Every year, business owners spend billions of dollars trying to get new people to visit their websites and take an action they want them to take. They want to convert visitors into prospects and prospects into customers.
What can businesses do to create pages that convert, whether they’re web pages or landing pages that are part of an ad campaign?
We’ve assembled a list of 16 actionable items that can be used for a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategy.
1. Create a Powerful Market Dominating Message
First things first – your Market Dominating Message drives your conversion rate. Customers want to know two things: (1) “What’s in it for me?” and (2) “Why buy from you?”
A good Market Dominating Message must differentiate your offer from your competitors’ offers.
Putting together a Market Dominating Message requires thoughtful consideration about what is unique about your company, your products and services.
Further, having a powerful Message isn’t enough; it must be communicated effectively. You need to re-work and refine your Message until you can state it succinctly, clearly and credibly in one sentence.
All of your marketing activities, including conversion rate optimization, are built upon your Market Dominating Message.
2. Set Up a Sales Funnel
Some conversions may be prevented because you’re asking for the sale or download or sign-up too quickly. People might be “just browsing,” and aren’t ready, or they’re not in a hurry to buy right now. During their first time on your website, nearly half (45 percent) of site visitors are searching for a product/service. They are not ready to buy.
You just need to slow down and create a sales funnel to build trust, develop a relationship and prove your expertise
Let’s say your product is an online yoga series for beginners. Here’s how to entice your prospect into your funnel and help them to progress through it.
What the visitor wants: To learn how to do yoga
What you want: To get the visitor to buy your course
How to do it:
- Provide valuable free advice about the benefits of yoga, how to get started, etc. via your blog, videos, free reports
- Become a trusted resource
- Give her (or him) reasons to sign up to your email list
- Drip teaser video content about your course via email
- Send prospect to your sales copy and ask for the sale
It’s been said that it takes at least seven contacts with a prospect before they’re ready to buy from you. Develop a relationship with your prospect using your sales funnel.
So slow down and offer value before asking for the sale.
3. Create a Smooth UX
Don’t ask prospects to provide too much information before they can do whatever it is you want them to do, like download a free how-to guide or sign up for your newsletter. Asking people for too much info is intimidating and time consuming – not the kind of user experience you want on your web site or landing page.
By changing the flow so that anyone who is interested can download the file or sign up or make a purchase creates a much better user experience.
Twenty-five percent of visitors leave websites without taking the desired action simply because the sign up or check out is too difficult (study by Statistia).
Websites that are too complicated, require detailed registration, show disruptive advertising, or have lengthy check-out procedures can make a simple process too complicated for prospects, turn them off and send them to your competitors.
When you make the sign up or shopping experience easy, intuitive and enjoyable, you are paving the way to increase your conversion rate. Their first visit may not result in a sale, but the experience customers have on your site determines whether or not they will come back to buy later.
4. Make Your Offer Creative
You probably have a default offer you always use, and it probably looks a lot like what your competitors offer. Lawyers and accountants offer a free consultation. Restaurants offer a coupon for a free dessert. These offers are not very creative.
To come up with different offers, brainstorm with your team or ask your customers what appeals to them. You want several offers to test that are different from your competition’s. You'll never know which one is the winner until you try out some new offers.
5. Use Re-marketing (or Re-targeting) as a CRO Tool
Getting 100 new visitors to your site is good, but if none of the people buy anything or never return, this isn’t good.
Re-marketing helps you get in front of people who visited once but didn’t convert. Targeted, relevant messages that ask them to return to your site appear as they check email, watch videos, use Instagram or Facebook or search on Google.
6. Test, Then Test Again
In conversion optimization, experimenting and testing determines what your ideal customers find valuable and what they respond to.
A/B testing is a technique used to help increase your website’s conversion rate. You create two versions of your page (page A and page B), each with a different headline. A/B testing software directs half of the incoming traffic to page A and half to page B. Both pages have a call-to-action, and in the end, you can see how many people took the desired action. The page with more conversions or more people taking action is the version you should use.
You can test
- The headline. You need a strong and convincing headline that promotes the offer
- The offer. What is the customer getting for their money?
- Adding a video with a product demo
It’s important to test only one of these suggestions at a time – otherwise you won’t know which change made the difference.
7. Address Objections
Whenever people read your offer, they’ll have some objections to what you’re saying and doubts about accepting your offer. Even if they are intrigued, it’s just human nature to be skeptical.
When you’re face-to-face with a prospect, you can discover and address their objections, but online you can’t hear their objections or read their body language. So you have to anticipate their objections and address all possible issues in your online content.
Create a list of as many objections as possible that your prospects might have. Here’s a few sample objections:
- “You don’t understand my problem.” Explain the problems your product solves.
- “Why should I believe you?” Display your credentials, experience, awards, etc.
- “What if it doesn’t work for me?” Have testimonials from all kinds of purchasers who have benefited from your product.
- “It’s not worth the money - there are cheaper 'whatevers' out there.” Explain your price, compare features with the competition, prove the value of your product.
Ask your existing customers to help you figure out what they were concerned about in the past. Then add information to your sales copy to eliminate or lessen possible concerns.
8. Gotta Have Trust
If a stranger approaches you and asks if you want to buy a new iPad for $50, would you buy it? A new iPad for $50 – wow. However, you probably wouldn’t buy it because you don’t trust this person.
Sales authority Zig Ziglar once said that there are only four reasons why people won’t buy from you:
- no need
- no money
- not in a hurry
- no TRUST
We can’t do much about the first three reasons, but we can build trust. And what makes people trust a website? They can
- Verify the accuracy and validity of the information on your site. Provide links to third-party citations, testimonials, articles in publications, source material.
- See that there’s a real company behind your site. List your physical address, post a photo of your offices, link to your memberships with the chamber of commerce or industry organizations you belong to.
- Read about your expertise and that of your team on a page with team photos and their bios that convey their honesty and trustworthiness. Use images and text that tell about family, hobbies, experience, education.
- Contact you easily because your phone number, physical address and email address is displayed prominently.
- Admire your professional-looking website. Some people judge a site on nothing more than the way it looks. Amateur-looking websites look spammy and kill trust.
- See that your site’s content is refreshed often. Nothing says “out of business” like a blog section that hasn’t been updated in months (or years).
- Enjoy their experience on your site because they aren’t bombarded with ads and offers. Nobody likes intrusive popups and blinking banners.
- Find your site credible because it’s error-free. Spelling errors and broken links hurt a site’s credibility.
9. Made it Easy to Buy from You
Doing business with you should be as easy as possible. It should be obvious and intuitive and take as few clicks as possible. Your users shouldn’t have to try to figure out how to buy from you.
- Tell your users what they should do next. On every page, direct visitors toward the action you want them to take.
- Do not provide too many options. The Paradox of Choice states that the more choices you give people, the easier it is for them to choose nothing. Too many choices paralyze.
- Ask prospects to fill in as few fields as possible. The more fields you have in your order or sign up form, the less people will fill it out. Don’t ask for anything you absolutely don’t need to know in order to fulfill the order.
- Offer free shipping. Free shipping is a popular motivation to buy.
10. Communicate Value
The best way to sell products and services online is to add as much information about them as possible. Most people won’t read it all, but some will read everything, and that is your target group.
Up to 50% of potential sales are lost due to not enough information. Your job is to give prospects what they want. And what they want is enough information so they can make an informed decision. Include lots of benefit-oriented sales copy, specifications, product comparisons, pictures, videos and reviews.
List prices after you communicate the value. Otherwise people tend to make snap judgments based on the price without reading the value it offers.
11. Offer Proof
No matter what you say about your products and services, you must back up your claims with proof. People are skeptical; they want to see the evidence.
- Customer testimonials. People who used your products can verify your claims. Get testimonials from customers in varying situations to prove your products can work for everyone.
- Case studies. Before-and-after case studies can be very effective.
- Third-party reviews. If a trade magazine or blog wrote a good review of your business or the products you sell, show it off and link to it.
- Social proof. Let prospects know that you have lots of customers.
- Show it. A good demo can prove what your product does; use videos that show your product in action.
12. Remove Distractions
You want people to focus on a single action – buying, downloading, signing up -- and not get distracted by other items on the page that could take them away from that goal. The more options your prospects have to process, the less likely they are to make a conversion decision.
Remove or at least minimize everything that is not relevant to taking action:
- No links to other pages
- Shrink the menu
- Get rid of sidebars and big headers
- Take off irrelevant images
- No unnecessary product options
- Anything else that can be removed that doesn’t lead to conversion
13. Compare Yourself with the Competition Before Your Visitors Do
Research shows that people do their homework before purchasing; it is seldom that someone will buy your product without checking out your competition first.
Knowing that, use it to your advantage. Compare your products to your competitors’ products before your prospects do. Armed with competitive data, you can highlight your advantages over the alternatives. If your product is more expensive than others, then this is your chance to explain why and the extra value you bring.
14. Reduce Risk
Offer guarantees to eliminate or reduce the perceived risks your prospects might have. A “30-day money-back guarantee” is like the industry standard, and you should definitely not offer anything less. Maybe try to do better than that.
Benjamin Franklin, The Punctual Plumber’s guarantee is a great example. To overcome the perception that plumbers are always late, they will pay customers for every minute they’re late. This guarantee removes risk.
15. Create Urgency
Certain words prompt people to act faster. They’re more likely to take action quickly if they’re afraid they can’t act tomorrow. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) plays into this sense of urgency. If we don’t act fast, other people will get something that we won’t. No one wants to miss out on a good deal.
Improve your conversion rate by creating a sense of urgency. Use phrases like “last chance,” “offer expires,” or “going fast.” These phrases prompt prospects to click your call-to-action before the deal is gone.
If the supply of your product is not limited, you can offer time-sensitive bonuses (“Price good for the next 12 hours only”), a free gift to first X number of buyers, or a discount if they complete the purchase within a certain amount of time (“Buy within 24 hours and get 10% off”).
16. Write for People
It’s people who read your content. Use clear, direct language and lose the sales talk and jargon. Don’t try to impress people with complicated business language – it just doesn’t work.
If you have trouble trying to be clear, imagine you’re explaining your product to a friend. If there’s a sentence on your website that’s worded in a way that you wouldn’t use in a conversation with a friend, re-word it.
By using some or all of these tips in your conversion rate optimization strategy, you’ll be able to attract your targeted customers and boost your conversions.
- Develop your CRO strategy around your Market Dominating Message to bring in more conversions and improve lead quality.
- Build a sales funnel and nudge prospects toward conversion with valuable information they can use to make an informed decision.
- Identify, address and overcome prospects’ objections in your content. Use competitors’ offers to craft a better offer.
- Get creative with your offers and test different offers to find the one that appeals to your target audience.
- Take steps to build trust.
- Improve your visitor’s on-site experience by removing the obstacles that keep them from converting.
- Use re-marketing or re-targeting to go after people who showed intent but didn’t convert.
- Make it easy to buy from you.
- Communicate the value your products and services offer.
- Create urgency to purchase.
- Write for people, keep content error-free and don’t use industry-specific jargon.
Ready to get started on a Conversion Rate Optimization strategy that will increase your sales and your bottom line? Contact the experts at DigitalMX Online today. Call Bob Aungst at 717-629-6596.