26 Essential Steps to Increase Conversion Rate
In this post you will learn the ways of boosting your website conversion rate.
In fact these are precisely the strategies we used to improve our own conversion rate from 3% to 7%.
Today we’ll show you how we did it…
…and how you can do it too.
1. Set up conversion tracking
Set up goals in your analytics software to make sure you know when someone did what you wanted them to, and their route to taking that action. Google doesn’t necessarily tell you the origin of the converted customer (kudos to “Direct/None”), but you can almost always deduce what link they followed to get to your site.
You should also make sure you effectively track these conversions on your end. When determining how people arrive at a landing page or at a waiting list sign-up, you might not be able to track conversion if the page stays the same when they arrive. One way of making it easier is thanking people for taking action – on a designated page. This then can be tied to Google Analytics.
2. Find out your existing rate
"If it's not measured it can't be improved", that kind of thing. You need to know your current conversion rate to understand the progress you'll be making. Ways of doing it depend on the specifics of your business, but it must be done.
3. Design your sales funnel
This is not just about conversion – increasing sales requires a clearly determined sales funnel, with several conversion options, and with a focus of moving people down it, from the first time they hear about you to the point when they buy your goods.
More expensive and complicated products require more time for people to commit.
HoverSignal, for example, offers a free trial instead of asking for an immediate purchase. That significantly improves conversion. But often you will need to slow down even more and build trust, develop a relationship and prove your expertise to make a sale happen.
- For selling marketing gamification tools the process looks something like this:
- Goal: To increase their website conversion
- Ours: To get the visitor to buy our apps
- Offer valuable free tools in a blog post or a video, like free reports or whitepapers
- Gain trust as an advisor
- Explain reasons to sign up to our email list (by offering useful information)
- Free "taster" content via email
- Direct you to our sales page and ask to buy the full version
In our experience it takes at least 7 contacts with a prospective client to make them ready to buy the product. The longer and deeper this relationship, the higher the chances they will make an order.
Slow down. Offer value and results first, ask them to buy only after they can enjoy those. Get their email addresses and continue talking to them to slowly move them closer to the point of purchase.
4. Get more quality traffic
This is overlooked by many: a lot of traffic that isn’t relevant to your offer is going to hurt your conversion. Increase your rate by focusing on making your traffic more effective, not just increasing the numbers.
5. Drive traffic to targeted pages
Instead of driving targeted traffic to your index page, drive it to specific landing pages when possible. Show visitors what's most relevant to what they are looking for depending on the traffic source.
If they arrive at your landing page via a PPC ad, be sure your ad copy is consistent with the copy on the page. Your ad should tell them precisely what they’ll find after clicking on it.
6. Make a solid value proposition
Your conversion rate is mostly determined by the value proposition.
Many marketers try to improve their rate by adjusting elements of the page like colors and font sizes, button shapes or images, when in reality it all fades in comparison to a compelling value proposition.
If your home page or product page just says “Welcome!” or simply states the name of your company or product, you’re missing out. Also, there's a difference between the value proposition for a company and a product. You'll have to work on both.
Elements of a value proposition
A value proposition is usually copy: headline, sub-headline and one paragraph of text, supported by a visual (hero shot, photo or graphics).
- There is no one right way to do it, but I suggest checking for the following:
- Headline must indicate the end benefit of your offer, in one short sentence. It can mention the product and/or the customer and must grab attention.
- Sub-headline or a 2-3 sentence paragraph. A specific description of your offer, the target recepient, and why it's useful.
- 3 bullet points listing key benefits or features.
- Visual. Images get information across much faster than words. Show the product, a hero shot or another image reinforcing your message.
- Evaluate your value proposition by checking whether it answers these:
- What product or service are you selling?
- What is the end benefit of using it?
- Who is your target audience?
- What makes your pruduct or offer unique?
- Use the headline-paragraph-bullets-visual scheme to answer.
7. Use lead magnets
In order to get people onto your mailing list, offering a lead magnet like an upgrade to a blog post or a separate popup can entice people to enter your sales funnel.
Test different lead magnets to see which improves your traffic most, and test various popup parameters – design, movement, how long until it triggers.
8. Make sure your site looks professional,
trustworthy and cool
This may sound obvious, but if the design of your site is outdated or visibly bad, it won’t help your convertion. Make your site modern and beautiful. Few things age as fast as a website.
9. Develop trust
Find out what stops people from trusting your website. You may then use padlocks and secure processing images, or add McAfee secure or Visa/Mastercard icons to improve people's perception.
Show how honest and trustworthy you are as the person (or several) behind the website. Find a way to convey this through images and text. Don't hesitate to post pictures and bios of employees that write about their family or hobbies.
10. Use good images
Using generic or low-quality stock photos sends the wrong message about your brand.
Even low-resolution photos of your team or product, if they're real, are much better than a stock photo.
11. Humanize your brand with video
Add a simple video to landing pages to show real people behind your brand.
12. Speak to people’s fears
Not (necessarily) as evil as it sounds. Finding out what your customers fear and including that in your copy can create emotion that will then help sell your service. This then feeds FOMO (Fear of missing out).
If your product is tangible, include the number of remaining stock in product descriptions (“Order now! only 3 left in stock”).
13. Guarantee things
Can you afford to refund your customers if they are disappointed? A money back guarantee significantly improves trust. You might get a couple of refund requests, but you’ll get many more customers by reducing their concerns about signing up.
14. Use phone numbers…
Having a phone number on your site, especially one with 888 or 800, will make you look solid and increase trust.
Line2 – for affordable 888 numbers that forward to your regular number
15. …And proper email addresses
A company email address like email@example.com looks way better than something like firstname.lastname@example.org. All these little bits of professionalism add up.
16. Show case studies
Showing how people used your service to improve their revenues or the quality of their service is a great source of content (which answers some of the questions above), and will help you convert prospective clients.
17. Link to your social media
Linking social media accounts to your site helps increase your social proof. But don’t bother doing it unless it’s regularly updated and has plenty of followers.
Quotes from customers about how they loved your service or product obviously help conversion. Names, locations and pictures of those giving the testimonials, in turn, increase the believability of what they say.
Third-party reviews can be great too. Did an industry magazine or blog write a glowing review? Show it off!
19. OPP content
The opposite of good conversion rate is bounce rate. As you probably already know, a bounce is when someone visits your site only to quickly jump back to search results. If you use long read content or try to convert people from your blog it's critical to be careful.
The OPP Formula by Backlinko helps you lower the bounce rate.
It’s a formula specifically designed to reduce your bounce rate. It works like this:
You start your intro with the OUTCOME that your reader wants. For example, what does someone searching for “conversion rate” want? More email subscribers! So my intro has that outcome front and center.
Now that you’ve hooked them with the Outcome, comes the Proof. Here you prove that you know what you’re talking about. For example, my intro states that we have increased our conversion by 130%.
Finally you complete your intro with the Preview. Simple: You preview what your content will give them. For example, my preview gives you a sneak peak into my post… which makes you want to keep reading.
Solve Technical Issues
20. Optimize for mobile
Mobile is huge now. Make sure your site looks and works right not only on a phone, but also a tablet. Check that your formatting and scripts work right, and that all functions are available like they are on a desktop.
21. Improve speed
Loading speeds have a great impact on conversion. People will bounce right when they see that your site takes too long to load. Patience doesn't exist on the Internet.
If your page takes more than 4 seconds to load, you need to fix it. You can do it by, for example, reducing image file sizes, combining scripts, reducing CSS files. Get rid of the bloat and prioritize content.
tools.pingdom.com – see what takes the longest to load and how to improve it
22. Use ssl
Secure hosting helps people trust you. Even non-technical users appreciate the padlock in the address bar of their browser. SSL certificates are sometimes a little tricky to set up, so make sure there are no warnings when visitors land on your secure page.
23. Find out where people drop off
Finding and getting rid of dead ends will be enormously helpful to improve conversion. Use Google Analytics to find out where people leave your site, then work to improve these pages by offering visitors an action or driving them to another page instead of going away.
24. Record visitor videos
Record your visitors' actions and watch what they did to look for trends that lead to dropoffs and abandoned carts. It’s fascinating to watch where their cursor was, what they clicked, how they scrolled – you can see all of that. Rate user videos based on what pages they looked at and what actions they took or did not take.
25. Try different Calls to Action
Vary color and text on your Calls To Action. Maybe a contrasting color works better than one that fits in your overall design. “Get started” may work better than “Start your free trial.” Experiment and find out.
26. Simplify your forms
The clearer your forms are, and the less boxes to tick they contain, the more likely people are to actually complete them. Proper and clear labeling is key!