What’s the big deal about conversion optimisation, anyway? Well, many, including myself, will argue that your conversion rate is one of the most important metrics to track.
Your conversion rate can tell a lot about the efficacy of your marketing. Attracting traffic to your site is good but getting those visitors to convert is the most significant element of inbound marketing. So, what is conversion rate optimisation?It has a direct knock-on effect to other important metrics, especially the ones that your board are interested in. An increase in your conversion rate – providing your costs remain static – automatically decreases your lead / customer acquisition cost, therefore increasing profit margins. Show me one C-suite who isn’t going to be happy with additional profit at a lower cost!
So, now that we know why optimising our conversion rate is so important let’s dive deep into this subject matter. Here's what you need to know to optimise for excellent results.
This is what many believe to be the most pivotal. It is the element that tracks the potential for conversion. The deemed value of the offer is essentially going to be the overarching consideration of your website visitor. The perceived value is then going to be driven or inhibited by the next five factors.
There are two points of relevance to consider here. One is of the relevance of the content to your visitors needs and the other of their expectations as laid out on their path to the conversion page. Ensuring you are providing content that is highly relevant to your buyer persona (aka your ideal customer) and tightly aligning your call-to-action (CTA) promise to conversion page message will see better conversion rates.
Another driver of conversion rates is how well you articulate your value proposition, marketing message and CTA. Content, copy and design can all work together here to ensure that the message comes through clearly and provides no opportunity for misunderstanding.
In order to optimise conversion, your page should offer no room to lose focus on the primary goal. Any page element that can pose a threat to your visitor’s concentration needs to be examined carefully. When using conversion specific landing pages, these should be devoid of website navigation to ensure that your users don’t click away. Hold the conversion as the main objective of the page and do whatever you can to drive your visitor to the next step in the conversion path.
Another common conversion killer is user anxiety. This is brought about by the inherent human trait to protect ourselves. The Internet is a big, scary place and all too often people fall prey to scammers and spammers. This makes them highly suspicious and anxious about providing any personal details online. Aim to include elements that will help ease friction. This can include testimonials, social proof, guarantees or visible links to privacy policies.
*More on clearing the conversion pathway and how to instill trust on landing pages, below.
When creating content offers, creating a sense of urgency is key. If you're not putting a time value (or some kind of value) on your offer, you can bet that your visitor isn’t going to feel compelled to take up your offer in a hurry. Incentives, tone and presentation can all create a sense of time-sensitivity and move them to action.
Examine your pages with these conversion rate factors in mind. If you spot a gap, be sure to fix it or apply A/B testing to elements you think may increase your conversion rate. Remember you only need a little lift to start impacting your bottom line metrics. An effective conversion rate optimisation strategy will see you benefitting from visitors being enticed, taking quick actions and filling your sales funnel. With so many different metrics and factors to consider, what strategy should you look at to kickstart your optimisation?
When referring to conversion rates, we could be tracking the number of website visitors converting to leads, or visitors to sales, or even visitors to a specific action like an eBook download or subscribing to your blog.
Keeping this in mind, let's take a quick pop quiz!
Which is the best lead conversion scenario?
If your brain is anything like mine, you'll need a moment to grab your calculator. Let me help you.
Scenario 1 generates 3 leads, scenario 2 will give 10 leads while scenario 3 provides 20 leads. So that means number 3 is the winner, right? Well, not so fast...
The problem with these hypothetical scenarios is that it assumes that you can increase traffic by up to 1900%. That's a bit of an ask. Improving conversion rate on the other hand is a different story. Even with lower traffic numbers, if you are able to up your conversion rate even marginally, you subsequently increase your leads, sales, profits and drop your cost per acquisition. Now THAT sounds like a good case, don't you think?
Modern marketing focuses on conversion rates as an indicator of how well marketing strategies and campaigns are being executed. Reason being is that this metric offers a lot of insight into a number of factors. Higher conversion rates indicate that you are doing a good job of delivering the right kind of traffic, content, offers and website experience that entices visitors to convert through the sales funnel from visitor to lead and lead to customer effortlessly.
Your strategy should then be focused on improving your conversion rate as your measure of success. This is sometimes a lot easier said, than done. Sometimes.
Arguably the biggest difference between a traditional and modern marketer is the fact that modern marketers base all their decisions on definitive data and analytics. To compete in the current climate, you need to track and measure all aspects of your marketing efforts and performance. Only tweak or implement campaigns and processes based on data that's available to you. Assume nothing.
A/B and multivariate testing the various elements of your website, landing pages, CTAs, headlines, colours, copy – you name it – can help move the needle on the conversion scale. In fact an Econsultancy report highlights that companies whose conversion rates have improved over the previous 12 months are performing on average 50% more tests than those companies whose conversion rates have not improved.
As soon as someone finds their way to your web page the biggest risk you face is that they will bounce away without doing anything. Successful businesses look at all areas where optimisation can assist in keeping users moving along their buyer's journey and conversion funnel. Accessibility pains, non-descript call-to-actions and unnecessary form fields may cause your visitors to stray from your site. Ensure your site caters to the behavioural needs of all your unique visitors. Make sure all call-to-actions are clear, compelling and unambiguous and that your forms request the bare minimum information to ease a visitor to conversion.
Always aim to personalise your lead's marketing experience. An in-depth understanding of your buyer personas and using contact information gathered through nurturing, means you'll be able to present content and offers that are highly relevant to your leads, based on where they are in the buying cycle, what industry they are in, what their role is or any number of other segments.
While initial engagements may occur on the website, modern marketers make use of a number of different methods to improve conversion. These include email nurturing campaigns that continue the conversation via their inbox, or social media to listen and communicate with prospects, leads and customers; building trust and encouraging ongoing conversions.
It's important to realise that modern marketing is about a journey of understanding, and that conversion optimisation is not just a once-off project. This ongoing process means you should continually be examining areas of potential improvement and testing alternatives to get the most potential from your conversion strategies.
How are you going to ensure that some of your hard work and efforts are going to pay off? A good solution is making sure your content/marketing offers are rock-solid and tailored to boost conversions.
Let me step back a moment and make sure everyone is clear on what a content/marketing offer is before we move on. Marketing offers are generally content-based materials that are educational, informative or entertaining. Examples of these include:
Any of the above are good choices for marketing offers but that's not to say a format is what makes an offer awesome. No, you need to ensure you’re checking off some other boxes to get that right. Let’s run through three qualities of a great marketing content offer.
When you compile an offer, you’re going to place that offer on a landing page. Your site visitor is going to have to provide some of their contact details on a form in order to access your offer. People aren’t all that keen to part with personal information, no matter how basic. Thanks to spam filled inboxes and unsolicited marketing calls, you cant' really blame them? Your offer needs to be compelling and valuable enough for them to overcome the ‘form-friction’ they experience and go on to give you their details. If you start earning a reputation for low-value offers behind forms, you can bet that’s going to seriously damage your lead generation and nurturing goals.
The very best way to ensure you’re creating valuable, premium-content is to produce content that addresses the problems, needs and interests of your target audience. This value can differ from offer to offer, in terms of where the person is in the sales process. An eBook or a webinar is great for educating your audience on a specific topic and generally seen as a top-of-funnel offer. A product demo is obviously more specific, giving a lead that has already gone through your educational material an opportunity to evaluate how your product would work in their environment. This is valuable to them as they reach a point where they would like to make a purchasing decision.
This may sound like a no-brainer but your marketing offers need to complement products and services your business has on offer. Your educational eBook offer is not going to lead with how fabulous your products are, but it is going to address the concepts that align with your business offerings. For example, here at Struto we provide Inbound Marketing Services, so our offers focus on helping prospects with their marketing challenges, presenting inbound marketing methodologies as a solution to these challenges without ever making the ‘sales-pitch’ for your business. Your offers are more valuable when they educate and you're able to help out your users and build trust, while proving that you're an authority on the topic, and an industry leader.
I mentioned the value of users already within a sales cycle, and how important it is to target them at the right time within their cycle. This is only possible if you completely understand what your buyer persona’s specific interests and needs are, and all comes together when you plan your lead nurturing campaigns, and which calls-to-action to place where on your website.
Lead management software allows you to uncover information about your leads that will help you effectively segment them into appropriate nurturing campaigns based on persona, position in the buying cycle and specific needs/interest. Sending them specific offers that apply to them (based on this lead intelligence) ensures you can better qualify them before handing them to sales for follow-up.
Similarly you can use this analysis to determine which calls-to-actions should be placed on which pages of your website. You may find that your blog, for example, is generally the first touch point for new visitors (thanks to your excellent search engine optimisation and social media sharing, of course!). It would therefore make sense to include offers of a more educational nature on your blog sidebar and posts. These would be the likes of eBooks and guides or checklists and presentations.
Conversely, someone viewing your product or pricing site pages is probably not a newcomer and inevitably much closer to making a buying decision. In this case, you’d want to look at highlighting more bottom-of-funnel type offers such as free demonstrations, consultations or perhaps a coupon or voucher for a discount.
Now that you've wrapped your head around conversion rate optimisation on your website and created content offers to bolster the entire process you now have to get that content served to your target audience. What system of delivery should you utilise to get the job done? That's the ever-efficient and extremely important landing page.
Your landing page serves a dual purpose, that of capturing your visitor's information on an embedded form so that you may send them the offer and also to host the offer in the form of an additional thank you page. Your strategy here should be capturing your user's information on the landing page which offers the download, and then delivering on that exchange through directing them to the download hosted on the thank you page.
So as you see, landing pages are great ways to give clients valuable content in exchange for some even more valuable (to you) information. These treasured tools are also to be carefully considered with regards to optimisation. You want to design a landing page that's attractive and informative, with a simple form that aligns with the content on offer.
Design, layout and content go a long way in getting your users to part with their personal information. The dichotomy of an appealing landing page is one that is well designed and inspires trust, so ensure that the conversion path is clear by ...
Make sure your core message is crystal clear from CTA through to the landing page to avoid confusion. This includes keeping headings closely matched so that visitors know they are at the right place based on where they came from.
Keep your visitor focused on a single, desired action by removing any navigational elements that would cause distraction and send them off in another direction. Navigation can be reintroduced once the conversion has occurred which adds to the experience by showing them where they should go next. Save navigational buttons for the thank you page, where users can navigate to other interesting sections (like blog, product, or pricing pages) on your website.
Often the inclusion or exclusion of a single form field can dramatically impact conversion rates, either positively or negatively. Strive to gather the bare minimum of information you need for an initial conversion to take place and rather build a profile over time by introducing additional fields at subsequent conversions. HubSpot’s smart form fields makes this process easy by changing out form fields based on the viewer's profile and what you already know about them versus the information you would still like to obtain.
Offer information that proves your conversion is safe and secure, most particularly if it involves the provision of personal information such as credit card details or the like. People are cautious when it comes to putting their private information on the internet and are fearful of fraud or spam. Trusted security seals and social proof that others have successfully engaged with you will alleviate the anxiety that they may feel about the process.
Everyone visiting your website has a different value to your business. Some may have none as they merely stumbled across your pages and don’t have any genuine interest in purchasing your product or service. Others have been more proactive in seeking you out and are keen to engage. Naturally the ‘browsers’ are of less value to your business and you would want to focus your conversion rate optimisation on those that are more likely to transact with you. Segmenting offers with the various types of visitors in mind can help you achieve better results for the groups that matter the most to you.
For more skills to apply to ensure successful marketing in a digital age, you may want to check out our guide to Getting to Grips with Marketing and Sales in an Age of Digital Transformation. You could also reach out to us if you'd like some help in getting your conversion optimisation to make the best impact.