If your business is ever going to grow, you need to know how to diagnose why your prospects are not buying, then solve that problem.

One of the important goals in the early stage of a business is the ability to get visibility into the quality of traffic being sent to the website (without having to spend a lot of money!)

This is important because you have two challenges, BOTH of which must be solved before you can start scaling…

You only have 2 marketing problems that need solving

  1. Attracting good quality prospects to your website.
  2. Converting a reasonable percentage of those prospects into paying customers once they arrive.

At the very beginning of the marketing journey, you will definitely know that prospects are not buying, but it is harder to tell if the problem is with your website or the quality of your traffic.

Here is how to diagnose why prospects are not buying…

Good quality traffic will usually take a few actions that demonstrate genuine interest. We can call these actions “early-interest engagement”). Early-interest engagement actions do not need to be high-value conversion actions (e.g. “add to cart” or “call now”). The actions can merely be checking out products and just taking the time to read and learn. Navigating to other pages, scrolling to the bottom of a page and consuming content are promising signs!

In contrast, poor-quality traffic will NOT demonstrate interest. Instead, they will bounce off the site with little or no investigation.

Prospects who do not engage is symptomatic of two potential problems…

The first potential problem is what we call incongruent ‘Ad Scent’. e.g. what they ‘smell’ in the ad is not consistent with what they find once they arrived. This is a common problem, but the solution is very simple… just make sure the main selling point in your ads is clearly visible at first glance on your landing page. If possible, use the same headline, image and selling points. Doing this eliminates the incongruency people experience when completely different content is presented to them than what they expected. It will improve conversions and enable you to take ad scent off the suspect list.

The second potential problem is that the traffic is not interested in buying what you are selling. There are many reasons why uninterested people would respond to an ad. We won’t attempt to cover that list here, but suffice to say that when you have buyers who are highly motivated, they will fight through website issues. So if your first 20 visitors take numerous actions that are what you would expect from a qualified buyer, then you know your advertising or traffic-generating efforts are attracting the right type of prospect!

How to Configure your Analytics to Quickly Diagnose Problems

First, you have to identify the actions that any good prospect would take. These actions are typically easy and non-committal, yet still on the path towards a commitment.

Begin by mapping out all of the MANDATORY actions a prospect would need to take before making the final commitment. Include anything they cannot avoid, such as navigating, scrolling, clicking, selecting, filling forms, etc. These actions form what we call the ‘Conversion Funnel‘.

It is in your best interest to make the early steps in this mandatory action sequence as easy as possible. Don’t ask them to click ‘add to cart’, instead ask them to visit a page that describes the product or service. Don’t ask them to fill out a form, instead, ask them to click a button. Don’t ask them for their birthday, instead, ask for their first name. Get the picture?

Make those early steps easy, and more people will take them. But that concept is more about the structure of your website, not about tracking and analytics. For now, just follow these easy steps.

4 Steps to solving the mystery of no conversions

  1. Configure your analytics to track your mandatory action steps, as well as any other non-mandatory action that you consider indicative of an action taken by an interested prospect. Consider setting up both Google Analytics as well as screen capture videos with a tool like Smartlook.
  2. Send 20 prospects to the website. For fast results use Google Ads (we can get you a $500.00 credit if you let us setup your account for you).
  3. Review the results (analytics) to see how many of the 20 visitors took even the first mandatory action towards to final commitment. How about the second mandatory action? An absence of action for your first 20 visitors is a warning sign you should not ignore. Halt your advertising spend immediately and consider what to do next. Get advice from one of our instructors if you can. But don’t panic, many early problems like this arise when a business is new, and an experienced CRO practitioner (Conversion Rate Optimization) can sometimes find a way to turn lemon into lemonaide.

Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO is a highly in-demand skill. It does not guarantee you a breakthrough, but without it, you are pretty much guaranteed to not know how to proceed if things go wrong. Having data to guide your decisions will prevent you from wandering around in the dark and barking up the wrong tree.

The simple version of all this is… if most of your new prospects leave your website within the first 30 seconds, without clicking anything or navigating to any other page, and if you have a strong ad scent, you can be fairly certain that those prospects are not super hungry and the next step in solving it is to retool your targeting, your message, or both, then send another 20!


Benny Traub
Benny Traub

Benny is the lead instructor at MarketingEducation.org. He founded the Student Marketing Agency to give small businesses the ability to delegate marketing tasks to experienced students at a discount to typical agency rates. This arrangement also gives students and graduates the opportunity to practice their skills and stay on top of their chosen field, even while seeking other employment, and as a way to earn extra money.