To infinity, and…. into a brick wall.

What do you do when someone comes up to you and starts to tell you that you have to make 2+2 equaling to 5. And I mean afteryour maniacal laughter. You would tell him that it simply is not possible. At least, I hope. If not, I would like you to stop reading immediately.

Of course, it will hopefully not happen that someone comes up to you with that request, but let’s be honest, how many times did you receive a request to do something that is simply not possible. For programmers for example to have a search query run faster than is technically possible, or for designers to upscale a 640×480 image to poster-size without losing it’s quality. It just can’t be done.

But these things you can explain. An element cannot fall faster by itself than it’s terminal velocity, and no matter how much the protest, there will be enough proof to have it explained. But what if what you have is not so easy to explain?

Today I received a phone call from a client, mentioning that the conversion rate from visitors to registered users was lower than expected and that investors were disappointed. After a check, I saw in our reporting that we were able to get 5,4% of all hits on the website, to be turned into registered users. And this also included all the repeat visits, so the conversion number was even higher. I tried to tell him that the industry standard for a ‘high’ conversion rate is about 3%, so that our 5,4% is exceptionally high.

But that was not what he wanted to hear, it needed to be higher. Because in their opinion, 5.4% means that 94.5% is slipping away. And that is a high number. Once money is involved, people tend to look at it from that perspective. But 94.5% is not that much actually, if you consider a couple of things:

– We only allow people older than 18 to sign up, and only in the US. Any visitor from outside that target audience is not participating

– Signing up only is interesting for people who, right now in this economy, are in the market for an expensive luxury item (which we don’t mention before they come to the site).

– We request quite some personal information, something that is not recommended by a lot of security companies andwe do not have a encryption certificate. So a lot of ‘red flags’ why people should not sign up.

But we still hit an exceptional 5.4%. That is 180% compared to the industry standard of a ‘high’ sign-up rate. But how do you explain that if someone thinks it is not enough. It is like flying into a brick wall, and if anyone has any idea how to deal with that, I would like to learn.


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