How well is your website working to turn casual visitors into browsers, browsers into engaged visitors and ultimately, into paying clients? If you’re like most professionals, you’re probably wondering how you can best maximize your website's potential. The good news is that even small tweaks to better optimize your website can help boost your conversion rates, increasing your profits exponentially. To get started, here are five quick tips to skyrocket your website’s optimization:
1. Utilize A/B (Split) Testing
There are very few “successful accidents” when it comes to web optimization, meaning you almost never just stumble upon something that works incredibly well the first time. Instead, professional web designers, SEO experts, and content developers preach the virtues of constant split testing, also called A/B testing. By pitting two different headlines, pages, graphics, emails or ads, etc. against each other, they can quickly determine which has maximum effectiveness with their audience – and will produce the highest conversion rate.
For that reason, most businesses should have at least one A/B test running on their website (and with the rest of your marketing) at all times and carefully track the results. But setting up too many splits or A/B tests at the same time can get overwhelming and hard to follow – defeating the purpose of identifying which version is most effective and why.
There’s plenty of expensive software that will manage your A/B testing, but you really should have to spend too much to get a great website conversion benefit. Try Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer or even Google Content Experiments, which is built into Google Analytics.
2. Make sure your website is simple, clear, and distraction free
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is crowding your website with too much information, graphics, flashy functions and bells and whistles. I know it’s tempting to try to impress the website visitor (prospective client) with a host of information and options that demonstrate your unique value, but in fact, it’s counter-productive. One exception to this rule is if you’re using an info graphic that provides value to your customers for free. A prime example of this is this Ultimate Guide To Google Penalties
info graphic I came across.
If you take a look at the websites of the best brands and businesses in the world and you’ll notice they are all simple, clean, and follow the viewer through a very intuitive and easy path, including one call-to-action. Studies show that the more cluttered and the more options available on your website, the less effective your conversion rates will be.
Stay away from stock images, unnecessary features, any text that is not one or two sentences long or in a bullet point format, menu bars with more than 4 or 5 items, and more than one big, bold call-to-action.
3. Create urgency with incentive
In 2016 and beyond, one of the most powerful tools to boost website conversions and drive consumer behavior is ephemerality - which is a fancy way to say that an offer, giveaway, sale, attendance at an event, etc. is fleeting or limited. This concept works so well because people’s fear of losing out is far greater than their perceived benefit of gain. Think about it – when you are looking at hotels online and the display shows that there are only two rooms left at a certain price, and ten people have looked at it in the last hour, you feel your pulse quicken and an urge to book it immediately. That’s also the whole premise behind Snapchat
, which sold for $3 billion 2013 after only a handful of months in existence and now has 100 million active users daily.
There are two forms of scarcity you can exhibit to ignite urgency with your web audience: showing that an item or service is only available in limited supply, or that it is only for sale or at a certain price for a limited time. You can even use both of these tools together to create a palpable sense of scarcity.
So if you want to double or even triple your website conversion rates and spark your ROI, create urgency with fleeting incentives and limited offers on your site.
4. Compare to your competition before the consumer does
There is a certain psychological process a consumer goes through before they commit to buying your product or service, including familiarity, a belief in the benefits it will provide or problems it will solve in their life, trust, credibility, perceived value, etc. One of the last items on that “checklist” - even when consumers want to click BUY NOW is the impulse to shop around with your competitors to make sure they are getting a fair deal.
Too often, that means they will leave your website and start “Googling” other products, services, companies, and options. That also means there is a very high chance they will use your website as a foundation for information on the road to making a purchase – from someone else.
But the good news is that YOU can provide a cost or service comparison right on your website, filtering and presenting the information as you wish. Setting up a simple graphic spreadsheet to demonstrate the superior price, benefit, features and value of your product or service – and the shortcomings inherent with your competitors – will keep a significant percentage of “shoppers” from ever leaving your website, therefore boosting your conversion rate and sales exponentially.
5. Focus on creating an airtight sales funnel
Do you have a well defined and efficient sales funnel? Research shows that nothing plummets website conversion rates faster than not leading your audience through the logical sequence of the sales process or funnel. Of course, all sales funnels differ depending on what product/service you are offering, your audience, the cost and commitment you are asking for, and myriad other factors. But no matter what business you’re in, a well-planned sales funnel will lead the website visitor and potential client through the stages of familiarity, establishing trust, comfort, answering objections or questions, a demonstration or trial offer – all precursors to the sale. Generally people who practice SEO implement an airtight funnel as being crucial to their overall business.
An efficient sales funnel needs to include a drip system of information, value, and problem-solving offers for those who don’t purchase right away, whether via email, social media, social affirmation, short video demonstrations, or other special offers.
Consumer behavior studies show that most people need seven positive interactions with a brand, product, or service before they are psychologically ready to commit. But that can happen much more quickly - or all in one sitting, ideally, if you plan your sales funnel and integrate it into your website correctly.