© Artur Szczybylo | Dreamstime.com
Dreamstime M 171264048 63233013b8c9c

That elusive website metric: What is conversion rate and how do you calculate it?

Sept. 15, 2022
If you’re seeing a lot of traffic to your site but not a lot of phone calls or form completions, you need to look at the communication problem between your website and the user that is causing them to go elsewhere.

Your website may be beautiful, ugly, expensive, cheap, DIY, or maintained by a fancy agency. Regardless of who made it or how much you paid for it, is your site really doing what it’s supposed to be doing? Do you know what your site’s purpose is in the first place?

Let me tell you, its main purpose is not focused just on aesthetics. Its job isn’t to talk about dentistry and the ins and outs of every procedure you perform. It’s not to convince people how smart you are (they know) or to even try to explain that long list of alphabet soup that follows your name as you complete more and more CE.

Regardless of what it looks like or how much you like it or don’t like it, there’s a number that will tell you how it’s doing. That number is your conversion rate.

Your website should engage users. Answer their immediate questions. Give them a clear call to action (CTA) and understanding of next steps. If you’re seeing a lot of traffic to the site but not a lot of phone calls or form completions, you don’t need to spend more money marketing. There’s a communication problem between your website and the user that is causing them to go elsewhere. You’re not converting that traffic.

What is conversion rate?

Your conversion rate is the number (a percentage) of visitors to your website who did or did not complete the goal you had predefined for them (contact the office or schedule an appointment).

Keep in mind, conversion is permeable and customizable. By that I mean, you can have more than one conversion type as a goal. The most basic is a form completion or a phone call.

Also by Sean Hamel:

Your strongest marketing tool (that your dental marketing agency is ignoring)

4 effective ways to grow your Instagram presence

Conversion rate is important because it can make or break all the marketing efforts you currently have going. It’s directly related to your ROI. If your website is only converting 2% of visitors, you may be inclined to spend more money to cast a wider net. Two percent of a larger number is winning, right? Not necessarily. What if you could take your 2% conversion rate and increase it to 4%? You would be spending that same amount, but your ROI would greatly improve. You don’t have to constantly shell out more and more money. Sounds great, right?

It is! And it’s often ignored or omitted from marketing strategy discussion. Industry standard conversion rates typically ride around 2 or 3%. I like to see at least 7%, but that takes time and effort from both the practice team and mine. Do you know what your conversion rate is right now?

First step: calculate it

The conversion rate formula is:

The number of conversions (form completions or calls) / website visits over same time period = conversion rate

So let’s say last month you had 2,000 new website visitors. 23 completed an online form, and 78 called the office.

23+78 = 101 conversions

101 / 2000 = 5% conversion rate

Obviously this example is very simple and generic. You set the tone for what you consider a conversion and what you don’t. You can get much more granular with data segmentation, too. Google Analytics is a great tool for this. You will need to set your “goals” properly as “conversions” to Google are reported based on configured goals. Use this tool or ensure your marketing team has established them on your behalf and that you’re monitoring the number every week.

Improving your conversion rate

Chances are your conversion rate is shockingly low. That’s OK! While you’re spending money to generate the traffic, you can do a lot on the back end to influence that traffic once they hit your website—things like enhanced design and speed, copy and messaging review, improved calls to action and ease of use, better clarity, and direct answers to users’ search motivations, etc. Most dental search is driven by proximity at first. From there:

“Is this going to hurt?”

“Can I afford it?”

“Why should I choose your office over the other ones?”

These are going to be your average user’s core emotional drivers. Remember, many people are scared to visit the dentist. They don’t really want to know what you’re going to do to them—they want to know why they should choose YOU to do it. The recommendation from a trusted family member or friend goes a long way; that’s why referrals are so important! Trust and likability are what you’re selling. Not dentistry.

Conversion rate is a highly valuable and often overlooked marketing metric that has huge impact on your ROI. Marketing isn’t cheap. Spending more is not always the answer to your marketing woes. I recommend a full review of your messaging and user experience from the average, nervous, worried, financially conscious mindset and view of the average searcher.

Generating traffic, raising awareness, and connecting to your community is vital to your growth. Developing a high conversion rate will go a long way in stretching your marketing dollars while creating that connection. Talk to your marketing team today, find out where you stand, and get started with a plan as soon as possible! You will not regret it.

About the Author

Sean Hamel

A recent addition to the DentistryIQ Advisory Board, Sean Hamel is a seasoned dental marketing professional and the founder and CEO of Art of Dental Marketing. ADM is a story-based dental marketing agency that helps practices get found online and convert web traffic into real patients. We understand that every practice is unique and has a story to tell, but they just don’t know how to get it out to the community. ADM builds state-of-the-art, video-based websites, powerful local SEO strategies, and effective pay-per-click campaigns, and provides an attentive and comprehensive client service experience for every practice.