ensure you have tools set up to measure each conversion activity and more importantly, an easy way to bring all of that data together to visualize trends.  For example, how well are free trial users converting into paying customers, and through which channels?  Are 80% of your free trial accounts started from social media traffic leads, of which only 2% of those free trials convert to paying customers?

How will having answers to a question like that help you rething your product marketing efforts and messaging?

In conclusion, conducting a conversion analysis can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.  Regardless of how intense the effort is, collecting as much data as possible across as many different data points as possible is the key to a more informed and conclusive conversion analysis.

There are plenty of affordable tools out there to help you get to the data, and a good analyst can help you make sense of the numbers and better improve your overall conversion rates as you continue to grow your business.