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7 Min Read

Why Most People are Trying to Increase Conversion Rates in the Wrong Places

Jeremy Reeves
Jeremy Reeves is a sales funnel specialist who helps entrepreneurs achieve more growth, faster.

All of us want to increase our website conversion rate. We all know it can lead to tremendous improvement to our bottom-line. You already know it can increase leads, sales, back-end profits and give you a competitive edge in your industry. But the harsh reality still haunts us.

It takes time… energy… resources… and manpower.

Even though improving conversion rates has been proven to be one of the most high ROI activities you can do in your business, sometimes it gets swept under the rug.

And sometimes our best intentions don’t translate into actually doing what we know we should be doing.

Today, we’re going to discuss what you need to do and where you need to spend your time if you WANT to split-test, but…

  1. You’re having a hard time getting started…
  2. Want to spend the bulk of your time on the area which will generate the highest ROI…
  3. Want to speed your business growth…

Let’s get right to it.

First, We Must Break Down Your Sales Funnel

As a sales funnel specialist, I’ve helped clients build some extremely complex sales funnels which contain literally hundreds of different touch points across dozens of channels. But the focus of this article isn’t to teach you how to build your sales funnel. It’s to break down the critical pieces and then determine which of those pieces is worthy of your precious time.

That said, here are the main components EVERY business needs in order to maximize sales revenue.

Component #1 Lead Capture

First, you need to have some form of lead capture. This is to find those prospects willing to raise their hand and say “YES, I’m interested in the solution you’re providing”. This typically goes in the form of free trials, free reports, free videos, webinars and so on.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll assume you have just one lead magnet getting a 30% conversion.


Component #2 Main Sales Page

The focus of the lead magnet is moving them to your main sales page. This is, of course, to try to get them to buy the product or service you’re selling. For some businesses, this may be in the form of a long form salesletter, which I’ve discussed a few times on this blog.


You may choose to have several pages on your main site do your selling for you, like Visual Website Optimizer does.

Let’s assume you have a single product, converting at 5%.

Component #3 Back-End

The 3rd component is your back-end sales. This is anything you do to increase your average customer value after they’ve made their first purchase. This could be direct mail pieces, phone calls, auto-responder sequences for buyers, re-targeting campaigns, and so on.

Let’s assume you have just one back-end product which sells for $497, and you can convert 10% of your original buyers.

Which of These Areas Should You Be Split-testing?


Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You should be trying to improve conversion rates of ALL of them. The compounding “snowball” effect can be nothing short of miraculous for growing your business. However, we all get busy and we all have constraints that don’t allow us to split-test like we should be doing. In that case, let’s take a look at some numbers to see which area of your business would yield the highest results.

In this example, let’s assume the following visitor, conversion rate, and gross profit numbers.

Visitors: 10,000 per month

Lead Capture Page: Converts at 30% (3,000 visitors/month)

Main Sales Page: Converts at 5% (150 sales at $197/month equals $29,550 per month)

Back-End: Converts at 10% (15 sales at $497/month equals extra $7,455 per month)

Bottom Line: Before testing, you are bringing in a total original revenue of $37,005 per month.

What if You Increase Your Back-end Conversions?

Let’s start backwards and say that you begin testing your process for selling your back-end product or service. Again, for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to assume you can increase your results by 30%. That means instead of selling 10% of your customers, you can now sell 13%. It would then look like this….

Visitors: 10,000 per month

Lead Capture Page: Converts at 30% (3,000 visitors/month)

Main Sales Page: Converts at 5% (150 sales at $197/month equals $29,550 per month)

Back-End: Converts at 13% (19.5 sales at $497/month equals extra $9,691.50 per month)

That gives you total NEW revenue of $39,241.50 per month.

End result: A 30% increase in your back-end conversion process would take your revenue from $37,005 to $39,241.50 — a 6% increase in total revenue. Not bad, but I think we can do better.

What if You Increase Your Main Sales Page Conversions?

This is where most people spend most of their time. Is that smart? Let’s find out. Here’s what happens if we increase your main sales page conversions by the same 30%.

Visitors: 10,000 per month

Lead Capture Page: Converts at 30% (3,000 visitors/month)

Main Sales Page: Converts at 6.5% (195 sales at $197/month equals $38,415 per month)

Back-End: Converts at 10% (19.5 sales at $497/month equals extra $7,455 per month) That gives you total NEW revenue of $45,870 per month.

End result: A 30% conversion increase on your main sales page would take your revenue from $37,005 to $45,870 — a stunning 23.95% increase in total revenue. Not bad for something you can do in a single split-test! And then…

What if You Increase Your Lead Capture Page Conversion?

In this example, your numbers will look like this…

Visitors: 10,000 per month

Lead Capture Page: Converts at 39% (3,900 visitors/month)

Main Sales Page: Converts at 5% (195 sales at $197/month equals $38,415 per month)

Back-End: Converts at 10% (19.5 sales at $497/month equals extra $7,455 per month) That gives you total NEW revenue of $45,870 per month.

End result: A 30% increase on your lead capture page would take your revenue from $37,005 to $45,870 — the same 23.95% increase as boosting your main sales page conversions by 30%. (If you’re curious, increasing all 3 steps by 30% takes your revenue up to $66,315.65 — an astonishing 79% increase in profits)

So Which is Most Important?

As you can see, increasing the back-end conversion rate isn’t as impactful as increasing everything you have on the front-end (although the back-end is still incredibly important for many other reasons). Now we’re left with a dilemma. Since the lead capture page and main sales page each add the same amount of overall profit, which should you work on?

The answer is the lead capture page

Here’s why…

  1. The list of your prospects gets you access to more and better joint venture deals.
  2. When you run promotions and launch new products/services, the larger your list, the more money you’ll bring in.
  3. Since the lead capture page gets the most traffic, you can also increase its conversions faster, which then snowballs into more prospects and more sales.
  4. With more prospects, you can split-test your main sales page FASTER (which, again, snowballs the effect).
  5. With more prospects, you can run surveys and gain valuable insights FASTER.
  6. If you sell your business, the more prospects you have, the higher you can sell it for.
  7. You can create separate prospect campaigns, selling them other products or services if they aren’t interested in the first one.

When In Doubt, Start At The Top

You will find that your highest leverage points start at the very top of your sales funnel. Each increase you get at the beginning of your funnel has a snowball effect on the rest of your funnel. More prospects automatically become more sales. More first-time sales become more back-end sales. And so on.

The point is – don’t focus on a singular page when trying to increase your conversion rates. If you focus on each point in your sales funnel, your efforts multiply themselves automatically. This is how you achieve true leverage and a quick competitive advantage in your industry.

I realize my example won’t work perfectly for every person reading this. Please make the adjustments you need to make to your own business, and run your own numbers. If you need help, check out my bio below for a free calculator which does this for you automatically.

Image credits

Magnet@Mirsad Todorovac

Landing page@semanticl

Confused girl@Helga Weber via Compfight cc

CRO Best Practices (eBook) CTA

Comments (2)

  1. Any tips on how to make this more actionable, Jeremy? It feels like we’re left sort of guessing where limited testing resources would make the biggest impact. If I were in this situation, personally I’d find it more useful to get advice about how to convince decision-makers to provide the resources to do testing right.

    For example…
    –Remind the decision-maker of successful in-house tests, preferably for that company or on a similar project. For example, if previous tests for this client have increased revenue-per-visit on key pages, they will probably be more patient on a budget request (and more confident in your ability to pull it off).

    –Give the decision-maker an estimate of what you’ll need to test proficiently. In most cases, it’s not an heavy burden on manpower/budget — at our agency, testing is consistently one of the top performers in terms of return on investment.

    –Draw on an interesting test done (either in-house or any of the case studies on VWO or elsewhere) and introduce a hypothesis you’d like to test. It will be easier for the decision-maker to visualize the benefits of increasing resources for testing if they have a concrete view of a change you’d like to try. I found it was much easier to get the client committed to A/B testing after describing what we’ve done with reorganizing page layout elsewhere and showing them a before-and-after mockup of a critical page with the call-to-action and store address moved to a more prominent part of the page.

  2. Hey Brian – thanks for reading. I think it’s extremely clear where you should be spending your time if you have limited testing resources.

    The top of the funnel. See the last paragraph of the article.

    For specific tests you can do, there are probably hundreds of other posts you can check out on the blog. I believe there are also posts you can check out regarding how to “sell your superiors”. This post really had no intention of going into that area.

    I know there is a lot of information out there on how to create testing cultures in corporations though.

    Hope that helps!

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