Many business owners can find themselves with a good product and a good website, but without the traffic and conversion rate they want to see.
Creating a successful online business is harder than many first-time entrepreneurs realize. Even with an unique concept, a good product and an appealing website, business owners may not generate revenue as quickly as they would like. This can be frustrating, but it’s important not to abandon a website design too quickly.
A website that’s under-performing may only need a few tweaks to make it great. This is where conversion rate optimization can help website owners see the results they want.
Small changes to a website, landing pages or other places can dramatically increase the number of consumers who end up buying a product or registering for a service.
Here are ten conversion rate optimization tips business owners can use to make their websites more effective.
1. Mix Up the Color Psychology and Message to Increase Conversions
2. Try a Minimalist Approach and Increase Website Conversion Rates
3. Humanize the Product or Service for Website Conversion Optimization
4. Make Reviews and Testimonials Easier to See to Increase Website Conversion Rates
5. Ecommerce Optimization Tip – Simplify the Checkout Process
6. Identify Ways to Use Micro Conversions that lead to Macro Conversion
7. Conversion Optimization Tip – Improve Trust Building Tactics
8. How Web Forms can Boost your Website conversion Rates
9. Ecommerce Optimization-Highlight the Value Your Product Brings
10. Use the Latest Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
Mix Up the Color Psychology and Message to Increase Conversions
One of the first things website owners should try is mixing up the colors and messaging on their landing and product pages. These are the epitome of small changes that can have big effects. A modified color scheme and different word choice may be all it takes to get more people to click.
Color has a profound effect on the behavior of people, sometimes enticing them to buy more than they would otherwise, and at other times, making them inexplicably dissatisfied with what they’re seeing.
Just as mismatched colors can make an outfit look stupid, poor color choice on web pages can hurt conversion rate optimization efforts.
Changing the color on text, buttons, and backgrounds can make certain elements stick out more and increase the conversion rate. Since there are no hard rules for how colors affect people, it’s important to try different combinations to see what works best.
It’s not just about complimentary colors. It’s important that the color pallette fits with the overall tone of the product and service. A bright green suit may look good if you’re hosting a game show, but not so much if you’re giving a eulogy. In other words, context matters.
According to research cited by Shopify, “93 % of purchasing decisions are based on visual appearance and 85 % of consumers citing color as the primary reason for why they purchase a product”.
According to the Journal of Business Research cited by CNN, customers are 15% more likely to return to stores with blue color schemes than to those with orange color schemes.
Similarly, changing the way a website presents information can affect how it’s perceived by the reader. Tone and word choice matter a lot in creating good ad copy and the same applies in conversion rate optimization efforts.
Experimenting with different angles, tones and messages can get more people to click through.
Instead of presenting information about the product directly, it’s sometimes more effective to state the information as a benefit to the customer.
To illustrate, rather than saying a product will work 50% faster than its rival, customers may respond better to learning how much time they will save by using it.
Is modifying the wording and coloring a way to change things without changing anything? No! Whether your realize it or not, these small edits could greatly change how people respond.
It may seem like a “six of one, half a dozen of the other” kind of scenario, but in conversion rate optimization, that doesn’t matter. Even if there’s no logical reason why one wording or color choice should perform better than another, all that matters is that it does.
Website owners look for the combinations that improve the conversion optimization rate the most.
Try a Minimalist Approach and Increase Website Conversion Rates
As the old saying goes, “Sometimes, less is more”.
If a web page isn’t converting visitors like it should, it may be because the page is too busy. For all business websites, it’s important that visitors be able to quickly see the main message of the site and the call to action.
Adding elements like photos, videos, and more can often help the conversion rate for a site, but there can be too much of good thing.
Having too many elements on one page can lead to several issues that kill the conversion rate.
1. The more objects there are on a page, the longer it takes to load. This can be a deal breaker for users with low internet speeds or lower levels of patience. This can be a particularly annoying issue when sites keep loading things at the bottom rather move on to a different page.
Social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube can all start to run slowly once a user scrolls through so much content that the page becomes huge.
These sites can get away with this because they are already popular and people will put up with the slowdown. This tolerance isn’t something most website owners can depend on.
2. The more items on a page, the more chances there are for the main message to be lost. For example, if a page has a long product description, there’s a chance the viewer will be distracted by passage and move on to something else. Keeping the copy clear and concise reduces the risk of that happening.
Similarly, when there’s too much content, website owners may inadvertently talk their way out of sale by giving too much information.
For example, explaining too much about how a product is made may convince people it’s not worth the price asked or that they could make one of their own for less.
3. Using a minimalist approach reduces the chances the visitor misses the call-to-action button. The most annoying thing for someone who wants to do something online is when they can’t find the call-to-action button. A website with an overly-complicated interface runs the risk of being too cryptic for less techno-savvy users or too difficult to use for those on mobile devices.
Keep in mind that a minimalist approach requires balance. It’s not that the information and options aren’t available. Rather, the options and information are compressed so that everything isn’t coming at the visitor at once.
Website owners should take special care with mobile. According to a study from UPS and comScore, 38% of US online consumers who have mobile devices but do not use them to make purchases say product images are not large or clear enough, and 30% say it is hard to compare products
Humanize the Product or Service for Website Conversion Optimization
One of the keys to creating convincing copy for any marketing or advertising campaign is making the consumer see how a product can help them personally.
There are many ways to do this, and if a website isn’t converting visitors effectively, it may be time to try another approach.
For many consumers, it’s important to have that they enjoy shopping on website. According to Cube, 61% of Americans say they are much more likely to buy products or services from brands that deliver pleasantly surprising experiences.
The same report also found that 48% of Americans expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs. Check out the infographic of the report.
One way to help people see the value in a product is to use better images. Consider online retailers who have pictures of their products on isolated white backgrounds.
While this is appropriate in many cases, there are times when showing the product while in use can help consumers see how they would use it.
For example, an image of a dress on an isolated white background may be enough to convince some consumers to buy it, but having an image of someone wearing the dress would convince more. And having an image of someone wearing the dress with an appealing background or in a party setting may be what’s needed to get even more customers to buy.
Similarly, home decor items sell better when both an isolated image is available along with one of the item in a decor setting. It’s not that the other images shouldn’t be available to the viewer.
But website owners should check to see which images have the highest click through rates and use those as main product images for conversion rate optimization.
Nielsen surveyed U.S. consumers and gives two pieces of advice that may help marketers design more effective content. The study found that (29%) of North American consumers want new products on the market that are convenient to use.
A little more than one in five (21% North American consumers want new products on the market that make their lives easier. Conveying these ideas in product images can make things more appealing for visitors to the site.
Business owners should also remember that images of their employees and products in action can also be a strong selling point.
Many people think of the About Us page as being pointless pleasantries, but the information and images people find their humanize the brand and can help build trust (which we will discuss more in a later tip).
Make Reviews and Testimonials Easier to See to Increase Website Conversion Rates
A sad but true reason for the low conversion rates for many new sites and products is that no one trusts them. There are thousands of new products and websites put up every day.
Consumers are reasonably wary of buying from an untrusted source. Consumers may not trust marketers and advertisers, but they do trust random people that leave comments online. Go figure.
This isn’t even hyperbole. A recent study on the issue from Nielsen found that four out five (83%) of online consumers trust product recommendations from friends and family; this is compared the 70% who trust branded websites, and the two out of three (66%) who trust for online consumer opinions.
If you look at the posters or DVD covers for critically acclaimed movies, you’ll notice that many of them prominently display quotes from their most glowing reviews.
The reason is simple. For many consumers, all the technical specifics and official information about a product are secondary to the information they get from review sources.
This reasoning is backed up by a plethora of data. Over the past five years, study after study have shown that customer reviews greatly influence how people view a brand or product. Here are a few more stats to consider:
- 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (eConsultancy/iPerceptions)
- Social ads that carry a friend’s endorsement generate 55 % higher ad recall rates, and 35% higher online sales. (Buzz Plant)
- 90% of consumers say that reading positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86% say buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. (Zendesk)
- Two out of three (66%) online consumers trust product recommendations from online consumer opinions (Nielsen)
And since reviews and testimonials don’t have to take up much space, they are an easy way to quickly build trust with potential customers.
Keeping in mind the points mentioned earlier about clutter, it’s best to use just a few of the best passages from reviews or use an aggregate star rating (e.g. an average score of 4.5 stars from 86 reviews).
Another conversion rate optimization rate tip with reviews is to make it easy for customers to see where all the reviews are. That way, they can read all the reviews they want without cluttering up the page where the conversions take place.
Ecommerce Optimization Tip – Simplify the Checkout Process
Though ecommerce is widely used, the fact remains that many consumers are still put off by cumbersome checkout processes.
This is especially true for first-time visitors to a site, since they had to register an account and now must fill out more information to make their purchase.
For a consumer who may have been on the bubble on whether or not to make the purchase, a tiresome checkout process may be all it takes to make them decide against completing the order. The checkout process is where most people fall out of the sales funnel and lower the conversion rate.
According to information compiled by Ripen, 44% of online consumers in one survey said they would abandon online shopping carts if shipping prices are too high.
About one in four (24 %) said the same for complicated site navigation. And one in five (21%) would abandon a cart for time constraints. In other words, there are a lot of places where things can go wrong.
This puts website owners in a delicate position. They have a desire to make the checkout process quicker and easier, but they also have to ensure that everything is accurate and secure.
A study by Neustar found that three out of four (75%) of US online consumers do not trust websites whose identification and authentication procedures appear too easy.
It’s more or less impossible to remove all of the barriers that make online checkouts so slow, but website owners can offer faster checkout for some customers by using online wallets or payment systems like PayPal.
For customers who don’t want to waste time at the checkout, seeing the PayPal or Google Wallet logo makes them more likely to convert, since they can checkout in just a few clicks.
Simplifying the checkout process is extremely important for landing pages from online ads. If it takes too long or it’s too complicated to enjoy whatever the ad promised, the conversion rate will suffer. Only the most devoted consumers will be willing to wait for the chance to convert.
For example, this can be a problem if a product listing ad shows a specific item, but clicking the link takes the shopper to a category page.
The shopper may not take the time to search for the item and complete the transaction. The same thing happens if promo codes are hard to implement.
Another way to make the checkout easier for customer who come from ads is to auto-populate the landing page with certain information related to the ad.
For instance, if a user comes to the landing page after clicking ad about a 15% discount, auto-populating the checkout with the appropriate promo code will save a lot of sales.
Often, users will forget the promo code they saw in the ad, and if it’s not readily available on the landing page, they often will abandon their cart rather than pay for the item at regular price or search for code again.
Every step in the shopping process is a chance for the consumer to leave the sales funnel. Making it possible for the consumer to complete a transaction within three or four clicks of arriving on the page is necessary for good conversion rate optimization.
Just simplifying the checkout process by one or two steps can greatly improve the click through rate.
Identify Ways to Use Micro Conversions that lead to Macro Conversion
Getting a consumer to go from “This looks interesting” to “I want to buy this product or service” is the greatest challenge of any business website.
It’s often easier to convince people to do small things (e.g. watch a product video or click through an image gallery) than it is to convince them to immediately buy something.
However, website owners can lead potential customers from these micro conversions to the more important larger ones.
Improving conversion rate optimization through micro conversions may not require heavy changes to an existing site. There are already many places for micro conversions on a website. Most sites already have links to social media channels, blogs, video content and possibly even a newsletter.
These are all places where website owners can seek to convert visitors into regular consumers of a brand.
Website owners are often dismissive about the value of micro conversion content tactics, since they have a roundabout way of increasing sales. However, it often takes several visits to an ecommerce website before a consumer makes their initial, so it’s important get people to come back.
According to data cited by Ripen, the lion’s share (97%) of online consumers do not make purchases on their first visit to an e-commerce site. Micro conversions help by creating avenues that create repeat visits to a website.
Even if someone doesn’t buy something on their initial visit to a website, if they sign up for the newsletter, the business will have more chances to reach the consumer.
The same is true for blogging and video content. People who may not be ready for macro conversion activity like buying products could be ready to subscribe to a blog or to share content on social media.
This is backed up by a lot of research. According to a recent report from Accenture, nine out of 10 (92%) of B2B companies with e-commerce options promote sales through email marketing. Similarly, getting fans on social media can help get them to learn about products.
Social Media Link cited research that four of five (83%) of online US consumers hear about new products on social media before any other source art least once per month.
According to UPS, 43%of US online consumers discover new products through social media.
The importance of micro conversion content means website owners should track the performance of this kind of content to find out what works best with their audience.
Website owners can see which videos or galleries get viewed the most times; which pieces of content keep visitors on the site the longest; which items lead to eventual sales, and so on.
Once website owners what their best pieces of micro conversion content are, they can feature them more prominently and continue making similar content to keep people coming back.
Remember, running any kind of website is a long-run endeavor. Setting a goal of using micro conversions to build a loyal fan base can be the start of accomplishing long-term goals like increasing revenue.
It’s important to keep in mind that micro conversions may not pay off immediately, but they are worthwhile over time.
Even if only a few of the fans a business gains on social media actually buy a product, just having the fans makes the brand seem more attractive to visitors who are thinking about buying something.
Similarly, people may not buy something from every newsletter they receive from a site, but they may share the information they get in the newsletter with their friends. And the fact that they receive the email will keep the name of the business on their mind if something related to the business comes up in conversation.
Conversion Optimization Tip – Improve Trust Building Tactics
The internet has been a tremendously helpful tool in most aspects, but there’s no denying that it can be scary in cyberspace.
There are unethical marketers looking for email addresses to spam; cyber criminals who try to steal identities; and businesses that use the internet to mask poor products or service. Under these conditions, it’s easy to understand why trust building matters so much.
This can be seen by the results from a recent studies on consumer behavior.
With what can seem like an endless wave of hacks, security breaches and other cyber crimes, many consumers have rightfully become wary of where they put their personal information.
When visitors come to a site from the first time after clicking an ad or link they saw on social media, they are immediately looking for signs of trouble or signs they can trust the page they are on.
If a website isn’t converting the way it should, the issue may be that something is keeping visitors from trusting the page they are on. Gaining the trust of online consumers can be tricky. It will often take more than just saying “Trust me.”
In fact, websites can easily over do it when they try to build trust on their own. To illustrate, some sites put the disclaimer “We Promise Not to Spam You” on forms asking for emails.
While they have good intentions, this can easily backfire. Because spammers say the same thing. And now, the disclaimer has the consumer wondering if the site will keep its promise.
Having an easy-to-find link to the privacy statement should suffice because people will see it and assume they know what it will contain. Consumers who want to read it will check it out in it’s entirety so the simple link serves both audiences.
One way to improve a site’s conversion rate optimization through trust building is by getting the approval of someone the consumer does trust. This is why seals from the local Better Business Bureau, being listed on Angie’s List or becoming a Certified Google Shop can have a noticeable impact on conversion rates.
Business owners should also look at the big players in their industry to see what certifying organizations exist they can join. Directories and the like may take time to get approved, but having the seal from an independent body recognized by the consumer can have a great effect on conversion optimization rates.
Business owners also need to keep their finger on the pulse of their target audience to know what things concern them. While web security are high on most people’s lists, there are some concerns that are specific to a certain product or target audience.
A few years ago, when dozens of pets died from tainted pet supplies from China, the Made in America tag became the most important thing to pet owners.
There could even be concern within concerns that business owners need to address in their content. An example of this can be seen in the popular rancor over genetically modified foods.
For some of the consumers most opposed to genetically modified food, it’s important to know if the animal was fed genetically modified grains, even if the animal was modified itself. Not knowing these trust concerns can mean a business is killing its conversion rate optimization by leaving off that one key phase.
Any discussion about trust building on the web wouldn’t be complete without mentioning HTTPS. Over the past couple of years, more sites have begun adopting the protocol, and following a series of high profile vulnerabilities in sites that weren’t using HTTPS, many consumers are looking for HTTPS sites when searching.
While switching to an HTTPS server isn’t as easy of a change as the other things mentioned in this list, it’s really that important for sites that deal in sensitive data or financial transactions. Google has even begun offering a small SEO boost for sites that use HTTPS.
Website owners who are still on the fence, may want to consider using a survey to see what their customers think. Their answers may be surprising.
In some ways, online forms are like prostate exams; they may be necessary, but that doesn’t mean any one likes them. And when online forms become too cumbersome, visitors to your site can feel like they’re getting the finger.
Website owners must work hard to balance their information needs with creating a fast and easy-to-use form.
Modifying forms works as a conversion rate optimization strategy because there are a lot of ways to handle forms on a website and what appeals best to a particular audience may not be immediately clear.
Customers arriving on a landing page for a loan application will expect a more in-depth form than people visiting the Contact Us link of a website. This is where tools like Form Analytics can be used to find what works for a target consumer.
One way to make longer forms more palatable to users is to make it a multi-page form. If visitors immediately see a form with dozens of fields to fill in, they may decide not to spend their time on it. By breaking it up into pages, the form seems more manageable.
Multi-page forms also give the user a sense of accomplishment with each page. It may also help to include a little status bar that breaks the form into sections so the user knows what’s coming up and how far they are in the process.
For websites that use multi-page forms, there are many variables to consider when trying to improve conversion optimization rates. The number of pages matters a lot. As I mentioned earlier in the section on checkouts, too many steps can scare people away.
If a multi-page form is longer than six or seven pages, consider condensing some of the pages or if all the information requested is truly necessary at that moment.
It’s also important to make sure the elements of the form are properly sized and spaced. A form that’s been squeezed to fit one page can look more daunting than it normally is.
It may seem like a small thing, but making sure that people who see the form want to take the time to complete it is necessary for success. Special care should be given to forms on mobile devices.
As with other parts of the site, business owners who want to modify their forms for better conversion rate optimization should look at elements like the call-to-action button, the color, font, etc. A bright color may be attention grabbing, but it might annoying users who are trying to read the form.
Similarly, the font used for a company’s logo may not be an appropriate choice for reading instructions or entering text into fields.
Forms can be an important part of the web experience. By testing different form styles and elements, website owners can increase the number of people who start and complete application.
Ecommerce Optimization-Highlight the Value Your Product Brings
For our ninth tip, we return to the content. There is a lot that customers can glean from the images they see on the landing page, but there will always be some benefits of a product of service that can only be explained in text. Highlighting that value is essential for good conversion rate optimization.
This doesn’t necessarily mean writing all new content, though it is something to consider. One way to see which feature of a product customers like the best is to test the landing page with a different order for the bullet points.
For instance, instead of mentioning the dimensions of the product as the first bullet point, more users may convert if a different facet of the product leads off.
While I meant highlight in the figurative sense, it may also help to physically highlight the most important features. Does the product come with a lifetime warranty? Bold that line in the text.
Is this the largest available size for a product? Write the word “largest” in all caps or in a blown up font. Just because the information is on the page doesn’t guarantee that people will see it. Highlighting the information makes it easier to see, which may make it easier for the website to convert.
When searching for new features of a product to highlight, look to customer reviews and comments. There will often be copywriting gold just waiting to be mined.
If nine customers mention the ergonomic design in their review, it’s something worth highlighting on the landing page or in product descriptions.
By the same token, if no one comments on the feature you like the most, it may mean that it’s just not as important to the consumers as you thought.
This ties into an earlier tip about the importance of reviews. When highlighting the best features, it may help to use the actual quotes from other reviewers.
It’s one thing for the manufacturer to say “This the greatest frying pan ever made”, but it means a lot more when a customer review says it.
When done right, the message on a website, ad, video, etc. can have a very strong effect on consumer behavior. A Nielsen study reported that 63% of online consumers sometimes take action based on ads in emails they signed up for, 58% said the same for search results, 56% for social media, 53% for video ads, and 50% for banner ads.
Use the Latest Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
As a final tip, let’s look at some of the tools available for measuring and improving conversion optimization rates. Accurately making decisions about conversion rate optimization factors requires data. Business owners who rely too much on their instincts or by what they see immediately run the risk of making costly mistakes.
Conversion rate optimization tools gives business owners the objective view needed to see what truly works. Always remember that conversion rate optimization is based on data and testing.
There are a lot of tests that website owners can run to see which changes have the most positive effects. While the basic forms of testing will suffice for most business owners, getting a better understanding of your audience and how they use your site can only help. Here are some of the most common tests to use.
A/B Testing – A/B Testing are the simplest form of conversion rate optimization tests. One version of a page is shown to some viewers, while the rest are shown another version. While it’s technically possible to do this without the use of software, having this done automatically is quicker and more effective.
If you were to create a page for each combination, you would need to create and monitor 120 page permutations. A/B testing software can handle all the combinations and tracking more quickly and more accurately.
Heatmap Analysis – A heatmap analysis is code placed on a site that monitors where people are moving their mouse on the screen when they are on site’s landing page. There thousands of pixel on any given webpage, so a heat analysis would show the areas that were most popular and those that were rarely clicked.
A heat analysis can expose trends among the audience that would have been impossible to see before. For example, if people spent more time looking at a certain image or hovering over the read more section of the product description, that would be shown in the heat map analysis.
It’s another way to analyze the traffic to a site without relying on A/B test for every pixel on the page.
Microsurveys – When trying to figure out what’s going on in the heads of consumers, it’s sometimes better to just ask them directly. This is essentially what happens with micro-surveys(Exit surveys), where visitors are asked a few questions after they visit a site.
Microsurveys are helpful forconversion rate optimization because it helps website owners determine what variables need to be tested and what changes the customer think would make people like them more likely to convert.
Microsurveys also have an advantage over large surveys which are more expensive and harder to get consumers to sit through.
Similarly, using Microsurveys on the people visiting the site has an advantage over other forms of feedback from potential consumer since it’s already known that these are the kinds of people that who would visit the site.
Form Analytics – Form analytics are tools that business owners can use to make their forms as good as possible. As was mentioned earlier, people don’t like forms, and if a customer is going to fall out or the sales cycle, it will most likely happen while they are filling out a form.
Form analytics provide valuable data about every field in the form. For example, they can show how much time is being spent on each field, which identifies which fields make customer hesitate or which fields get ignored. This data can help business owners modify or remove sections that are causing trouble.
Like the heatmap analysis, form analytics remove some of the guesswork from conversion rate optimization. Without form analytics, it would be harder to identify the problem areas of the form, which entries could be safely removed, and what items need to be worded better. Form analytics can save an enormous amount of time in crafting a form that’s more likely to be completed by the consumer.
The number of ways business owners can modify their site to improve the conversion rate is virtually limitless. Even if it only increase the conversion rate by one to two percent, this can means hundreds of new transactions depending on the volume of traffic going to the site.
If you’re a business owner with a good product and website, but the waiting (for conversions) is the hardest part, then trying some of the tips above can help you find the solution you seek.
TruConversion has all-in-one software solution that allows websites to run just about any conversion rate optimization test they like. Whether you use our software or not, it’s important to pick meaningful tests and metrics to find the most effective conversion rate optimization methods for your site.
With the holidays right around the corner, now is the time for business owners to run tests and make changes to their site to increase their conversion rate.
By the end of November, traffic to online retailers will spike dramatically. Increasing the conversion rate by just a little can mean hundreds of additional transactions.