Some ideas on improving your conversion rate
A few paragraphs here cannot cover the vast and complex field of conversion rate optimisation (CRO). It would be like covering all of digital marketing in one go.
CRO is vast because it covers anything that could improve how your business converts customers, not just on your website. Even the weather influences conversion.
CRO is a complex field because it combines maths and statistics as well as psychology and behavioral science. Oh, and meteorology too.
The core of CRO is testing to see what works, and this is within the reach of most people. This guide should therefore help you decide what to test on and beyond your site.
Let's get the most obvious out of the way.
This probably has the single biggest influence on your conversion rate. Why else would retailers constantly be offering deals, discounts, offers and promotions?
Does anybody remember Ryanair's old site where they had captchas for every search you ran? They still filled their planes. Why? Because they were so cheap.
How do you optimise for the weather? As long as you're aware of it, you can plan accordingly. For instance, BBQs sell better in hot weather while online sales fare less well as everybody rushes out to enjoy the sun.
You can't optimise your website for this, unless you run temporary offers but you could react to it either by pushing up your PPC bids because you know from experience you will sell well, or by cutting back on bidding because nothing will sell.
If you sell mattresses nationwide, the more stores you have, the more likely you are going to convert. There are some items people prefer to try or see in person and if there is a local shop, they are more likely to drop there than drive across the country. So if you are the local shop rather than your competitor, you are more likely to win this sale. Of course, there is a cost with opening more and more stores.
Store opening hours matter too. Screwfix opens on a Sunday near me but not my local plumber's merchant. Guess where plumbers will go to if they are working on a Sunday?
If you run ads telling people to call you now now now but your phone lines are closed, that's not going to work. Equally, if the phone rings 20 times before you pick it up. Or your customer cannot understand the accent on the phone.
By now you probably get the gist that you need to remove as many barriers to sale as possible.
Let's have a look at a few ideas to optimise your site, as that's probably why you came here.
About US page
Gone are the days when people were too scared to buy online. However they're still wary of buying from sites they've never heard of. Most of the sites I come across have a very poor About Us page. This is your opportunity to tell you potential customers about you - how you started out, how long you've been trading, why you love what you do, etc. The About Us page is your chance to show the human side of your online business, that there are great people behind this website.
Or rather don't contact us. So many sites don't supply their contact details or bury it in their terms and conditions. Guess what - it makes them come across as dodgy.
You want to display an email address or phone number for people to get in touch easily, but also a physical address to show you are a proper business and not a fly-by-night business operating out of a rented bedsit in Istanbul and which could shut down without notice.
Let's mention a few favourite ones now in the world of CRO. No article on CRO can be complete without mentioning these "classics".
- Button colour
- Page speed
- Page layout
- Above the fold
- Sales message
- Top navigation
There's no point in me covering any of these as there are plenty of resources already all over the internet. The blog at Unbounce is a good starting point.
While reading all these CRO tips, do bear in mind that there in the world of CRO, there is no right answer. Because each business and website are unique, what works for hundreds of businesses may not work for you. So take all these tips as guidelines and best practices.
The only way to find the right solution for you is to test. Even then, what works today may not work in one year given how the world changes. For instance, the popularity of smart phones which has overtaken desktop traffic in general.
There are many tools to make testing easy and you may get carried away with it, given the emphasis on testing in CRO. Take some time to decide what you test and why. You can keep testing different button colours but there is only so much gain you can make out of this. Bigger changes require more resources but will have a bigger impact, though this can be negative.
If you need any help to get started with optimisation, please get in touch with me. A big part of Adwords is to optimise your landing page and this is a good place to make your first steps.
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