Website conversion means that you inspire your visitor to take a desired action; such as sign up for a newsletter, request more information, or make a purchase while visiting your site.
The conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take that action.
It’s that simple. And that complicated.
Since your website is the ‘hub’ of your business marketing strategy, (if it isn’t, to read how and why that’s critical to your success: ‘Get Your Website Noticed’) You need to make sure it functions as a marketing tool to answer questions, engage visitors, provide education, and prompt them to act. It’s a business tool, and must be used to optimize your engagement with clients and prospects.
If your site’s not up-to-date, isn’t beautifully functional, or has less than ideal content, all you really have is an online brochure. A website needs to be a flexible, agile tool to which you constantly add new content – otherwise it may as well be a ‘placeholder’ on the internet.
How do you get your website visitors to take action?
Unless you’re selling Ferraris for the price of a Hyundai, it isn’t going to happen automatically, or probably even the first time they visit.
Here are your goals:
- Capture their attention
- Help them become interested in your product or service by providing great information – for free
- Make it easy for them to find answers to their questions without having to work
- Understand what makes them want what you offer – how you can solve their challenges
- Get them to take action – sign up for your newsletter, ask for a free e-book, make an appointment, etc.
- Make them your best referral source by delighting them with your terrific service!
This most often occurs in baby steps. Below are some of the ways in which you can improve your conversion rate:
1. Usability and Functionality. You have less than one second to convince a visitor to actually stay on your site long enough to find out more about you. If your website provides a great user experience through an easy-to-use visual hierarchy, and functions in a logical, seamless way, they won’t get frustrated in that 1/10th of a second and leave.
2. Testimonials. These provide social proof – one of the marketing tools of influence. We love reading about the experiences of others – especially when accompanied by a photo – and well-written testimonials give your visitor a glimpse into just what doing business with you would be like.These provide social proof – one of the marketing tools of influence. We love reading about the experiences of others – especially when accompanied by a photo – and well-written testimonials give your visitor a glimpse into just what doing business with you would be like.
3. Great content. Original, quality content is the biggest driver of traffic to your site via search engines. If you produce great content regularly, and use viable SEO, you’ll attract more visitors. They have to find you before they can decide to purchase! Sharing links to your site via Social Media increases your chances of being found.
4. Credibility. If your site looks professional and your content is well-written and audience-focused, you will develop authority in your field. Your prospect wants to know you are giving them good, usable information that will help them. Their burning question? “What can you do for me?”
5. Assistance in the form they choose – phone, live chat, e-mail, click-to-call, etc. Make it easy for them to ask additional questions in the manner they like to use. Some ‘ideal clients’ still like to pick up the phone and talk with a real person. Others prefer to use live chat to have their questions answered. Give them the option of using the method they prefer.
6. Free Stuff. Remember, you’re building credibility, trust and authority here. Give away free guides, white papers, e-books and more. It creates reciprocity, liking and authority – more marketing tools of influence. Ask your visitor to sign up with their name and e-mail address so you can send them the great free stuff. Make sure they always have the ability to ‘opt out’ of your mailing list, and don’t abuse it by e-mailing them terrible automated messages (see our blog “Why Automation Doesn’t Work”) or using ‘hard sell’ tactics.
7. While we’re taking about building your e–mail list, the less information you ask for, especially in the beginning, the better. If you make it too difficult or ask for too much right away, they will go away. As they sign up for more of your offers, you can ask them for a bit more information – which helps you to understand better what types of offers they might like to receive in the future.
8. Use dedicated landing pages for offers. These should be clean and visually uncluttered. Tell them exactly what they are going to get by signing up. Make it sincere, helpful and most importantly about them. No old-school sales tactics, no strings attached.
9. Video is great to show there’s a real person who represents your product or service. We’re hardwired to look at faces to decipher valuable information about whether we trust the message or not. This is instinctive – we aren’t even aware that we’re doing it most often – but we evaluate the sincerity and veracity of people immediately. (to read our recent blog, “Why Video Should Be In Your Business Toolbox”). Happy, smiling people create better conversion rates – whether in images or video.
10. Use Calls to Action – ‘sign up here’, ‘press the button to make magic happen’ etc. in colorful, button-shaped images – we understand right away what we need to do with these.
Be sure to use analytics to see what’s working best for your business. Test, adjust and test again. We have created great campaigns that failed to have the impact we hoped for – then changed the headline or an image and had it take off like a shooting star. Do your research, decide on your strategy, plan the details – and be flexible. Use these tips and you’ll soon see an increase in your website’s conversion rate.