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Conversion Rate Optimization | Turning More Site Visitors into Sales

This post shares key ways to increase your conversion rate optimization which will as well result in a high return on investment (ROI).

But before then let’s look at a broader view on conversation rate optimization…

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) refers to the improvement of the rate at which leads take the desired action, or conversion, that deepens their relationship with your brand.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Most often the “desired action” refers to a purchase of products or services. However, a conversion goal can also refer to other business-generating activities and initiatives.

Your conversion goal depends on the goals of your organization on an overall level or on a campaign or initiative level. Determining how your business generates revenue is also helpful in identifying conversion goals.

3 Examples of Conversion Goals by Industry

Media: Pageviews, ad views, newsletter subscriptions, recommended content engagement, social shares, social interactions, links clicked, social channels visited.

Ecommerce: Product and services transactions, products added to shopping carts, cart completion rate, email marketing subscription sign-ups, product guide downloads, customer service chats initiated, links clicked.

B2B: Leads generated, deals closed, registration for events, quote requests, demo requests, free trial, request for proposals, contact sales, webinar/event registrations.

How to track your Conversion Goals

Conversion goals can be tracked through your marketing software analytics as well as through Google Analytics.

Usually, you track goals by entering a URL destination, visit duration, pages per visitor a specific event (for example a call-to-action button clicked, a video view, a document downloaded and more).

Once your conversion goals are set up, you can view your traffic in a whole new way to determine areas of success on your website and areas that can be improved upon.

In e-commerce, designing web interfaces (i.e. web pages and interactions) that convert as many users as possible from casual browsers to paying customers is an important goal.

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While there are some well-known design principles, including simplicity and consistency, there are often also unexpected interactions between elements of the page that determine how well it converts.

The same element, such as a headline, image, or testimonial, may work well in one context but not in others—it is often hard to predict the result, and even harder to decide how to improve a given page.

An entire subfield of information technology has emerged in this area, called conversion rate optimization, or conversion science. The standard method is A/B testing, i.e. designing two different versions of the same page, showing them to different users, and collecting statistics on how well they each convert.

This process allows incorporating human knowledge about the domain and conversion optimization into the design and then testing their effectiveness.

After observing the results, new designs can be compared and gradually improved.

The A/B testing process is difficult and time-consuming: Only a very small fraction of page designs can be tested in this way, and subtle interactions in the design are likely to go unnoticed and unutilized. An alternative to A/B is multivariate testing, where all value combinations of a few elements are tested at once.

With the explosive growth of e-commerce in recent years, entirely new areas of study have emerged. One of the main ones is conversion rate optimization, i.e. the study of how web interfaces should be designed so that they are as effective as possible in converting users from casual browsers to actual customers.

What is conversion?

Conversion means taking the desired action on the web interface such as making a purchase, registering for a marketing list, or clicking on other desired link in an email, website, or desktop, mobile, or social media application.

Conversions are usually measured in a number of clicks, but also in metrics such as resulting revenue or time spent on the site and rate of return to the site.

Conversion optimization

Conversion optimization is a fast-emerging component of eCommerce. In 2016, companies spent over $72 billion to drive customers to their websites.

Much of that investment does not result in sales: conversion rates are typically 2-4% (i.e. 2-4% of the users that come to the site convert within 30 days).

In 2014, only 18% of the top 10,000 e-commerce sites did any conversion optimization; in January 2017, 30% of them did so.

Conversion Optimization Tools

Growth is largely due to available conversion optimization tools, such as Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, Mixpanel, and Adobe Target.

These tools make it possible to configure the designs easily, allocate users to them, record the results, and measure significance.

Though the process has several limitations:

First, while the tools make the task of designing effective web interfaces easier, the design is still done by human experts.

The tools thus provide support for confirming the experts’ ideas, not helping them explore and discover novel designs.

Second, since each step in the process requires statistical significance, only a few designs can be tested.

Third, each improvement step amounts to one step in hillclimbing; such a process can get stuck in local maxima.

Fourth, the process is aimed at reducing false positives and therefore increases false negatives, i.e. designs with good ideas may be overlooked.

Fifth, while the tools provide support for multivariate testing, in practice only a few combinations can be tested (e.g. possible values for two elements, or three possible values for three elements). As a result, it is difficult to discover and utilize interactions between design elements.

Conversion rate optimization Vs Customer Experience

Most companies focus on optimizing their conversion rate, or the rate at which a consumer will change from a lead to a paying customer.

It sounds like a smart plan, right? It is a great start but your organization may be missing the big picture if your main focus is just on improving this metric.

We recommend a slight pivot in your strategy – focus on improving how individuals interact with your brand at all touchpoints across your organization, also known as the improving “customer experience.” Then, monitor the conversion rate as a measurement to check how you’re doing.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) refers to the improvement of the rate at which leads take the desired action, or conversion, that deepens their relationship with your brand.

Most often the “desired action” refers to a purchase of products or services. However, a conversion goal can also refer to other business-generating activities and initiatives.

Your conversion goal depends on the goals of your organization on an overall level or on a campaign or initiative level.

Determining how your business generates revenue is also helpful in identifying conversion goals.

What is so important about it? A positive Customer Experience (CX) should be the most important goal throughout your organization in every department.

How can we ensure that our customers are happy with each interaction? When you invest in customer experience, you’re investing in their long-term relationship with your brand – which usually translates to repeat purchases rather than one-time conversions.

Customer Experience (CX) is a Top Priority Each customer interaction has the ability to make or break consumer perception of your brand.

With one great experience, customers may recommend you to all their friends, increasing your audience instantly.

It’s important to understand, however, that optimization is about getting more of the right kind of customers—not just blindly optimizing the conversion rate of a given page or campaign.

It won’t do you any good if the people you’re acquiring are the wrong fit for your business. It’s important to keep the focus on optimizing to find more customers who will love your product and help you grow by spreading the word. Everything else is a waste of your time and resources

Why conversion rate optimization is important

You should care about CRO for a few reasons. First, you are most likely paying for traffic to your site in one way or another, and a high conversion rate means a better return on that investment (ROI). It’s also much more cost-effective to convert a higher percentage of the visitors you already have than to attract more new visitors.

How to Increase your conversion rate

Here is how you make turn site visitors into buying customers.

  1. Create a sense of urgency

When you add a sense of urgency it makes people move faster. Test having countdown clocks on your web site. With tools like Deadline Funnel, you can even add countdown clocks within your emails and make offers expire within ease.

That way people know there really is a sense of urgency.

  1. Use creative Popups

With Hello Bar you can easily create an exit popup on your site. An exit popup is one of the best converting offers.

Through Hello Bar you can even add an animated gif to the background.

  1. Let users try your product or service for a period of time/limited features

Most of your visitors aren’t going to buy it. Why not offer the users who don’t convert a one dollar trial or a free 30-day trial? This simple technique can boost your revenue.

Sure a lot of the free trial users cancel after a month, but an extra 15% in revenue still isn’t bad. This tactic here is how companies like Hulu and Netflix have grown so fast.

  1. Target customers by location

Geo-targeting – with Maxmind you can add the person’s location within your web site. For example, if your visitor is based in Los Angeles, you can add their city to your headline to boost your conversions.

  1. Personalize your reach

People love handwritten notes and personalized emails. Picsnippets allows you to create a personalized email with the individual’s name on a photo.

This makes your emails seem personalized to the person opening it, hence your conversion rate will go up.

  1. Retarget your checkout page visitors

For everyone who hits your checkout page and doesn’t buy, you should show them a remarketing ad/video that explains what they will get if they continue with the purchase.

  1. Engage your audience

Through tools like Lead Quizzes, you can engage with your audience first and then ask them for their email address. You can use quizzes for any type of site.

For instance, if you have a fitness site, you can create a quiz that breaks down how someone can lose weight and at the end of the quiz show them relevant products that will help them lose weight.

A Leap from Poor conversion to high conversion rate

Shift from focusing on conversion rates to focusing on providing the best possible customer experience.

Then, use conversion rates to monitor your progress.

Leap #1

Conversion Rates Are Misleading. An individual may have seven to thirteen interactions with a brand before converting.

Only a small percentage of all customer experiences result in a conversion.

With an average conversion rate of three percent, you’re missing valuable information about the many other customer experiences that lead up to a conversion.

Leap #2

Conversion Rates and Customer Experience are not equal. Have you ever spent hours on your favorite website and putting items into your cart, but then you left before completing your purchase?

In many cases, the lack of a conversion does not indicate a negative experience. Often times a customer may delay purchase because of a distraction that took them away from the purchase or they’re at work and want to complete the purchase at home.

If they feel positive about your brand, most likely they’ll complete their purchase at a later date.

By investing in creating the best customer experiences, you’re focusing on building a long-term relationship with your customers, ensuring their loyalty and future engagement.

Leap #3

Human Memory is a Powerful Advocate (or Enemy). A negative experience can make or break how customers feel about your brand.

Focus on improving customer experience and you will be more likely to make changes that will naturally increase your conversion rate.

Some examples where you may improve customer experience is having a faster load time for your site, making your menu easier to navigate or making your software more user-friendly.

Looking Beyond Conversion Rate

Conversion rates are great indicators of customer success in terms of how many visitors complete a desired goal on your website.

However, the metric misses the mark when it comes to identifying the meaning behind a customer reaction to your brand, website or various campaigns.

Organizations should review and analyze various indicators of customer experience rather than using conversion rates as the full analysis.

Here’s why:

  1. A conversion rate is a metric to measure and not a complete view of how customers interact with your brand.
  2. Tracking conversions alone does not take into account brand sentiment, customer recommendations, or what happens after a conversion occurs.
  3. Successful customer experiences do not always lead to conversions and conversions are not always attributable to successful customer experiences.
  4. Shifting focus from increasing conversion rates to improving customer experience helps assess all areas that impact opinions formed about your company and the products and services provided.
  5. Focusing on generating positive customer experiences in every department of your organization prepares your business for long-term success.

In Sum

Many companies focus on improving conversion rates, however, we recommend focusing on the improvement of the customer experience.

Take time to examine the full journey a customer experiences with your brand during the entire Customer Lifecycle and all the information they can gather from the many forms of media where you are present. Then use conversion rates as a metric to benchmark your progress.

By reviewing and improving the customer experience with your brand, you are putting yourself into the shoes of your customers and you may be surprised at what is revealed to you.

You may be able to identify simple changes that make a big difference in the way customers relate to your brand and interact on a daily basis. With each positive customer interaction experienced with your brand, you’re likely to increase conversion rates in the process.