Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why Would This Site Have a High Conversion Rate?

Radiosity3000HomeRecently, a group of about 50 us got together and reviewed Web sites, looking for ways to increase their conversion rates. This was part of Laura Alter's regular Austin Internet Marketing Meetup.

It's a good group. Get on the list.

After working through five sites, the Radiosity 3000 site ended up having the best potential, in my opinion.

You wouldn't know it to look at it.

The site was built and is maintained by Mark Chutich, the owner of Radiosity and one of the guys who does installations. He's not well-versed in HTML nor design. He has no budget for the site. But, Mark has an advantage over his competitors: the knows his audience.

Here are some reasons Mark's site kicks ass.

No Lame Stock Photography

If your site relies on stock photography of anonymous, beautiful, happy people, you're just not trying hard enough. Most designers would call the stick house drawing on Radiosity3000.com "unprofessional," but it communicates all the ways that the product can be used at a glance.

As a responsible marketer, you can't really make the case that pretty, smiling strangers support your brand better than images that convey meaning--even if it isn't highly produced.

There is no better way to build your brand than to help people understand how they can solve their problems with your product.

The Temperature Reads 102 degrees F!!Take a look at the image of this non-model reclining on a hot tin roof. This is probably the bookkeeper at Radiosity, and the picture was most likely taken with a point and shoot camera.

Does this one image leave any doubt in your mind about how well this product works?

Lots of Problem-solving Content

The site is flat as a board, and once you get past the home page, you will find an abundance information to help visitors make a decision.

For the property owner there are examples of how the product is used in roofs, walls and attics complete with pictures.

There is a "Contractor Page" that details what equipment is needed to apply the product. With FAQs, mixing instructions, and a list of retail outlets, visitors have the opportunity to move all the way through the buying process--from Awareness through Consideration, to Purchase.

Isn't this what we all want to happen?

Support for Conversion

For Radiosity, the purchase is made offline. For Radiosity3000.com, conversion occurs when the visitor contacts a contractor, or a contractor contacts a paint store that sells the product.

The site actively supports both.

In addition to a list of retailers that carry the product, the site offers a searchable database of installers indexed by ZIP code. That's right. Mark has a Web 2.0 SaaS (Software as a Service) site.

Be embarrassed if you don't offer something like this to your visitors.

Be glad you don't compete with Mark Chutich.

Focus Your Time and Budget

There are a number of things I would change about Mark's site. I am aware, however, that better copy and a more a professional design may actually reduce conversion. As a scientist, I can only hypothesize and test.

We're instrumenting Mark's site to see how well the site actually converts. Nonetheless, you have to question some of the decisions we make every day across the Web when designing our sites:

  1. Design is the most important aspect of our site and is the place to start when building or revising.
  2. We need a multi-tiered navigation scheme with fly-out menus.
  3. It takes a big budget to create compelling images for our business.
  4. Our Web site is a collection of pages, not an application.

The immediate ROI of knowing (and profiling) your visitors is that you don't spend your marketing budget on stuff that won't move the needle on conversion. I'm happy to introduce you to your visitors and help you decide where to invest.

Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences

P.S. Would you like me to review your site for blocks to conversion for free?


  1. Update: Within hours of our public conversion review if his site, Mark made changes. I think things are definitely improving.

    Compare Radiosity3000.com to the image at the top of this post.

  2. Good post. It's funny how the "ugly" sites always seem to outperform. The one change I'd make would be to put the call to action right at the end of the post. We had good success placing offers at the end of pages on the ratings and reviews site I co-founded. It's a natural place for someone to take the next step.


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