Improving Your Conversion Optimization
In this installment of our deep dives into the website updates you should focus on, I am going to talk about simple changes you can make on your site to encourage visitors to convert into customers. If you’ve landed here without reading them first, I highly recommend you also check out the article that kicked off the series – executive-level checklists for improving your website, and the following deep dive articles about setting or reevaluating your digital marketing goals, and improving your website’s visibility.
As the webosphere gets more and more inundated, standing out from your numerous competitors and getting your customers’ attention gets more elusive. So, it’s really important to always be on the lookout for ways to improve customer conversions on your website in order to get more customers with the traffic you already have.
According to Crazy Egg, website conversion rates stand around 2 percent on average. Sounds awfully low, doesn’t it? But there are changes you can make on your existing site to improve your chances of conversion. In this post, I’ll discuss in more detail some major areas that you should optimize in order to help encourage your visitors to take the next step and become customers.
Reword Your CTAs
CTAs can be written to encourage a variety of different actions depending on your specific goal for that page. The best converting pages are planned and designed around a specific action you want/expect a visitor to take, so make sure your CTA’s clearly match that objective. Don’t forget to put thought into what the most important objectives are from your visitors’ point of view- what are their pain points, goals, questions, etc? One great recommendation is to try to make your CTA phrases benefit-driven and written from the point of view of your visitor, not yourself.
Below are some examples of common actions you might want to encourage your visitor to do on a specific page outside of just making a purchase:
- Subscribe to your list- the goal of this type of CTA isn’t to commit a person to a purchase but instead invite them to receive news, tips, deals, or updates from your company.
- Try for free – a free trial offer that allows your potential customer to demo your product/service before deciding to purchase can be a great way to inspire hesitant visitors to dip their toes into converting.
- Learn more – when a new potential customer first finds your site, they’re likely going to want a little more information about your company or product/service before they’re ready to purchase. Make sure you make it easy for them to find what they need to feel confident to convert.
- Sign up for an event – these CTAs invite your visitors to sign up for an event where they can interact with your product, service, or community further like an online webinar, networking event, conference, trade show, etc.
The wording you use in each of these types of CTAs can have a big influence on how encouraged your potential customers feel in taking the next step in their customer journey. There are some great suggestions for writing compelling CTAs that will stand out to your target audience and examples of how some companies are crushing the CTA game in this post from WordStream.
Simplify Purchase Pages and Other Forms
Your customer’s lives are chock full of distractions and digital devices constantly seeking their attention. Operating within this reality, it’s unrealistic to expect your site visitors to give you much more than 6-8 seconds of attention before deciding to stay or go. If you want to encourage, instead of turn off, your visitors to fill out a registration form or complete the purchase for the item they put in their cart, you need to make it uber simple. Focus on keeping your online forms short, less wordy, easy to understand, and not demanding in the least. The fewer fields and hurdles your potential customer faces, the more likely they are to convert.
One simple and important way to do this is to limit the number of choices in any one step/page, even if that means asking the users to make one more click. Renowned psychologist, George Miller, is famous for his research proposing that people can only use their short-term memory to remember 5-9 things at a time. Whether that range is exact or not, the idea suggests that giving your visitors overly long lists of products or choices is more likely to overwhelm than inspire them to continue. What online marketers call “deep content”, where people need to make multiple easy clicks is much better for user experience than fewer, more difficult clicks.
One bonus of limiting the number of choices on your product/service pages is that it can encourage discovery. Some tips for doing this well are:
- Don’t show all your available offerings right away. It may sound counterintuitive, but by highlighting 4 or 5 categories or varieties that show your range instead of a full list of every option, you encourage your visitors to explore further. Then you can include links to subpages that show all of the variations of that product or service.
- Curate recommendations. A great way to encourage your visitors to purchase more than one product or service is to show your other related offerings that work well together in a prominent place on the page.
When a visitor lands on your website for the first time, one of the things they are looking for is reassurance that your company and products/services are going to deliver on your promises. Modern consumers want more than just details and guarantees from a company to put their minds at ease. Marketing research has shown that consumers are looking for social proof from others they trust. According to Nielsen Trust Barometer 2017, trust in friends, family and ‘people like me’ has risen, while trust in brands and organizations has decreased further.
Some simple ways to provide convincing social proof and built trust with your visitors is to add in things like customer testimonials, reviews, and logos on all of your critical pages. You should make sure these are displayed prominently as social proof that your visitors are making a good choice. Compelling social proof, like a testimonial in which someone directly addresses a common concern that you know your customers have, can be the tipping point for a customer on the edge of a buying decision.
Here are some additional tips for building trust on your website:
- Lean in to visitors’ trust in other sources. Display logos of large companies who have bought your goods and services and highlight mentions by other media outlets and influencers to increase trust.
- Display trust symbols prominently and well ‘above the fold’. A lot of websites include logos or reviews in their footers but not anywhere else. If visitors can’t see your trust symbols easily, they might as well be invisible.
- If you have a large enough customer base, you can take advantage of the bandwagon effect by displaying a running tally of the number of customers that have purchased from you.
Collecting Good Testimonials
Newer businesses sometimes feel challenged because they don’t know how to go about collecting good testimonials from their customers. If your company is in this boat, I want to provide some pointers as you begin to build your library of compelling testimonials.
Set up keyword alerts using a free tool like Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts. This will help you keep an eye out for people who mention your brand online. It can provide great insight on what others are saying about your brand and how they are interacting with your products. It also gives you places to collect positive mentions that you can turn into convincing testimonials for your brand.
Make sure to collect visuals to support your testimonials. Photographs of happy customers enjoying your products, video reactions, and live streams add extra credibility and are compelling.
Make Your Brand Relatable
As more and more of our daily interactions are happening in the digital space, one thing companies struggle to provide is the connection and feeling of the human element in their branding. The companies that have managed to “humanize” their brand well and connect with their audience have done it by committing to a consistent brand personality and by using things like humor, storytelling, and videos that engage their customers.
Pick a personality and stick to it
The language and style of content you use on your site plays a big role in getting visitors to immediately like and trust your website. If you set the tone right, you’ll be in a better position to get more of your visitors to convert. And once you decide on your brand personality, (whether that is using humor, sarcasm, inspiration, or something else) you need to commit to it and make it consistent across all of your marketing. Choosing the right personality will depend largely on your ideal customer and their tastes, desires, and expectations. You can also use different video elements to connect with your audience and project your brand personality.
One trap to avoid in this process is to resist the urge to prioritize sounding witty or irreverent over being clear. If your visitors can’t tell right away that your product/service is going to address their needs, they’re more likely to bounce.
Talk like a real person
Your visitors are more likely to feel good about your brand if the messaging sounds personable and like it was written by a human, for a human. One way to keep your content sounding authentic and genuine is to avoid using a bunch of industry jargon and over-the-top adjectives (like “word-class” and “industry-leading”). These words typically don’t add any real meaning to your content and are stale and overused.
It’s also important to make sure your content doesn’t sound robotic and devoid of emotion. You can be sure no one is going to get the warm fuzzies about your brand if your content sounds like it was written for a product manual. This also relates back in part to what you have chosen for your brand personality.
Consider Adding a Chat Bot
Modern consumers increasingly expect to be able to connect with another person in real-time directly on a company’s website. According to a research report by Ubisend, 88% of customers expect a response from your business in 60 minutes and more than half expect a business to be available 24/7. We’re especially finding that younger users prefer not to chat on the phone, so they’re looking for other ways to get answers to their questions.
Chat bots have been around for quite a while and they have gotten much more intuitive recently. Chat bots can be added to your existing site using custom-built or plug-in tools, such as the ones from Drift, Manychats, or Chatfuel. They are easy to add on any site and have shown to provide almost immediate boosts to your conversions.
To satisfy the expectation of modern users, your bots need to be “smarter” and seem more like a human than they used to. No one likes chatting with a machine, so the more realistic the conversation, the better. The newer AI chat bots have become more accessible to an average business in recent years. There are multiple providers of slick AI chat bots that are highly customizable such as the offering from Chatbot.com.
The average conversion rate on a website is only around 1 percent. Not an inspiring number, is it? One of the most effective ways that bots are being used on company sites is to help convince leads who might not have converted without it to take the plunge. Bots are especially useful on high intent pages, like a pricing page. Being able to get an immediate answer to a question or an enticing offer might be the difference between a visitor bouncing and converting.
Most importantly, however, today’s chatbots make it easier to get closer to customers, says Drift’s CEO, David Cancel. Cancel, an entrepreneur himself and former Chief Product Officer at Hubspot, said, “Bots and chat make it easier for people to buy the way they want to, when they want to–and that should be the goal of any business.”
Need Help Boosting Your Customer Conversions?
While following the steps above should help boost your website conversion rates with your current visitors, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to add another project to your plate! At Glide, our team invests their experience and personal drive in helping our thriving customers find success on their web projects. If you’re up for it, we’re more than happy to discuss potentially working together to create a winning digital marketing plan or building out your next web project so that it’s catching the right eyes, and converting them, in all the right ways.