Is your web site converting visitors into customers at a rate of 2.35%? If not, then your performance is below average.
Your company’s website might be extremely well-optimized for search engines and getting you lots of quality traffic, but if you find that it’s not converting visitors, then it’s time to work on CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization).
First, let’s make clear what we mean when we say “conversion”. Simply put, a conversion happens when the visitor performs a “desired action” such as getting in touch, buying, downloading a file, or filling out a form. As mentioned above, the average rate is 2.35%, but a site that’s well-optimized can get much higher numbers.
Using a Call to Action
Historically, we have found that certain methods can increase your conversion rate. The most important is to deploy an old marketing technique in a new technological world: it’s called a “Call to Action”, or CTA for short.
A CTA is a button, a graphic or text that tells the visitor what you want them to do next; and every page on your site should to have one. If a visitor lands on a page without knowing what to do next, they may leave your site without converting. Also, as you learn to apply CRO to your website, think about using the same strategies and tactics on your email campaigns and social marketing efforts.
But before you start adding “Get in Touch” buttons and forms throughout your site, there are a few things to consider.
Conversion rates rely on these 5 factors:
This is the perceived benefit in your customer’s mind. If you understand who your customer is and what they’re looking for and convince them to download, buy or get in touch, you’ve succeeded at matching your value proposition to their needs.
After you’ve promoted your products or services on social media, email and advertising campaigns, the content on your page should match what your visitors are expecting to see. For example, if you’re promoting a webinar on your social channels, the landing page should be focused on the webinar. Use the same language, images and color scheme so there’s a consistent experience between social posts, ads and landing pages.
Check that the main message on all your social posts and pages is clear and direct. Avoid jargon and vague language. Make the calls to action very clear. For example, instead of saying “Click here”, tell the visitor to “Sign Up” or “Download Today”. There should be no uncertainty on their minds about what action they’re performing.
The call to action should be above the fold (the space on the browser before the visitor scrolls down) and prominent so it’s one of the first things they notice. Check that there’s nothing to distract from the main purpose and keep them focused by not providing too many details above the fold. Do have more in-depth information on the page, but put it farther down at the bottom; and add other CTAs throughout so that, no matter where they are on the page, they can easily convert.
Give your visitors reasons to take immediate action with incentives and offers. Use action language to help drive conversion. Verbs are action words–rely on them to get results!
Now consider that conversion tactics depend on what type of content you’re optimizing.
3 types of online content and how to optimize them for conversions:
Your homepage (and pages that upper menu tabs link to) are the main part of your business site. The copy on these pages should describe your services, products and expertise. Here, you’ll have testimonials and case studies, Q&As, talk about your company’s history, your team, your locations, and anything else that would informative about your brand. It’s OK to be self-promotional, since this is all about your business. The copy should be written in the active voice, not passive. For example, instead of: “Our services are appreciated by our clients” write: “Our clients appreciate our services.”
Conversion tactics: Add a “Get in Touch” CTA (that links to a Contact Us form) on every website page. Place the CTA above the fold (the section on the browser just before the visitor scrolls down) and other parts on the page. Another effective tactic is to deploy a popup form that asks visitors to sign up for updates just before they leave the site.
Blogging is the most important part of your social media effort. If you self-promote on social media, people will tune you out. However, if you understand what your visitors want to read about and create that content for them, you’ll drive traffic when you share it on your social channels. For example, if your company sells sheets, you may want to write helpful articles on how to improve your readers’ sleep quality. Or if you sell camping equipment, write posts about lesser-known, beautiful camping sites.
Conversion tactics for blog posts: Add CTAs throughout the post. These should link to a special offer, service or product on other pages. Make sure each post has a get-in-touch form on the sidebar (this way they can contact you at any time). Don’t offer more than one product or service per blog post; and try to keep the CTA aligned with what drew the visitor to your site. For example, if you sell all types of creams and your blog post is about sun damage, link to the page that sells sun screen. Also, create text-based CTAs within blog posts. Sometimes, graphics or banner CTAs are ignored by people as they’ve become accustomed to identifying them with ads.
These are pages that have been specifically created to promote content that’s available after the visitor fills out a form. It can be a white paper, webinar, video, or other prime content. Landing pages should be as focused as possible, should not include menu tabs or footers. The title, url, copy and images should all be focused on the offer.
Conversion tactics: Keep your visitor focused on the conversion. Check that the page has plenty of white space and doesn’t look cluttered. Add the CTA above the fold and use persuasive language and a sense of urgency. Give them a good reason why they should act immediately. The fewer the distractions, the higher your conversion rate.
Optimize, then Analyze
After you’ve aligned your message with expectations, removed distractions and made everything clear, take a look at the most obvious details. Tweak the fonts and heading to make important messages stand out. But don’t overdo it; too much formatting can be distracting. Check that the language is calmly persuasive–use upper case or exclamation points sparingly. Next, optimize the images and/or forms. Images should be evocative, create an emotional impact that moves the visitor toward the conversion. Check that the forms don’t have too many fields that people have to fill out–just the most important contact information so your sales team can follow up.
The last step is test variations in the headers, images, fonts, copy, and CTAs on your landing pages. You can then measure the effectiveness of the combinations in relation to the conversion goals.
There are two ways to do this, choose the one that meets your business needs:
In A/B testing you split traffic between two or more completely different versions of a webpage (landing page, website page, etc.) and the variations can differ in any manner. You can just change the title or CTA or almost everything, including copy, graphics, layout and offer. For example, if you’re A/B testing on a landing page you may want to create one version with a 10% discount, and the other with free shipping and then a third version with the same offer but different page design. This method is best when you don’t have high traffic and want to test radically different ideas.
Keep track of what worked and what did poorly so you can apply on future campaigns and continue optimizing with A/B testing.
In multivariate testing, you identify a few key elements or sections of a page and create variations for those elements or sections (as opposed to creating radical variations as in A/B split testing). For example, you can choose to create different variations for 2 different sections: headline and image. Multivariate testing software is used to combine all these section-specific variations to generate unique versions of a page to be tested and then split traffic amongst those versions. This kind of testing requires high traffic and can be time-consuming but helps you optimize and refine landing or website pages without a significant investment in redesign.
Putting it into Practice
Think of CRO as a means to an end—and that end is profit.
But before you enjoy profit, you need to drive customers to conversion. It’s helpful to think of CRO as a funnel. At the top, you’ve got all visitors. As you guide them towards conversion, there will naturally be fewer on the journey–but the farther along that journey they are, the more likely they are to convert. Keep visitors engaged throughout, and then land them with a great value proposition/product.
CRO isn’t the only thing you need to convert customers–you still need a great product or service!–but combined with other marketing efforts, CRO is a key factor in your digital marketing success.
Hudson Digital is a web design agency in Hudson, NY. We build styilish and easy to maintain sites that have been optimized for search engines and conversion. Contact us to learn more.