Many business owners choose to focus their attention on driving more targeted visitors to their websites with the belief that more visitors will generate more income. However many websites have issues that are hindering or even preventing their visitors from performing the action that they want, meaning that the leads and sales aren’t as forthcoming as they could be.
Why worry about getting twice as many people to your website when it could actually be far easier to double the number of sales or enquiries from the visitors that you already have? The process for achieving this is known as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).
What is conversion rate?
The measure of the number of visitors that will perform your intended action (i.e buy something or send an enquiry). If your website had 100 visitors and 3 purchased a product, your conversion rate would be 3%.
So why is this important? To put it simply, the higher your conversion rate the higher your ROI (return on investment) will be, meaning you’ll be able to reap the rewards associated with that!
How to get more from your visitors:
First of all, you need to decide what you actually want your visitors to do when they are on your website. You may want them to buy one of your products, send you an enquiry, request a brochure or sample, or sign up for your newsletter.
Once you have decided this and are measuring it you can then begin the process of CRO. If you are unaware of how to measure your conversions, Google Analytics has an option known as “goals” which will keep track of the number of times that your visitors perform your desired action.
The first steps to improving your Conversion Rate is to put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and looking closely at your website for any confusing or difficult points which could be preventing conversions. Some key areas you should look at include:
Does your website content match with what your visitors will expect to see?
Does your website layout or content distract your visitors at all?
Are there any elements that help to reassure your visitors that you are indeed the company that they should be purchasing from or working with? If you have a returns policy is it easy to find?
Call to Actions
Are they clear and easy to find? Does your website make it clear what action you want your visitors to perform?
Why should your visitors perform your desired action? Think about the tone and presentation of your content, as well as any incentives and offers you could incorporate.
While in many cases it’s possible to identify potential barriers between your visitors and achieving conversions, getting feedback and insight can prove to be priceless. While focus groups are many people’s preferred option where face to face feedback and insight can be achieved, there are other options available to you, which require less organisation and can be less costly.
Here are some of our preferred tools for this:
This website allows you to get feedback from your target audience in the form of a recorded video of their time spent on your website, where they narrate their thought process. You are able to devise tasks that you wish them to perform and ask questions.
MouseFlow allows you to record website visitors to see how they interact with your website. This data is also collated into heat maps allowing you to see where users click, scroll and focus their attention.
Survey Monkey allows you to create different types of surveys (ranging from the very simple to sophisticated) which you can use to gain key feedback from your target audience via e-mail and social media
Prioritise & construct a hypothesis
Once you have sought feedback it’s time to prioritise the issues which may have kept cropping up. This could be adding testimonials that you may have had but not published on your website, or including information such as postage costs or making your returns policy clearer.
I’d recommend that you construct a hypothesis for each area you are going to address in order to measure your success.
For example, if your website only displays postage costs at the final stage of your checkout process, you could believe that “displaying postage costs in the shopping basket page” will improve the number of customers who make a purchase. This will then form the basis of your experiment instead of making many changes meaning that you won’t know which (if any) were the reason for an increase (or decrease!) in conversion rate.
There is a tool within Google Analytics called “Content Experiments” that allows you to perform A/B (split) tests on your website, meaning that half of your visitors will see the live version of a page and the other half will see the experimental version. The two pages then compete in order to see which performs better.
Personally, I like to use a tool called “Visual Website Optimiser” which allows you to create simple CRO experiments such as re-positioning page elements, or hiding items without coding knowledge, yet is powerful enough to handle even the most complex of changes such as creating an entirely new navigation system!
While any page or element can be tested, here are some examples of pages and items that you may wish to redesign and split test:
• Position of the “add to basket” button
• Size of the “add to basket” button
• The amount of content available above the fold
• Adding user reviews
• The amount and style of copy used to describe your service
• Adding client testimonials
• Including a contact form
• Including logos of clients
• Removing unnecessary fields from your contact form
• Including or repositioning testimonials
• Adding or adjusting your hero statement to prompt a visitor to complete your contact form
• Removing unnecessary form fields
• Adding “address lookup” functionality
• Reducing the process from two pages to one page
It’s important that you allow your experiment to run for a reasonable amount of time and that any further experiments run for the same duration and evenly. For example, if your website tends to make more sales on a weekend, then not allowing the experimental pages to benefit from weekend traffic wouldn’t result in a fair experiment.
Once you have the results if your experimental version of the page performed better than the live version of the page then you can replace it. You can then look to refine it further in order to further increase your conversion rate.
CRO should always be considered to be an ongoing process – there will always be areas that you can improve!
Run a series of small tests with only incremental changes, if your changes are too drastic you won’t be able to identify the successful (or not so) elements.
Follow what the data is telling you, even if it goes against your initial thoughts or instincts.
Spending money on your online marketing campaign while ignoring potential issues with your website is like pouring money down the drain!