Your Conversion Rate Optimization Guide
There’s a logic flaw that we all become victim to at one point because it’s driven by sheer optimism. It happens early on in our internet marketing days when we believe just getting the damn traffic to a website will usher in the almighty gravy train.
Once the traffic starts rolling in it brings down the hammer of truth in the form of one daunting realization: the battle for conversions is just beginning.
The only chance of turning your visitors into leads is by implementing effective conversion rate optimization. Go ahead and call it CRO now that you’re on the fast track to becoming an SEO expert (or if you just want to sound cool around the office).
If you’re reading this, you are most likely among those troubled souls who are driving a good amount of traffic, but not turning enough of those visitors into leads or customers.
Well…this guide’s for you.
Let’s take a closer look at a few key ways you can start setting your website up to score more leads and customers.
Lead-Based Conversions: This is an extremely common type of conversion in the service-based industry. At My Biz Niche, we work with lawyers, contractors, medical professionals and moving companies who choose to track lead-based conversions. The objective for these businesses is getting a potential customer or client to pick up the phone or fill out a web contact form. Each phone call or form fill is considered a conversion. Once someone becomes a lead, it’s up to you to put on the charm and nail down the deal.
Subscriber Conversions: This type of conversion is great if you are a blogger, or promoting an event or initiative that requires advanced sign-ups. One example would be a non-profit seeking to spread their message and gain new donors through an email campaign. Bloggers and marketers put a high value on subscriber conversions to grow their audience, whether they are selling products or generating ad revenue.
Customer/Sale Conversions: Sale conversions are the name of the game for ecommerce companies. Every time someone checks out online, it’s a conversion.
Why is Conversion Rate Optimization So Important?
The first benefit of conversion rate optimization is getting more ROI from the traffic you already have. Instead of spending more money to bring in additional traffic, you are taking active, measurable steps to drive more action from your current traffic levels. Once your conversion rate optimization is on point, you’ll see better results when you do decide to invest in new traffic.
Are You Ready to Start Optimizing?
We’re going to lay out the golden rules of conversion rate optimization and take a look at how additional fine tuning can make an optimized page even more effective.
Step 1: Identifying Your Conversion Method
Let’s say you are a service-focused business like a plumber or attorney. You’ll want to track leads as conversions. That means every potential client or customer who fills out a contact form or calls your office has converted from a visitor or lead.
If you are trying to increase your subscriber base, every new signup to your email list will be considered a conversion. For ecommerce, a sale is a conversion.
Step 2: Fine Tune Your Analytics and Tracking
If you’re already using Google Analytics, now is the time to make sure your goals are set up. Analytics makes it easy to set up and track goals so you can log every conversion.
If you are driving paid traffic from Google Adwords or Bing ads, you can set up conversion tracking easily. The dashboard will basically walk you right through the process. Hopefully, you are working with a good developer who can make sure all the tracking scripts are implemented correctly on your site.
Taking the time to properly set up your conversion tracking is an important first step. That’s how you are going to gauge the effectiveness of your on-site optimizations and determine how changes big or small are having an impact on your conversion rate.
Now Let’s Start Making Some On-Site Changes to Supercharge Your Conversions
Once you’ve got your Analytics set up and you are tracking conversions through paid channels, it’s time to start making some changes to drive more action on your website.
Step 1: Fix Your Load Time
Having a slow-loading website is the fastest way to sabotage your conversion efforts. Google considers page speed to be a vital aspect of overall user experience for good reason. Attention spans aren’t getting any longer in the digital age. It doesn’t matter how great your website looks if people aren’t waiting around for your pages to load.
Use Google’s Page Speed Insights to see how your site stacks up. If pages are loading too slow, work with your developer address the issue.
Step 2: Audit Your CTAs
Do all of your landing pages have a highly visible call to action that is clearly worded, or do visitors have to guess what action you are asking them to take? Even the cleverest of marketing slogans can leave visitors baffled as to what it is you are asking them to do.
Be Specific About What You Want
Remember that scene in Fight Club when Edward Norton is beating around the bush about needing a place to stay for the night? Brad Pitt’s response is perfect.
“Just ask, man. Just ask.”
If you are driving leads, use words that specify the desired action – such as “Call Today.” If you are using a form fill (and you should be dammit), use words like “Schedule Your Appointment Now” or “Get Started Today.”
When it doubt…just ask, man.
You’re Not Too Good for Some Salesy Language
Defining the action is only part of building a great CTA. Don’t be afraid of enthusiasm. There are plenty of highbrow marketing types who view exclamation points and “buy now” language as hokey at best and ham-fisted at worst. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s beneath you to write up a big salesy pitch, ShamWow style: “You’ll Say WOW Every Time!” When you show enthusiasm, your visitors are much more likely to get excited themselves.
For one of our contractor clients, I might do something like this:
“Schedule Your Drain Cleaning Today and Get 30% Off!”
It’s simple, straightforward and leaves the reader with ZERO confusion as to what step they should take next.
Create Immediacy and Urgency
Make your visitors feel like they just stumbled into an opportunity that they can’t afford to miss out on. One of the best ways to create immediacy is simply reinforcing the indisputable fact that nothing lasts forever (oh God, stop me now before my mind goes to a dark place).
Let visitors know that you are presenting an opportunity that won’t be around for long. This is especially true if you are pushing a specific promotion. Don’t be afraid to set a deadline. Let people know when a sale ends, or that the window of opportunity is closing in some other way.
Step 3: Crucial Landing Page Elements
Now that you’ve got your CTAs all sorted out, let’s look at a few other landing page elements that will help drive conversions.
Form Fill or Button: For driving web leads, don’t make users navigate to a contact page to fill out a web form. I like to see form fills in the header on the right hand side, but don’t be afraid to play around and test different locations. There’s no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to optimizing for conversions.
If you don’t want to use a form, use a button that directs visitors to a web form. Try not to require too many fields. Name, email and comment section is always a good baseline. Asking for too much required information will turn off more than a few potential leads.
Value Proposition: Think of this as an extension of your call to action. This can be as little as a single statement and should not exceed a few short bullet points. The purpose of this proposition is to portray the value you are providing. The statement itself does several things:
• Relevantly explains how you are going to resolve a problem or make things better.
• Highlights specific benefits.
• Explains to potential customers why contacting or buying from you is the best course of action.
Just like your call to action, a value proposition should be straightforward and easy to understand. You’ll know you’re missing the mark if your value proposition is wordy, convoluted or vague. Instead of thinking about how you describe your services to others, think about how one of your customers would explain it to one of their friends or coworkers. Most people don’t use business jargon and neither should you.
Images: Super important. Often overlooked. Even if you love a particular image on your website, it could be distracting or irrelevant. Make sure the images you are using contribute to the narrative and aren’t distracting. You want your call to action to be the center of attention. The photos compliment the content, not the other way around.
Testimonials: Let your customers and clients do some talking for you. Having a few good testimonials on your landing pages will show visitors that people value your service enough that they took the time to write a testimonial.
Trust Seals and Badges: These icons go a long way toward improving your conversion rate. Seals that show BBB accreditation, SSL security, professional affiliations, awards and even money-back guarantees will show potential customers and leads that you take your business and their security seriously.
Step 4: Use Color To Influence Web Design Conversion Rate
Check out our comprehensive infographic below and learn more about what each color means and find out how developing the optimal color scheme for your website increases conversions.
Step 5: Monitoring, Testing and Fine Tuning
Now that your pages are optimized and the new leads are pouring in, don’t get comfortable and start slacking when it comes to fine tuning your conversion rates.
Monitor Your Conversion Rate: Keep a close eye on your conversion rates and you’ll find opportunities for improvement. If conversions aren’t as high as you expected after optimizing, start testing small changes to see what connects with visitors.
Keep the Testing Simple: Let’s say you want to try out some new value propositions, but some guru also told you red buttons convert better than your current blue ones (rolls eyes). Those two elements must be tested separately if you’re going to accurately determine the impact.
When it comes to testing, just change one variable at a time. If you think your copy could be stronger, test some different copy. Think switching out testimonials could help? That’s a separate test. Adding too many variables will only leave you wondering which aspect made a real difference.
Monitor Your Cost-Per-Conversion
How much money are you spending for every lead? Are your turning a profit, breaking even or spending more than you make? If your cost-per-conversion is too high, you’ll need to check a few key aspects.
• Number of Clicks per Action: Are people having to click around too much before completing an action? That’s a sign you need to improve your funnel by cutting out any unnecessary steps.
• Traffic Sources: Are you paying for irrelevant traffic? Cast a narrower net and pay for more qualified visitors. This is especially important if you are driving traffic through PPC. Hint: broad match keyword can be a real budget killer.
• Landing Page Copy: It might take a few tries to nail it with the copy. Don’t be afraid to test new CTAs and value propositions frequently.
When the Answer isn’t Clear, Put Yourself in the Visitor’s Shoes
As you become more of a conversion rate optimization expert, you’ll realize that the answer isn’t always staring you in the face. When you simply get stuck and can’t quite figure out why something isn’t working, always try to see things from the perspective of a visitor.
You can always go straight to your customers and visitors for feedback. Try using a service like Google Surveys to find out what your visitors and customers like or don’t like about your site.
Now Go Forth and Reap Your Conversion Bounty
So you should have a good grasp of the basics at this point. As you’ve probably guessed by now, increasing your conversion rate takes some serious work, time commitment and fine tuning. Throughout the process, you may want to consider working with SEO Specialists, developers, designers, copywriters and PPC experts to take some of the pressure off. A little help in any of these areas can make the process feel much less intimidating or overwhelming.
Good Luck! I hope this page helps you reel in all the leads your hard work deserves.
Other Helpful Resources:
• Brush up on your Google Analytics Skills with this study guide.
• Work with our development and design professionals to start improving your CRO.
• Bring in more targeted traffic with PPC management.
About the Author
Ben Norris is the Senior Content Strategist at My Biz Niche. He lives primarily in the world of copy writing, conversion rate optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Ben has been a professional writer for more than nine years and started his career in print and broadcast journalism before jumping ship to pander to his digital obsession. Fan of donuts, shelter mutts, skateboarding and backpacking all over the beautiful state of Arizona.