Conversion Rate Optimization: The Most Underused Weapon In Marketing
As any marketer will tell, sometimes making changes on your site can be a scary experience.
What if you change something and your conversion rate plummets?
What if you bring in a designer, and after they make changes (that cost you a lot of money) you end up just hurting your business?
These are totally valid concerns.
But as with everything else in your business, when you set out to try and improve your conversion rates, you're taking a risk. As a marketer, you need to have the confidence to explore new areas while taking calculated risks.
It's the only way your business will improve and grow.
In this article, we take a look at how you can get started optimizing conversion rates on different pages on your website with minimal risk by using some proven best practices in the industry.
These are practices that work for the majority of online marketers, which is why they're called ‘best’, but it's still important to realize that every website is unique and has its own unique set of visitors, which means that results you get from these could be surprisingly unpredictable at times.
That's why it's vital to use A/B testing software to track any changes that you implement on your website so that you see exactly how it's working out for those visitors who come to your website.
But before we jump into the conversion optimization best practices, let's take a quick look at what conversion rate optimization is.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
Conversion rate optimization refers to the systematic process undertaken to increase the number of website visitors who complete a specific action.
This could be anything from:
Filling out a form
Leaving a comment
Reading a blog post
Buying a product
Requesting a quote
Trying out a free product
Signing up for an email list
Subscribing to a service
And so on...
What Is a Conversion Rate?
The conversion rate of your website is simply the number of times users complete specific goals divided by your total site traffic.
So for instance, if you sell a product on your website, and you convert a user in each visit, to get your conversion rate you would simply divide the total number of conversions in a certain period by the sessions, which are the unique times that users came to your website, and you would have the percentage conversion rate.
Just keep in mind that CRO happens after visitors make it to your website which is different from SEO/Paid Ads conversion optimization which is focused on how many people click through to your website from organic search results, as well as which keywords drive traffic to your site.
With that out of the way, let's take a look at some CRO marketing tactics that you can try:
1. Reduce Form Fields
Don't have too many unnecessary form fields on your site. You should never try to make your own work easier by adding additional fields for customers to fill in.
Always ask yourself if you really need the information, such as company name, ZIP Code, credit card CVV code, reconfirmation of email ID or password, and so on.
The more things you ask customers to do, the less likely it is that they’ll complete the action. So reduce form fields to increase your conversion rates.
2. Use Contrasting Colors for CTA Buttons
Calls to action should stand out from all the other text on the page.
Although you may read different studies that say red CTA buttons convert better than green ones, and so on, it doesn't mean that you have to actually use red when trying to improve conversions.
What's important is that the color you choose pops up in a better way on your web page’s background.
So it's not just about changing from one color to another, it's about creating better contrast to improve conversion rates.
It's a good idea to use a CTA color that you haven't used anywhere else on that page if you really want it to stand out well and draw the necessary attention.
3. Remove Automatic Image Sliders
Yes, a lot of people think that they are cool and all.
However, the majority of conversion experts will tell you that automatic image sliders on your page reduce conversions and so you should remove them.
Image carousels don't allow users the ability to explore your website at their pace. This creates banner blindness, and that’s just the first thing that is wrong with them.
You can replace image sliders with profitable, static offers.
4. Create Text-based Calls to Action within Your Posts
Although it's always a good idea to include a CTA in your blog post, sometimes this fails to entice readers to complete the desired action.
Banner blindness leads to people ignoring any banner-like information on the site, and this lack of attention together with the fact that most readers don't always get to the bottom of a blog post means that you need a better approach if you want to get results.
And this is where text-based CTAs come in. A simple way to make use of these is to include a standalone line of text and link it to a landing page.
Style it as an H3 or H4 to convert even more traffic than a regular CTA at the bottom of your webpage.
5. Place Your Call to Action above the Fold
Many marketers wonder if this whole ‘above the fold vs below the fold’ argument still matters.
The answer is: Yes, it does.
It's just common sense to always make sure that your most engaging and most important information is above the fold. This goes for your calls to action, as well.
So make sure you include a CTA that's visible above the fold whenever you can to increase your click-throughs.
6. Add Video to Your Page
Create videos that showcase your products or services and include them on your webpage. Being able to show your products in action or to make instructional videos is a great way to improve your website conversion rates.
This is particularly true if you offer a product that is complicated. Simply adding a video on your landing page could double your conversions. Just make sure that it's not a very long video that will bore potential customers to death - two or three minutes will do.
8. Create Urgency
Offering customers a limited-time incentive is a great way to give them a reason why they should take the action now as opposed to a few days later.
Create a sense of urgency and make them feel that if they don't take the action right away, they are going to be losing out on something.
For instance, some e-commerce sites display text to show how many items are left. Yet others promise to deliver the item on the next working day if the prospect orders right away, and so on.
9. Use The Forms for Displaying Your Phone Number
You'll be surprised just how many site visitors needs the phone number if it's not displayed prominently. That's why it's a good idea to add your number on your homepage’s header to make sure that all visitors can clearly see it.
This is a great way of adding credibility and assuring prospects that you're easily approachable should they have any concerns or problems during the purchase process.
10. Use Buttons for Your Call to Action Links
For the most part, text links get lost in the rest of the content, which makes it difficult for anyone to spot them on your page.
Why not rather try turning text links into huge buttons that clearly stand out on any page? This will work wonders in increasing your conversion rate.
11. Use Magical Words
Confused? There are certain words in marketing that have an almost magical effect.
Words like ‘free’!
Use this in your calls to action to increase their conversion significantly. There are, of course, many other words that work in a similar way, but none that has the same level of effect as FREE!
Give it a shot, all you have to do is add the word free to calls to action and then test it.
12. Increase the Value of Your Offer
If the value of your offer is less than what you're asking your customers to part with, you'll have a very hard time trying to convert them.
You need to be able to increase your offer’s perceived value and a simple way of doing this is by adding benefits within your copy.
Keep in mind that prospects are asking all WIIFT (what's in it for me?) and you should be able to answer this question in a compelling way if you want them to happily convert into customers.
Whether you're asking them to sign up, read a post, or buy a product, you should be able to highlight the benefits of completing that action in a clear and easily understandable way.
13. Include Real Testimonials
When talking about real testimonials, I don't mean things like this:
'I adore your website. Your kids’ clothes are so cute. – Sammy, New York'
This reeks of being a fake testimonial and so many websites display testimonials like that.
You don't want something that just anyone can write and put up on your website. What you need are detailed, yet concise testimonials that go with the pictures and full names of your customers.
14. Includes Trusts Badges on Your Webpages
If your business has great reviews on websites like Trust Pilot, simply contact them to add a widget on your website and you're likely to witness a significant rise in sales.
There are various other websites that you can leverage.
For instance, you can boast about your reviews on Yelp, Glassdoor, Better Business Bureau, and so on. These types of badges are the equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising in the online arena.
15. Optimize High-Performing Posts
If you have been blogging for over a year, you probably have some blog posts on your blog which outperform others.
These great performing posts are a massive opportunity for you to increase your conversion rate optimization.
All you need to do is identify the posts that bring in the highest levels of traffic but have low conversion rates. It could be that the offer being promoted on that page is not aligned to the content in the post, or maybe your call to action is unclear.
Either way, once you've determined what the issue is, you can then take the necessary steps to remedy it and boost your conversions.
Additionally, look at those posts that have high conversion rates. These are the ones you want to be driving more qualified traffic to.
A great way of doing that is by optimizing that content for search or by updating the content so that it's relevant and fresh.
The Final Word
There are many best practices out there when it comes to conversion rate optimization. However, these are just a few that you can easily implement on to your website and gain massive increases in your conversions without risking a lot.
You may have noticed that a lot of them have to do with calls to action.
Just keep in mind that while it's a good thing to optimize your CTAs, make sure that you don't have too many of them on one page as this tends to have a detrimental effect on your conversions.
Too many choices simply confuse people which reduces conversions.
When all is said and done, any method to increase sales and leads on your website comes down to improved relevance, clarity, and fewer distractions. When you can reduce anxiety and increase urgency, this gives you a great hypothesis to start off your conversion optimization tests.
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Updated: Originally published July 2nd 2019