Lead generation · Marketing

Web Site Lead Conversion Stats

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

April 22nd, 2015

I'm an investor in a cloud-based dental practice management software company. Company has been around for about 3 years and has a very good, competitively priced ($79/mo/user) product. I'm curious to know whether their lead conversion stats are good or poor. The company spends almost nothing on marketing but still garners about 871 unique, organic visits to its web site (5226 for last 6 months). The target audience is obviously dentists and dental professionals. That traffic generates about 19 inbound leads per month (115 in past 6 months) or roughly 2.2% of top line traffic. About 50-60% of the inbounds are demo requests; the rest are product inquiries (which sometimes lead to a demo). The demo is a key component for a successful sale. Demo no-shows are a problem. Despite automated reminders and pre-demo calls to qualify, about 40% are unreachable and/or shows. Looking at the sales in the last 6 months, there have been 8 directly attributable to the web site. The funnel looks like this for the past 6 months:

- 5226 unique visits
- 115 in-bounds of which about 69 are demo requests
- Approximately 40 demos were actually given
- 8 clients signed

The company has other lead gen channels. The above isolates only the organic search portion to its site. Are these conversion rates any good? I find that the traffic to inbound lead ratio to be low at 2.2% given the specialized nature of the product. On demos given, they are closing about 20%-25% of them. I find this low.

Any suggestions on how to improve conversion rates in a situation like this?

The company is using a marketing automation system (InfusionSoft) to manage and automate the lead gen process and for ongoing nurturing.

Roger Smith

April 22nd, 2015

One thing we have done which has been helpful in freeing up our sales team from demos is upon sign up for interest, we send an automated email that includes 1 or 2 pre-recorded demos that the user can watch at their convenience. If interested they can then reach back out or we follow up within a fews days after which you are now moving onto closing the client instead of educating them.

Kristin Tynski SVP Product Development at Sapio

April 22nd, 2015

Of course optimization should be a priority here, but perhaps you should also look into your organic referral traffic. Perhaps the keywords driving the bulk of the traffic are not well suited for conversions. Maybe you rank for more "top of the funnel" keywords, and are getting a lot of people who are simply exploring their options.  

I would recommend diving into your rankings, and discovering where your opportunities are for improving ranking on keywords that are more likely to be further along in the decision making process. There may be low hanging fruit out there to quickly and substantially improve your flow of leads most likely to convert. 

If you can let me know the name of the company, I could give you a more specific idea of where the opportunities may lie. 

Either way, if you know organic traffic is a key driver for your business, you should be focusing your efforts on improving that baseline. Onsite SEO should of course be done, but more than that, you need to be focusing on building authority through content-driven linkbuilding. 

By creating interesting, useful, or otherwise noteworthy content, and paring that with high-level digital PR/outreach, you could significantly improve your site's authority signals, and drive much larger amounts of organic traffic. The content you create could also be used to address some of your conversion needs. I'd be more than happy to give you a more specific readout if you were interested. 

Kristin Tynski SVP Product Development at Sapio

April 22nd, 2015

You seem to rank well for keywords related to "cloud dental software," which is probably a mid-funnel type search (mostly people exploring existing options).  You are not competitive for the much larger "Dental Software" keyword set. My recommendations would be as follows. 

Your best ranked competitor (Dentrix.com), who ranks for much higher volume keywords, like:
1. Dental management software (and similar)
2. Dental software (and similar)
3. Dental practice software 

My guess, without diving in very deeply, would be that these more general keyword groups would drive 3-4x what the more specific "Cloud dental software" keywords would refer based on search volume estimations on these keywords.  

Dentrix.com ranks very well, despite having a relatively small number of unique linking domains. This space is very very ripe for a new competitor like you coming in and dominating rankings with a strong content-based linkbuilding strategy. 

For reference, here is you compared to Dentrix.com:

Unique linking domains (number and authority of these domains is the primary influencer of rankings)
Dentrix.com: 714 domains
Dovetail.co: 20 domains

Link quality/authority mix:
Dentrix.com: 10% of their links are considered high value/high authority
Dovetail.co 10% of your links are considered high value/high authority
You simply have way way fewer links! This is the reason you don't rank competitively for your highest volume terms. 

Bottom line:
You can significantly improve your organic referral traffic by improving your rankings on higher volume keywords. This can be done by generating the following (rough estimate)

200 Very high authority links (we can usually generate this in 3-5 content campaigns) 
400 medium/high authority links (usually happens as a result of natural syndication after placement of campaigns on high authority publishers.
500 medium/low quality links (happens as a result of natural syndication after placement of campaigns on high authority publishers. 

Given this improvement, coupled with onsite SEO work (which you are doing), It would be trivially easy to outrank Dentrix.com and your other competitors, and lock up your organic lead flow. 

From there (or concurrently), optimize optimize optimize. 

Hope that helps!

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

April 23rd, 2015

To demo or not to demo. That's an important question I'm trying to figure out. The founder (a dentist himself) is of the opinion that a human delivered demo (via web conference) is the only way to show the product and persuade the buyer. Demos are given by a dental professional. She knows the product inside out and can really show it off in a highly credible manner. While the platform is not overwhelmingly complex, it is a full practice management system with many facets and features. It also provides a new way of working for dentists so that they can achieve a true paperless environment. This needs to be explained as it challenges they way dentists currently work.

When a visitor requests a demo, they can select a time and date. They get an email confirmation which they can accept and add the event to their calendar. They get a call from inside sales to confirm and to offer some profile info to stage a personalized demo. They also get automated reminders of the upcoming demo. Despite this, no shows continue to be an issue. Dentists are a funny lot. They get busy and forget. They are also notoriously hard to reach by phone...always busy with patients and receptionists shielding them from direct calls.

The idea of offering, at the first stage, a "canned" self-serve demo "teaser" is an interesting one I'm considering. We could make up a few 5-minute demos that focus on specific use cases. But what about the human touch element? Human delivered demos are not efficient given that one person can only do a limited number per day as each demo is about 1 hour tho 1.5 hours. But at least we can show the product in the right context highlighting different aspects depending on the dentist's speciality and needs. If you do away with human demos, what impact would this have? At some point, they need to contact us to finalize the transaction as there is no self-serve on boarding. They need to have their account setup up and training needs to be given. Perhaps the first step is the self serve on-line demo and the second step is the human demo. At least they'd be better qualified at this stage.

The concept of a free trial has been attempted by the company with limited success. Dentists sign up for one but don't always spend the necessary time to understand how to use the product and to actually use it during the free trial period. Dentists are busy and don't have the time it seems. It's sort of like setting up an accounting system. You might not be tempted to go through all the hassle of setting it up just for a free trial. That's the dilemma here.

K.Lakshmi Shankar Davey How would instant / live demos work?  Leads come in from all over the world. We're dealing with multiple time zones here. I suppose we can offer a "Demo Now" button on the site that can be turned on or off depending on the demo person's availability. 

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

April 23rd, 2015

K.Lakshmi Shankar Davey Thanks. One thing I'm thinking of doing is something similar to what Marketo does. At the bottom of their site they have a sticky footer with "4 MIN DEMO". When you click on that, you get a landing page that offers a few ungated videos (step 1) and a gated demo (step 2). The gated demo is a fully narrated 45 minute production that walks you through their entire platform. We can do the same in probably less than 30 minutes or offer shorter ones broken down by feature or module.

I think that dentists might actually prefer a self serve demo as a first step. I think the key is to have the right CTA post-demo to drive engagement with us (request trial, talk to a dental professional, get a quote...). Inside sales would also follow up with each person who filled in the instant demo form. Does this make sense?

My only question is whether the lack of personal touch is worth forgoing at the first stage in the sales process. Sometimes old habits are hard to break!

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

April 23rd, 2015

Jon Gettinger  Thanks The company has a huge list of 100,000 dentists in its marketing automation system. Many of these contacts have been purchased from various sources over the past couple of years. So email marketing/drip campaigns are a big part of the marketing strategy but open/conversion rates are very low given its unsolicited nature.

I appreciate your comment about willing to switch vs. in market for new solution. I think that it's of critical importance to drive search performance to capture a good portion of that more qualified traffic.

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

April 22nd, 2015

Thanks for your input. The URL is www.dovetail.co. This site is a bit dated. In the last few weeks I have completely restructured the site, messaging and creative. It should be on-line in by mid-May. The plan here is to drive better quality traffic and have more CTAs in place for lead conversion. There are not enough testimonials on the existing site. There will be more on the new site. I also believe heavily in content marketing and nurturing. The marketing automation infrastructure is in place but not optimized. I like the idea of a short self-serve video demo as a first step in the request demo process; however, the founder seems to prefer the "human contact" element. The demos are given by a dental hygienist who can really show the product well.

The dental market is finite. There are about 200K dentists in North America, 2.1M globally. From a competitive standpoint, there are a handful of companies who own a large share of the market. However, they are all selling server-based, desktop PC based products that can cost upwards of $25K...none are cloud and mobile.  My finger in the wind estimate is that at any given time, at least 30% are looking or open to switch. Decent addressable market.

I cannot speak to the quality of the current traffic. The data is there...it just needs to be analyzed. I'm considering taking over the CEO role so analyzing the situation so I know what works needs to be done.

BTW: The inbound process at the moment is all Internet form based (Request Demo, Contact us forms).  When a lead comes in, a girl calls to profile and qualify the prospect prior to demo. 

Tobias Teeter President / Co-Founder at Medprex / LocalRaces

April 22nd, 2015

Just in case it's relevant, I'm working on a cloud-hosted subscription/premium payment facilitation service for dental practices that essentially creates and administered a dental-practice owned 813(b) captive insurance company that shelters $1.2MM in revenue per dental practice.  We turn fee-for-service dentists into tax-free premium collecting dentist-owned insurance companies.

Stephen Huson Leader in Internet lead generation, SEM / PPC / SEO and analytics

April 22nd, 2015

I definitely would recommend adding an inbound call phone number, even if it goes to a voicemail (which is quickly followed-up on).  I expect this would provide a bit of lift to the overall conversion rate.  Some people just prefer the phone to providing information on a lead form.

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

April 22nd, 2015

Stephen Huson: the new web site will offer visitors numerous ways to engage: toll free number, demo request, live chat and request a call back.

The current web site is really not great which partially explains the poor conversion stats. The good news is that there's a ton of content to work with including several slick videos. All of these have been put to better use on the new site. I just want to know what conversion goals I should aim for.