[:en]Conversion optimization is the art and science of making websites more profitable. Every website on the planet can benefit from conversion optimization, from the marketing agency website that is designed to generate leads, to the ecommerce website that is designed to generate sales, and everything in between. Today, many companies resist investing in conversion optimization because it is complicated, expensive, and time-consuming. Even worse, it lacks guaranteed results. But, if you follow these 4 steps, you can start exploring conversion optimization, start figuring out what works and what needs work, and start building the confidence and competence to make conversion optimization one of the more effective tools at your disposal.
- Have a clear (and clearly measurable) website goal
Every website has a job. Whether that job is driving engagement, driving signups, driving sales, or a combination of all of the above – every website has a job.
Each time a website succeeds at that job, we call it a conversion. The first thing to do is to make sure that the conversion event is clearly defined and measurable. Optimal conversion events are as close to revenue (e.g., bottom of funnel) as possible, such as a purchase confirmation page or a signup confirmation page.
If you do not have enough bottom of funnel conversions, consider moving the measured conversion event up the funnel. For example, if you only have a handful of signups a month, you can adjust the goal from signup confirmation to “visit signup page.” Eventually, you will want to specify the goal that is closest to revenue, but you need some volume of conversions to do meaningful conversion optimization.
If you cannot measure whether a conversion event has occurred on your website, there is no way to optimize performance. For example, if the goal of a business is to generate phone calls with qualified prospects, how can you tell whether a website visitor: A) immediately found the number and made a call or B) visited the web page and immediately fled in horror? If you do not have a clearly measurable goal today, consider using a goal like dropping “Bounce Rate” (viewed only 1 page) or increasing “Activation Rate” (viewed 3 or more pages) as a proxy to get you started. Sure, some visitors may land on a site, see a phone number, and call to kick off a hugely profitable engagement, but most potential customers will want to educate themselves about the business and gain confidence that a phone call will be a valuable investment. So if you do not have a clear goal today, start with a good proxy that you can measure.
- Drive traffic to over-performing landing pages
Conversion optimization efforts often begin by trying to “fix what’s broken.” This is the wrong way to start. When an average bottom of funnel conversion rate (e.g., to signup or sale) is typically below 10%, that means that most sites are “broken” for a vast majority of visitors. Spreading your efforts out to improve your entire site for all of your visitors will result in a lot of wasted energy, and no additional customers.
The right way to start is to “amplify what works.” Start by comparing the performance of each one of your landing pages, focusing on high-volume landing pages with above average conversion rates. There are a variety of tools that can help you measure landing page performance, including Google Analytics, MixPanel, KISSmetrics, and Payboard. Below is a screenshot from Payboard that provides a visualization of landing page performance (conversion rate) against landing page volume (number of visitors). The best landing pages are in the top right. Get more visitors to these landing pages, and you will make more money.
Once you have identified top landing pages, you can start experimenting with ways to drive traffic to these landing pages. The easiest (and most expensive) tactic is advertising. Try different types of advertising, and see whether “bought traffic” performs as well as organic traffic, and whether you can purchase traffic at a profit. If you can, buy as much as you can afford!
Social media is an easy tactic to get traffic, but its impact is fleeting. Start by systematically (10 times/week) tweeting about content that you have already written. Include links to your top-performing pages, and see whether you pull in new visitors and whether the conversion rates remains higher than average.
Content marketing, which is taking over the marketing universe, involves creating long-form content, infographics, videos, and other high-quality content that educates and engages your target audience. Content marketing takes more time, but if done well it can generate quality traffic for months. Focus your content marketing on themes aligned with your top-performing landing pages—the market is telling you that it likes what you have to say in this space, and now you have the easy job of talking about something you already know and love.
- Fix under-performing landing pages
After you have invested in amplifying success, you can invest in fixing (only) the most important broken assets on your site: high-volume, low-converting landing pages. Oftentimes, if you visit an underperforming page and ask “if I landed on this page, would I want to convert (e.g., subscribe, make a purchase, schedule a demo)?” The answer is generally self-evident: there is no connection between the page and desired conversion outcome, the page is poorly designed, the page lacks a compelling call to action, etc.
Try making this simple adjustment on one or two of your worst-performing high-volume landing pages: include a prominent and contextually relevant call to action to a high-performing page, and see if you can guide visitors through a journey to a successful outcome. Take a snapshot of conversion rates today, make the change, and compare results in 30 days.
- Define Conversion Optimization Success
If you read marketing literature, it seems like everybody else is generating 10x improvements by just changing a color or a font. This is simply not realistic (and if somebody can help me get 10x more sales, call me!). Most gains from optimization are small, but these gains endure and compound.
Start by identifying a single metric that you want to improve over the course of the next 30 days, such as:
- 5% more conversions from an over-performing landing page (e.g., 10% conversion rate on 1000 visitors/month => 10% conversion rate on 1050 visitors/month); or
- 5% conversion rate improvement on an underperforming landing page (e.g., 5% conversion rate on 1000 visitors/month => 5.25% conversion rate on 100 visitors/month).
By investing in conversion optimization, you not only help your business, but you provide a better experience to your customers. Although making significant gains will take time, you can get started with many of the tactics described in this post in an hour. Once you demonstrate some success on your own website, you can start calculating how much impact conversion optimization might have for your customers. Happy Converting!
Contributed by Matt Dyor, Founder Payboard.com, effortless conversion optimization software.[:]