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Improving conversion – i.e. turning website hits and clicks into warm leads and sales – is something many small businesses face an uphill battle with. If you’ve got plenty of traffic but a low conversion rate read on to find out what you can do about it and how we can help.

Improving Conversion : Where To Start?

An engaging and fit for purpose website which offers high quality, engaging content is the powerhouse that will drive your online marketing strategy. But if your objective is improving conversion (and why wouldn’t it be?) great content alone is not enough. The quality of user experience that any visitor to your website enjoys will be determined by a number of key factors, all of which you must get right if you are to stand any chance of converting them to a prospect or customer. It’s particularly important of focus on the user experience immediately after arriving at your site – if your visitor cannot answer the following three questions within the crucial first three seconds after arriving at your site they are likely to hit the back button:

  • Where am I?
  • What can I do here?
  • Why should I do it?

Landing page optimisation is crucial to improving conversion. Everything on your landing page should be driving the visitor to take your most wanted action, whether that is signing up for your free lead generating report or trial, taking the product tour or proceeding through product search and selection to the checkout process so you need to make things as simple as possible and ensure that all potential sources of friction are eliminated. Unfortunately, many small (and large!) company websites get this wrong, meaning lost sales opportunities.

Know your web metrics!

If a low conversion rate is an issue for your business a close look at your web analytics will tell you a great deal about the quality of experience offered by your site and where to focus your improvement efforts. There are three key metrics you need to know:

  • your bounce rate
  • your exit rate
  • your conversion funnel

Exit sign

Exit Rate

The exit rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site from a particular page. It can be a useful way of identifying pages that need attention – for example, the call to action may need to be strengthened or the content improved to increase its relevance. There may also be a technical or performance problem with the page which means it is taking too long to load.

Bounce rate

Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who hit your website on a given page and leave without visiting any other pages on your site or taking any action. Knowing this metric is important for determining how your landing pages perform compared with visitor expectations. Here’s a quick example. Tom sees a paid search advertisement for your company. He clicks through the ad and arrives at your homepage. He quickly scans the page and doesn’t find the information he is looking for or a call to action and promptly goes back to the paid search listings. That’s a bounce.

There are a number of reasons why you might have a high bounce rate:

  • Your homepage doesn’t speak to your target customers
  • Confusing homepage layout and content
  • No clear online value proposition – exactly what do you sell???
  • No call to action – what am I supposed to do now???
  • External campaigns driving visitors to your homepage rather than a specific landing page
  • Ranking in natural search for keywords that aren’t directly related to your business
  • Website visitor expectations are not properly met

Conversion Funnel

The third key metric to improving conversion (and in many respects the most important) is how many visitors exit your site at each stage in the conversion process. Know your conversion funnel and monitor your conversion rate fanatically because they will provide key information to enable you to focus your efforts in terms of improving your site content and process. If for example you have a problem with a high shopping cart abandonment rate that tells you you need to improve your checkout process, perhaps by reducing the number of clicks required to complete it or by providing additional point of action reassurance.

Improving your conversion rate

Buy buttonIf you have a high bounce or exit rate or you are leaking visitors at various stages in your conversion process the first thing you need to do is to track everything via a robust web analytics package and start analyzing the results (e.g. where are visitors coming from, which links on the homepage are most active, which page your visitors are exiting from.). Then you need to identify the underlying problems by speaking to your customers, using web surveys and by asking your customer service people.

Once you know the key things you need to focus on from a conversion optimisation perspective the next step is to optimise your content for your target customer segments and fix any other issues (e.g. performance and ease of use) to ensure that the whole site experience meets their needs and expectations. Confusing navigation is often an issue, so make sure there are clear conversion pathways that naturally lead your visitor through the site.

Another common problem is trying to achieve too many objectives on your homepage. Check  that you aren’t offering too many options that may confuse or distact your visitors and that key information and features are given appropriate emphasis. You also need to ensure that there are clear calls to action so that your visitors know what they are expected to do.

Demonstrate your credibility at every step by using third party endorsements and customer testimonials and use point of action reassurance, for example by highlighting your privacy and security policy, secure payment facilities, your delivery and refunds policy. Finally, use split testing religiously to check that any changes you make your copy or layout are having the desired effect.

How we can help

Website and landing page optmisation can be a time consuming and iterative process and requires highly specialised analytical, design and copywriting skills. If improving conversion is a challenge your business faces we would be happy to provide a free consultation to pinpoint likely underlying causes and work with you to develop a plan of action for addressing them. To arrange your free consultation email or call us on 0208 252 0557.