NRG Lunchtime seminar: this is the full text of the seminar delivered at the London City meeting on the 15th July 2009.


Chris: So, as small businesses, what is your biggest concern right now?
Reply: Cash flow.
Chris: Okay, cash flow. Anything else?
Reply: New business.
Chris: Anything else? Biggest concern right now?
Reply: British market.
Chris: One more thing, anything?
Reply: All this online stuff.
Chris: all this online stuff [laughter]. Okay, that’s your problem, isn’t it? [laughs].

Okay, so what I get from that is that these have several things in common.  One of the things is this (since we’re in the right place to talk about it): it’s all to do with money.  Cash flow, new business, organic growth, all that sort of stuff, is to do with money, so let’s not beat about the bush. Everything that we are here for is to do with money and getting more of it.

Money comes from people paying us cash to deliver a product or a service, right? So we need to be able to talk to them. Now, what do we call those types of people that we want to talk to so that they can pay us?

Reply: Prospects.
Chris: Prospects, good.

Okay, this is what my talk is about. I’m going to talk about how you can get more prospects for your business and I’m going to talk about how you can do it better. I have a process and I will describe to you the process in about 20 minutes that is not something I have read in a book, it is something that I’ve tried and tested with my clients over the last 7 or 8 years, and it works. And what I’m going to give you is the process that I use.

On the web, and in fact everything in your business, here’s part of my process and you can disagree if you wish, this is just what I’ve found to work, is prospects only come from conversions.

Niche domination leads to conversions

What I mean by conversions is when you get somebody to take an action. So let’s translate this into web activity. People talk about: you need more hits, you need more traffic, you need more [blah]. As far as I’m concerned, those are irrelevant, because the only thing that matters for your web applications is the number of conversions you make. That is the number of actions people perform when they get to your web pages. Traffic and hits is meaningless because it doesn’t make you any money, because the way the process works it goes from conversions to prospects to money.

Right, so I’m guessing, since you didn’t say anything, that you can easily see the relationship I’m talking about there is a good one.

Now, here my point is that the only way on the web for a small business to get many conversions is by dominating their niche. Now, what do I mean by ‘dominating their niche’? Come to a networking meeting like this and I might meet an accountant, so I ask him what he does, what he does accountancy on. Who does he do it for? Well, anybody who will pay me. So immediately I’ve dropped him from my memory because I can’t place him in any niche. I can’t refer him; I can’t suggest anybody because he or she hasn’t given me anything to hang on to.

The same thing goes for the web as for when you meet people because, basically, on the web is one person talking to another. People can talk about all the types of technology that you use on the web to engage with people and form these so-called relationships, but in fact you only ever see a web page. You never see a web site; you only see a web page. Websites are irrelevant, they are figments of designers’ imaginations; they do not exist. The only thing that exists is a web page.

So, my point is: niche domination comes from providing the correct web page for your prospect, because that’s where you will achieve a conversion. This is my basic tenet if you like. I’m going to expand on each of these areas in detail.

We all understand what prospects are; we may not be convinced about what conversions are. Let me give you a setting for that: let’s assume you are a small business website and you’re getting an average of 1000 unique visitors a month. Right now your conversion rate is that you get 1 enquiry, so that works out at 0.1%. When you do this thing, the first thing you do is throw your hands up in horror and say, What I need is more traffic, because if I get more traffic, like 5x the amount of traffic, I’m going to get more conversions. But the point is that you probably already have enough traffic at least to get started with. What your problem is is a very small conversion rate, because if you go ahead and employ a search engine optimisation guy, or a web marketing guy, or web designer who says they can do all those things, and your site begins to be found for tennis shoes or whatever else it is that they set it up for, you will increase your traffic, sometimes 5-fold, sometimes 50-fold, but if your conversion rate remains the same then you now get 5 enquiries a month.

The point about conversions is that you should look to increase the conversion rate of your website first before you start increasing the number of visitors. So, if you increase your conversion rate to 1%, you’re now getting 10 visitors, and when your SEO guy or whoever it is increases your visitors to 5,000 at 1%, it’s now 50 enquiries.

Conversion percentages

The point is that if you start getting extra traffic to your web pages without knowing what is converting or how to increase the conversions, you are simply perpetuating the idiocy. But if you spend your time finding out what makes conversions on your web pages and increasing those a small amount, when you do come to increase your traffic you will get a correspondingly much higher ratio of enquiries than you were getting before, or possibly would have got under the previous fix.

This is why I work with conversions first; traffic comes later (because you normally have enough traffic).