For any business site, the whole point is to convert visitors into paying customers, and hopefully to establish an ongoing relationship with those newly converted customers. If your website is getting plenty of traffic but relatively few conversions, it’s probably costing you clients, and you should seriously consider making some changes.
Let’s explore some ways that your conversion rate can be increased, perhaps by as much as three times your current rate or more.
Good traffic, poor conversion rate
This problem is one which a great many business owners have, because many of them have invested serious resources into SEO upgrades and enhancements, which are intended to drive much more traffic to their websites. This might be successful in itself, but traffic does not necessarily equate to sales, so the critical piece of this puzzle is how to get visitors to purchase once they do get to your website. If there is a disconnect between a high volume of traffic and a low conversion rate, that difference must lie in the content or the performance of the website itself.
Common misconceptions about conversions
There are a number of popular notions about increasing conversions that just won’t go away, even though they have little basis in fact or actual performance. One common misconception is that you should just stick to ‘best practices’, which are supposedly proven winners when it comes to increasing conversions. But do you implement them all at the same time? Do you try them one at a time in an A/B test format? At about four weeks per test, it could take you years to test out all these best practices. The underlying problem with adopting these winning strategies is that it bypasses the most important aspect of optimization, which is Learning. Learning about your potential customers’ behaviors, their needs, their pain points, and their desires for a better life.
One other myth which many business owners have come to adopt and believe is that A/B testing is equivalent to conversion rate optimization. Testing can be an extremely useful and valuable tool for indicating user preferences, but it’s really only one part of conversion rate optimization (CRO), and it should be handled from that perspective. There are actually all kinds of other tactics which you should include in your overall approach to CRO which will get overlooked if you rely too heavily on testing. For instance, you might need to optimize for loading speed, or you might want to engage with potential customers at a much higher level, to survey them directly about their interests.
Increasing your conversion rate
Not all of these strategies will work for every website owner, and if they did, CRO would be a very easy science to implement. In practice, you should try incorporating one or two of these suggestions at a time, to see which ones work for you. All of these have been successful for some site owners in the past, so you may find some which work exceptionally well for you.
- Free download – make a free download available to your site visitors, and it should be something which strongly correlates to your blog or your overall business. Deliver this download as soon as a visitor signs up with you, and thank them for the signup.
- Install a popup – install a popup on your site, preferably which announces a giveaway or special new products, but make sure this popup only appears once per user, so it does not get to be an annoyance. A survey conducted by Sumo has shown that the average conversion rate for popups is over 3%, and that is much higher than the average conversion rate on a website, which hovers between .3% and 2%.
- Clear signup form – make sure your call-to-action verbiage is clear and compelling, and use a signup form which is simple and can be filled out quickly.
- Followup emails – follow up on a visitor’s signup by sending them several emails within the first week that provide them with more information, and which ask them about their preferences.
- Add testimonials – nothing gives a potential customer greater confidence than to read about positive experiences that others like themselves have had with your products.
- Remove distractions – rather than burying your visitors under an avalanche of content, stick to clear and simple messages, and remove distractions which take their attention away from your main selling points.
Do’s and Dont’s
Just as there are some excellent strategies which you should use to increase conversions, there are some practices you should avoid, because they can actually work against you, and cost you some clients. Here are some of the practices to implement and some to avoid:
- Do use modern technology – modern technology can provide a big boost to your efforts, and you should take advantage of that.
- Do try something different – think out of the box occasionally, and don’t be a slave to traditional methods.
- Do measure results – if you don’t measure the results of any changes you implement, you’ll never know which changes are worthwhile.
- Do feature signups – if you can’t make a sale immediately, get a visitor’s email address so they can be a new business lead for you.
- Do know your audience – do whatever research is necessary to find out everything you can about your true target audience.
- Don’t use excessive popups – this will almost always annoy your site visitors, and send them scurrying off to a less bothersome site.
- Don’t change too much at once – when you make wholesale changes to your site, you’ll never know which of them had the most impact.
- Don’t give up too soon – you shouldn’t abandon a change you’ve made if you don’t see immediate results, because it usually takes time for these things to gain traction.
- Don’t forget to track business metrics – sales and profits are your bottom line, so don’t get too caught up in other numbers and statistics.
- Don’t predict outcomes – let the results speak for themselves, and don’t try to predict what those results will be before they occur.
The recommendations above have worked for countless website owners in the past, because they incorporate sound business principles as well as modern user behaviors on the Internet. As to which of these will be most effective at converting visitors for your business, that is something which only testing can determine. As you experiment with some of these tactics, make sure to avoid the bad practices which will cost you clients, at the same time that you’re implementing some of the successful practices. Be patient, and eventually you should see some significantly improved conversion rates on your website.