So what does it take to build an ultimate online sales machine that successfully represents your brand’s identity and is optimized for conversion? Just like with every recipe for success, there are multiple ingredients that fuse together to achieve a desired result. What we’d like to do here is shed some light on a few of the best practices for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
But before you dive-in, in case you’re not familiar with what exactly CRO is (don’t worry you’re not alone), essentially it’s the process of increasing the percentage of users or visitors to take a desired action on your website. Here are four strategies that will help to boost your conversion rates and online sales.
1. Effective landing pages that support your marketing efforts
Landing pages are all about turning visitors into customers, and making sure that these pages are effectively supporting your marketing efforts requires a mix of art and science.
In your marketing sales funnel, the landing page is the last step a user takes before converting, which means that this page needs to communicate powerfully and persuasively enough to engage your visitor. And by engaging, we mean make them interested enough to literally click and make a purchase. If your landing page does not speak directly and efficiently about your product or service, you risk losing customer interest and potentially even the sale.
What characteristics make a strong and effective landing page? We’ll go into more detail on a couple of these items later in this article, but here are some key elements that you should keep in mind when designing a landing page:
- valuable content - the more value you provide in words, the more likely a customer is to buy from you; things like catchy headers and easy-to-read descriptions are key.
- a strong offer - goes hand-in-hand with the above in that you have to be sure that your value proposition is strong, worthwhile, and even needed by the user.
- clear and concise terms - be transparent in showing pricing, what they’re getting into or agreeing to, and on what exact terms.
- simple and organized design - you’ll want to keep things minimal (less busy) when it comes to visuals; limit distractions like pop-ups, and consider not having multiple touch points or CTA’s; keep a natural flow to navigation and yield to a less is more approach.
- infuse trust - a visitor will only purchase something from your website if they trust you so be sure to include things like testimonials, award badges or reputable referrals to reassure your customer.
- test it out - seek out the help of a reliable, easy-to-use CMS platform like Expresia that empowers you with multiple functionalities and versions of a landing page. For instance, by creating two versions of a landing page, the one with a navigation panel and the other without, you can test whether option 1 or 2 is converting better.
2. Reduce friction on your website and enable seamless shopping
What does website friction mean? It’s the level of difficulty that your customers experience when browsing through your website; the harder it is for a user to get to a certain page (like a checkout page), the more friction your website has. Identifying and reducing points of friction in your sales process can help to increase conversions and enable a seamless shopping experience.
For example, one way to limit friction throughout the customer journey, is to regularly optimize your website’s navigation and to streamline potential customers from ‘view item’ to ‘checkout’. In order to achieve this, you’ll want to pay attention to the efficiency of your information architecture. If you’re planning and strategizing carefully, then things like pop-ups - which are generally considered an intrusive form of communication with visitors - can actually work to your benefit and increase your conversion rates.
If you’re wondering how the same website gadget, like a pop-up, can work for you and against you, then this is where we say, it all comes down to how wisely you’re auditing and strategizing your website. Here’s the catch, if a customer just arrived on your website and within a few seconds you’ve blocked their view (interrupted their shopping experience), then they’ll likely get annoyed and maybe even leave your website; whereas if your customer has been sitting on a product landing page but hasn’t decided to purchase yet, it could be the right time to place an exit pop-up with an attractive discount to entice the conversion and make the sale. Small details go a long way and in this case, it can drastically increase sales efficacy.
The takeaway here is that you’ll definitely want to spend some time auditing your website for ways to reduce friction. Things like improved web design, site speed, and multiple payment options are just a couple of the items that a website audit will reveal. During this process, be sure to keep in mind that every page (not just your ad landing page) is a doorway for visitors to learn more about your products; you want to be constantly leading them toward the last stage of the sales funnel - a conversion.
3. Trust UX designers and heatmaps for modifying your sales pages
Next comes a better understanding of how your users are moving through your website, and then entrusting the expertise of your UX designer to make the necessary improvements.
To get high level insight on how your users are interacting with your website, tools like heatmaps are a great way to see aggregated user behaviour. Such tools provide a visual analysis of the most popular (hot) and unpopular (cold) elements of a webpage and facilitate data analysis like, where are users clicking, where are they scrolling, and what are they ignoring. All of these data points help to identify trends that are unique to your website so that optimization can be custom designed for your audience’s distinct engagement.
Although the data received from your heat mapping is exceptional, if you really want to invest in creating a website that ‘works for you while you sleep’ then you’ll need to employ the crafty skills of an expert UX designer; without their creativity, translating data into design is simply not possible.
4. Keep checkout quick, clean and simple
If you get your customer this far in their journey, then you certainly want to make sure they’re feeling good and ready to make a purchase.
The most important thing about checkout is making sure that it’s not overwhelming customers with things like long forms or a mandatory account for a single purchase; also, payment gateway integrations should be quick and efficient without huge load times. If your site drags at this stage, it’s a big turn off that has the potential to make your customer leave; yes, even at this stage of the customer journey, if your user gets annoyed, they will click the x on the browser and simply leave. So what’s the checkout equation to keep top of mind? Quick + clean + simple = higher conversion.
There are truly so many elements that contribute to the success of a website, especially one whose job it is to convert visitors into paid customers. If you’re ready to level up your conversion rates, then reach out to us and we'll navigate your way through the ups and downs of digital success.