“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” – Bill Gates. With that statement most businesses created a website. These websites were to give the business an online presence that clients can get in touch with.
The problem is not just having a website, the website should be there to perform a marketing function. Personally, I don’t see why business would have a website and they aren’t doing anything for it. The main purpose of a site is for visitors to come and perform a certain activity.
This is by definition of what a conversion is. A conversion is when a person comes to a site and performs an intended activity. These intended activities could be downloading a pdf, white paper or book; filling out a form; giving out an email; staying on site for a particular period of time and buying an item.
Conversion rate is expressed in percentage form based on a ratio. It’s the portion of your website visitors who convert on an offer.
Conversion rate calculation:
Out of the 2,000 people who come to a webpage, 40 convert into leads.
To get your conversion rate, divide the conversions by website visitors, then multiply the result by 100. In this case, you have a conversion rate of 2 percent.
The conversion rates vary depending on the source of traffic. Most websites on average have a conversion rate of 2% from organic traffic. While paid traffic (pay per click) normally has a higher conversion rate of 10 -20%. Although this depends on a variety of factors, e.g. price, product, service etc.
The conversion rate is an important metric as it tells how well the business is doing. Because of its importance here is an extensive article on how to increase conversions.
As I stated earlier there are many business that have websites with no particular goal. In order to improve conversion we need to find out what the goals are. Many naïve business people think that their potential clients will figure out what to do. But this is further from the truth.
Each website should have a specific goal and each web site page should have mini goals. The main goals for a website could be
- Email sign ups
- Ecommerce sales
- Form fillings
Once we have found out these goals, the next step will be figuring out how to measure these goals. Thanks to Google analytics, Google Tag manager and any other analytics tool, anything done on a website can be tracked and measured.
The first thing people see when they come to your site is your web design. This would give the user an opinion about your business. The design of the site matters a lot in that it will give your customer confidence to work with your company or not.
There are many beautiful sites that have been made out there by very talented creatives. The problem is that they create complicated sites not with the user in mind. They make sites for themselves and these proves to be a problem.
Back in 2012, Google conducted a survey that continues to inform web design across the globe. It used several different “types” of designs to gather first impressions from viewers.
Based on the collected data, Google determined that website visitors make their first impressions of a site’s attractiveness within 1/20th of a second. Furthermore, “visually complex” sites were consistently interpreted as less beautiful.
Simple designs have the added benefit of making your web visitors focused on what matters.
Web pages should have high quality images and videos. They shouldn’t be stock images either as they give a false representation of the business. The images should be great because the user can’t touch or put on the items. It’s the only way they can see how useful the products could be.
The web pages should do three things:
- Inform users about what you are offering.
- Explain why your company is different
- The next steps to follow in order to accomplish the predefined goals.
Trust is very important in any business and it’s the only reasons conversions occur. Sales guru Zig Ziglar said that there are 4 main reasons why people will not buy from you. These are mainly no need; broke, not in a hurry and they don’t trust you. The other three things we can’t control but we can make a difference with gaining trust.
For Example when someone random calls you and says that they are selling a product or a service that you are need off at half the price. You will not engage her because there is no trust.
When it comes to your website you are still expected to show that dealing with you is trustworthy. Here is how you can prove that you are safe to deal with:
You should feature photos of your office, map location, staff members and bios that tell about family or hobbies. The reason for this is so that people can see there is a real organization behind the website.
People want to work with the best people. They want to know that their investment will be safe with an expert. As such you should show that you are an expert in your field. You can do this by showing that you are affiliated to a larger organization; you have certifications in the field; you have experts in the team.
Your contact details should be prominently displayed on your website. You should show your phone numbers, email and physical address and map. This will reduce your client’s anxiety because they know they can easily communicate with you. This is helpful especially since if there is a problem, there is a point of contact to solve the issues.
Its human nature to avoid losses, we would rather not buy something for fear of failure or mockery by our peers. As a result customers are very wary to try out new products and new companies. To waylay their fears adding a no-questions-asked refund policy helps a lot. They have an increased confidence that whatever they buy and they don’t like they will get their money back. Over 50% of your customers will read the return policy before making a purchase.
You can increase customer confidence by providing proof of the product or service working through third parties. These third parties can be testimonials, citations, journals and News features. Other people speaking how well your product or service worked in the past ensures that the customers that your company is credible.
The testimonials should provide information about how a client was worse off and by using your products they are now 100% better off. Testimonials can be in the form of written or video materials. According to a study by Zendesk, 88 percent of respondents said their buying decisions were influenced by positive and negative reviews.
After the introduction of mobile devices we are more predisposed to watching videos rather than reading texts. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of us are visual learners. Videos help to communicate better what is being sold on the web pages.
There are products that are more complex and need videos to help to explain how they work.
Another benefit of having videos on a site is that an average site visit lasts 5 minutes and 50 seconds while one that has no video lasts only 43 seconds.
Videos help to show that there are real people behind the brand and makes it easier to trust and increases the conversion rate.
There are many types of videos that could be made e.g. explainer videos, screencasts, product and interview videos. If video production is a problem, then you can use gifs. Gifs have the added advantage of not being ignored.
Call To actions
Call to action (CTA) are directions of what you want your users to do. There are many times users would land on your website and they don’t know what you would like from them. Having a clear and concise CTA will direct them to know if they click on the button they will get a pdf, fill out a form or move to the next step.
The web page should provide adequate information as to why the user should click the CTA. The language on the site should be clear and let the user easily provide their information to get whatever product is being sold.
The CTA button will perform differently depending on where its placed, what colour it is and how big it is. Testing should be done to see which would produce the best results.
The wording of the CTA matters as action words like “buy now” or “order now” tend to perform better than non-action words like “Submit” or “Continue”.
Value proposition or Unique Selling Point (USP) is the main reason a prospect should buy from you rather than buying from your 100s or sometimes 1000s competitors. In online marketing, not only are you competing with local but international businesses. As such you need to provide a solid reason why your prospect should chose you rather than your competitor.
Having communicated your USP it will give you a better conversion rate.
A good USP must:
- Differentiated from competitors – could be cheaper, quality, personalized service, local etc.
- Have the same features like your competition but have an extra one that can be communicated.
The USP should be found on the headline of pages and the CTA. Most Web pages have a headline that reads Welcome. The headline should provide reasons why your business is different from the others for example “Grow Your Digital Sales.”
In your copy, the USP should be reinforced with examples, testimonials, anecdotes and videos. So that it is abundantly clear why you are different.
Other missed opportunities are when websites don’t provide enough information about the products or service being sold. One way to sell products is by providing as much information as possible. This helps the 11% of potential prospects who go through everything. This information helps them to convince themselves to buy from you.
When using landing pages to capture conversions, it should have as few distractions as possible. There are items on the page like navigation bar, other CTAs that take user attention away from the main objective.
Landing pages are for one purpose only, that is to get your users to take one specific action. To click on the CTA. Items like videos tend to distract from the main attention. Landing pages should have a minimalist design and remove anything that is relevant to the main action.
According to a study done by WordStream , removing navigation links from your landing pages can boost conversion rates by up to 40 percent.
Live chat tools have been known to increase conversions by 63%. Many users are very sceptical to provide their email or to buy a product. These fears can be waylaid by having a live chat service that will help provide value, trust and help with the conversions.
People want the information they’re looking for as soon as possible with as little friction as possible. That’s what makes chatbots so great: they offer instant access to value while eliminating friction. There’s no sign-in or sign-up process, like an app or a website–and since the bot already has access to your social profile, it can personalize information for you in seconds.
Great live chat softwares are:
Many visitors who come in contact with you for the first time aren’t ready to buy yet. Especially if the thing being sold is complex and need multiple touch points. In these case, a sales funnel needs to be created in order to map the consumer journey and increase conversions.
For example softwares being sold require a demo or a free trial before they are actually bought. In this case the first conversion would be downloading the demo and after it has been used successfully then actual purchases will occur.
Sales funnels are great as they slow down the sales process and help with building trust and proving that you are an expert. It is said that you need at least 7 contacts with a prospect before they buy from you.
During one on one sales calls you can see the prospects hesitations and unwillingness to move forward. The problem with selling using the internet, is that you can’t gauge a person’s unwillingness to buying your product or service.
Although as a digital marketer you can pre-empt objections and overcome them in your website copy. The objections can be gotten by interviewing past customers and finding out why they had some hesitations. Once you have these objections you can go ahead and answer them.
For example one common objection that people have problems with is that they feel that the price is too high. To overcome this objection, you would need to provide value to show why the cost of the product or service is so high, or compare yourself with the competition.
The web pages should be used to answer plenty of objections.
Prospects are naturally averse to give out their information. Especially in this day and age of digital privacy. But we us digital marketers require the information to properly serve the prospects. In this case we are in awkward place of asking or not asking.
There are various solutions to this problem to get the most from your clients and they are:
If you require an email so that you can start your email marketing then you forms should just have one field. The reward to this would be to provide the prospects with a Pdf, or subscription to your newsletter. Fewer fields have dramatically increased conversion rates.
There is a train of thought that is better to have the form above the fold of the website to make it easier for conversions. This works most of the times although it doesn’t work all of the times.
The form could be put on the bottom of the page or in the middle. This would increase conversions as it gives the prospect more information about the product or service. Making them more predisposed to filling in the form and then converting. Michael Aagaard of ContentVerve found that moving the form to the bottom of the page increased conversions by 304%
There are some business that would require more information so as to be able to help the prospects. The problem comes in the prospects are not willing to give out all their information at one go. The best way to solve this is by have a multi-step form.
In that the first few form fields would ask innocuous questions like number of employees and business type. The next step would ask for more details like email, phone number and physical address. The reason this works is because once a prospect has agreed to do small things they are then more predisposed to agree to doing harder things.
Dr. Robert Cialdini said it best:
“Once we’ve made a choice, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.” Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion
The added advantage of digital marketing over traditional marketing is the ability to continuously improve by testing. Through testing you can see what is working and improve on it and what isn’t working and then remove it.
There are various things to test from length of the copy, headlines, CTAs, videos images and page design. Basically there is a lot that can be done on a site.
Different web pages should be compared with other to see which of them is performing better. Copying the one that does better and removing the ones that aren’t working out.
Using apps like Crazy Egg, you can run all kinds of maps on your website to figure out how users engage with your content. Heat maps, scroll maps, confetti maps, and more can show you visually where people click, stop scrolling, and spend more time. This will give you information to see what you need to improve.
Through this test you can compare two pages that are similar but differ at one point or the other. For example in one page you might have one headline and the other has another. By sending equal traffic to both sites you will get to see which headline converts more.
Deciding what to test
With the data that you have available – conversion rate, bounce rate, time on site etc, you can find out what you want to improve and test it. Many marketers struggle not knowing what to test. But with these and other metrics, they should give them idea of what to do to improve.
When testing it is important to test one item at a time to see what theory is correct. There are times marketers become lazy and test many things and they are able to see which test is the one that is working.
Depending on the stage of your company and the structure of your organization, you’ll have a varying level of data available for use. Some companies are swimming in data and don’t know what to do with it all. Others are struggling to implement Events in Google Analytics.
After getting your new customers, the next thing to do is to upsell them to other products you could be having or making them repeat customers. Amazon does a great job of this by telling you customers who bought this also bought this as well. This ensures that your business is constantly converting.
Working with current customers to sell new products is an easy way to make more money. This is because you already know what they want and they are perfectly suited for your products.
Other than getting repeat sales, your customers can be your ambassadors and help you sell your products to their colleagues and friends.
There are many things we can do to improve the conversion rate of our websites. With the points that I have mentioned above, your website will be performing at peak performance.