It is no secret that in today’s fast-paced world having a website is crucial to your business’ survival. Today’s consumers want information when they want it and have limitless options as to where to seek it. And while having an eCommerce website by no means replaces all facets of your company, having a website that is optimized and properly aligned to your business goals can be both lucrative and essential when you become the go-to site for your customers. But how do you make the leap from obscurity to reliability by turning new visitors into paying customers?
Optimization and conversion rate are buzzwords that are easy to find but can be tricky to implement without a plan and clear objectives. To be clear, optimization is the process of making changes and tweaks to your site to make it better, more visible and more user-friendly to site visitors. Conversion rate optimization specifically deals with changes you can make to your site to encourage visitors to complete the desired action whether it’s making a purchase, filling out an opt-in form or engaging with your site via comments or social shares. You might have a site that sees hundreds of visitors a month – but those numbers mean nothing if those visitors are not completing the action you made the site for. And while there is no exact formula for raising your conversion rate, there are certainly good practices to get you started. Below are 11 tips to consider when converting your visitors into customers.
- Make the goal of your e-commerce website clear – Maybe your website serves as a lead generator for sales or maybe it serves as your virtual storefront – either way, there are a lot of things that need to be addressed to ensure that your website is helping you reach your business goals and serves the needs of the potential customers visiting it. Make sure that you provide your visitors with a Unique Value Proposition – a simple statement that explicitly explains what value you are here to provide and why they should get it from you and no one else. Once that is developed, make sure that the design, messages, media, content, services and overall experience mirror that value proposition so that customers know exactly why they are at your site.
- Identify your ideal web visitor and target them – Your website cannot be everything to everyone and it should never make an attempt to be. The goal with conversion rate optimization is to turn site visitors into customers so knowing your customers and their internet behaviors are of the utmost importance. Utilize both quantitative data such as Google Analytics and sales trends as well as qualitative data from customer and site user feedback to make your site tailored to your target customer.
- Make your funnel for traffic easy to navigate – You might have the snazziest website in the world but if your average customer can’t find what they need, chances are they will leave. For example, if your website is a virtual storefront then you need to be mindful of how many click-throughs it takes to purchase from your site. The longer and more convoluted the process is for your customer, the more likely they are to leave without checking out or opting-in to receive any further information from you. Make sure site navigation is clear and click-throughs work. Don’t forget about mobile users, either. More and more internet users access the web through a mobile device and not having a site developed for that access means a loss of those potential customers.
- Make data-driven decisions when optimizing your site – It is never smart to invest in optimizing your website based on hunches and guesses. Traffic insight is only a click away with powerful data sources like Google Analytics and visitor tracking software. However, don’t treat this information like an autopsy – use it to make changes and find the story behind your visitor’s experience on your site. Where are people jumping off the most? What do the trends say about your site’s usability? What hypothesis can be made based off of average site visit times and heat maps? Test out your hypothesis with AB testing first to see if you can convert those visitors and then make the widespread changes based off what the testing showed works with your customers.
- Don’t overlook opportunities for SEO – Being visible online doesn’t happen by chance. Having a website that has an SEO friendly framework and staying up-to-date with search trends and algorithms takes strategy and time. Make sure that pages have accurate titles, proper meta tags, and relevant keywords. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one time deal, either. SEO takes a constant effort to stay competitive and relevant.
- Diversify your marketing strategies – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that paid ads are good enough to maintain a web presence. When the cost of bids for important keywords goes up, this strategy alone will not be sustainable or profitable. Instead, partner PPC and paid ads with organic search optimization, a consistent social media presence, and email campaigns. Not all customers experience the internet the same so only utilizing one strategy could potentially isolate a large potential customer base and conversions.
- Make it clear why a customer can have confidence in you – Since face-to-face interaction is taken out of online transactions, you need to find other ways to establish trust between you and your visitors. Always include an “About” page to allow site visitors the chance to get to know about you and what you do on a slightly deeper level. Strategies such as displaying professional organization memberships/partnerships and site security measures are a good way to build confidence in your company and any transactions made on your website. Post testimonials from past customers to show that you have experience and a positive reputation. If you sell product from your site, consider utilizing customer reviews to put third-party opinions behind the product and services you offer.
- Make Call to Actions a value to your audience and keep them simple – We have all seen the fill-in and submit forms on sites that tend to end in an endless cycle of junk email and eventual un-subscription. People are becoming more and more wary of giving out their personal information so if you want a visitor to give something to you, offer them something in return. Maybe you offer a special, one-time coupon or access to information and education. With an offer of some sort of perceived value, visitors will feel more mutual about the transaction and may be more likely to convert to customers in the long run. Also, stick to name and email at the most for fill-in forms. While it is nice to have a lot of information about leads, giving out too much information can be a big turn-off for visitors.
- Match the message of your PPC and paid ads to your Unique Value Proposition and website experience – If a visitor clicks an ad for a free estimate and the site doesn’t match that expectation, chances are they will bounce out. Ads need to match the offerings of your site – not just be outfit with random but popular keywords. Make sure that all things related to your site from the color schemes to the pictures, ads, copy and forms fit the same message. Mixed messages make customers feel lost and as they stumbled on the wrong page.
- Keep a consistent flow of relevant content – While meta tags and titles are important to SEO, they are not the only contributing factor to Google rankings. When Google returns results for a search, it seeks to find the most useful information for the query. Adding content such as blog posts, articles, pictures, and videos not only gives you another forum for keyword-rich copy, it also serves your customer by providing unique information and education about what you offer.