The ability to convert website visitors into sales has never been more important.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, online sales have been increasing across the globe – a trend which is only expected to continue as we enter the age of the new normal. However, all of this activity in the online marketplace makes for increased competition. Businesses across almost all industries have experienced a drop in conversion rates over the past few months, making it crucial to have a strong conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategy in place to attract new customers, as brands are increasingly competing for their attention online in the age of the new normal.
Yet many companies still are not fully utilising the available tools and tricks that allow them to push leads through their sales funnel more quickly and efficiently. This means that, even if they have lots of traffic on their website, they miss out on revenues to be gained from turning these visitors into customers.
Think your CRO strategy is already maxed out? If you’re not using these 10 best practises to maximise conversion rates, you may need to think again:
1. Know your data!
This is the most important step. You need to have a full picture of all of your data – from internal sources, as well as external sources, like web and marketing analytics – to get the whole story on how your sales funnel is performing. Without it, you won’t know at what point in the customer journey conversions are being lost, where changes can be made to optimise conversion rates, or the impact which these changes have on your performance.
Track traffic, traffic sources and the customer journey (interaction times, bounce rates, etc.), in addition to conversion rates, to make informed decisions about how to adapt and optimise your online strategy to accelerate sales. You can use business intelligence (BI) dashboards to easily visualise and analyse this data – read this article for more information on how. Certain web design agencies even provide these dashboards as part of their web care packages.
2. Test, test, test.
Your website is your fundamental marketing channel, and testing the marketing strategies you use on your site to convert visitors into customers goes hand-in-hand with collecting and analysing your data.
Using consumer data and web analytics, you can conduct A/B testing by creating variations of content to show to a specific segment of your target audience, and see which version yields better conversion rates. You can even do this with the homepage and individual landing pages on your site. You only have a few seconds to engage a visitor who lands on one of these pages, so test different content or visual layouts to see which performs better in terms of conversions..
3. Build a sales funnel on your website.
Your site should be the centrepoint of all of your sales activity. Putting out great content on social media, or having grabbing display ads, is how businesses attract leads to their online sales hub, but once a visitor lands on your website, it’s up to you to close the sale.
In some cases, like ecommerce, the customer journey might be a fairly short one from this point – they browse your products, check out some reviews, and add the item to their shopping cart for checkout. If your sales cycle is usually longer, like with B2B enterprises, for example, the goal is to keep the lead engaging with the content on your website. The longer the user interaction, the higher the likelihood is of converting them to a customer.
The key here is to provide content that gives value to your prospects while moving them along the sales funnel using opt-ins. For example, if a visitor lands on your blog, show them a pop-up asking them to register for your email newsletter to receive more useful content. Through email messaging, you can take this engagement one step further, by inviting them to participate in free webinars, where you can describe your product or services in more detail and give exclusive purchase offers.
Then track this funnel using analytics tools to see where the customer journey is going awry, and to customise your messaging to the demographics and behaviours of each lead.
4. Give customers an offer they can’t refuse.
Once a visitor lands on a particular page on your website, you can incentivise them to take immediate action by offering limited discounts or free trials. You can customise these offers to the content they happen to be viewing to increase the chances of conversion.
For example, if a user is viewing a blog article that gives tips on how to deal with teething puppies, you could tailor a pop-up offer to appear giving users a discount code on chew toys, or a free consultation for dog training services. By having different offers for each page of your site, you’ll be able to target users more efficiently and capitalise on their intent in the moment, making them more likely to purchase.
5. Become a mind reader.
Note: you don’t really need to be a clairvoyant to achieve this one. All you have to do is try to answer all the questions your potential customer could possibly have about your product or service.
Some people are emotional buyers – these visitors are more likely to convert if you create content and offers which are targeted to address the wants, needs and fears of your audience. Other people – including businesses – make purchases based on rationality, taking into account the hard facts, like cost, efficiency, and ROI.
To help encourage the rational buyer, your website content should address anything a prospect might want to know before buying. You can get a sense for the kinds of questions your target audience might have by searching relevant topics on Quora, or reading through the comments on competitors’ social media posts. Then incorporate the findings of your research into your site’s FAQ section.
There are also tools which you can use to add an easily-accessible customer service chat to your website, for any who just have a few questions before they’re ready to purchase. This will help remove any obstacles in the mind of the rational buyer, and increase their likelihood of conversion.
6. Simplify the purchase process.
A modern web design should be easy for users to navigate and should visually direct them to carry out key actions using CTAs (call to action). If there is too much friction involved in accomplishing the CTA, it’s likely that visitors will abandon, rather than convert, so if you notice that you’re getting high CTRs, but still have low conversion rates, you may want to look into simplifying the customer journey on your site.
For example, you can allow users to purchase without having to register, minimise the number of pages and actions required to complete checkout, and clearly navigate them towards the sale on every page of your site. By tracking the web analytics for each page of your site, you’ll be able to see which ones are producing high abandonment rates, and adjust the content and layout of those pages accordingly.
7. Have a responsive web design.
If you’re working with a web design agency to build your site, make sure they offer fully-responsive web design. Responsive websites are able to adapt to different viewing habits and user behaviours, depending on the type of screen used to access your site. More of our time online is being spent on mobile devices – so if your website isn’t optimised for mobile use, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to generate sales.
Create a separate mobile strategy that fits with users’ behaviours when visiting from a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. By looking at your on-page analytics, you’ll be able to compare conversion rates across different devices. Maybe a particular offer produces a high number of conversions on mobile devices, but doesn’t perform as well with visitors using a desktop browser – these insights will allow you to tailor your strategy to each device and increase conversion rates for each.
8. Leverage social proof.
In the digital age, the voice of the consumer has become extremely powerful. According to a recent TrustPilot study, ‘66% of consumers say that the presence of social proof increase(s) their likelihood to purchase a product, and 86% admit that they are more likely to buy from brands displaying positive star ratings or reviews on their homepage.’
You can leverage the power of social proof by prominently displaying reviews, ratings and testimonials on your site. This provides potential buyers with evidence of the value of your product or service from a trusted source – other customers. There are tools that allow you to automatically display reviews generated in third-party review platforms on your website (displaying only good reviews).
9. Improve audience targeting.
Audience targeting allows you to display personalised content based on who is visiting your website. By getting really specific with your targeting, you can tweak your offers and messaging to appeal more to a particular user, based on what you know about them and their past behaviours online.
Some tools allow you to display different information based on the location of the lead, the time of day, or the actions they’ve taken on your site. If you want to take things one step further, the latest development in audience targeting is what marketers call network targeting: tailoring content to a user based on the preferences and buying habits of their friends on social media. If a particular message works to convert their friends, it’s more likely to work on them, too.
10. Retarget past visitors.
Don’t give up on a potential customer after they’ve left your website. Based on the specific action visitors took on your site, you can customise retargeting ads to help redirect them back and convert them to customers.
For example, you could send an email offer containing a 10% off discount code to a visitor who abandoned their shopping cart, or run paid ads that only appear to past visitors of your sales page. Just make sure that you optimise your site for conversions first using the other methods listed here, so you’re not wasting money and energy driving users back to a page with weak conversion potential.
Improving visitor conversion rates requires a clear, targeted way to communicate your company’s value proposition to users and a modern web design that helps visually guide visitors to your sales page. Track all relevant metrics, so you’ll know which parts of the funnel you need to improve on (luckily, there are tools you can use to help you easily visualise and manage this data). Then use these insights to customise your offers and messaging to appeal as strongly as possible to each individual visitor. If you do this regularly, you’ll be able to continuously optimise your conversion rates across every page of your website.