For a marketer, being able to improve your conversion rate is the holy grail of digital marketing efforts. Many marketers incorrectly focus on increasing the size of the audience or increasing leads at the top of the funnel without realizing that these efforts are futile without looking at the conversion rate. Get your conversion house in order first, and then apply the gas with a promotion strategy to increase your audience.
But this is easier said than done, marketers will say. Conversion rate optimization is one part art, and one part science, and it requires both creativity and analysis. Don’t be afraid – improving your conversion rate is simpler than you may realize.
Improve Your Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
CRO is the process to turn a higher proportion of site visitors into customers by improving and optimizing your user experience. Calculate your conversion rate by dividing the number of customers by the total number of pageviews. It’s a cost-effective way to increase the revenue from your website without having to pay for advertising or other campaigns to increase website traffic.
- Focus on the right audiences. Don’t devote resources to website visitors that don’t convert. Let go of the personas that love to visit and read all of your content but rarely convert. Instead, identify the audiences that do convert – and focus all of your efforts on optimizing their experience.
- Let your customer be the hero of the digital experience. Your website visitors have all of the power and they are now savvy enough to recognize when they are being marketed to. Instead of artificially forcing an experience on them with content that they don’t need, build a digital strategy that listens to your customers first, and lets them lead the way through your content.
- Make “where’s the data?” your team’s new mantra. The “science” of conversion rate optimization requires real data on every aspect of the website experience. If you aren’t poring over reports and data and recommitting your testing to increase conversions, you need to reconsider your strategy.
- Don’t assume. Always test. Disagreement over page design? Product manager wants to change level of detail on the product page? Changing up a headline on a blog post? Don’t ever “just launch it.” Do an A/B test first for a set amount of time, and then ensure that the change will improve your conversion rate.
- Don’t confuse engagement metrics with business outcomes. Yes, your engagement metrics are part of the picture, but focusing more on bounce rate, click through rate, etc. is akin to focusing on the calorie counts and losing sight of your weekly weigh-in when dieting. Use these as indicators and potential issues to fix, but don’t lose sight of the conversion rate.
- Think in terms of personas, not product lines. Become more customer-centric with how you approach your website by not segmenting by product line, but developing a persona strategy instead. Get in your customers’ heads about what they’re experiencing when they come to your website, portal or community.
- Make your search box prominent and easy to use. Your search users are also most likely your highest converting group. In fact, one software provider found that visitors who use site search convert at a 43 percent higher rate. Make it easier for this group to convert with a search box that is at least 25 characters wide and prominently displayed.
- Personalize the search results list based on their previous behavior. Use what you know about your website visitor, from their location to their previous page visits, to customize the results list to what they will likely need. Your users expect “personalized search,” thanks to external search engines like Google and Bing, and they will become frustrated by a generic list of results that they have to page through.
- Give the audience the option to filter the search results according to their preference. Give your website visitors the choice to filter results by date, source, and more, so they know they are in control of the experience.
- Provide recommendations for their next step. Show them what content other customers viewed, products or content related to the page they are at, and more. The more content you can provide, the less likely they are to seek information elsewhere.
- Don’t let them leave to seek additional information. Why do your website visitors leave your website without buying? They need more information, and they find it on your competitors’ websites, Google or more. Provide them with all of the information they need, no matter where the content resides. Do not make the cardinal mistake of asking visitors to bounce between your blog, product documentation site, customer community, website, etc.
- Unify your channels. Stop thinking multi-channel and start thinking about one unified layer connecting all of the customer’s interactions, no matter where they happen. From mobile app to website to community, don’t let any piece of data on what your customers are thinking get left behind to improve your conversion rate.
- Add personal touches. Upcoming webinar? Include the speaker’s photo and make it a video call. New blog post? Have the author share a personal story. Find ways to create a personal connection with your audience and let them see behind the scenes.
- Make your returning visitors feel welcome with a personalized experience. On average, website visitors visit a website 7 times before making a purchase – and returning visitors buy more and convert at a higher rate. Use the data you have on their online behavior to personalize the content they need and make the purchase process seamless.
- Look at the data of the information they are seeking. You may be a great writer, but your website is probably not at the top of your visitor’s leisure reading list. Your visitors come with a purpose that often includes questions to be answered. Figure out what those are using your site search usage analytics and then create content to answer them.
- Use the data of the information they are not able to find. What are the popular search queries that return few results or results with a low clickthrough rate? This is where you are losing customers to external sites for additional information. Use these queries for your content strategy to keep your customers on your site and improve your conversion rate.
- Anticipate their next step. Every website visitor is unique, but for the most part, they will have “digital soulmates” online who exhibit the same behavior and have the same purpose when they come to your site. Find a way to identify those groups, identify the content that leads to a lower exit or bounce rate, and deliver that content right to your visitor when they need it.
- Use machine learning to scale your conversion rate optimization efforts. Delivering the right content to every website visitor is possible, and even without an entire army of marketers. Most companies are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate where the delivery and analysis of your data where possible.
- Review your headlines. Your headline may be dooming the rest of your page; look at the pages with higher exit rates and experiment with a different style, position or text of the headline to see if it will improve your conversion rate.
- Make sure your message is consistent between all channels. Everyone is pursuing personalized account-based marketing campaigns. But what happens when those prospects on your email list land on a generic website? It lacks the resonance of your ABM campaign and you lose those prospects.
- Forget hype. Provide clear, concise descriptions of your products and services. You can be aspirational, but keep in mind that most of your website visitors will want the “real talk” on your product.
- Use a consistent and memorable tone. This goes hand-in-hand with your website personalization efforts; a consistent and memorable tone helps to make your website visitors feel like they are visiting a friend, not a salesperson pushing products and content. One trick: close your eyes and have a friend or colleague read the website content aloud. Ask yourself if it sounds like one writer or multiple and if it’s a corporation or a person writing the content.
- Add customer testimonials at key purchase points. Validate that your website visitors are making the right decision with quotes and recommendations from happy customers as they website visitor gets closer to purchase or form fill-out.
- Make the conversion experience as seamless and painless as possible. Get your website visitors across the finish line as quickly as possible by not asking for too much information, bombarding them with additional content or confusing them about the process.
- Add more details. Customers today have the entire world of research at their fingertips; if they want to find information about your product or service, they will find it, even if it’s not on your website. Experiment with providing more information on your product to improve your conversion rate.
- Test and experiment every aspect of design with your calls to action. Large image button? Small image button? In-text CTA? Pop-up banner? Form requiring just an email address? The possibilities are endless, but also crucial to inspire those spur-of-the-moment decisions to follow through with the purchase or form.
- Test and experiment every aspect of your forms. Don’t apply logical UX design to illogical website visitors. Your website visitors may enjoy scrolling through your website or convert more with a wider form. The possibilities are endless – but you need to narrow down what works for you. Don’t do this without a clear plan in place for what you are going to learn from every test and the desired action.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There are going to be some stumbles on your way to improving the conversion rate; that’s part of testing and analyzing. Wear each mistake and every insight you learned proudly and encourage your team to do so as well.
Using personalization to increase your conversion rate of potential customers is actually simpler than you think, and enables you to deliver the exact content your website visitors need across your website and online marketing, from your landing pages to your customer community. Download our latest whitepaper, “Simplifying Personalization in Sitecore xDB” to find out how.