“Conversions, Conversions, Conversions – don’t give me more traffic, Permission – I need more Conversions.”
How often do you think we hear this line? Well, nowhere near as often as this one: “My traffic has dropped off and I’m worried.” Or perhaps, “whatever you can do to increase our traffic then do it quite quickly please.”
Now, we are not alone here. It’s an industry wide-issue. For example, just go to Google and type in “SEO” (Search Engine Optimisation) and you will see a whole bunch of advertised results. It’s a high volume search term. Now try again with the keyword “website conversion optimisation” and the results are very different, as is the search volume – it’s a lot lower.
I don’t want to get all meta-physical here but perhaps this is just a simple reflection of our desire to favour solutions to our problems that rely on changes outside rather than inside our business. So we look to places like Google for the opportunity of more traffic, when the real long-term change needs to occur with what we do with the traffic we already get. Then we can be in the situation that this happy customer is faced with in the images that follow. Site visits are down 10% but conversions are up 48% and the overall site conversion rate is rocketing up by 81%. That’s quite a big smile.
You see, online traffic will wax and wane in tune with the changing desires of the market. But steady improvements in conversions will add sustainable strength to your business.
So what are the fundamentals of success in the website conversion process? Well, here are just five to ponder when heading off into this area.
Fundamental #1: The more you tell – the more you sell
Imagine you are walking through a sports goods store on the hunt for some new running shoes. It’s been a while since you purchased a pair and you need help. It’s a mammoth store, so now you are hunting not for some shoes but some help. Eventually you find someone. Unfortunately, they started yesterday and are very little help. So you leave. In a huff. Shopping was never your favourite pastime. It ranks just above jogging.
Nevertheless, just by luck you find another store close by and in it someone who is also a “leisure” runner like you. Now things are very different. They tell you what to avoid and what to pay attention to. You spend a good few minutes chatting and end up walking out with your ideal pair. They probably cost more than at the first store but that didn’t matter. The job is done.
Most people would love to replicate every part of this happy shopping experience in their own e-commerce store. But that’s a bit hard to achieve. Nevertheless, the theory of telling more and more through the content you provide is one you can follow. So lots of great pictures please, from all angles in as high a quality as possible. Even short videos presenting the product could be an idea, too. (Refer to my previous article on Zappos and their use of quick fire product intro video notes.)
Tell, tell and more tell – load it up and see how this improves your site’s ability to sell.
Fundamental #2: Shopping carts need obvious directions
Online shopping is a fickle environment. A good website will covert 4% of its traffic into orders – leaving 96% to visit, look and leave. Any real-world store would quickly go bust with conversion rates like this. Therefore, any visitor that packs their shopping cart with product and then heads to your online check-out process deserves a slick and easy process to complete the sale. This is not the place for forms that confuse rather than clarify or pages that distract rather than focus attention.
And we are not talking about large, wholesale alterations here to fix a clunky check-out process. Just small tweaks can make a very large difference. For example, the conversion rate increases we delivered for the customer whose data was in the earlier graphic were achieved by us re-writing just two pages of a shopping cart process. Less than 35 words were changed.
Fundamental #3 : Even “Contact us” forms need some selling
When you are next in your Google Analytics account go and look at the number of unique visits your “Contact us” page receives. Now think back to the number of actual contacts – both phone and form – that came from your website. Even allowing for a few just wanting your contact details, I’m sure there will be a reasonably large discrepancy.
A month or so ago we had a client who lived with a sub 2% conversion rate for this type of page. In other words, of the 100 people who visited their “Contact us” page, only two actually did. Not good.
There were a number of issues at fault here. Firstly, they were asking for too much detail – from memory the form requested up to 8 fields to be completed. And secondly, there were no words of “selling” on the page to convince visitors to part with their information.
Again, it doesn’t have to be much. Just a few words on what occurs for those interested in learning more. Your business may offer a complimentary consulting session, a free “measure and quote” or perhaps a short phone review. Whatever it is, it will no doubt be packed full of benefits to make the first engagement a good one.
You don’t offer anything for the first time contact? Well, perhaps it’s time you did. Permission offers a comprehensive online marketing review for all new clients. Now, this is a paid-for service but comes with a rebate for a sizable chunk of the cost for those who decide to proceed further. For some businesses, a “paid-for” introduction service wouldn’t work, but there needs to be something that can be sold from your “Contact us” page.
Fundamental #4: Both the top and bottom of the sales funnel need attention
In very general terms, there are usually two types of prospects that your website will attract. There will be those that have a problem and need to solve it quite quickly – and then there are the visitors who are interested but not ready to decide just yet. The latter is the larger sized group.
Nearly all websites have a “Contact us” page with our without any selling on it, whereas very few also offer content to those who are interested but not yet decided. This is a problem. These people are ripe for influencing. They are in the early stages of gathering information together and are hungry for content to make their job easier.
Buying guides, free reports, and any prospect education content pieces all go a long way to correctly position your company during this early research phase. Yes, it will need some focused email follow-up, but done properly it is a powerful conversion improving strategy.
Fundamental #5: The website visitor chooses the winner
I’ve mentioned this before in previous newsletters but it deserves repeating here again. It is nigh on impossible to deliver a website that achieves the maximum conversion rate for your prospect audience. There’s always room for improvement. Therefore, split-testing your pages against test versions is a process that should be part of every month’s work. The person who decides what test will or will not work is not you, your boss or your marketing advisor – it’s your website visitor. After a statistically valid series of events have passed they will let you know which of the three outcomes your test has achieved – no change, improved change or, possibly, worsening change.
So there you have it. These five short points make up some of the fundamental parts of improving a website’s ability to convert the traffic it receives. Traffic will go up and down but positive conversion choices will live with your website forever more.
Permission delivers a Website Conversion service module that runs for 6 months and is focused on exactly this type of work. It comes with a guaranteed conversion rate improvement. Contact us today if you would like to learn more.