Conversion Optimization – how to
The Conversion rate is a calculation of the percentage of the total visitors that are being converted to a predefined goal set over X amount of time. (Purchases, email subscribers, eBook downloads, etc.) For example, if you wanted to track your conversion rate over a single two-day weekend, you would take the number of converted visitors and divide by the total number of visitors.
Conversion Rate Optimization
When a website has a poor conversion rate, there are any numbers of methods that can be implemented to improve it. Dozens of studies have been conducted analyzing consumer website usage and there are numerous tools available to pinpoint precisely what part/s of your website is losing your customers. These tools can be utilized to not only improve an existing website’s conversion rate, but also for websites that you are just starting to build.
The All-Important Landing Page:
- Clear Directives and Headlines
- Directional Imagery
- The Optimized Offer
- More about Imagery
- Buttons that Work
- The Perfectly Placed Call to Action
The Overall Website:
- Following Through
- How to use Testimonials Effectively
Create an Effective/Impressive Landing Page(s)
The very first page your visitor will see when they type in your website address or click on one of your links should be your landing page. The landing page is a powerful conversion tool to which you should direct most of your focus. It is your first, best, and often only chance to capture your visitor’s attention and begin the conversion process.
After years of putting up with bland internet marketing and poorly conceived eCommerce websites, people begin to build a barrier between themselves and the pages they visit. With visitor attention spans’ becoming shorter with each passing year, if you do not have a landing page that intrigues the visitor and captures their full attention immediately, your conversion rate will suffer along with your sales.
Currently, the average visitor’s attention span is down to 8 seconds before they leave. This is called a “bounce.” A Bounce Rate describes the percentage of visitors that leave after viewing only one page of a website. Eight seconds is not very much time in which to capture a person’s full attention, which makes your landing page the most important part of your conversion marketing strategy.
Clear Directive and Focused Headline
Studies show that only two out of every 10 visitors to a website ever proceed past the headline, which is why it must be the most important part of your landing page and your website’s conversion rate optimization strategy. Your focused headline must have the ability to grab your visitor’s full attention, and intrigue them to the point of continuing to read if you are to survive the first 8 seconds of their visit.
Your focused headline must…
- Stand out more than any other part of the page
- Be the first item on the page other than imagery to which the eyes are drawn
- Be a call to action
- Be a short, clear, and powerful directive that screams to the reader that they must continue to investigate the rest of the page
Directional images are powerful tools that are popular among web developers. They can be used to increase conversion rates dramatically and can be as simple as directional arrows (one or many) that direct attention to vital points on your optimized landing page.
An Offer Customers Cannot Refuse
With your unique product, you can easily make a great offer using interesting and informative content writing, a clear subhead or video, and an image for emphasis. The product or services that you offer on your website must be easy to obtain, clearly defined, and offered with confidence.
As wise as it may seem to place a contact form on the landing page, this is something that you must refrain from as studies have shown that most visitors are put off by this. Most people find it pushy and too straightforward. The contact form is better placed within the pages of the website where people are more likely to sign up for information. If you feel that you absolutely must use a contact form on your landing page, do so well below the fold.
With an 8 second window of opportunity to catch and keep a person’s attention, a screen full of text will not be enough. People respond positively to sleek imagery and will be more likely to see what you are offering if an image is included and strategically placed.
The trick to using imagery to increase the conversion capability of your landing page can be summed up in three words. “Less is more.” Studies show a single, tasteful image directly related to your landing page’s directive increases its conversion rate. Multiple images on the landing page make it look crowded and only serve to distract the visitor. If you decide to use multiple images, consider using a clickable slider. This way you can include as many images as you desire using same amount of real estate.
In addition, the use of an image of a real person can increase your conversion rate by more than double. People relate to the image of a smiling, happy person. It creates a positive feeling of trust within your website that pays off in conversion… proving once again that a smile is a powerful thing.
Appropriately Sized Button
A well designed, fully optimized landing page should flow seamlessly… leading the visitor along the page toward conversion. The effective landing page will draw the visitor’s eyes first to the welcoming, smiling faced image before quickly being captured by a riveting focused headline, informative subtitles and text, and finally… the irresistible Call to Action button.
The call to action button should be prominent yet not overly large. Studies have also shown that eliminating the word “My” from the CTA button slightly increases conversion. For example, rather than creating a Call to Action button that reads “Set Up My Account,” try “Get Started Here!” or “Create An Account”.
The appearance of the Call to Action button has a huge impact on its conversion effectiveness, regardless of its purpose. This is why it is important to make it stand out by increasing its size slightly and using a color that is in contrast with its background. These effective CTA tools help to improve the overall conversion rate of your landing page.
Properly Placed Call to Action
Ultimately, the goal of your entire website is the Call to Action and its placement is crucial to your success. Your first task is to create and build a relationship with the people who pay your site a visit. From a conversion standpoint, the more information that you offer before asking for a commitment, the higher your conversion rate will be.
This is yet another reason not to include a contact form at the top of your landing page. (Or anywhere above the fold of the landing page) As a general rule, people do not like to be asked to make a decision without a reason. They feel pushed, crowded, and often resentful.
Follow Through with the Entire Website
In order to reap the benefits of an optimized landing page, it stands to reason that the rest of the website must be an equally pleasant, attractive, and informative experience. With that in mind, when it comes time to ask for the visitor’s information, make sure that your contact form is brief, to the point, and contains only pertinent questions. People will either lose interest or feel overwhelmed when faced with a long form filled with question after question.
Use Valid Testimonials
There are very few conversion tools that are as effective as a good, old-fashioned testimonial that comes from previous or current customers or clients. Simply put— it is proof that others have invested time and money into the product or service with more than satisfactory result. However… testimonials can have the opposite effect if they are not handled correctly. The following are rules that you can use to ensure that testimonials work to increase your website’s conversion rate.
- Be specific: Testimonials citing specific aspects of your website come off as more trustworthy and helpful.
- Provide details about the source: The more information a reader has about the source of the testimonial, the more they will believe it. If a reviewer provides information about their company, add the company name to their testimonial.
- Space them out: Do not overload one section of your website with testimonials. Place pertinent testimonials throughout your website relating to that specific portion of the page. This not only adds credibility to that section, it all but ensures that each testimony is read, as opposed to listing several testimonials back to back. (Always avoid large blocks of redundant text)
Utilize Analytic Tools to Make Improvements
Most people are unaware of the fact that they tend to move their mouse cursor where they eyes happen to be on the page at any given time. This is what makes the Heat Map such an indispensible tool in website analytics. The Heat Map is a tool that can actually track visitor’s mouse movements, and log how much time is spent on any given place of the landing page. (Or any page) This means that it can analyze what the visitor is reading and where they spend most of their time.
This inexpensive yet impressive tool can show what part of the website is working for you and where precisely you are losing conversion. This, in turn, allows you to place your SEO focus in those areas of concentration where visitors are spending the most time, and where they are when they bounce.
The Heat Map is an amazingly accurate tool for use in understanding conversion statistics and overall website usability. In fact, it is the Heat Map that proves most people are drawn and respond to the image of a smiling human face and will follow the direction of the images eyes wherever they are directed on the page. (Like the CTA)
Most professional Heat map companies will charge a monthly fee for their services; however, the return on your investment is more than worth it in the way of higher conversion rates that result in more sales, click throughs, or signups. ClickTale is one of the top providers of Heat Map, and other usability and web site analytic tools
Crazy Egg is another popular tool among website managers, analysts, marketers, and designers. For a monthly fee, they will tell you where your visitors are clicking, where they stop scrolling, will direct you to where your website’s hotspots are, and will define the type of traffic visiting your website.
A free service offered to Google+ members, Google Analytics can provide information about website traffic (and its sources), sales in general, and conversions. With this tool you will know how a viewer arrived at your website and what they did while they were there, allowing you to focus your conversion efforts in the appropriate places.
The first and perhaps the most important rule when it comes to improving the first page your visitors will see when they type your address or follow your page link is to keep it simple. With only eight seconds with which to work in most cases, the simpler the better. You can expect lower conversion from a landing page that is too busy or difficult to read.
The focused headline is a clear directive, is short and exciting, and should be a direct call to action in and of itself.
Be your visitor’s invisible guide with an appropriately sized call to action button and directional cues. Include an image or two (Less is more) but take care not to overload your visitor’s senses.
Prices that end even one penny less than a rounded dollar amount can improve conversion.
An image of a real person is proven to increase conversion. (Smiles are powerful) Add testimonials from reputable companies only in areas of your website to which they apply and do not ask your visitor for information or commitments of any kind until you have provided them with plenty of information. Place the information request form below the fold line of whatever page it occupies. Trust must be earned… not taken for granted.
Take advantage of analytic tools to ascertain what part or parts of your landing page and website require optimization to improve conversion. There are numerous small tweaks… hardly even enough to be called a tune-up… that can dramatically improve your conversion performance.
The most important thing to remember as you rebuild your website with improved conversion in mind is simply this… what does your visitor want. If you follow these simple tips and keep that in mind, you will decrease your bounce rate, greatly improve your conversion rate, enjoy a higher ROI, and make many people very happy.