Yes, it’s nice when many people come to your website. It’s even nicer, however, if you can actually manage to convert them. That, after all, is why you built the website, is it not? For that reason, today we’re going to look at 14 tips from the experts about how you can optimize your conversion rate.
Note that we’re going to cover a lot. Don’t implement them all. If you do that, there is really no way for you to know which actually work and which hinder your strategy. Instead, do what we always advise here at A/B Tasty — introduce elements slowly and then test, test, test. That way you can know which help and which hinder, which in the longer run will push up your conversion rate far higher.
Ready to get started? Great, here goes.
Make sure your content works across all platforms
The first thing that you should make certain of is that your content actually works across all platforms (e.g. mobile, desktop, tablets). If it doesn’t – if for example mobile users aren’t sticking around, you’re going to end up losing a lot of customers for a very silly reason.
To know if you’re losing customers because your site isn’t compatible, check your bounce rate on Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you can zero in on what devices visitors are using to accessing your site. Check the bounce rate. If you find that the bounce rate is significantly higher for once device over another, you might have a platform problem.
Understand the psychology of conversion
Your ultimate goal is to convert a visitor into a customer. With that mind, it pays to understand a little bit about consumer behavior and the psychology of conversion. For that reason:
Pay attention to the color
Colors have a big impact on users. Given that, take the time to choose what colors work best. Note that you shouldn’t simply run after the pack here. Different users have different color preferences (men versus women, young versus old). This is, therefore, one of the prime locations to try out some A/B testing to make certain that your CTA button (and your page as a whole) has the right layout for your customers.
Understand the importance of the Z pattern and the F pattern
People generally scan a page in a certain pattern, be that a ‘Z’ pattern or an ‘F’ pattern, depending on how much information you have on your page (more information means the latter, less information and more pictures means the former).
You want to place your CTA button to lie somewhere in the line of that pattern. Perhaps not first, as then people have not yet figured out what you’re trying to sell, but certainly somewhere along it. Again, A/B testing the different positions can make a huge difference in terms of conversions.
Test your call-to-action
Also, work on what words you want on the button and around it. Remember, the button shouldn’t say what you want (ie., buy my product) but should instead focus on giving the user what they want — get the ebook, try it free, or create my account.
The words you want to try out are ones that will play up the user’s needs and wants. People like getting things for free, they like creating things and they like knowing more.
Leverage the power of scarcity and loss
Fear of missing out is a powerful human emotion. For that reason always think about ways to imply that this opportunity will not last forever. This can be something explicit like ‘for a limited time only’ or ‘while stocks last’ or can be something more implicit. Just as long as people feel that if they don’t act, they will miss out.
Offer future rewards (for a little something in return)
Another good strategy to use is that if you plan on regularly changing what you’re offering. (And why shouldn’t you? Your offer needs to stay up to date.) You offer to update their software for them if they would only be so kind as to give you their personal details so that you can contact them when the update is available.
This is an effective way to get their information as the offer seems reasonable, while implicitly activating their sense of loss (if you don’t give me your information, you’ll miss out on future updates).
Use personalization to increase engagement
Different people look for different things. This is a valuable strategy to create different landing pages that speak personally to the people who are looking for the different information – for example, single mothers and accountants.
A good way to separate these people is by figuring out what search terms the different groups use or by dividing where people end up based on GPS and then specializing the landing pages to appeal more to that audience, by repurposing content, changing the colors to fit their needs and even adjusting the font.
Know when your audience is online
When you post and when you push content through your social media should similarly be used to reach more customers (and the right kind of customers). So always be looking not just what customers are online but what kind of customers end up coming to your websites at different times.
In this way, you can make certain that you’re pushing the right content at the right time. In the afore mentioned single mothers and accountants category, you might find that the accountants are more likely to be online during lunch time while the mothers are online closer to midnight. In this way you could then split who you market to at different times.
Use social proof to build credibility
If you’ve got a large following make everybody aware of it. Similarly, if you’ve got testimonials by satisfied customers, display they prominently. We’re a social species and when we are far more likely to want what other people want. So show everybody that people want your product (and if you have no social proof, hide that as far away as possible until that changes).
Create yes ladders to encourage micro-conversions
If you can get people to engage positively with your website early on, then they are far more likely to say yes at the end. For this reason, try to create micro-agreements or commitments before you ask for the big one.
So, for example, you might ask, ‘would you like my free ebook’? Then ‘can I send it to your inbox?’ and only ask for their email address and their information. In this way they don’t have to jump, instead they simply have to take small steps, meaning more are likely to stay the course.
Try it on people
Really want to know what works and what doesn’t? Get people to try out your page right in front of you. Even better, get them to do with eye tracking software tracking where they’re looking. It will give you a much better idea of what they’re looking at, what they’re confused by and where people are losing interest.
Only running a handful of tests can dramatically improve your understanding of how your page is being used and where people are looking to get their information. That can tell you if you’re actually on the right track or if an entire new page design might be in order.
Keep it simple
Also, constantly be on the lookout for places where you can remove superfluous information and distractions, either by hiding them deeper on your page or by creating collapsible menus. The more elements you’ve got on your page competing for attention, the less people are going to pay attention to your CTA.
A good way to know if something doesn’t need to be on your page is through a click heat map. This will let you see where people are clicking and where they aren’t. If you find that you’ve got links on your landing pages that aren’t actually getting very many clicks at all, then consider putting them somewhere more out of the way.
Keep it real
We evolved to like people, not abstract concepts. For that reason, if you want to create a connection, put a face and a personality on your company and the products. Consider using images of people (particularly smiling ones) throughout your website. Even better, make the people you present similar to your purchasing audience as we like people who are like us.
Support a cause
Similarly, many of us enjoy the idea of supporting a cause without having to do anything for it. For example, by buying a product that then supports that cause with a portion of the profit. It’s a bit like having your cake and eating it too.
Remember, however, that different people prefer different causes, so if you do want to go down this road, make certain that you find the cause your audience likes. And yes, there are even some audiences that don’t like any causes at all.
This might be something you originally want to try out in a questionnaire.
That’s a lot of strategies! Now it’s up to you to figure out which will work best for your brand. Let me again say ‘all of them’ isn’t really the right approach. If you implement all of them, you have no idea which are actually working and which are not. It’s much better to start with maybe five or six, vary them, change them and test them till the cows come home and you exactly how they work and what works best.
From there you can then add other elements from a sound foundation. Yes, this will take much longer, but it has the benefit that by doing so you’re not just upping your conversion, but you’re on target to actually optimize it. And that difference is vital, because if one company ups their conversion and another company optimizes theirs, it’s not hard to figure out which is going to win the competition for customers.
About the Author: Jonathan Emmen – junior SEO specialist and a passionate blogger from Copenhagen. His articles relate to the marketing sphere and development of writing skills. Follow him on Twitter to find more.