Five Ways to Increase Website Conversion Rates
Take it from us: Increasing your conversion rates is absolutely critical in your long-term marketing plan. Why? Having a good conversion rate is the foundation of high sales volume – let’s say your goal is to increase your sales by 50-percent…how would you go about it? Would you look to more advertising? Producing 50-percent more content? How about 50-percent more time, effort and money into marketing?
While all of these tactics could work, it’s our professional experience which has told us it is much faster and cost-effective to do it by increasing your conversion rate. REMEMBER: if you see two-percent conversion, going to three-percent is actually a 50-percent increase in results! Sometimes, just a small tweak here or there can lead to significant improvements in conversion rates; in fact, we have found that many small and few bigger tweaks combined can yield a dramatic increase in your results.
First, let’s begin by identifying what conversion rates actually are before moving on to ways to increase website conversion rates and exploring why knowing the rate is important.
What is Conversion Rate?
The conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a “desired action” – the archetypical example of a such a rate is the percentage of website visitors who buy something on the site. In a broader sense, this rate measures what happens once people have arrived on your website; in electronic commerce, conversion marketing can be defined as the act of converting site visitors into paying customers. However, different sites may consider a “conversion” to be something other than a sale – for example, if a customer were to abandon an online shopping cart, the company could market a special offer (such as free shipping) to convert the visitor into a paying customer. Similarly, a company may attempt to recover the customer through an online engagement method such as proactive chat to assist the customer through the purchase process.
Conversion marketing attempts to solve the issue of low online conversion through optimized customer service. In accomplishing this, a complex combination of personalized customer experience management, web analytics and customer feedback contributes to process flow improvement and overall site design. As experts in all things marketing, Multiverse Media Group believes that conversion rate optimization is a long-term investment as opposed to a quick fix; we suggest focusing more on improving a site’s flow, online customer service channels and online experience for customers.
So, to summarize: The conversion rate is the proportion of visits to a website by people who take action in going beyond a casual view of content or website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers and content creators. Successful conversions are defined differently by these entities; to online retailers, a successful conversion may be seen as the sale of a product to a consumer whose interest in the item was initially sparked by clicking a banner advertisement, while to content creators a successful conversion may refer to a membership registration, newsletter subscription, software download or other activity.
The Ways to Increase Conversion Rates
As we have already covered, to increase website conversion rates is absolutely crucial for your own site because boasting a good rate is the foundation for high sales volume. And whereas in real estate it’s all about “location, location, location,” in conversion optimization it’s all about “testing, testing, testing”…and that brings us to our first tip for increasing website conversion rates.
1. Do A/B Testing – A/B testing – or “split testing”
This refers to a technique for increasing your website’s conversion rate (that is, its ability to turn visitors into customers) in that if you found yourself with two possible headlines for your page and couldn’t decide which to use, you could run what’s known as an A/B split test to decide which one works better. Your goal here should be to have at least one, and preferably several, A/B tests running at any given time on your site. Remember, there’s no such thing as “perfect” when it comes to marketing websites, so the only way you are going to learn what works and what doesn’t is to continuously test.
Many entrepreneurs spend money buying expensive testing software before they actually understand how to implement a conversion rate optimization process – but we’re telling you that you don’t need to spend much on this. Consider:
- Google Content Experiments – As a free platform built into Google Analytics, the only downside to this option is that it’s not in real-time, and you always need to create two separate URLs for testing.
- Optimizely is an A/B testing software you’ll actually use, while Visual Website Optimizer remains one of the easiest; they’re priced similarly (the latter being a bit cheaper) and are far from out of reach for most small business owners.
2. Create a Compelling and Clear Value Proposition
The “value proposition” is what determines the potential of your conversion rate, so this makes it among the most important conversion factors. A value proposition represents the primary reason a prospect should buy from you: Customers are not only looking to know “What’s in it for me?” but “Why buy from you?” Ask yourself to provide 10 words to explain exactly why customers should buy from you and not the competition.
Here’s a vital element: If your home page or the product page exclaims “Welcome!” or simply lists just the name of your company or the product, you’re totally missing out. There is a difference between the value proposition for your company and your product itself – you must address both. In our professional experience, what makes a good value proposition are:
- Being different from competitors’ offers.
- Matching a competitor on every dimension of value save for one – you must stand out in at least one way (a key important factor for the buyer).
Crafting a value proposition requires substantial reflection on what is unique about your company and its products/services.
3. Create a Sales Funnel
You know what we’ve seen kill conversions time and time again? Businesses that ask for the sale – signup, etc. – too fast. You have to keep in mind that some people might just be browsing, or perhaps may not be psychologically ready or in a hurry to buy right now. And, it must be remembered that the more expensive and/or complicated a product, the more time people need before they’re ready to commit – think of large purchases such as a home or automobile.
You just need to slow down and build what’s known as a “sales funnel” to create trust, develop relationships and prove your expertise. A sales funnel is broken down as:
- Awareness – What the visitor wants
- Interest – What you want
- Sale – How to do it (offer valuable freebies on certain services via your blog, video, etc.; become their trusted advisor; give them compelling reasons to sign up to your email list in exchange for some good information, et al)
4. Cut the Jargon
We have covered this before in other informative blogs, but it is definitely worth mentioning again – clarity trumps persuasion, always. In other words, don’t try to woo potential customers with fancy, complicated business language…it just doesn’t work.
Clarity is something we see clients constantly struggling with in their marketing messaging; the best way to rephrase all of the marketing speak on your site is to imagine you’re explaining your product to a close friend…if there’s a sentence worded in a way that you wouldn’t use in a conversation with your friend, re-word it.
5. Address Objections and Increase Trust
It’s just human nature, and it’s unfortunately inevitable: Whenever people read your offer, there’s going to be friction because they will have some conscious and sub-conscious objections to what you’re saying and hesitations about taking your offer. Do your best to prevent these objections by addressing all the possible issues right away in your sales copy – the first step should be to create a list of all the possible hesitations and objections your potential customers may elicit, and then you should add information to your sales copy to alleviate or eliminate those concerns (i.e. “You don’t understand my problem,” followed by “I will explain the problems my product solves”).
Likewise, adding trust elements to your website will increase your conversions – what makes people trust a website?
- Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.
- Prove that there’s a real organization behind your site.
- Highlight the expertise your organization exhibits, as well as the services you provide.
- Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.
- Make it easy to contact you.
- Design your site to come off looking totally professional.
- Make your site easy-to-use – and useful.
- Update your site’s content often.
- Use restraint with any promotional content (i.e. ads, offers, etc.).
- Avoid errors of all types – no matter how trivial they may seem.
The most important thing to remember is that knowing your site’s conversion rate actually creates momentum – and this powerful flywheel of momentum will increase your market share. The better your rate, the more traffic you can afford, the more customers you get and the more successful of a business you’ll ultimately have. You will be dominating your market before you know it!