This is a guest post from: Richard Lecount. Richard is the Marketing Director at USB Makers; ensuring that their digital efforts are using giving them the edge in a very competitive market.
In this article, I will go through how to increase your website conversion rate, with a few simple strategies.
Part and parcel of owning a business is competition, and while competition is always healthy, it’s vital that you are aware of the strategies that will keep you at the forefront of customers and prospects minds. The industry that we work within, is particularly competitive, and while we have worked hard to build a sterling reputation, we have also had to educate ourselves on the digital strategies that will make us visible and appealing to our target audience.
For many years, I operated within a ‘traffic-first’ mind-set; and focused my efforts on implementing tactics that would drive users to our website. This has proved to be successful to an extent, but it is also inefficient. It occurred to me that we were experiencing a high volume of traffic, but our conversion rates left a lot to be desired.
This is where CRO comes in.
Conversion Rate Optimisation is a process of increasing the number of website users that complete a ‘goal’ on your site. That goal of course, is determined by you; it ranges from making a purchase to downloading a report or whitepaper, completing a contact form or signing up for a newsletter. Increasing your conversion rate involves looking at different elements of your websites, and adjusting to enable them to perform at a higher level.
This is usually done through a process of split-testing; a long-term strategy that needs monitoring over a period of time before comparing results.
CRO is so important because it enables you to increase the value of visitors to your website through lowering your cost of acquisition and increasing the revenue of each user. As an example, if your website has 2000 visitors a month, and your conversion rate sits at 10%, then your website is generating 200 conversions per month. Through optimising the elements of your site, you could grow your conversion rate to 15% and increase the number of conversions to 300.
Many businesses that have the best conversion rates have achieved this by treating CRO as an ongoing task, consistently testing and changing elements of their site based on the results. By high-lighting and removing the barriers that are preventing your web traffic converting, you create a better user experience. Below are some of the areas that you can explore on your own site, and see if they increase your conversion rate.
Pay-Per-Click advertising in an extremely effective way of digital marketing and surveys have shown that PPC ads are 1.5 x more likely to convert than clicks from search engine results.
While commonly, those running a PPC campaign will create a couple of variations of the ad, but for the most part – the variations all lead back to the same landing page. The problem with this is that the landing page won’t mimic the tone and message in each ad, creating inconsistency and diluting brand communication.
Each variation of your ad should lead to its own specific landing page, that reflects the language and terminology used, the call to action should also be the same to maintain consistency.
A company called Optimisely switched from one generic landing page to separate pages for each of their ads and increased their leads by 40%.
Call To Actions
When was the last time you assessed your call to actions (CTAs)?
The first part of testing your CTAs is adjusting the headline, language and tone that is used within them. Have they been written with your target audience in mind, using the terminology that they use, or are they written for the general public because if the answer is the latter – this should be your first port of call.
Once you have spent time adjusting your message and wording, you can address their placing on your website.
Often, CTAs are a static element of a blog, or at the opposite end of the spectrum, they can be intrusive by appearing on the middle of the screen, interrupting the users flow and behaving as an interruption. Often, at this point, they haven’t yet decided if they want to have further contact with the brand and this intrusion can become a barrier.
Hubspot once spotted that their call to actions were no longer performing well as a static button on their blog posts, so instead, they implement it as a slider that appeared on the screen once the reader was three-quarters of the way through the content. This change led to a 27% increase in submissions, and their CRO grew by 192%.
Rather than do this, small changes such as moving the button above the fold is also widely advised.
Another CTA change that can have a huge impact is the colour that is used; colour has a profound effect on us, both physically and subconsciously. Your call to action needs to use colours that are on brand, but also eye-catching and contrasting to the rest of the page.
By now, we have heard the phrase ‘content is king’ more times than we care to remember. This is of course, a very true statement, and we will come onto that shortly, but images are also critical when it comes to user engagement.
For USBMakers, we found that including a selection of images throughout our blogs had a huge impact on the number of page views.
If you are selling products online, then high quality, professional images should be included as standard. But what if you included, or swapped some of the product images for ones in which people are using and engaging with them? This puts the product in context. Other elements related to image include a 360 view and zoom.
Images are largely used as a supportive element of a page, but also create high impact pages when used as a background. This strategy was implemented previously by a company called 37signals; they switched their product page from a white background, to one that featured an image of a happy customer; their sign-up rate increased by 102.5% as a result.
Most people are guilty of writing their website content, or outsourcing it….and then leaving it alone, until the time for a rebrand rolls around. Again, this content needs to be written with your target audience in mind, using language and tone that resonates with them; this may be more time consuming than writing generic content around your business and its offering, but it will pay off when it proves to be more engaging.
One ad read, “iPhone 4 or 4s screen repair’ while the other read, ‘Did your screen have a rough night out?’. The second version has much more personality, and ads an element of humour, and is relatable. It’s hardly surprisingly that that version generated an increase of 18% of repairs, and as a result, they adjusted all of the copy to reflect this voice.
Headlines will be a big opportunity for you to grab the attention of your web traffic, and it’s a common occurrence for their importance to be overlooked and undervalued. Jeff Bullas reported that five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.
Knowing your customer well will help you shape your headlines; for instance, rather than use ‘Request a Quote’, we use ‘Quick Quote’, because we know that our audience are often busy business people and appreciate a fast turnaround, the headline instantly communicates that we can comply with their time scale.
A company called Iron Mountain changed their headline of their contact form from ‘Contact Us’ to ‘Request a Quote’ and saw an increase of 140% in leads.
Also, while on the subject of contact forms – another strategy you can try in pre-filling in the space with generic details, rather leaving them blank – this has also proven to increase conversion.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, and it’s important to remember that the changes you make, will at some point, need to be adjusted again. You need to treat your website as an ongoing project, rather than one that has been completed and forgotten about.
As mentioned, the key to CRO is split testing, and with this, it’s crucial that you exhibit patience, and refrain from analysing the results too early. I would advise running the test for a full month before analysing the results and making changes; any less, you are unlikely to gather a full picture and anymore and the results may come to a standstill. Obviously, before you start, you need to know what your conversion rate. There are two ways of doing this –
Leads / total traffic to site x 100 = conversion rate.
Number of sales/ number of visitors x 100 = conversion rate
I would also advise testing one element at a time so that it receives your full attention; for instance, start with your headlines, before moving onto web copy, PPC landing pages and so on. CRO is there for you to monitor how well your website is performing, enabling you the insight to make it as effective as possible, ultimately increasing your bottom line.
Some tools that I recommend for improving your CRO –
Google Analytics – for tracking website behaviour, engagement and traffic sources
Formisimo – for web forms and checkout fields
Survey Monkey – for collecting customer feedback
VWO – Allows you to perform split testing such as modifying and removing elements and test webforms, images and design, before implementing the best performing version.