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Conversion Rate Tips

In the world of digital marketing, conversion rate is measured by the number of potential visitors performing a desired action on your website. The desired action, or goal, will differ from site to site but some common examples are:

  • Placing an order and paying for it

  • Filling in a form

  • Subscribing to a newsletter/online service

Depending on what type of website you have, if your conversion rate is extremely low then you may need to think about re structuring your site to make it more user friendly.

The following points are useful to consider when reviewing your website:

1) What is the Website Selling/Promoting?

Does your website provide detailed information on its products? This is especially important for more expensive products. Solid information, coupled with reviews will instill confidence in your customers, as they want to make an informed decision when purchasing a product. Studying your competitor's websites is a good way to start. If they are successful, then their site layout should give you some ideas as to how they achieve this.

2) What is The Users Intent?

A user has arrived on your page, they are looking for a certain product. How easy is it for them to find what they are looking for? Are the tasks you are asking your users to perform clear and straightforward? The average visitor has little patience so a confusing and cluttered homepage is enough to put even a determined visitor off.

3) Readability

Is your homepage balanced and easy to read? A good way to find out is to ask outsiders their honest opinion. Information overload is negative, the user doesn't know where to look and ends up missing what they are really looking for as it's drowned in the surrounding clutter.

4) What's The Current User Journey?

Quick journey or a long one. From your home page to the desired product, how many steps does it take for your customer to reach the product they want? Map out the user journey to a any product on your website. If a customer needs to perform multiple clicks, searches and scrolls to find a product, then this needs to be simplified. Users have more choice now than ever before and don't want to spend time clicking and scrolling. They expect to find it.

5) How Can That Journey be Improved?

Improve the journey. There are specific CRO (conversion rate optimisation) tools that can help you find out where you need to make improvements. To evaluate your existing site the following tools are available to help you:

  • Usability tests

  • A/B split testing

  • Click mapping

  • Heat maps

  • Mouse tracking

  • Customer surveys

Eye tracking studies of how users read on the internet generally indicate that they in fact don't read, but rather skim the content. Starting in the top left corner of the page, sweeping from left to right a couple of times and then swiping vertically down the left hand side. Creating the F pattern heat map. This is the reason that a number of successful ecommerce sites will have strong images or menus on the left hand side and more often that not, you will always see the shopping basket, pricing information, product availability and or, any personalised welcoming messages towards the top right corner of your screen.

Using heat maps and eye tracking software is a great way to see where your customers are looking when they land on your homepage. Customer surveys are a good way of finding out what people really think of your website.

6) Is all the necessary information for your product clearly available?

Does your website clearly display the correct information? Necessary information includes the prime listing of all categories, products and promoted feature products, recent reviews, information about the products, possible blog links (good for SEO). What are the product descriptions like? Online shopping has the disadvantage that we can't physically see the products, so we rely on the images, reviews and above all, a good description. We want to know that this particular product is the best and why, so we feel as though we are making an informed decision.

7) How Effective is The Current Layout?

Here we need to think about readability and usability.

  • Homepage with nice clear images linking to product categories, this reduces the number of clicks.

  • Is the menu clean and punchy with significant headings, providing the customer with useful information, as well as confidence and a sense of the size of your business?

  • Is the information for pricing, stock status, shopping basket, delivery options, in the top right corner?

  • What is on the left side of the page?

  • Are products easy to locate?

  • Where are the images? Are they a suitable size?

  • Cluttered sites are difficult and tiring to navigate around, is your site must be clean and easy to read.

8) Is The Colour Scheme Suitable For The User Type?

Colour is important. If your site is selling outdoor summer toys for children, then black will not be a suitable colour. Think about the image your site is portraying. A site selling fishing holidays and fishing equipment should use natural colours, and images of actual fishing scenes, out in the countryside at a river, this type of site should not be using bold artificial looking colours, bright reds, pinks, black etc.. This sends the wrong message.

For more on colour schemes, read this post from KissMetrics.

9) Testimonials, Reviews, Star Ratings

All of the above will add credibility to your site. Not only are you conveying the message that other people like your products, you are also telling your customer you care about them. It is a good idea to include reviews and star ratings with the product description, this also serves as a source of further information about the product, increasing customer confidence.

10) Selling Tools

How effective are your selling tools? Do you use cross selling techniques? When a customer is viewing a product, this is your opportunity to bring other related products to their attention. Frequently bought together items, for example; if the customer is buying a vacuum cleaner, a good cross selling product would be vacuum bags or air freshener. Another selling tool is to up sell, a customer views your product, and you suggest other similar products that are priced slightly higher.

11) Further Points For Consideration

  • Use of keyword - use strong keywords with support keywords (LSI keywords) in the text that reinforce what your site is about, this also makes it easier for search engines to be sure of what your content is about

  • Use strong and accurate heading tags

  • Use pages that focus on a single topic/product or have a unique selling point, this is good for both SEO and CRO

  • Do you have a strong CTA (call-to-action)? This should be clearly labelled and brightly coloured, “Call us now on...”

  • Pricing (clearly mark best selling products, these need to be visible)

  • Multiple step forms (people feel compelled to complete them)

  • The Checkout - easy payment method (all on one page if possible)

  • Consider using in-line validation when completing payment fields (if the customer makes a mistake, they won't have to complete all the fields again)

  • Several payment options (Paypal, Sagepay, Credit card etc. (Sagepay is our preferred payment option, it looks more professional for businesses than Paypal)

  • Clear returns policy

  • Offers

  • Guarantee

  • Clearly labelled information protection policy

  • If you use pay-per-click, does your landing page's heading match your pay-per-click title?

  • Have you got social share icons? This is a great way marketing tool

12) Monitor and Evaluate

Always monitor and evaluate your digital marketing strategies. By monitoring and evaluating you will be able to resolve problems as they arise and make changes if needs be. Different strategies work for different sites, this is why constant testing and monitoring is so important.

13) SEO and CRO

SEO and CRO can work well together. Conversion Rate Optimisation can actually help SEO. Large search engines such as Google prefer web sites that provide visitors with what they are searching for. Pages that are optimised for conversion tend to be more user friendly, and are often more straight forward than other pages. However, bad SEO can considerably lower conversion rates. Use of repetitive keywords, inaccurate headings etc. do not provide a positive visitor experience.

14) An Ongoing Process

Constantly work to improve your website. Increasing your conversion rate can seem like a daunting task especially if you consider all the points mentioned in the above list. However, taken step by step, it is much more manageable. Think of this as an ongoing experiment, continuously testing to find what works best for your site. Each improvement will result in a better conversion rate. If your site is ecommerce, an improvement will bring financial rewards which you can use to further your marketing campaign, by running a full page magazine advert, newspaper adverts, radio/tv, or buy more pay per click adwords.

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