If you have been running any kind of digital marketing campaign for your website, you know how difficult and competitive it is to get the right customers to your site. You’ve spent money, time and energy getting the right users to your site, but what happens next?
Obviously you want to sell them a product or service, or possibly expand your presence in other ways. The first step in making sure your hard-earned visitors are actually benefiting your business, is defining what you are hoping to accomplish with them. This is when you define what will be your conversion. A conversion can be anything including having someone purchasing a product, getting into the marketing funnel by filling out a contact form or subscribing to your site.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization is quite simply ensuring that the largest percentage of your visitors convert to customers. The purpose of this article is to give you the tools to improve your conversion rate and get the most from your marketing efforts. Regardless of the goal most of the methods won’t change.
Understand and Track Your Goals
First having a clear idea of what your conversion is, is essential. Whether it’s a form submission, phone call, or online purchase you need to understand that and make sure your site is not holding you back. You also need a reliable way to track your conversion rate and correlate it to traffic sources and user behavior on site. For the most part, Google Analytics will provide this. For additional insight, I also recommend linking your Google Analytics with Google Search Console to get the search terms people are using to find your site, as well as how they are interacting with it.
A good place to start is to have an independent party look at your site and tell you what they think the purpose of it is, what is being communicated, and their overall impression. Do they know what you do and what you offer, or is it confusing? Does the initial landing page show you in a good light? Can a user tell what you do and understand your unique selling proposition and why they should choose you? It’s easy to overlook things if we are too deeply involved in the site and miss how things might appear to an outside user.
When in doubt keep it simple, on point, and about the user experience.
Clear Path to Conversion
Do you provide the best path to get the user from their initial landing page to a conversion? This can change depending on how they are finding your site, perhaps you are using an ad campaign to send them to a simplified landing page that reinforces their original search, in this case, you want to avoid distracting them from that path and instead make their choice easy and compelling.
Alternatively, someone finding your home page from an organic search may need more information and choices to get them on the right path.
Self segmentation is the process of letting customers decide which part of your targeted market they are in and send themselves down the right path to conversion. You have probably seen sites do this in simple ways, such as having separate links for new and existing customers, or employers and potential employees. Regardless of how your visitors may be categorized, providing a simple way for them to get on the right path will save them time and improve your conversion rate.
Always try to reduce the number of clicks a user takes to reach the desired action. Every new page a user has to visit to convert is another opportunity to lose your potential customer. If you can get a conversion on the landing page with a form or phone number above the fold, then you should.
Optimizing Forms - Keep It Short
Testing has shown over and over again that shorter forms are more likely to be completed. Obviously you will need to strike a balance between brevity and what information you need to answer their request. For example, a newsletter may only require an email address, but a quote or appointment will need more fields and user commitment. Shorter forms without data validation are more susceptible to spam. Deciding if you want to use extensive data validation, CAPTCHA, or other means of verifying the data is also a consideration.
Avoid Distraction and Roadblocks
The aforementioned forms can be a barrier to conversion, but looking at the user experience for other issues can be very important. Here is a list of common issues sites often have that can hurt their conversion rate optimization.
- Slow page loading - easily tested using Google’s Pagespeed Insights.
- Too many links, animation, or a cluttered page - Provide a clear path to the goal.
- Confusing interfaces, nested menus, and unclear navigation - Keep it simple.
Show your users why they can trust you with their information and business.
Do you have accreditations, endorsements, or associations that verify your quality? Having badges from the Better Business Bureau, professional organizations, or other awards can help reinforce client trust and make the decision to convert easier.
User endorsements, particularly video testimonials and reviews, show new users what experience others have had and help them decide to convert. A link to your reviews on popular sites such as Yelp or Google can build confidence.
Split testing is the practice of simultaneously testing different on-page elements to decide which is the most effective at conversion. This can be anything, from a call-to-action, special offer, or even button color. To do this you need some method to send users down different paths. A simple (and free!) way of doing this is with Google Optimize, although there are other great marketing intelligence packages that do this as well, including Unbounce and Optimizely.
A good practice when conversion testing is to have a diary or log of tests and results that can be applied to future design changes.
Keep Digging into Your Data
Conversion rate optimization, like digital marketing, is an ongoing process. The web is a competitive market, so keeping an eye on your conversion rates and site performance is required to stay on top. With the above-listed suggestions, you have a good tool to keep your conversion rate on the rise.
To learn more about how to calculate your conversion rate and definitions of the terms used please check out this article "Conversion Rate Optimization Tips For 2020".