Many people believe that they need more website traffic in order to sell more products or services, and to a certain degree they are right about it. Still, it bothers me to see that very few people are making effective use of the traffic that they are getting. After all, these people are already here, on your website, and some of them might have a genuine interest in buying what you are selling. Since getting more qualified website traffic can cost you a lot of money, it makes sense to obtain as much value as possible from the visitors that you are already getting.
Basically, a conversion is what happens at your website when a visitor purchases something or turns into a lead by filling in a form. As an example, if 100 people visit your website and one of them buys your product, we are talking about a conversion rate of 1%.
Of course, the higher the conversion rate, the higher the revenue will be. Still, most business owners don’t want to get involved into conversion rate optimization because they believe that it is a boring and complicated process. While I agree with this to a certain extent, I have seen conversion rates increase with 200% by simply adding an arrow that was pointing towards the contact form, replacing two images, etc.
Think about it for a second: if you run an online business and you manage to double the conversion rate, you are practically doubling its revenue! And if you use pay-per-click and search engine optimization to bring targeted traffic to your website, by doubling the conversion rate you are halving the PPC and SEO costs.
Another important aspect: sometimes you might not be able to get more website traffic, visitors that are interested in purchasing your merchandise, no matter how much you are willing to pay for it, simply because there are very few people interested in purchasing products or services in the very narrow niche that your business might be targeting. Under these conditions, getting as many sales as possible from the limited number of potential buyers is crucial.
Conversion optimization involves a lot of testing. I worked with many web designers and most of them were really good; still, even if you have a brand new, great looking website, if you aren’t tracking its conversion rate, you won’t be able to tell if it helps or if it actually harms your selling efforts. The logical conclusion is that the main goal of a website redesign should be a conversion rate increase, and not necessarily the more modern aspect of it, better looking headlines, more vivid colors, etc.
The A/B testing (also known as split testing) involves testing one version of your website (A) in comparison with another version of it (B). Let’s say that your current website headline says something like “Save Time With Our Project Management Software” and you’d like to test a new headline that has a different text, for example “Save Time And Money By Streamlining Your Activity”. The split testing software would then send half of the visitors to version A and the other half to version B. After you’ve sent at least hundreds of people to both versions, you will be able to tell (just an example) that the version A headline converts at 2%, while version B converts at 3.5%.
At this point it is clear that you should switch to version B, but maybe there’s an ever better headline that would convert at an even greater rate. This means that you should try and come up with version C, which might work better than B (or not). If this sounds like an ongoing process, it’s because it actually is; still, think at it as being a necessary process that can easily double or triple your revenue.
Multivariate testing (multi-variable testing) allows you to test multiple things at the same time, for example the headline, the color of the lead capture form, its position, and so on. And while the thought of figuring all the pieces of the puzzle at once might be seductive, the reality is that you will need A LOT (and I hate caps) of website traffic in order to do it properly. We are talking about thousands of website visitors each day, a number that most of us can’t produce. Actually, you can do multivariate testing with fewer visitors, but prepare to wait for several weeks or even months before being able to obtain relevant results.
Since this testing method works with several variables at once, it will be quite difficult to determine what increased your conversion rate; maybe the new headline color helped improve the conversion rate a lot, while the left side position of that picture on the homepage lowered it a bit. In fact, even if your website has got thousands (or at least hundreds) of visitors each day, you should start by doing a few A/B tests, especially if you plan to redesign your website from scratch.
There are several WordPress plug-ins and online tools that can help you do thorough A/B and multivariate testing, but if this sounds a bit too technical for you, read on to discover several methods that are much easier to implement and give great results.
Begin by focusing on the value of the product that you are selling; I have discussed this in the How to Generate a QR Code article. The better your products or services are, the higher the conversion rate. Try to make your product the best one in its price range, offering your customers exceptional value for their money. I see a lot of online businesses having the “me too!” attitude, but if you liked to explode your conversion rate, you’d better come up with something innovative. After all, trying to offer the smallest price will only make things worse on the long run, forcing the businesses to cut down their costs and produce low quality merchandise. As a conclusion, rather than having the lowest price in the industry as your value proposition, focus on offering fantastic products, services, customer support, and so on.
Even if the products that you are selling are providing a lot of value, you need to make sure that they are relevant for your potential customers. Maybe you are selling iPads (a wild assumption, I know) and you are interested in increasing your conversion rate. I didn’t see too many people do this, but I can guarantee that placing buttons like “iPads for Moms”, “iPads for Kids”, etc on your website would increase the conversion rate dramatically. You would then show the moms how an iPad could help them have access to all those great recipes and magazines in the kitchen, while showing the kids that they could use an iPad to connect with their friends online, play some great looking games, and so on.
Sure, this means more work for you (or at least for your web designer and the content creation team) but the results will definitely be worthwhile. In fact, this recommendation goes hand in hand with the way I am optimizing all my clients’ websites for SEO purposes, targeting a single keyword per page.
If you are selling a great product or service, the only thing that might prevent your conversion rate from improving is the lack of a risk-free guarantee. Your potential customers might not trust you, but if you are willing to give them the chance to try your services for free and / or to give them a full refund for the products that are returned within 30 or 60 days from their purchase date, you have made a great step forward towards exploding your conversion rate.
Actually, since you are selling such great products and services, you shouldn’t be afraid to give them a no-brainer guarantee like the one above, right? Remember that minimizing your customers’ risks by offering a money-back guarantee is a simple, straightforward way of boosting your conversion rates.
An ancient Chinese proverb states “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this is also true when it comes to conversion rates. Make sure that the pictures and / or movies that you are using on your website to promote the products are of the highest quality; don’t use product images that were taken using that old camera you borrowed from your aunt a decade ago. One of my friends used to make a decent living by buying old books from Ebay, cleaning them a bit, taking much better pictures of them and the selling them on… Ebay! Professional looking pictures and movies will always sell the merchandise better.
How easy it is for people to buy from your online store? If you are asking them to create an account, make sure to use a simple form, which requests the bare minimum information from them. The longer the forms, the lower the conversion rates will be. One of my clients had a “Request more information” contact form that was containing 15 fields; the conversion went up by 300% as soon as we’ve redesigned it, bringing it down to the 7 absolutely necessary fields. Remember that your potential customers don’t necessary trust you, so why would they tell you their cell phone numbers or the number of employees that are working in their company?
Your website is your sales rep, so it has to address all the objections that your potential customers might have. Sadly, unlike a highly trained sales rep, your website isn’t an intelligent person, but a bunch of bytes sitting on a computer server. Under these conditions, having a detailed FAQ section that answers your customers’ potential questions and objections is mandatory. Sure, you might have an online chat system, 24/7 tech support numbers and so on, but most people will not use them until they are prepared to buy.
The last aspect that I want to get into has to do with the urgency of your offer. The QR article referenced above talks about countdown timers and stuff like that, but I don’t like to use false scarcity techniques. Still, many online businesses have limited resources, so you can promote a time limited offer without being a liar. Take our monthly SEO services for example; since our team isn’t very big, we can’t handle hundreds of clients at the same time, so it would make sense to add something like “Only 2 spots left this month. Reserve yours now!” to that page. Sure, if you are selling digital products, you won’t ever run out of them; nevertheless, maybe you can offer a 50% discount on a newly launched digital product for a limited period of time, until it gains enough momentum.
Don’t ruin your reputation by employing false scarcity tactics; the internet is filled with countdown timers that will make the offers expire in 2 minutes, 2 hours or 2 days, but in reality those offers will remain there for the months or years to come.
I hope that you will apply at least a few of the techniques that were discussed in this article; they are bound to increase the conversion rate of your website. If you like this article, please use one of the social media sharing buttons below (I’m not picky ). Thank you!