Your website’s conversion rate is an important indicator of how effective it is at engaging visitors and creating your business valuable leads. Here are some proven tips on how to increase your conversion rate.
1. Design and Write for the Buyer’s Journey
Buyers need different information depending on where they are at in the buyer’s journey, and if you don’t have the information they need, they are likely going to look for it elsewhere. If your product or service is complicated or expensive, it may take more time for people to make a decision and commit.
They will go through three distinct phases, the awareness stage, the interest stage, and finally, the decision stage. The questions they have during the awareness stage are very different from the questions they have at the decision stage.
The Awareness Stage
In the awareness stage, a visitor is just now learning about their own need for your product. They are learning about the problem and how you can help them solve it. A blog is a tremendous tool to finding and helping people in this stage, because you are answering the questions they have and advancing their knowledge of the subject.
Visitors in the awareness stage do not care about prices and are not yet ready to commit and buy your product. However, if you have a soft sell, or you can provide them with more information about their need, they will be more inclined to move to the next stage.
The Consideration Stage
During the consideration stage, a potential customer has learned about the problem, the solution you provide, and wants to understand more about their options. They will be looking for your value proposition, what distinguishes you from the competition, and what features and solutions your product provides.
The visitor hasn’t yet committed to the buying process, but is still generating awareness around what the potential gains will be, and what the opportunity cost would be for not purchasing. It’s important to use benefit-oriented language, and speak to the value that will be missed if they choose not to purchase your product.
The Decision Stage
In the decision stage, the buyer has committed to purchasing the product, and they now need to evaluate whether you truly are the best provider of that product. They will want to compare prices, features, and your reputation. Depending on what you sell, this part of the journey may be done completely offline. However, if the decision stage is being made online, you’ll want to make sure you provide the necessary information for the buyer to make an informed decision.
If a buyer finds more complete comparison information elsewhere, they’ll likely view that source as more authoritative. This is one reason why many websites provide feature comparisons amongst their competitors. They can exclude the main selling feature of their competitor, and only include their own selling features.
2. Do A/B testing
If data is king, then A/B testing is the throne. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is simply comparing two versions of something and using real world results to determine which version is better. A/B testing is a fairly straightforward action that can have a big impact on your conversion rate.
The reality is that split testing needs to be incremental and scientific. Comparing two completely different versions of a page will not provide any real value, because you won’t know what on the page made the difference. However, if you compare two versions of a headline, and everything else is the same, you will know that version A of the headline or version B of the headline created more conversions.
Marketers understand that there is no “perfect” website, only continually improved websites. Your goal should be to have at least one A/B test running at any given time on your site. This will give you data you need to continually improve not only those split tested pages, but any other pages that use common elements you’ve tested.
What Should You Test
Determining what you should test is one of the most important determinants of how successful your testing will be. If you choose something that has little or no impact on your conversion rate, the test will not be worth your time and effort.
Start with items that you already know make a big difference with website conversion rates, such as the headline, the page layout and navigation, the size of your buttons, or the benefit copy on an offer.
How Should You Test
There are many tools that can greatly assist in the process of A/B testing, from free up to enterprise level. Generally the more elements you want to be able to control, the more sophisticated your testing will need to be. For example, you could run an A/B test on a web page by just alternating it’s content over a period of two weeks, with week 1 being version A, and week 2 being version B. However, you cannot control the amount and type of traffic over those periods, so the results may be inaccurate.
Continual testing will result in continual conversion rate improvement.
“No matter how good your product is or how much value you offer, if you don’t communicate that effectively you will lose potential sales.”
3. Remove Barriers to a Sale
No matter how good your product is or how much value you offer, if you don’t communicate that effectively you will lose potential sales.
Zig Ziglar said, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
Your website can have an active part in generating need, finding money, causing hurry, identifying desire and creating trust.
Generating need for your product is about providing the benefits it provides. Finding money means making your product more irresistible than whatever that money is going toward now. Causing hurry involves creating the fear of loss, or fear of missing out. Identifying desire can be done by understanding your target persona and what they care about.
Creating trust is vital to completing a sale, and creating trust online is more difficult than it may be in person. There are external and internal trust signals that can be used to create trust with a visitor.
External Trust Signals
Including external trust signals show visitors that your business is not trying to hide from either past customers or the law. These include business directory listings, BBB listings, citations, reviews, and articles in well-known publications. Pointing to these external trust resources will help establish your own authority.
Internal Trust Signals
Internal trust signals show visitors that you care enough about gaining their business that you put time, energy, and resources into your website.
- Show that trustworthy people are behind your website with a team page. Build trust by listing your team pictures and bios, or by showing the company management team and their industry experience.
- Design your website so that it looks modern and professional. People will quickly evaluate a website by its visual design alone. Things such as layout, typography, images, navigation, and consistency will build or destroy trust.
- Make sure your site is easy to use and provides useful content. People appreciate knowing how to find the information they need. Using conventional and consistent sign posting, navigation, and design will build trust with visitors.
- Be easy to contact. Contact information should always be available on every page: phone number, physical address, and email address. This is easily done via the footer.
- Update your site’s content frequently. Sites that show they’ve been recently updated, or that are consistently reviewed, will receive more credibility. A blog or a news section is a clear example of this, and nothing says “out of business” like an abandoned blog.
4. Remove any Distractions
The last thing you want to do when you want someone to take a specific action is distract them with too many other options. This is key for improving your conversion rate, especially on a landing page. If you provide too many distracting buttons, you cannot control the user journey though your website.
It’s worth mentioning that a landing page can go even further to have all distractions removed, and only have one option for continuing: fulfilling the offer. It is best to remove the menu, the footer, and a sidebar. This will ensure that the focus of the page is the benefit statement and the features of the product you are providing.
On product pages, you should ensure that every element contributes to the buyer journey. Buyers appreciate having things simplified, because they know where they should read. Providing too many places to look could confuse your visitors right when they should be focusing on making a decision about your product.
5. Eliminate Jargon
Let’s be straight, jargon does not improve your sales pitch, unless you’re selling your jargon writing skills. Simplicity trumps jargon, and will make it easier for visitors to understand the value you are offering.
Even in a highly specialized industry, jargon is often unwelcome on your product pages. You cannot ensure that your visitors and decision makers will understand your jargon.
The goal is to speak plainly so your visitor will understand exactly what it is that you do, how your product will benefit them, and what they need to do to purchase your product.
The wording on your website is critical, so if you’re in doubt about what it should say, use A/B testing to find out what truly works. Remember to arm yourself with data instead of hunches.