It’s true. You can’t eat responses… unless they’re tomatoes and other edible items being thrown at you (and I think we’d all agree that’s less than ideal).
But, more seriously: your ultimate success in business depends on your profits – and profits ultimately depend on your conversions.
Yet still it seems the majority of copywriters and marketers crow about their response rates. One copywriter I know is frequently bragging about his rates which then turn out to be statistically meaningless.
To be sure, since it’s a numbers game the more responses you get the more conversions you’ll get, pro-rata, but that’s missing the point – and missing it dangerously, to my mind.
Let me give you a concrete example: on while ago I was consulting with a client on the phone. He’s based in Edinburgh, and yet is running his Adwords campaign as far afield as London. And since this is a service where he must needs come to your house to do it, there is no way on Earth (or any other planet) someone in London is ever going to be his client.
So, no matter how fab, zippy and spiffy his click-through rate, which is his response rate, his conversions will be zero. And since he’s paying for every click, he’s throwing his money away.
The trouble is, good response rates are emotionally appealing and we’re loath to do anything to cut them, even if it means our conversion rate improves.
Another concrete example comes from some time back, where a full 17% of people who hit my client’s landing page filled in an on-line application… but he never, EVER closed a single one of them.
So a superb response rate… and a lousy conversion rate (the point being, he, too, was completely wasting his money on the Adwords campaign drawing in those applications).
From this we can infer something pretty amazing… but that’s a subject for another day.
So for now, think on what I’ve said: response rates are nowhere near as important as your conversion rates.
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