by: Thomas Young
Website Usability Generates Conversions
Many websites are difficult to use and are actually barriers to online conversions. The easier your site is to use, the higher the conversion rate. User testing is a highly valuable form of market research that provides data for accomplishing this goal. Ask people to visit your website. Ask them what they are looking to find and give them tasks you can observe.
The solution is to be brave and keep it simple! Focus on two or three conversion points and include them on all web pages and especially navigation menus. Avoid heavy graphics, write in the language of the user and conduct user testing to verify your assumptions. Remember this formula: easy-to-use websites convert at higher rates.
Get Qualified Traffic to Increase Conversions
This should be obvious, but it is not, as most websites have bounce rates over 50 percent. It is better to have less traffic than the wrong traffic. Great content and a solid traffic generation strategy will achieve this goal. Review your stats to make sure the right traffic is coming to the website and realize that low conversion rates may mean poor traffic. Make sure your company value, benefits and focus are clear in the content throughout the site, and that search engine strategies match conversion goals.
It is common for web marketers to want more traffic, when many times what they really need is a better conversion rate. Set a goal of 3 to 5 percent of your website traffic converting. If this traffic is coming to you because they already know your brand, then set a goal of 5 to 10 percent of that traffic converting. More on traffic generation in coming chapters. Traffic generation is step three of the Four-Step Process.
Call to Action
All websites must have very clear call-to-action conversion points located near key content areas and in the main navigation. Thumbnails are a great design approach for combining content areas with call to action buttons or conversion links. Include a Contact Us or Buy Now button on every page or in every thumbnail.
Calls to action can be in taglines, captions, content, navigation systems and more. Follow best practices and meet the comfort level of your target market. Bigger is not always better, so avoid large ads or graphics to drive conversions. The best call to action on the site is your navigation menu and written content. Online submission forms that are simple and easy to complete can also be included on key content pages.
Forms and Content Sign Ups
Should website visitors have to sign up before you send them information? It depends, but it is not usually a good idea, because users don’t like it. Test variations and see what happens. Giving away loads of free content is usually the best conversion tactic.
Follow this rule of thumb with submission forms: Shorter forms have higher conversion rates. Longer forms qualify the user more accurately and have lower conversion rates. Determine which is best for your business strategy.
Set up an account with Google Analytics and track conversions by the type of visitor. Develop an ROI method to calculate your sales revenue from web-based conversions. Google is very good at measuring conversions and setting up conversion paths, especially if you are running paid advertisements. Train marketing staff to look for these conversions and ask people how they heard about you and what motivated them to make contact.
All conversion points must be measured and tracked, including your e-commerce sales data. The bottom line with conversions is ROI and all conversions can be measured against ROI in great detail. We have an ROI tool on our website that can help you run the numbers on your website to determine ROI.
Try it out: www.intuitivewebsites.com/roi-calculator/
Tips to Generate More Website Conversions
Here are a few ideas for generating more conversions from your website:
- Website visitors are impulsive. Keep the content scannable and the links simple.
- Set the right message and call to action in your content.
- Place calls to action near popular content and on every page.
- Allow for more depth of content for analytical people.
- Shopping cart must be first rate, easy to use and intuitive.
- Use color photos with captions.
- Avoid objects that look like ads or large graphics. Online advertising is a turn-off.
- Customize landing pages for unique web search terms.
- Content and knowledge, not flash and graphics, drive conversions.
- Product photos on all pages and detailed descriptions are very important.
- Money back guarantees build trust.
- Call your website the official website.
- Use unique web phone numbers on every page.
- Include your e-mail address and contact form.
- Test special offers and incentives, especially free shipping.
- Is the motive of the website to sell stuff or help people?
- Draw qualified traffic from search engines.
- Have a professional, high quality design.
- Use consistent branding and messaging on the site.
- Be very well-organized in navigation and usability. This builds credibility.
- Load the website with content and media that excites visitors.
- Have compelling offers that move people to action.
- Have a “Sign up now!” button for free content and newsletters.
- Be generous with your content. You will see results and more conversions.
Conversions measure your online marketing success. The key is to track and measure web conversions and to make sure your website has one or more of these conversion strategies in place with call-to-action areas throughout each web page. Conversions are the beginning of a relationship and should place leads into a sales process that results in an ongoing relationship and develops a customer for your business. These are the web strategies that should be defined in your Internet marketing plan. They should be measured to set a conversion rate, an overall marketing ROI, and to exceed sales goals.
Test assumptions by asking for feedback from web visitors and with user testing. Get creative and be realistic about results. When you have maximized your conversion rates, then work to get more traffic. Keep monitoring and improving your website to get better conversion results. Remember, your website is a constant salesperson for your company, and it is always under construction!
- Develop a web marketing plan that clearly identifies website conversions.
- Include in this plan a strategy and process for online conversions.
- Determine what conversions work best and set conversion rate goals.
- Develop an ideal path to conversions.
- Conduct user testing to verify assumptions.
- Schedule a weekly or monthly web conversion meeting with your team.
- Review your top performing competitors across industries.
- Test various ideas and offers.
- Use unique web-based phone numbers on your site for tracking.
- Watch your stats weekly or monthly on Google Analytics.
- Develop conversion points based on estimated ROI.
- Track website activity toward ROI goals.
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.