In simple terms, a conversion happens when a visitor takes the desired action on your website. It could be simply downloading a white paper, subscribing to your email newsletter, making a purchase on your website, following you on Facebook and/or Twitter, downloading one of your apps, or any other number of other intended actions.
You see, every company, website and business model has their own unique conversion goals. Whatever action you intend your visitors to take, that action is what you’ll measure and make a goal to optimize it.
Why it’s important to optimize your website for conversions?
The answer is simple. Conversions are the bread and butter of inbound marketing. If you can only boost the number of quality inbound leads to your website, you can also generate more sales opportunities and eventually convert more leads into customers.
Here’s an example to consider: Which do you think is more important below? More website traffic or more conversions?
If your website is currently attracting 5,000 unique visitors every month and converting only 1.8% of them into leads that mean you’re losing 98.2% of sales opportunities.
In this situation, what do you think would be a better idea: doubling traffic to your website or taking proper steps to reduce the lost sales opportunity down to $95?
As clearly shown in the screenshot above, improving the conversion rate of your website even a tiny little bit can bring you more leads than simply boosting traffic. This is why conversion rate optimization is so lucrative and important.
So, how can you improve your website’s conversion rate?
No matter your conversion goals, there are many effective conversion optimization tricks you can use to improve the conversion rate of your current website.
1. Conversion rate optimization
It’s a systematic and structured method of enhancing the conversion rate of your website through ongoing statistical testing and iteration.
2. Conversion-oriented website design
This tactic uses psychological elements and visual cues to guide your audience to take a particular desired action.
3. Conversion-oriented copywriting
In this optimization tactic, you’ll use certain words or phrases to prompt your visitors to take the desired action and ultimately boost your website conversions.
4. Contextual marketing
It’s a conversion optimization practice to display the most relevant content and calls-to-action, to your targeted audience, and at the right time.
Now let’s go over each of this conversion rate optimization tactics (CRO) further.
CRO Practice #1 – Data-driven CRO through ongoing testing and statistical testing
You see, conversion rate optimization is a practice of continuously improving the conversion rate of your landing page or your website by converting casual visitors into leads and ultimately to buying customers. This goal is achieved through ongoing repetitions and statistical testing of the content and design of a landing page. In short, CRO is the process of making your marketing efforts more effective.
In the past few years only, the use of software for split testing and the ease of use of various platforms have themselves become super accessible, and most importantly, super cost-efficient. What this means is that you don’t need to have a Ph.D. degree or tons of money in the bank to conduct your own CRO tests on your website.
When you have an affordable CRO tools such as Visual Website Optimizer at your fingertips, you can easily and quickly test your websites, landing pages, and eCommerce web pages with minimum or no help at all from the IT.
So, what exactly can you do with split-testing software?
If you’re digital savvy enough to be here reading this guide, you’re most likely slightly familiar with the term A/B testing. But, just to make things clear, if you had to use two calls-to-actions on your landing page and you wanted to instantly learn which version would generate the most conversions, you would do an A/B testing. In A/B testing, half of your audience will be shown version A of your landing page, and the other half would be shown version B. Once the test finishes, you could quickly compare the results and find which version generates more results for you.
So, if you’d like to have a quick split-testing crash course, then I highly recommend that you this awesome quick-guide on split-testing published by Conversion Rate Experts. This report does an excellent job of illustrating conversion rate optimization and gives you over a bunch of tests that you can quickly perform on your landing pages or website.
You see, split-testing is very powerful, but like with everything else in the world, it comes with its own limitations, as you cannot test more than two elements on your landing page at any given time.
However, you can use multivariate testing if you need to run more than two A/B tests simultaneously. With most CRO tools you can only conduct simple A/B tests, however, there are some useful software tools (such as Visual Website Optimizer) that will allow you to conduct more advanced multivariate tests.
This is clearly shown in these case studies done by Visual Website Optimizer, where you run multivariate testing on your landing pages by selecting multiple elements (such as images, headlines, and/or buttons). This software tool then creates and combines several versions of selected elements. The traffic is divided and sent to these different versions of your landing pages to find which combination of elements generates more conversions for you. Finally, the winning combinations of website’s elements are then implemented permanently.
CRO Practice #2 – Conversion-oriented design
In essence, the method of conversion-centered design (or CCD) comprises using psychological triggers and visual cues to direct a viewer’s attention on taking the desired action.
So, if you want to learn more about CCD, we highly recommend that you read, listen, and watch Oli Gardner, Unbounce co-founder.
In an awesome guest post article on HubSpot, Gardner mentions, “Your landing page is at the core of CCD. Your landing page is an independent page that uses harmonious design to drive your audience towards your intended action, which could either be the collection of the email address or be informing your audience about your product or service before handing them down to the sales department.”
Time and again, research has also proven that there are a handful of psychological triggers and visual cues that can be utilized to improve the conversion rates of your landing page. As Garder describes in his guest blog post, these landing page elements actually make up the seven key principles of CCD.
And here are the 7 conversion centered design principles – along with few useful examples:
This little nifty design trick directs your audience’s eyes towards your desired call-to-action. Basically, you design a window or a tunnel view to direct your audience’s focus to your desired call-to-action.
2. Color and Contrast
You probably must have heard that orange buttons regularly boost conversions (or perhaps green buttons do that for your landing page… or maybe blue buttons). But the fact is, there is no particular color that is always the best. Here’s what you can do: first of all analyze the contrast and color of your landing page, and make sure your call-to-action stands out from the rest of the design.
3. Directional Cues
You can also use visual directional cues (like arrows) to help guide your audience towards an intended area. Try using arrows on your pages that point towards the signup form or any other desired call-to-action. When you do this, it will immediately inform your visitors where they should be focusing as they skim your page.
4. White Space
Design-wise, you want to give some breathing space for your landing page design. You can use whitespace to make your design less busy and make important parts of your landing page more noticeable to your visitors.
5. Scarcity and Urgency
These psychological triggers have been used in the marketing and sales from the dawn of the century. Limited supply and limited time offers are usual today both online and offline to compel prospects to act promptly.
6. Trials before purchase
Samples, demos, and trials are usual ingenious ways to quickly and easily build confidence and trust with your audience before they actually purchase your product or service.
7. Social proof
Incorporating social proof on your website’s landing another surefire way build trust and authenticity. Research proves that social proof has a huge positive impact on your website’s conversions and sales rates.
To help you incorporate these awesome 7 principles of CCD in your landing pages, we’ve included two examples (below) of a regular landing page design. The first page lacks the 7 effective elements of CCD, while the second page is slightly tweaked to include all 7 principles of CCD.
This example above is an excerpt from another awesome post written by Oli Gardner.
Research has proven that specific words can actually affect a landing page’s ability to turn audiences into qualified leads. Just like conversion-oriented design, conversion-oriented copywriting uses specific words and copywriting tactics to compel visitors to take the desired action.
CRO Practice #3 – Conversion-oriented copywriting
You see, as you begin to write copy for your landing pages, you should spend at least some time to know 5 most powerful words in the English language.
The 5 most powerful words in the English language are Free, You, Instantly, Because, and New.
If used properly, these power words can dramatically boost the conversion rates of your landing pages, email campaigns, and website.
Of course, you’ll require more than these 5 powerful words to be more effective.
While the Internet is crammed full of high-converting words, we found ourselves going back to this huge list of 189 powerful words that will aways grab your customer’s attention, written by Kevan Lee from Buffer.
Finally, here are 3 things you need to always remember as you sit down to craft a conversion-oriented web copy:
1. Devote your time to writing awesome headlines
You may have the world’s most amazing, jaw-dropping content in the world, however, if your headlines aren’t catchy, it’s most likely that no one will ever read your content.
Sorry to spill the beans, but it’s true. If you want to write killer content that drives more people to your website and converts leads, then you need to start writing killer headlines, from today.
Joanna Wiebe from CopyHackers has spent most of her lifetime crafting blog posts on how to craft compelling headlines that boost conversions like awesome. You can begin crafting attention-grabbing headlines now by checking out this awesome post. In this post, Joanna shares 5-point checklists that you can immediately use for creating powerful headlines that yield high results:
- Does your headline align what your visitors are expecting from it?
- Is your headline attention-grabber… in a good way?
- Is your headline easy to understand and clearly communicates your message?
- Does your headline help answer your audience’s pressing issues?
- Does it highlight some kind of benefits or value for your prospects?
- Simplicity is sophistication
2. Simplicity trumps sophistication
You don’t have to write content after content or even use elaborate words to persuade people to purchase from you. When it comes to crafting a compelling copy, simplicity is often the key.
If you want to quickly start writing effective copy for your landing page or website, Neil Patel is the master. I’m always surprised how he effortlessly achieves the balance of simplicity with an in-depth copy. In this awesome post, he unleashes his copywriting secrets.
3. People don’t actually read, but they scan.
Did you know that an average visitors spends no more than 10 to 20 seconds on your website? What this means is that you have only a few precious seconds to hold your audience’s attention, so you have to be very strategic when structuring your copy.
To make your copy super-easy to scan for your readers, you can use sub-headers and bold text. Likewise, you can also use numbered lists, bullets, white space, images, and other elements to break up a long-format copy and make it easier to digest.
CRO Practice #4 – Contextual Marketing
What does contextual marketing mean? Well, it’s an inbound marketing strategy where people are shown relevant content depending on search terms they used, their current browsing habits, or the current stage in the sales cycle.
Show different languages or pricings depending on your visitor’s current location.
- Device Type
Display different content for desktop PC, tablet, or mobile visitors.
- Referral Source
Display smart content based on how your visitors came to know you.
On top of this, once you generate a lead through your landing page, you can then personalize your content depending on their
Lifecycle Stage or List Membership.
Needless to say, you don’t have to buy advanced software tools to implement the fundamental contextual marketing principles.
From a layman point of view, you can boost the context of your CTAs by adjusting your offer with buyer persona’s main goals, on-page content, and the current phase of the sales cycle, buying criteria, among other things.
Why is contextual marketing so crucial for your inbound marketing strategy?
You see, a well-designed and sales-oriented websites have a number of conversion paths that target visitors in each phase of the sales funnel. And as more leads and visitors return to your website, you can nurture them through the sales funnel by offering sales-oriented content and finally converting them into buying customers.
This means you must at least offer one point of conversion for each phase of the sales process of the usual buyer’s journey – i.e. awareness, attention, and evaluation.
Rachel Goodman Moore, the certification program manager at Hubspot Academy, explains that “Your buyer’s standard journey is the ongoing research process your visitors go through that lead them up to making a purchase – and specific content is more relevant at different stages of their journey. That’s why the term “context” is used: simply creating content for your buyer personas will not work. You’ll also have to make sure that the content is highly related to what they’re looking for.”
We couldn’t agree more with Rachel. If only you can match your CTAs with your prospect’s sales readiness and interests, you’ll not only boost conversion rates on your website – but you’ll also offer a great user experience for your personas.
Now let’s quickly look at the 3 stages of typical sales funnel cycle and give you examples of different types of content that are highly suitable for each phase.
Top of the Sales Funnel
In the top of the sales funnel (the “needs and awareness” stage) you must be informing topics related to your industry, products, and services to your potential prospects. At this sales funnel, your main goal must be to attract as much targeted audience as you can to your website, improve following on your social media, and grow your opt-in email list.
Content types that are ideal for the “awareness” stage of the funnel, include:
- Tip sheets
- “How-to” videos
- Educational whitepapers
- Educational webinars
- Overview posts
- “How-to” blog posts
- Social media
- Online articles
- FAQ pages
- Guest blog posts
- Resources pages
Middle of the sales funnel
As you move your prospect towards the middle of the funnel – also known as the “consideration and testing” stage – notice that your prospects will start to assess your offers against your competitors. The middle-of-the-sales-funnel content is created to address the problems of the leads at a much deeper level before finally pulling them towards evaluation. In this stage of the funnel, the content tries to establish a connection between the top-of-the-sales-funnel educational information and resources for brand-specific offers.
Content types that are ideal for the middle sales funnel are:
- Buying guides
- Email marketing
- Product demos
- Case studies
- Speaking engagements
- Detailed blog posts
- ROI calculators
- Detailed pricing info
- Product comparisons
Bottom of the sales funnel
Once your prospect has performed middle-of-the-sales-funnel research, they’ll reach the final stage – or the”purchase” stage. The content you create at this final stage of the sales funnel should help your prospects overcome any final reservations and allow them to make a smart buying decision.
Content that is ideal for this final stage of the sales funnel include:
- Customized estimates
- Follow-up consultations
- In depth product demos
- Free trials
- In-depth articles or blog posts
Key Points You Just Learned
- The main goal of conversion rate optimization (or CRO) is to create more business opportunities from current traffic by improving the percentage of visitors that are turned into leads.
- A website’s conversion rate is determined by several factors, including landing page design, copywriting, page load speed, offer value, mobile responsiveness, among others.
- CRO depend on A/B testing to assess the landing page elements’ effectiveness on conversions.
- The conversion-oriented design uses visual design cues to direct the viewer’s attention on desired sections of the landing page, ultimately leading up to more conversions.
- Conversion-oriented copywriting also utilizes tried-and-tested copywriting tactics and powerful action verbs to convince visitors into taking the desired action.
- Contextual marketing look at the current browsing history, the current stage of the customer lifecycle, and the interests and desires of your prospects to show the CTAs that are personalized for each viewer.