Setting a business goal is often the easy part of running a company. Face it -- most business owners know what they want: more sales, more customers, more revenue... simply more! But the problem isn't only about getting to that state of more; it's about knowing when you've hit that point in real, tangible terms.

In the online marketing world, deriving more customers from website visits is referred to as a conversion. The term is fairly straightforward: when clicks convert to cash (or another action), a conversion has been reached. A conversion rate is measured when a business owner divides the number of goal achievements (calls, purchases, etc.) by the number of website visits, then translating it into a percentage. For example, 50 purchases on a website divided by 1,000 unique hits would be a conversion rate of 5%.

The businesses that aren't analyzing and crunching numbers when it comes to this data, though, might not see those conversions and write off their marketing efforts as failures when, in fact, they aren't. A big part of getting customers to buy what you sell (whether on the web or off) has to do with your website more than you might think. Consider this: you could get the most search engine optimization in the world for your website, but if those hits don't lead to dollars, what's the point?

When searching for an agency that promises the chance to win conversions, you'll need one that will make suggestions to help you gain and track your conversions through conversion reporting. Here are just a few recommendations an agency may suggest:

  1. Call to Action
  2. All websites must have a call to action in order to measure conversions. Even if you're not sure what a call to action is, there's a good chance you've seen one on the web. A button that says "Click Here" to set up an appointment or to obtain a free quote is a call to action. Restaurants may use them to track phone or web orders or online reservations. A call to action can include a purchase, too.

  3. Phone Tracking
  4. As each year passes, the number of smartphone users rises, and so, too, does the amount of people who use those phones to access the internet on a regular basis. Embedding your phone number into your website isn't just a handy way to let customers call you after reviewing your website. The click-to-call method also gives you the opportunity to track how many customers take advantage of this feature.

  5. Website Analytics
  6. If you aren't already using a web tool to track website hits, this will be one of the most important services an agency can offer. But web analytics can do more than count hits. An agency should be able to count click-through rates and time spent on each page, in addition to tracking where users were referred from and how many conversions are reached. These analytics can then be translated into the number of leads you receive from your site.

  7. Website Design
  8. Six seconds: that's approximately how long your website has to make a good impression with visitors. If your homepage is too cluttered, has too many broken links, looks unprofessional or dated, or just doesn't have the right information that visitors are looking for, they're going to look elsewhere. Getting an all new website design allows you to have a clear call to action displayed prominently on your homepage and get a look that will "wow" your visitors and crush your competition.

What call to action does your website use? What goals do you have for your conversions? Tell us in the comments section.

By: Jen Meli