Guidelines to Maximize Conversion Rates and Increase ROI

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Guidelines to Maximize Conversion Rates and Increase ROI


By Bob Speyer, Web Success Team

Mark Twain popularized the saying, “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” In the our world, statistics can be easily manipulated, but in the worldwide web, statistics are the benchmark for measuring the success of any online marketing endeavor. They are a marketer’s reality gut check. In truth, most websites under-perform. And when discussing conversion rates, most websites convert visitors into customers at a paltry 2%.

This article offers insight into a visitor’s mindset, what triggers convert them into customers, and strategies on how to increase your conversion rate to maximize your return on investment.

Customer Confidence

1.  Understand Your Customers Mindset

Most people are cautious by nature. Buyer Beware is our built-in defense mechanism. In order to overcome doubt that will definitely interrupt with the sales process, you must first understand your customers and what makes them tick. Males and females process information differently. Males respond more to facts and figures and are linear in thinking. Females respond more to emotions and rely on feelings to influence their decisions. Other factors that influence decisions are education, income, age and geographic location. Then ask yourself what are your customers looking for in relation to your products and services? How can you solve their problem and satisfy their needs? Listen to them; what are their objections or resistance to buying? By addressing and allaying their suspicions or fears you can help convert them to customers. Using testimonials, ironclad guarantees, an 800 customer service number and a helpful FAQ page will help defuse customer concerns

2.  Think Out-of-the-Box

We all get too comfortable in doing what we are doing. Periodically you need to shake things up and look from the outside in. Re-tooling your thinking and changing your perspective can provide dramatic results for your company and your sales efforts. Take a look at what sets you apart from the competition – your USP – unique selling proposition. Often a tagline can help support your branding and positioning. A USP should be compelling and benefits-driven. If positioned correctly, your branding will create positive imagery in the hearts and minds, and hopefully the wallets, of your potential customers. Your USP can’t be as trivial as “We’ll save you time and money,” but rather, “Our service will free your time to be more productive and improve your bottom line.”

3.  Set the Table and Help Them Decide

The buying process is complex. For some it’s emotional, some impulsive, while for others information drives their decision. No website (or shrink) can be all things to all personalities, but you can help improve your odds. Start with your site navigation and portals. It’s a step-by-step process to funnel visitors into the portal that they want. 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 webpage 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.  Make First Impressions Count

Customers fishing for information to purchase may not buy on the first visit. However, their first impression of your website can be significant and help increase your conversion rates. If they get a positive and helpful experience, they may bookmark the site, do further investigation and return to give you a second opportunity to sell or contact you for further information. You site should be easy to navigate and have relevant content that speaks to their needs. It should not be too flash driven, have pleasing but aesthetic colors and most importantly, not cluttered. In brief, it should be benefits oriented and even have comparisons to help make their decision more informed and confident of their choice.

5.  Converting Visitors into Customers

If you want to improve your conversion rates, you must periodically review your metrics. Which pages are being visited most; when do visitors leave the buying cycle; and ask your self why. You need to analyze the data, then revise, reword, rewrite, test and track. You can test an offer or promotion with two similar pages, changing it to suit your test. Then you can see what and which converts higher, then implement the results. You can test anything and everything, from colors, layouts, images, offers, calls to action, home pages, and navigation.

Remember, like your customers, your website is a living and breathing entity and should be constantly evolving and changing to meet the demands of your customer base.

6.  Using Social Media to Deliver Converts

Social Media Marketing is coming of age and its active use will help build relationships and increase your selling opportunities. Tying in your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube profiles will increase your brand’s reach and networking opportunities and exposure throughout the Internet. Social Media can also drive targeted customers to your website where they will be initially exposed to your brand and promotions. It’s a soft sell mechanism and their familiarity through Social Media Marketing will reduce their resistance and make them feel more comfortable engaging you, your products and services.
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