Conversion optimization is the process of setting up a website or landing page with the intention of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert to customers.
Why is it so important? In order to get the most out of your ad spending, you need to be aware of where that ad is taking your customers because as you seek to raise your conversion rate and reduce your cost per action, you’ll end up with a higher final ROI on your marketing campaign. This is where website conversion optimization comes into play, by ensuring that every person who lands on your site has the best possible chance of becoming a paying customer.
A landing page is defined as any page that receives visitor traffic from sources that are not pages on the same site. Here are a few key points about landing pages to keep in mind:
- The landing page that marketers prefer is one that gets visitor traffic from a specific channel through a single call to action.
- Landing pages are not confined to a certain length, style, format, or placement within the website. A landing page could be integrated into the site, or it could serve as the homepage for people who key in your URL.
- Landing pages are your first opportunity to make an impression on your visitor. Design yours accordingly so it makes a good first impression.
Conversion Process Element Guidelines
There are certain factors that affect the conversion process and certain ways these factors should be addressed for optimal results, such as:
What it is: Friction refers to anything that can prevent conversion from happening.
What to do:
- Make sure your visitor’s eye path is clearly directed. Too many columns and images can result in confusion
- Banner ads and objectives should not detract from the main goal of the page.
- Clearly sequence and number product options.
What it is: A short statement that tells the customer how they benefit from agreeing to participate in your call to action
What to do:
- Be specific and descriptive.
- Use quantitative statements that clearly convey the value of the offer.
What it is: Feelings of nervousness or fear
What to do:
- Avoid words commonly associated with spam, such as great, best and exclusive.
- Maintain continuity between the subject line and body copy.
- Don’t overwhelm the visitor with too many objectives and calls to action. There should only be one per page.
Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies for Success
Now that you know the basics of conversion optimization and the factors that play a critical role in its effectiveness, here are the strategies you should implement for success:
1. Get Feedback from the People Who Can Really Give it
Think about who knows your customers best. The marketing department probably knows a lot about them because they are tasked with creating messages that appeal to the customer’s interests. Also, since customer service spends most of their time on the phone with customers, they probably know a lot about them as well.
Action Tip: Have your customer support team make a prioritized list of the pages causing the most problems (to let you know what page you need to focus on first) and the issues that are arising so you can conduct your test hypothesis around those issues.
2. Get Feedback at the Conversion Point
In addition to gathering feedback from the people within your company as the first step suggests, with this strategy you should be asking your customers directly what they think through tools like live chat or surveys within the page to reveal areas of friction at the point of conversion.
Action Tip: Embed a tool like Qualaroo (survey) or Olark (live chat) on your landing page. On the live chat, ask questions like, “What prevented you from ______ today?”, filling in the blank with whatever your conversion goal is. Or, ask, “Do you have any questions I can help you with?”
3. Write a Specific Hypothesis Before Beginning Your Test
Your hypothesis should be a descriptive statement that contains the following elements: what you are going to test, the purpose of your test, and the goal of your test. You could create your hypothesis based on data revealed from the two strategies listed above, or you could brainstorm one with your team during a planning session.
Action Tip: Get people from different departments involved as you write your hypothesis to receive valuable insight from perspectives you might not have considered.
4. Run Valid A/B Tests
A valid A/B test gives you the reassurance to know your ideas have been considered properly. Running this test saves you from coming to wrong conclusions that create unnecessary roadblocks.
Action Tip: Abide by the following guidelines within your test:
1) Wait until each page in your test has at least 100 different visitors.
2) To ensure that you account for daily variations in behavior (ie: week day to weekend), run the test for a minimum of 1 week, ideally 2 weeks if you can.
3) Continue the test until it reaches a statistical significance of at least 95%.
5. Design Your Landing Page to be Basic
Don’t make your landing pages too complicated. Use a 5-point punch to get your point across effectively and concisely. Your 5-point punch should include:
1) An engaging and descriptive headline
2) A complimentary supporting sub-header, and below that, a short statement summarizing the benefits of your product or service
3) Bullet points for clarification
4) An urgency statement
5) A call to action
Action Tip: To help make your page more concise, analyze every sentence to see what can be condensed or extracted.
6. Create an Optimized Post-Conversion Experience
Utilize your confirmation pages to their maximum potential by trying the following suggestions:
1) Suggest similar items viewers might like to buy.
2) Give away products for free as a bonus.
3) Ask people to follow you on Facebook or Twitter
4) Ask them to subscribe to newsletters/ updates via email.
Action Tip: Learn about and implement the post conversion strategies listed here.
7. Improve Lead Generation Conversions by Creating Great Content
Your goal here is to produce extremely helpful, educational, one of a kind material that’s a step above what your competitors are producing. This is a balancing act that involves balancing the size of your form with the quality of your content.
Action Tip: Add a preview of an essential part of the content to increase conversion rates in your lead generation landing pages. People appreciate the “try it before you buy it” approach because it gives them reassurance regarding the quality of a product before they purchase it.
8. Record Your Results
After a test, it’s imperative that you keep a record of the results. Your file for each test should include the hypothesis, results of the test, and the lessons from the test. This data is useful in creating case studies that you can and should show management, stakeholders, and customers in your meetings.
Action Tip: Design a template you can use to document this information to make the information gathering process easier in the future.
If you want to turn the people who view your site into paying customers, conversion optimization is the way to make it happen. Try implementing the strategies listed above into your websites and landing pages, and prepare to be amazed with the results.