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Trading traffic for a better conversion rate

Friday, 1 March 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

my-best-mistake-schebesta-thumbFred Schebesta had a clear vision when he created Finder.com.au several years ago. But even the most accomplished online entrepreneurs can make mistakes.


Based in Sydney, Finder allows users to compare products such as credit cards, savings accounts, home loans and mobile phones in order to make the decision-making process less stressful.


For Schebesta, the issue of traffic versus conversion resulted in a major learning curve. After experiencing a surge in traffic, Schebesta realised the job was only half done.


“We did about six or seven months of work – probably more nine – of just trying to get traffic to the site. It was one of our areas inside Finder; one of our niches,” he says.


“The challenge was we’d done all this work and even though our traffic was going up – it was significantly increasing, even doubling – we got to a point where it almost didn’t matter if we got any more traffic.


“What we had to do was go back to the drawing board and break down the way in which we actually ran the site, and pivot and change how it works.


“We looked at all the competitors’ sites and saw how they’re doing things… and essentially we changed it.”


This included reducing the amount of information required in the quote form, which consumers complete on the website.


“We were asking people far too much information. That obviously confused people,” Schebesta says.


“We made it a lot simpler – the questions – and we changed the wording so it was easy answers you’d know off the top of your head.


“I think we had ‘occupation’ [as a question] and we just removed it. Some people say, ‘What’s my occupation?’ If you do a bit of this and a bit of that, it’s hard to figure out.


“They also say, ‘I don’t want it to affect my premium so I’m leaving’.”


“We also made the form smaller – it doesn’t look as overwhelming to go and do. We made the size of the fields smaller. We also changed the colours of the form. It makes it easier to see and stands out from the page.”


The business also changed the structure of its service.


“All our sites have pretty life-changing decisions built into them… There’s quite a lot of consideration that [consumers] need to go through,” Schebesta says.


“Instead of asking people to buy the product there and then on the site, we just ask them to enquire.


“Before, we were actually promising to give them advice on the site. We removed that and said, ‘We’ll get you in touch with someone to get you a quote’.”


According to Schebesta, the conversion rate increased tenfold as a result of the changes that were made.


“It’s all these little silver bullets that have all added up,” he says.


“By focusing on our conversation rate, and not focusing on traffic, it actually allowed us to create a business in that market… Before, we were the wrong way round.


“Once you’ve got some traction, a lot of entrepreneurs keep focusing on trying to pour more in the funnel. It needs to be the other way around. 50% of your focus needs to be on what you’ve currently got and improving that.


“We were going to stop the business but we had this insight and changed it, and it became a real company.”


With 24 staff on board, Finder is hoping to double its traffic this year.


“We do about a quarter of a million visits a month right now. 500,000 is the goal,” Schebesta says.