5 Tips on How to Increase Website Conversion Rates to Maximize Your ROI

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5 Tips on How to Increase Website Conversion Rates to Maximize Your ROI

by Bob Speyer, President, Web Success Team

As the saying goes, “there are lies, damn lies and statistics.” Well, in the worldwide web, statistics are our gold standard, and always tell the truth, but not the whole story. That’s left for savvy marketing interpretation. But stats are our reality gut check. Point of fact, most websites convert visitors into customers at just over  a 2% clip with a few reaching upwards of 9-14%. So how can you increase the conversion rate? This article provides insight into what converts a visitor into a customer and how to increase your percentage to maximize your return on investment.

1. Understand Your Customers, Then Give Them What They Want or Need!

If you want to sell or entice your customers to further inquire or buy, you must get to know their demographic profile: Are they predominately males or females? Males respond more to facts and figures, logically; females respond more emotionally and rely on feelings to influence their decisions. Income, education, age and geographic location also play a part in their decision making. Then of course there are customer goals and objectives — what questions do they ask; what benefits or features are most important; how does your products or services solve their problem or satisfy their need; what are their objections or resistance to buying or signing up; do you have guarantees. By addressing their suspicions or fears, you can bridge the gap. For example, an FAQ section on your website is very helpful in a confronting customer concerns up front.

2. Retool Your Thinking

Stagnation is part of the human condition. We either get too comfortable or too resistant to change. You need to think out of the proverbial box and retool your thinking, reinventing or reinvigorating your thought processes or your company’s personality. In marketing lingo, it’s called a unique selling proposition (USP) and makes you stand above your competition. Often a tagline can help support the branding. The USP should be compelling and benefits-driven. If done right, it will spark a positive imagery in the minds and hopefully hearts and wallets of your potential customers. It can’t be as trivial as “We will save you time and money.” It should state something like, “Our service will free your time to be more productive and improve your bottom line.”

3. Lead Them to Water and Then Let Them Drink

The buying decision is complex. For some it’s emotional, some impulsive, others compulsive, still others information drives them to decide. No website (or psychiatrist) can solve all the complex personalities, but you can help improve your odds. Start with you site navigation and architecture. It’s a step-by-step process to lead site visitors to water and make it so enticing that they not only want taste it but feel good and confident in doing so. If your website is overburdened with information, they will leave. If your website is too flashy, it becomes too distracting and they will be bored and leave. If your website doesn’t make its case in 10-20 seconds, they will leave.

You can persuade people to engage your site and give you a fair chance if you can address their quest for answers. They don’t have to leave a web-page to continue the buying. But if they seek more information, simply provide them with a helpful hyperlink directing them to another page. Once satisfied, they will click back and continue the process. I also highly recommend calls to action and inducements or promotions. People respond favorably if the offers are credible, and not just too good to be true. Sometimes offering them less will get you more play or credibility.

4. First Impressions Are the Only Ones that Count

Your best chance for conversion (whether they choose to buy on contact you on the first visit, or bookmark to return to the conversion process) is with your first time visitor. Hence their first impression is the only one that counts. In redesigning a website it is always best to keep to recognized formats: conservative colors familiar with your industry (i.e. green or blue for medical); keeping your navigation horizontal below your header or either in a left or right column; contact links in the upper corner and on the bottom of the website.

5. Converting Visitors into Customers

If you want to improve your conversion rates, you must study also your metrics. Which pages are being visited most; when do visitors leave the buying cycle; and ask yourself why. You need to analyze the data, then revise, reword, rewrite, test and track. If you have a form that is not converting, maybe it is too long, or too short. Test and track. Another method is A/B testing. You can test an offer or promotion with two similar pages, changing it to suit your test. With two test market webpages, you can see what and which converts higher, then implement the results and continually test and tweak. You can test anything and everything, from colors, layouts, images, offers, calls to action, home pages, and navigation.

Often times, adding a button and repositioning it or writing more direct response call to action copy will give you a boost in conversions. Remember, like your customers, your website is a living and breathing entity and needs to be feed and cared for if it is to grow up to be productive adult websites.

Sources for this article: SeoChat and  ClickZ

The Web Success Team
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  1. Matt Dunlap
    September 15th, 2009 22:05  / 

    When A/B testing how many clicks do you wait for to pick a winner? Most smaller website don’t get enough traffic to do a valid A/B test. In my Adwords accounts, I go for first to 30 clicks wins, then I make another ad and start the testing over

  2. WebSuccessTeam
    September 16th, 2009 12:16  / 

    Hi Matt, thanks for your input. In smaller websites using an Adwords account, we set-up two A/B test pages and run them for periods of time from 2-4 weeks. The one with 30% more clicks wins. Otherwise it is not statistically significant.

  3. Jon
    September 22nd, 2009 23:47  / 

    Surprisingly enough in my tests I will have to disagree with #4. I have found that plainer websites convert better for my ppc programs although I do agree with your layout ideas. Thanks for the article it is good info.

  4. dmdmdm
    October 12th, 2009 17:58  / 

    Hey! I think if these things all the time for example if you but land do you own it all hte way to the core of the Earth? If a turtle doesnt have a shell is it naked or homeless?Why is bread square but most sandwich meat round? I liked your site it gave me some more things to think about!

  5. adsense package
    November 20th, 2009 12:05  / 

    This is such an important topic, I wish more people would write about it, not just spamming other people’s ideas. Researched content is hard to find on the Internet these days.

  6. Engraved awards
    December 30th, 2009 20:50  / 

    Great articles & Nice a site


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