Are you making the most out of the traffic that your website is receiving?
Have you spent countless hours trying to determine the best way to turn visitors into subscribers and customers?
The following 18 tips from Brian Massey, “The Conversion Scientist,” can help you get started on the path to enhancing your website conversions. Brian is the founder of Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation. Before we get started on this educational journey Brian advises us to put on our safety goggles and get ready for the unexpected formulas he has shared with us.
And I hope that you’re going, “What? Isn’t it my website? Isn’t it my business? I know my business. I know my website. What do you mean my opinion doesn’t matter?”
Something that a lot of people do on their websites — they use these rotating banners. The problem is that everybody uses these rotating headers, these banners that every few seconds switch. And the thing is that every time we tested this technique, it has lost. It has reduced conversion rates. Why do we think this happens? Because motion is very, very powerful.
When the human recognizes motion, the brain interprets that as a potential danger and so you have to look. Well, if I’m scanning your page to understand:
– What your value proposition is
– What your offerings are
– What your products are
The rotating banner becomes a big problem because it interrupts my scanning. This is why we think that this technique doesn’t work. However, your designer has probably recommended this or it has been recommended to you because quite frankly, it’s lazy marketing.
“We can’t think of one value proposition that’s going to appeal to our most important audience. Well, then let’s just slide a whole bunch out there…” You shoot yourself in the foot and this is just one example where your opinion or the opinion of your designer could lead you astray.
Now again, I hope you’re saying, “What? Wait a minute. Why would they come to our site? Why would they type in that search phrase and click on my ad if they weren’t interested in my company or my products? What do you mean?”
Well, the truth of the matter is that they’re interested in solving their problem. They might become interested in your products or your company once they understand:
– What the problem is and what the potential solutions are.
– How your product and company fits into that.
They’re coming for a different reason other than to learn about you. The thing you want to avoid is we-we-ing all over yourself. This is a term that the Eisenberg brothers coined and it’s a perfect, a perfect example or a perfect euphemism for copy and content that’s all about you instead of about your visitors. So if you want to know if you’re designing a website that appeals to your products and services as opposed to appealing to your visitor’s problems, go in and count the number of times you use we or our, or the name of your company in your headlines and in your copy.
So if your opinion doesn’t matter and people aren’t interested in your products or your company, what do you do? Well, you watch them.
So if you haven’t got Google Analytics or some analytics software on your site, go ahead and add it even if you’re not going to be looking at it right now because what it does is it stores a history of the way people use your website, and you can go back to that and ask people questions over time as you become more and more conversion oriented.
We’re also very happy with some of the things we’ve been learning from call tracking software. We have recently put some call tracking software onsite for which calls are the bread and butter and they had no idea where they were coming from. Once we understood this, we completely changed our direction and our hypotheses about what’s going to make that site work better. If calls are important to your business, you are going to be amazed at what you’ll learn from this and from these other tools.
We talk a lot about conversion rate optimization or website optimization in terms of what happens on a page, but your real power starts to come from considering conversion in a more ego-system oriented way.
When you start thinking about how you can get traffic that’s generated by search to your site, you can store that traffic to generate leads and then use email and social media and content to get people back to the site. You start to understand not only that increasing your conversion rate is important, but getting a number of times to try it is also important. The number of impressions you can get per person, per prospect is really important. So when you look at conversion as a set of strategies as well as a set of tactics, you’re going to become a lot more powerful on the Internet.
Every click, if it’s coming from an ad, if it’s on your sites, is an applied promise. When you say something as simple as, learn more under one of your paragraphs; you’re promising to give them more information about what you were just talking about.
When you provide an ad that says, get 10% off, and you send them to the home page where they might be able to use navigation to find it or maybe they’ll see the banner, you’re breaking the promise. You need to send them to a page that talks about the 10% off and then launches them off into the site to find the products that they might buy.
You want to ask the question, how is this change affecting my business? And there are actually two questions that will complete this thought.
– The First Question is: ask yourself, when I make this change what do I think will happen? Do I think there will be more visitors? Do I think I’ll get more conversions? Will I get more comments? Whatever is important to your business or your website success, put it in terms of that. Will I make more money if I make this change? If so, how much?
– The second question is: how will I know? How will I measure it? What will tell me that that specific change resulted in a particular increase in revenue, increase in visits, increase in conversions, increase in leads, again, whatever’s important to your business. If you see every change and experiment and ask those two questions, you’re going to make sure that you’re putting the things in place that allow you to go back later and say, “You know, that was a really good idea. Let’s do some more of that.”
Be specific. So where are you being high level and vague? Can you add specifics to your copy? Can you add specifics to your offers? I recommend that you do.
Who is this Barbie doll that’s on the page and more importantly, where is she looking? Is she one of the founders? Is she a typical customer? Is she another salesperson looking for information? Is she smiling because she found something really great and she’s going to get a high commission from it?
What is this? Use something; use this space and the power of images to carry the ball forward so the people understand more about what your business is up to.
So we talked about setting up your conversion lab, having some analytics on there. When you start to understand what’s going on from a digital stand point and start asking questions about what works and what doesn’t, and going out and interviewing your customers, doing surveys, doing usertesting.com reviews where people use your site and they document audibly what they’re trying to accomplish and what’s getting in the way, it creates not a set of answers for you.
You don’t go out and say, “Oh, well, now we know all the things about our audience, let’s change our website accordingly.” It’s a set of hypotheses and you should put things out and measure them, see if the experiment works, and if you become more sophisticated, you can start doing split testing where you create two versions of a page and test one against the other. Market research is a collection of hypotheses, not answers. If you look at it that way, you’ll start asking questions like, what should we change and how will we know if this change is helping our business?
This is one I get a lot of push back on because most consultants and gurus out there are going to tell you, “Yeah, you want to put social media icons on all of your pages. You want to be building that social media network.
“Well, the truth is that if you’re really good at getting people from social media back to your website and turning them into leads and customers, they’re absolutely right. You want to build as big a social media
platform as you can. However, if you’re paying for a click on Pay Per Click, driving it to a landing page and that landing page has Facebook, and Twitter and YouTube on it, and you’re asking someone to do something like fill out a form or even buy something, you’re going to have a moment of pause and you’ll say, “Should I do this?” And when they see this social media icon, they’re going to go, “I think I’ll just go out and see what’s going on on Facebook.” You’ve lost them. So you’ve paid Google for the click and then you sent the traffic off to Mark Zuckerberg. This is not a smart strategy.
Save the social media icons for the Thank you page after they’ve bought something, after they’ve completed the form. That’s where you’ll say, “Oh. Thank you very much. Did you know you could join us on social media?” Again, if you’re good at getting social media traffic that converts, more power to you. The truth of the matter is that most of you don’t. We haven’t quite figured those things out yet.
My partner is fond of saying that our customer’s accountants are the best conversion people in an organization because they know if the dollars are going up and down. They know that we’re being successful as an organization and increasing conversion by the amount that we’re selling whether you’re generating leads or selling things online.
This is true so it’s very important that we measure everything all the way back to business building objectives. And as you start to understand your analytics and you start to understand the percentages of your business, the number of people who have come, percentage of them that stick around on your site, percentage of those that find their way through a landing page or a form or a purchase page, number of those people that cart, number of those people that purchase, and the number of the leads that your sales people are able to convert into sales.
Once you start to understand these percentages, you begin to understand how much a visit is worth in dollars. And this is our favorite metric, revenue per visit or revenue per visitor if you prefer. We want to know if we get one more person to the site, does that generate 25 cents? Does it generate a dollar? Could we optimize the site, maybe you had it generate 26 cents or $1.10. This is the goal of conversion, is to build businesses.
It’s expensive to get traffic. If you’re paying for pay-per-click ads, you’re paying a dollar and half, $2, $5. If you’re in the insurance industry, you’re paying $55 for a click. If 10% of those turns into a lead, that’s telling you you’re paying $550 for a lead you pay per click. But even if you’re just investing in organic, you’re putting up content, you’ve hired some people to help you optimize your page titles, your metadata, your headlines, and the words that are found in your articles, you’re still paying to get people to your website. You’re paying for banner ads out on the web. Retargeting ads or investing in email, all of them come with a cost.
So when the people come to your site, why not try to store them with batteries. My favorite battery, of course, is the customer battery. This is the list of people who have bought from you. And whether they bought a lot from you or a little from you, they have gotten their credit card out and executed a transaction with you. These are your golden folks and you should continue to market to them to come back to the site. And even if there is a long time between purchases for you, you should continue to keep them engaged so when that choice comes up again, they’re thinking of you or when their neighbor decides to buy, they’re thinking of you.
Subscriber batteries, this is where you ask for a lead in exchange for some content by email. This is something that so many businesses overlook. There are people who just aren’t ready to buy, but will sign-up, because they’re interested in solving their problem or they’re interested in the category of what your business does. Why not go ahead and give them an opportunity to give you a name and an email address and send them some educational, helpful or entertaining email on a regular basis. When they are ready to buy, who are they going to think of? They’re going to think of whoever’s been educating and entertaining them over the past few months.
– Social media batteries: These are very easy to charge. It’s pretty easy to get people to like you, but they discharge on a very unreliable basis. It’s hard to get people back. Content marketing is a great way to exercise your social media batteries and hopefully get some of the charge out of them back to yourself.
– Mobile batteries: As you’re collecting text message information, asking for permission to text people, number one, you’ve got to be very careful about that because we’re still sensitive about text messages. It’s a private conversation and we can’t be sending promotional information across that channel, and some people are still paying for individual text messages. However, text messages have a 97% open rate. There’s no other channel right now that has that kind of attention. So if you can get permission and act responsibly, text messages are a great way to charge a battery and discharge potential sales from it.
– Apps: are another avenue that you can look at and it really depends on your businesses to where that becomes a valuable channel. Unfortunately, the app stores are the ones that get to keep the information on your customers, but if they’re installing and using your app, that’s a pretty good connection.
So people, pretty much, get the value of a blog. Even in corporate America, blogs are a big deal. They’re great for SEO. They help you create content on a regular basis. That is really the most valuable resource because when you put content on a blog, it becomes available to other computers and these are other computers that can post it on to social media for you.
These are other computers that will automatically add it to the feed greeters of our technology-oriented folks. These are computers that will automatically format it and place it on an iPad so that people can read your content as well as other content like on digital magazine. And, of course, as I’ve said before, it will take the RSS feed, allows services to read your content, place it into an email, and send that out to your readers so that they’re getting a regular and consistent flow of educational information from you.
Blogs are awesome. You can add many things to them such as:
– Big graphics
– Little graphics
– Slide Share Presentations
The blog is really very flexible and the RSS feed allows it to erupt on the internet so that the maximum number of people are seeing your content.
So I assume that if you’re on this, you understand what a landing page is. It is a single-minded page whose purpose is to keep a promise that you’ve kept and to get someone to take action.
This is a page that your designer can now take and format so that it really draws the eye to the important pieces and there are no distractions on this page. This is the best way, in my opinion, to develop a landing page. Keep your landing pages simple. And the best way to keep them simple is to start with a blank slate.
There is good abandon and bad abandon. And abandon is when somebody adds something to the cart, clicks checkout, and then never completes the process. This is really a big deal for eCommerce sites, but it also applies to the folks that are trying to generate leads on the site. So there’s good abandon and there’s bad abandon:
– Good abandon means they were going to abandon anyway. They needed to go into your site and understand a little bit about the process, but they’re going to go check some other sites or something like that.
– Bad abandon is when they get surprised. You surprise them or they didn’t feel comfortable, they didn’t feel they could trust you, or they were surprised by the price. This is bad abandon. This is bad abandonment because you did something wrong with your cart. Some people have to abandon a few times in order to complete their process. It’s just a part of their process. They’re going to check you out. They’re going to go into the carts for some of your competitors. It’s good that they check you out. You want them to do that. So this is what we’re going to call good abandon.
The way you can turn good abandoners into return visits is with retargeting and remarketing. Retargeting is a way of advertising to people who have been to your site. In essence, your ads follow them around the Internet. So they come to your site and they leave. When they’re on CNN, they might see one of your ads and invite them back.
Re-marketing is when someone starts to fill out a form or shopping cart process, they don’t complete it. So you send them an email saying, “Hey, we saw that your shopping cart was left. We’ve saved it for you, why don’t you come back and consider buying again?” Or you can offer them a discount. There are a number of technologies that allow us to do this to capture the email address and send an email when somebody abandons. The bad abandoners, you just need to improve your shopping cart and avoid the mistakes that are outlined in detail in the book.
Bigger and more effective even than Facebook. There are billions of people on email. My 81-year-old grandmother friended me years ago by adding my email address to her contact list. We’d share pictures, we’d share videos, we share just about everything we can on social media.
If you are investing in social media and you have not aced your email marketing strategy, I suggest that you go back and do that especially if you’re in a business-to- business environment. Business people check their email several times an hour. They use their inbox to direct their day. You want to be in their inbox. They’re probably not spending as much time on social media and if they are, they’re not using social media to direct what they’re going to do next in their day. Consider email before you invest heavily in social media.
The home page is like a magazine cover. It’s designed to get people inside. Don’t use your home page as an advertising platform. Use it as a way of telling people what’s inside the site and get them into your site, get them engaged.
The more time they spend on your site, the more of your conversion beacons they’re going to see, the more of your offers they’re going to see. And that means more likely, they are to take action on your site. Let’s not make the website a big advertisement for your company and talk about you and your products and not putting press release news on your home page. Ads are not going to get people in to help them solve the problem, which is really what your homepage needs to do.
So you don’t have to believe everything I’ve said, but I think you should explore it. I think you should at least set up your conversion lab. You should put the tools in place that you need. If your calls are important to you, you should be using a service like Convirza.com to understand what’s going on and then start applying your own hypotheses to your website and see what happens. You don’t want to believe my unexpected formulas? Fine, but you’re going to be surprised by what you learn from what your visitors tell you unequivocally about what they want from you in your business and your website.