You work so hard to get visitors to your site. You spend money promoting your site either through pay per click search, banner or other forms of online advertising. You may also be spending countless hours optimizing your website content for search engines, in the hope that your site will rank at the top of the search engine results for your most important keywords. You may also be using traditional marketing strategies to get visitors to come to your site, such as press release submissions, public relations, newspaper advertising, or word of mouth strategies.
But what happens when visitors finally come to your site? Are they buying your products? Are they opting to receive your newsletter? Are they subscribing to your members-only content? Finding a way to get qualified prospects to come to your site is one thing; making them do what you want them to do is another. Getting traffic is meaningless if you are not able to keep your visitors and turn them into buyers.
An effective business web site is all about converting browsers to paying customers. This is measured by the conversion rate: a measure of how many web site visitors it takes to sell one item, or capture one lead. According to a study done by e-tailing.com entitled “The Merchant Speaks,” majority of e-commerce executives who responded to the survey (42%) say that their conversion rate (defined as the number of orders/number of visitors) is about 1-3.9%. Your goal is to improve on that number and get a higher conversion rate.
Why is conversion rate important? Conversion is the key to your business success online. Improving conversion rate is a very cost effective way to improve revenues dramatically without even attracting more visitors. In most cases, it will be cheaper to make some changes to your own site to improve the conversion rates than to pump more money into advertising and promotions to attract more visitors.
Whether you are operating an e-commerce website or an information-based site, below are 10 ways you can use to improve your conversion rate and convert visitors to buyers:
1. Provide quality products or content.
Good conversion rates start with quality and a great value proposition. The key is to show what great value your product or service is, and to tell your visitors how your product or service will make their lives better.
If you are operating an e-commerce website, you must offer quality products at competitive prices. Or provide a breadth and depth of products, that your site becomes a one-stop shopping destination for the niche you are serving. For an information-based site, your content must be authoritative, fresh and reliable.
2. Grab their attention immediately.
Put your most important and succinct statement of what your website offer above the scroll. Never put anything important below the scroll. Your sales pitch, site offering, even your order button should be seen above the scroll. Your main products or top-selling items should be accessible from your homepage. To achieve this, your site must be fast loading, with a fast site search engine.
3. It’s about the customer, all the time.
People don’t care how good you are or your products than what you can do for them. The “What’s in it for me?” mentality at work, visitors will respond to your offer only if you can successfully make the case that your website exists for them, to provide them what they need and offer a solution to their problem.
It is important to remember that most visitors have a task in mind when they come to your site — whether looking for information, products or services that are going to benefit themselves — and your primary duty is to deliver what they need. So you should help give them what they want: a personalized experience with the content and specialization they’ve come for.
4. Design your page specifically for your target audience.
There is no hard-and-fast rule that every single visitor should come into your website through your homepage. They can go straight to your site offering or product pages. Or they can go to a specially created landing page that is designed with the specific type of visitor in mind. Visitors from Google’s Adword program may come to a specific page, but visitors from your press releases may come in a different page. You need to provide different types of visitors with the right content designed to make them respond more to your offer, thereby increasing your chances for conversion.
5. Make it easy for them.
How you design your website can spell the difference – whether visitors are turned off immediately and leaves, or they simply wander around your website with no intention in mind, or you lead them to a clear path of purchase. Avoid confusing navigational structures.
If you are selling products, make the ordering process easy. An indicator of how well your process works is the ratio of abandoned shopping baskets to total orders – if this is higher than 10 percent, then it indicates that the online ordering process you have implemented is ineffective, or takes too long.
6. Improve your site’s copy.
More than a tool to inform users of what the site is all about, the best type of web site copy explains to a visitor how your product will fulfill their wants, needs and desires. Your copy must be compelling, interactive, fresh, well written, concise, readable, and to the extent possible, tailored to the individual’s needs. Avoid marketingspeak. Instead of focusing on your product’s features, your copy must talk about the benefits the visitor will get by buying your product, subscribing to your newsletter, or frequenting your website on a regular basis. It is also important for your pages to have a clear ‘call-to-action’ to get your visitors to take the next step.
7. Think active!
Use active voice to keep your customers motivated and fully engaged in the sales process. Active voice is more dynamic, making the visitor feel that you are speaking to them directly. They become more engaged, and you are closer to a sale or a loyal customer.
8. Increase trust factor.
Trust is a key element of success on the Web. Visitors return only to websites they trust. They purchase only from websites they know will safeguard their information, provide them with quality service, and offer them products that are value for their money.
9. Build customer loyalty.
Loyalty marketing is a proven technique to increase conversion rates and improving bottom line. One possible way is to institute rewards program in order to entice customers to invest more time on your site and give you more data about themselves.
10. Study your metrics carefully.
You must have a set of key performance indicators that you can look at every day to understand the pulse of your business. For example, an e-commerce website should have information on the source of orders (e-mail, shopping search, banners or organic), list of most popular products, daily unique visitors, carts started/updated, checkouts started, orders, revenue, cart creation rate, checkout rate, checkout conversion rate, average order size, and revenue per customer. Information sites would do well to check out the ratio of repeat visitors to total visitors, number of pages viewed by a visitor, entry and exit pages, and where traffic is coming from.
Those who can analyze their site traffic in such depth, and then draw conclusions based on the numbers, will not only allow their site to survive as a viable business on the Web, but will reap huge profits along the way.