Before we get started here are a few facts:
- A boost to your conversion rates will have a multiplied effect on your final profit. This means that even a small increase in conversion rates can mean the difference between small profit and big profit.
- Increasing conversion rates can be pretty simple, especially if they aren’t high to begin with.
- There is no right and wrong, no black and white – many different strategies can achieve similar results. However, using some best practices that other people have discovered is always a great way to start.
So here we go, 8 easy techniques to increase your conversion rates:
1. Make your call to action crystal clear.
A visitor to your website or landing page must instantly understand what action they are “expected to take”, otherwise they get lost easily and don’t complete the action you want them to. This is called the CTA (Call to action) and is a must in every commercial website.
If you visit Clarizen’s excellent homepage, it is clear within seconds that you are expected to start a free trial with their project management (execution) software. As secondary CTAs, they have watching the video, taking a product tour or scheduling a live demo.
(Clarizen’s homepage – the CTA is crystal clear!)
2. Make your pages >>>load fast>>>
Visitors are impatient and will rather bounce (i.e. exit your website) than wait for your slow website to load. To improve load time:
- Kill all unnecessary graphic files. Buttons for example, can be beautiful these days using only CSS3, and don’t need any images at all. Also flash is very heavy.
- Remove all unused code or scripts. Some websites have dozens of social sharing buttons that nobody uses and take ages to load. They also look bad with zero shares.
- If you use a dynamic content CMS (like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc.), search Google for a decent cache plugin for your CMS. They are free, take 60 seconds to install, and will improve load time dramatically.
Did you know?
Amazon – the world’s largest online retailer researched the implications of load time on their conversion rates and found that they had a 1% increase in revenue for every 100ms improvement in page load time. This means that cutting your page load time by 1 second will increase your conversion rates by about 10%.
3. Beautiful is usable. Usable sells.
Research has shown that users will rate a well-designed system better and more usable than a poorly designed system with the exact same features. If you think good design is expensive, I have news for you. You can buy excellent designs for websites, landing pages, email templates, feature plugins or anything else for $5 to $50, made by the best designers and with full technical support. A great place to buy designs that I use all the time is themeforrest.
4. Words are magic and messaging is super-critical
The copy (text) on your webpage has a HUGE influence on conversion. The most effective element is the headers of the page (your H1 and H2) – if they are lame and don’t capture your audience’s attention, visitors will be gone before you can say bad-conversion-rates-are-bad-for-business.
Find the messaging sweet spot for your value proposition. At Totango we found that stating that the product is “The SaaS game-changer” on the homepage was a great way to invoke enough interest to keep users reading. However, make sure you don’t promise what you can’t deliver – the Totango homepage backs up the “game-changer” claim with testimonials from leading SaaS companies (like Zendesk, Clarizen, Ncircle and more) that are using Totango’s engagement technology to dominate their markets.
(The Totango homepage captures attention)
5. Avoid cognitive dissonance
Make choices easy. The only cost in a deal should be the price. Avoid any other annoying elements like commitments, risk, and having to give up features. A “money back guarantee” is a great way to reduce customer risk and is likely to increase conversion rates. Taking a credit card to sign up for a free trial will significantly reduce conversion rates.
Read my article on how Dropbox messed up their conversion rates with cognitive dissonance and don’t repeat their mistake.
6. The numbers never lie.
If you are not A/B testing your ideas (especially on copy and colors of buttons and headlines), you are missing out. These days it is very simple to do run some tests on your website traffic to see what they respond to best. You don’t need to be a software engineer or a statistical analyst. Simple software products take care of the messy work; I recommend Optimizely & Visual website optimizer – both are awesome. You can also run A/B tests through Google Analytics but I find it less convenient.
Barack Obama’s marketing team used A/B tests in their online campaigns in order to find how to address their potential voters in the best possible way. Needless to say, it helped them win two elections!
7. Drive your traffic to landing pages
Landing pages are awesome because unlike your company homepage that naturally absorbs lots of irrelevant junk over the years, landing pages have a much clearer CTA and usually convert targeted traffic (like adwords and other paid traffic) far more effectively. I recommend using Unbounce for your landing pages. It is hands-down the best platform out there to deploy great designed landing pages in minutes without IT departments and engineers, and it also has great A/B testing functionalities.
8. Conversion doesn’t end at the sign-up
It’s great that you got the user to sign up for a free trial of your product (or a free “light” version), but a real conversion is one that puts the money in the bank. One of the best tricks used to make your free trial users convert to paying ones (besides having an awesome product) is focusing the resources of your sales team on users who are more likely to convert into paying ones and avoid wasting time on “window shoppers”. An easy and effective way to know which trial users are best to address and with what message, is creating a Totango real time segment (active list) of Hot trial accounts and configuring it based on factors relative to your product. This way you can just get email alerts telling you which evaluators of your product are likely to buy and where you should spend your time.
Read more on that in Totango trial conversion.
You can also see how Zendesk achieved more than 30% increase in free to paid conversion (Article + Video)
If you enjoyed this article I would appreciate any of the following (or all):
- Follow me on twitter: Follow @Shai_Alon I only tweet quality messages – mainly on online marketing, and I love following interesting people back!
- Comment below and tell me what you are struggling with in your conversion optimization efforts (or anything else). I promise to answer within 48 hours and help
- One of the things we do at Totango is to help our clients (from startups to fortune 100 companies) analyze their trial flow and improve it by pushing the “deal making” features forward and removing the “conversion killers”. If you’d like to know more about these kind of techniques, please comment below and I’ll write a follow up post next week and explain trial conversion in more depth.
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