How to Improve Conversion Rates on your Business Website

How to Improve Conversion Rates on your Business Website

The Conversion Rate Optimization has quickly become an imperative feature of every online marketer’s sales strategy. While Search Engine Optimization has dominated the field of digital marketing for more than a decade, an Econsultancy study from 2014 confirmed that 59% of businesses and e-commerce websites consider CRO a vital part of their current internet marketing efforts.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Whether you are selling goods or offering professional services via the Internet, your marketing efforts are heavily concentrated on your website, landing page, or email design. The entire process behind a visitor taking action on your website and your landing page can be measured precisely. Once measured, it can be improved as well. Simplified, this method of applying analytical results to design and structure of your pages to increase the percentage of visitors converting to customers is called  conversion rate optimization. [+]← click to expand

Whether it’s a purchase, submit form, sign up for a new account and so on, the path your prospect takes from entering your website to completing the desired action is monitored by precise tools, allowing you to optimize your “weak spots.” Conversion Rate Optimization is not based on guesses and hunches, nor is it a matter of an individual’s sense of aesthetic approach. It is a data-driven procedure which relies heavily on analytics and users’ feedback, with a sole purpose of providing a better user experience and improving performance. Getting the most out of the traffic that your website gains is the number one priority of CRO.

During the past decade, a great majority of businesses invested in SEO to drive traffic to their websites. But even the perfect SEO of your web page cannot guarantee that those visitors will make a purchase or answer your call to action. Leading a profitable business online is maybe not as hard as it seems to be, but SEO and CRO are indeed the two aspects that will require your devotion and continuous investments.

The Basics of Conversion Rate Optimization

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At this very moment, you are probably already employing a few SEO strategies and you are most likely investing in SMM as well. All of that paid traffic is bound to convert some of your visitors into customers, but knowing they are searching for once they reach your landing page is the key of conversion. CRO is concentrated on user feedback and figuring out what your consumers are looking for on your page.  Ultimately, it is a form of science behind the redesign of pages.[+]

A quality performed CRO analysis will definitely help your ROI, since you will gain insight on where to invest and in what amount. It is crucial to understand that your web page is a funnel that serves to filter visitors. This doesn’t mean you should simply start tweaking your call to actions and design; on the contrary, this method will help you define focus when it comes to your target audience, and help them navigate through compelling design that will encourage them to make a purchase.

For example – when a regular visitor reaches your landing page through search or social media, he or she is already interested in the product. The factors which are certainly influencing your buyers are discounts, testimonials, images of your employees etc. If a visitor reaches your page, loves the price and starts thinking about buying your product or service, he will scroll down and look for additional info. At that point, if he cannot find what he is looking for he will simply navigate away from your online retail. The great thing about CRO is that you will know when did that customer decide to leave your website and concentrate solely on redesigning that one port in particular, instead of investing countless hours and funds into pointless redesign measures. So CRO is cost effective, helps with maintaining attention of your visitors, and helps you focus your target audience.

    • 4 Key Terms You Need to Know

Although often referred to as a part of the CRO, user experience is a completely separate entity and it shouldn’t be mixed with standard CRO techniques.[+]

UX is, by its definition, how your visitors interact and use your website. It is closely involved with the CRO but is a far more complex concept. For now, the key terms that you have to be familiar with are: Call to Action (CTA), Conversion Funnel, Multivariate testing and split testing or A/B testing.  And keep the UX as a conditioning factor that should be considered as a standard.

Call to Action is the message that you are sending to your visitors in the hope that they will follow it through and performed the desired action. Whether it is a link to your subscription form, a sign-up button or a buy now title, there is always a way to optimize your CTA so that it delivers more conversions.

Conversion Funnel symbolizes the path that your visitors travel to become your loyal consumers. Every step of the way, your email, your website, your landing page – through CRO you can measure and evaluate each and single one of these steps and tweak your funnel to ensure that your conversions are running smooth.

Multivariate testing is a complex form of simple split tests. This method is based on testing multiple versions of your website or a landing page, and tracking progress through those pages individually. Not only that, but you can also gain insight on which elements and colors perform the best.

A/B testing or split testing, is the simple form of multivariate testing and the very starting point of your CRO investigation. By splitting your landing page to two versions and testing both of them individually by sending them out at the same time to the equal number of visitors, you can gain insight on which of those two provides better results, and then focus on optimizing that particular page for further conversions.

    • How to Set Up your Sales Funnel

Chances are you already have a sales funnel defined. If you are selling a product or offering your services online – you are already performing this operation, you just need the correct term and definition to understand how you can optimize it and maximize your conversions.[+]

The term funnel serves as an example which help us portray the process of conversion and help us visualize the path that a visitor travels from being a prospect to converting to a regular customer. If you have a number of 100 prospects interested in your product, let’s assume that 60% of them will navigate away from your page in the initial part of the funnel. 30% of them will reach the point of conversion and make up their mind there, and let’s assume that 10 out of 100 prospects will end up being satisfied customers, waiting for you at the end of the funnel. What you need to do is devote attention to each step of this funnel and maximize your conversions by altering them, tweaking them and redesigning them.

While the introductory paragraph for this section may seem comprehensible, the actual process of measuring data and optimizing your funnel is far more difficult undertaking that you would’ve thought. The very first thing that you will have to do is to get yourself familiar with Google Analytics. You have to define your goal and measure all data to ensure that your ROI, so don’t forget to add the value of your goal. Here is a short tutorial on how to create goals in Google Analytics.

Once you have a clearly defined goal, it is time to build your funnel. Google Analytics will provide you with only ten options which represent the steps of your funnel, but ten is more than enough because we want to keep the process short and comprehensive as possible. Not only because measuring all that data and optimizing your funnel is a daunting task, but also because long funnels are simply contra productive. The steps you create will provide you with exact data and you will be able to gain insight on where your prospects decide to leave the funnel. This is very important because those steps are the ones which require your attention.

Usually, funnels are consisted of landing pages, sign up forms and trust elements. This is a simple landing page CRO design, but be aware that you can also build and test your funnels through email conversions. To optimize every element, we will have to dissect it and analyze it individually.

Building Your First Landing Page

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A landing page is one of the essential parts of a sales funnel. The quality of it needs to be impeccable when it comes to design, but what is more important – it needs to be relevant.

[+]When a prospect visits your landing page think of it as if he is visiting your actual store. The content needs to be fitting and informative and the quality of the information presented needs to be compelling. Once the visitor is on your landing page that means that he is showing interest in your product or service. If your offer is visually well designed and you have a persuasive USP – you are on a good road of converting that visitor. Always mind the following – your landing page needs to have a clear CTA; it needs to be user-friendly, which means optimized and easy to navigate through and it has to instantly build trust in your product.

When designing a landing page, your very focus should be on your CTA button. It has to be obvious and easy to find, some prospects are simply looking for a product and they don’t care about any other content – they’ve already made a decision and you should make their purchase as simple as it possibly could be.

User experience is important from the aspect of the purchase. Test your checking in process and make sure that it is comprehensible and easy to perform. A long, demanding process of purchase might throw some of your prospects off. Just be honest when answering this simple question: are your prospects encouraged to navigate clearly through the pages while visiting? How many clicks will get the purchase complete? Is your landing page mobile friendly? Keep your contact information, your prices and your payment method transparent. You need to emphasize that safety is your top priority and send a message to user that he can trust you.

Customer testimonials are the easiest way to build trust in your customers. Social proofs of your satisfied clients will always be the most compelling factor for your future clients. People simply love referrals and hate being the first one trusting any company. You need to present transparent evidence that your product is well tested and that you provide service worthy of referral.

With all of the features aforementioned, never forget your Search Engine Optimization. Always mind your meta description, your image format and size, titles, keywords, clear headlines etc.

Be aware that your landing page will continuously be a project that will require revision. You will definitely want to change your CTA button color, the position of key elements and possibly images to test your conversion rate. Be advised that stock photos should never be used when designing a landing page.

    • How to Analyze Your Landing Page

Once you’ve built your first landing page, the time has come to test it.[+]

Be advised that testing sample can’t be too large, but it definitely can be insufficient. In average, 5000 observations will provide you with a .95 reliability and your testing sample should preferably be around that number. If you are thinking about analyzing your conversions – make sure you have the traffic for it. If you don’t – then it’s time to get back to good old SEO and increase the number of visits on your landing pages. If you do have a sample of 5000 visitors then you have to concentrate on alteration of every element individually: Headlines, sales copy, fonts, images and colors.

Headlines should be compelling and transparent in their purpose. Never forget your keywords, if you are dealing with CRO it is expected that you have at least basic knowledge of SEO since it is a preconditioning factor. Test different versions to determine to which one do your visitors respond better.

When writing a sales copy, always concentrate on the problem. Of course, there are certain words that people simply respond to and you should emphasize those, but your sales copy needs to offer a solution for a problem and not just promote your product.

Fonts are equally important. It is a well-known fact that Comic Sans font has never been persuasive or sold a single thing. Fonts impact conversions but bear in mind that your landing pages are no place for long posts and thorough explanations. If you are providing information – keep it precise and concise, make sure that your font is easily read and that its size is optimal as well. Your disclaimers and privacy policy should be at the bottom of your page in a tiny font, and your CTA button should have a clear title written on them in large fonts.

Images should always be impactful. We’ve already mentioned that you should never use stock photos, but the one that you need to use most definitely is your logo and your headline image. A compelling representation of your offer that will reassure prospects that your content is worth their time. Keep in mind that your images should always be in a small format so that they can be downloaded to your visitor’s devices fast. Preferably the file size shouldn’t be larger than 200Kb.

Colors are probably the most important part of every successful marketing venture. You are probably aware how compelling colors can be and that there is a well-proven theory behind the psychology of colors. Here is a definite guide that will help you comprehend how people react to certain colors.

The process of analysis is based on samples. As many variations that you can come up with – test them systematically. After you perform an A/B test, discard the underperforming version and build two versions out of the one that delivered more conversions. Be aware that you can never optimize your landing page so that is delivers 100% conversions, which means that your testing process will never be done – there is always some additional tweaks that can be applied.

    • How to Build Sign Up Forms That Convert

Once your visitors reach this position, they are at the most important breaking point of your funnel. This doesn’t mean that you can disregard all the other aspects and concentrate solely on the sign-up form; naturally, every element should be in its place to direct visitors to this final step.[+]

Always remember that less is more and don’t forget to inform your prospects about what will happen after they enter their information. Additionally, whenever possible – include a social proof too. Still, never forget that simplicity is the key to great conversions so don’t pile up on unnecessary details.

Since this step is crucial for conversions, being that all conversions happen right here, you will have to devote extra attention to your sign up forms. Once again, be advised that your hunch is not a measure that should be considered at any time, still you will simply have no trouble in determining is your sign-up form effective or not just by the look of it.

The less information you ask for the better. If you are asking for phone numbers and credit cards, make sure that your company is transparently represented online as well. Understand the risk – the moment you ask for any piece of information that can be considered as too private – you are losing a customer. The smart way to go around this, if you really need those details, is to draw your visitors even further down the sales funnel and offer something in return. Basically, you shouldn’t ask for social security numbers or credit cards until your visitor definitely decides that he wants to do business with you.

Your headline should provide an explanation about what will happen after they file their details. For example, your headline can inform them that they will receive a confirmation email, or a free e-book, or whatever your lead magnet is.

Including a social proof doesn’t have to be a complex task. Just state how many subscribers you have this far or how many customers filed their information in the same sign-up form. As we’ve stated before – very few customers are willing to be the very first. Provide proof that people trust you to gain even more trust, it is as simple as that.

If you are interested in tweaking up your sign up submission form even more, here is a great tutorial that will teach you how to build a bulletproof, converting sing up. One thing that you should definitely exclude without any hesitation is the captcha filter. It might keep the spammers out of your list, but it will keep your conversions dropping as well.

    • Building Consumers’ Trust with your Trust Elements

Every business benefits from trust elements. If you have a transparent proof of your previous deals and how beneficial they were for your customers – present it in a form of testimonials. Everything from your company’s logo to contract should contain a trust element[+] that will reassure your clients that you will do everything possible to provide them a great service.

A bare minimum that you will have to include in your sales proposal on your landing page  is a guarantee that you will perform a service or deliver a product or provide a refund within 30, 60 or 90 days. Make it attention grabbing but try not to draw attention from your CTA button.

If you are asking for any private information from your clients, ensure them that all information will be kept confidential. If you are using any encryption software make sure to underline which one and why it is beneficial for your clients. Third party validation is a very powerful converting feature.

As far as testimonials go, the most important thing is to keep them genuine. Present your finest example cases and provide a short description that will not just emphasize your services but also provide an evidence of a solution to some problems within your market. For example, if you are a CRO agency dealing with small businesses, the perfect testimonial would be to have a portrait photo of your satisfied customer, along with a statement “These guys increased my conversions for 430% within the first month.” Including their business and role in the company is equally important. Here is a great tutorial that will help you to design the perfect testimonials for your landing page.

Bear in mind that your trust elements are very important as conversion factors. However it is enough to simply present them without too much hype. Continuously stating that there will be no problem might just be contra productive.

    • Analyzing Your Email Conversions

Your list of contacts is the best source that you can use as a testing sample. This step will provide you the perfect entry to your sales funnel and will initiate the process of conversion [+]with already confirmed prospects.

Be advised that you should avoid, by all means, sending out email blasts and spam emails. Most platforms require an evidence of your acquisition, but still keep in mind that trying to gain business from a spam email simply makes no sense and all other efforts beyond that are meaningless. You should, of course, implement an A/B testing and send out different copies, or even test out different lead magnets. For example, one of your emails could offer an infographic on your landing page. The other could offer a discount or a complimentary product as a part of a new package upgrade. No matter what platform you use, you will certainly be able to access your open rate, bounced emails and click through rate.

 

Your subject line is certainly a breaking point of your open rates. Some people will simply have their mailbox set up in a way that will prevent your email from accessing their inboxes and will filter yours straight to the spam folder, but the remaining opportunities will decide whether to open your message or not solely because of your subject line. So think about this initial part as if you were trying to find the perfect book title.

Your copy could be short, long or too long. While most people prefer to gain valuable information in concise sentences with a clear call to action, your regular customers will probably prefer a thorough explanation right there on the spot before they click on your CTA. Consult this article to find out which emails get the best click through rate. Of course, writing too long copies is a meaningless undertaking which you should avoid by all means.

    • The Proper Use of A/B and Multivariate Testing

A/B tests and Multivariate tests are indivisible. While A/B tests [+] are used to divide the number of your visitors into two groups and define which elements (CTA buttons, general design, etc.) deliver more conversions, multivariate testing[+] is a more complex approach of this same system. In simple terms – you are testing significantly more options and defining each element with greater precision. Apart from being a more accurate technique, multivariate testing differs from split tests in required sample size as well. Naturally, for more precise measurement we need more elements that we can measure.

A/B or split tests are a much more popular method of CRO strategy when compared to multivariate testing. The simplicity behind this process makes it a favorable technique which can determine how different positioning, colors, CTA buttons and titles affect your conversions. The standard procedure is based on splitting your visitors into two groups and presenting a different version of your landing page or email to each of those groups. Once you compare the numbers you will gain insight and determine which design performs the best. Afterward, you should cross out the underperforming model and continue to invest your time and efforts in the one which brings higher results. While this method helps your conversion percentage, it also keeps your investments focused defining your marketing strategy to the very precise details that require your attention.
The trouble of multivariate tests is mainly your sample size. While you are testing all the same key elements – colors, CTA buttons, sign up forms etc. – you are also testing different sizes, shapes, positions and more at the same time. After the tests is finished, the variables are mutually compared and through only one test you are gaining results as if you were conducting multiple A/B tests with your best performing features.

The most important thing that you should keep in mind is that you have to run these tests at the exact same time. If you send out different versions in different time intervals, your samples will reach a completely different settings as well. One last piece of advice is to keep all tests open for constant revision since, as we’ve stated multiple times before – you can never perfect your optimal number of conversions.

Advanced Optimization

At the very end, don’t forget the golden rule – you can never reach a 100% of conversions, no matter how well-optimized your funnel is. It is simply impossible. This means that there will always be room for advancement.[+]

Bear in mind that factors like site speed, average order value and great SEO will always increase the number of your conversions. The sooner the page downloads to your prospects mobile device the better. If you are offering something of substantial value will certainly affect quite a few decisions. And if it is all presented on a responsive platform – you are at the top of your conversion game.

Average download of your landing page should be lowered to a bare minimum. If you are uncertain how long it takes for a user to actually obtain all the pieces of information from your landing page, you can use some of the page speed tools from Google and check it. Resize your images, keep your elements simple and don’t pile them up continuously. Remember that simplicity and concise information provides conversion.

Average order value is a strategy that you can test and modify as much as you can. Discounts, promotions, rewards – those are all great strategies that may increase your conversions. Pricing strategy is inseparable from your conversion strategy, and if you are looking to find out more about it you can start here.

Advanced SEO is imperative. Follow up on the latest SEO trends and realize that your SEO strategy will continue to influence your traffic and your conversions in the year 2016 as well. Know that starting from this year when you are thinking about reaching out to your customers online – think mobile first.

Author:

Sarah Green

Sarah Green explores the latest web trends and covers stories related to technology, startups and digital life in general. Writing professionally since 2012, she has developed a sixth sense for trending topics in these fields.

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