How do I Improve my Conversion Rates?

Build engagement and improve conversion rates by seeking to educate, entertain, engage or inspire people.

By Rog HowPosted in Ideas

So. How do you improve your conversion rates? It's a question we get asked a lot. This is because your conversation rate is one clear measure - or perceived measure - of success for any business or marketeer.

So improving conversion rates is high up on the list of business goals. It’s one of the things that validates marketing activity, and you can see your work if paying off. This is definitely true if this increased conversion rate is accompanied by increased revenue - the real measure of success!

Measure
The first step is to define a conversion and makes that direct link to sales. For an e-commerce business this is easy as the sales happen online and can be measured. So if you aren’t tracking this in Analytics already - what are you doing? Go away and set it up right now! If you haven’t seen this data before it’s the most valuable thing you can know. 

For a services-based business this can be more difficult, by there are a few options still on the table. What constitutes a successful outcome for your website? An email or a phone call directly initiated from the website, maybe? In analytics you can set this up and record mailto links or phone number clicks using google tags. "What if someone just calls the number by dialling it in into their phone?" I hear you cry... Hide the number behind a "click-to-reveal-phone-number-type-link" I'd ping back.

Once you can measure conversions, then you can look at how to improve them.

Observe
Gathering data is great, but you can go one step further and get some more qualitative results. Install a service like Xandex Metrica or Inspectlet. These allow you to watch people using your website. A little creepy, but incredibly useful if you are wondering why no one is converting on a particular page. It’s also much cheaper (try free!) than running user testing. You can playback sessions and see where people get stuck, or sometimes identify errors too. One e-commerce site I worked on, we realised that around 50% of carts were resulting in an obscure error derived from a plugin conflict. Boom! Suddenly there was a 50% improvement of conversion rates overnight.

If you do want to get much more targeted feedback from real users, you can use a service like usertesting.com to set particular tasks to real users. They do these tasks in a real environment accessing your website on their own machines at home, and talk though their thought process as they are doing it. Great if the conversion rates you are trying to improve might be difficult to measure or you can’t figure out why people aren’t navigating the site in the way you intended.

Improve Speed
Loading times are massively important to website usability, and a tiny delay can make people loose interest and bounce. Consider a headless CMS web build to improve speed. For traditional CMS’s you can setup a CDN, minify CSS and cache as many pages as you can, but if you are serious about speed reduction, go headless and never look back! 

Attract more Relevant Traffic
A lot of emphasis is put on volume of traffic to your site, but this does not necessarily equal more conversions if the traffic is not relevant. You’ll see conversion rates fall, bounce rates rise and nothing you can do on-site will fix the problem. Go back and look at where this traffic is coming from: what Google ad did they click? What keywords or blog articles are they looking at? Ask yourself why the content was not relevant.

If you're struggling for ideas for blog articles, ask some of your existing customers about their path to purchase. What did they google when they were looking for your service, and what problems were they looking to solve. If you can form a really good picture of your ideal customer and what makes them tick - see my post on how to create personas - then you can write about things they care about or things that worry them.

Seek to educate, entertain, engage or inspire them and then the right people will be engaged and in turn be more likely to be interested in what you are selling.

If you can implement some, or ideally all of these steps to some degree, and put your customer first at every step, you are bound to see improvements to conversion rates and revenue. You have to be in it to win it so get measuring, tinkering and writing. Build and create the right things well, and they will come!

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