Conversion (or the art of getting customers to do what you want them to do)
So. You’ve worked tirelessly to send quality traffic to your website. They’re perfectly primed, potential customers searching for a business precisely like yours. But wait! When you check your analytics, something’s going horribly wrong. They don’t buy. They don’t book. They don’t submit any forms. They don’t even sign up to that newsletter you’ve sweated buckets over night after night. Worst of all, some don’t even have the audacity to hang around long enough to see your show-stopping social proof. What on earth is going on? Conversion is going on. Or more specifically, a lack of it.
What is conversion anyway?
Here’s one of our favourite ways to explain what conversion is. It’s is the art of getting people to behave how you want them to on your website.
What that behaviour looks like, of course, will depend on your particular business. And the specific purpose your website serves. But in simple terms, conversion is getting customers to perform a specific and desired act.
For some businesses that will be making a direct purchase. For others, a booking or reservation. It could be asking for a call back, signing up to a newsletter, following your social media, sharing content, opening an account, downloading a white paper or watching a video.
Whatever your wanted action is, here’s the thing. If your site visitors aren’t doing it, it’s a waste of all your hard traffic-driving work.
Which begs the question, how do you improve your conversion rate?
Know your goals
Conversion Rate Optimisation (or CRO) is big business. But here’s an equally big surprise. There are plenty of smart things you can do to your site yourself. And these will reveal which techniques will give you the results you need.
But before you start tinkering, you need to get thinking. What ‘conversions’ do you specifically want to optimise – and why? A clear plan of what you want to achieve sets the foundation for a good CRO strategy. Get started without a plan and you’ll end up sparking more confusion than conversion.
So, go ahead and ask yourself. What’s the single most important thing you want a would-be customer to do on your website?
Let’s say your website wish is booking an appointment. And right now, that’s not happening at the volume you need. Your ultimate conversion goal is, therefore, to increase your click rate on that all-important Book Now button.
But if that’s the only part of your site you examine, you’ll miss out on a whole host of other conversion opportunities.
To really improve your conversion rate, you need to consider all the steps in all the journeys that lead your customer to that Book Now moment. And for that, you’ll want to get analytical.
Get the facts
The best way to approach CRO is with data. Use your website analytics to get a full picture of what’s happening on your site, where and when. Take that Book Now button for example. Look at the ones that make it there. What steps do they take? And the ones that don’t make it that far, where do they drop off? What’s stopping them from completing the same steps all the way to booking?
Now it gets interesting. Because once you’ve identified all the potential stumbling blocks en route to your goal, you can do something about them. AKA CRO.
What happens if?
It’s worth saying there’s no one-size-fits-all CRO fix. Conversion is a definitely a game of tinkering, testing and tinkering again. You’ll need to get into the swing of asking What Happens If? of virtually every element on your site.
What happens if you change the colour of a CTA (call-to-action) button so it stands out more against your background? What happens if you adjust its size? What happens if you tweak the copy in that button?
And so on. And so on. And…well, let’s just say your conversion optimisation will never truly be ‘done’.
The conversion is in the detail
Test, test, test these small details and watch your analytics like a hawk. What works? What doesn’t? What happens if you test things in isolation – or combinations of different tweaks? Conversion comes with a health warning: seeing those improvements play out on your results can be rather addictive.
But remember to not only scrutinise the small stuff. Remember to look at the bigger picture, too.
Take arriving on your homepage. Is it achingly obvious what your business does – and why a customer should buy from you? If there’s even the slightest room for doubt, look at the copy on your homepage through CRO eyes. What happens if you change your main messaging to be clearer on your value proposition?
If you do, and your homepage bounce rate is cut in half, maybe your original copy wasn’t quite as clear as it could have been. The thing is, now you know.
Optimise, optimise, optimise
Colours. Page layouts. Button shapes. Button copy. Test anything that’s already on your site. And remember to consider testing what’s not already there, too.
What happens if you add elements to your site? You’ve identified where people are dropping off. What could help them stick? What happens if you add social proof in strategically smart places (where those are – well, you’ll have to test of course) – a snippet of an online review, or a glowing customer testimonial? What happens if you show off that award you won or that new certification you got?
These trust-building devices work hard. But if they’re not on your site, you can’t test how much of an impact they could make for you.
We’ve said it already. CRO is never officially ‘done’. But that doesn’t mean it’s a thankless task. Quite the opposite. When you see your web stats improving and that shift in online behaviour translating into new bookings, new enquiries, new sales and new registrations, we’re sure you’ll happily continue. A little effort in. Big results out.