How to Improve Conversion Rate

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Tips for Conversion Rate Optimization Testing

Sometimes a simple change to a web page’s design and interface can be extremely powerful. A small tweak can produce more leads and sales even when traffic stays about the same. Other times, you spend loads of resources on a cool, interactive page and get limited results.

Is trying to improve conversion rates just a crapshoot? We like to think of it as an ever-evolving, slippery science.

This resource answers the age-old question of “how to improve conversion rate” on your website. There happens to be different answers, depending on the marketing channel and other factors, so hang on tight for help with conversion rate optimization.  

Really Quick: What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Here’s the terminology you should know to follow our tips:

  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is manipulating a page temporarily to test how the change(s) affects conversion rate. For example, A/B testing is a form of conversion rate optimization testing.
  • Conversion rate is the percentage of website sessions that result in any given conversion.
  • A conversion is the completion of an action that fulfills your website’s main goal – like the purchase of a product or service. For example, a sales/contact form completion, an on-site phone number click, and an on-site email click are often considered to be website conversions. 

To measure conversions and determine a baseline conversion rate, proper tracking must be set up first. Shockingly, about 42% of Google Ads accounts don’t have proper tracking set up, and we often see bare Google Analytics goal tracking as well. Oneupweb uses a combination of Google Tag Manager, Google Ads (if applicable) and Google Analytics to track conversions and other events for our partners. Google Analytics goal configuration is key for accurate conversion rate metrics, and no data means no direction for making CRO improvements.

If you need help getting your tracking and CRO in order, let us know.

Keep in mind: Conversion may be defined differently by different businesses or organizations. For example, some may differentiate between a website conversion (which is what we’re talking about here) and a sales conversion, which is just a successful sale that occurs after a website conversion. Many experts only consider sales-oriented website actions to be conversions, and they analyze other website goals separately.

The important thing is that you define what a conversion is to your business, and that you know your benchmark numbers so you can optimize with a clear view.

21 Ways to Improve Conversion Rates

Before we share channel-specific details, here’s how to improve conversion rate with design, copy, testing and more. It’s important to remember that these tips are not guaranteed to improve conversion rates. They are simply optimizations that we have had success with and are certainly worth testing. Testing is the key word.

Try testing these optimizations against the control to see if they fetch a higher conversion rate.

Design and UX

1. Tighten up forms. Filling out a long form can be a frustrating experience. Can you pare it down? If you have fields for zip code, city and state, couldn’t you just include a zip code field? Just make sure you’re still providing your sales team with the lead info they need from your forms.

2. Use color contrast. Bold colors on buttons can work well – but not if the whole page is filled with crazy colors and there’s no visual information hierarchy. Use color contrast and other visual cues to draw the user’s eye where you want them to look.

3. Make primary and secondary CTAs different. Where will users go if they aren’t ready to convert on the page yet? You may want a secondary, softer CTA – like a resource download offer – that helps you build an email list and nurture leads. Just make sure your primary CTA, or conversion point, is more visually prominent than the secondary CTA.

4. Don’t clutter the page. This rule applies to content and design, as a good user experience (UX) is always your best bet for improving conversion rate. In our 10 UX Best Practices resource, we share page layout strategies and many other helpful tips that support your CRO work. 

an online advertisement shows two people in a photo looking towards where the call-to-action button is on the ad, which is a great way to improve conversion rate
The people in this advertisement are “looking” at the call-to-action button.

5. Carefully select images. Creepy stock photos are not the way to your audience’s heart. If you must use stock imagery, find high-quality images that align with your brand. There’s a lot of interesting psychology informing people’s interactions with ad and landing page imagery; delving into this subject can help you improve conversion rate. For example, photographs of people who are looking at the CTA can be effective.

6. Above the fold is gold. While people these days do love to scroll, you still have their most concentrated attention above the fold, before they scroll. Include a powerful H1 heading and message in that area, plus a bold call to action with a button or a form. This is also a great area to perform A/B testing (ideas below).

An example of a subtle animation from SPC Retail.

7. Try subtle animations. From various button states to attention-grabbing micro-animations, movement catches people’s eye. We put together a resource about five different areas where subtle animations can make a big impact on conversion rate and audience engagement.  

Testing and Tracking

8. Track all the things. Guessing what users are going to do doesn’t work very often. It’s better to track as much of their behavior as you can. Consider implementing general click text tracking on your website in case you want to delve into clicks on a specific link – no matter how seemingly insignificant that link may seem right now. Similarly, a heat mapping tool can provide great insights about what people are hovering over. Another tool we love is Google Optimize. While your CMS may have some built-in testing tools, Google Optimize makes conversion rate optimization testing extra insightful. Just be careful that your event tracking or heat mapping technology doesn’t bog down page speed, as you may be doing more harm than good.

Don’t stop there, here is a great list of the best Conversion Rate Optimization tools in 2020 that can help increase your ROI. Many of them are free.

9. Test design elements and imagery. Use A/B testing and multivariate tests to find out which imagery and design elements improve conversion rate the most. Be sure to collect at least 1,000 website sessions per test, or your results may not be statistically significant.

10. Test button and headline text. Copy matters just as much as design and imagery. Your first heading and button are good places to start when testing out different wording. A/B tests are the simplest solution for this purpose.

Need help with CRO testing, supporting web design and more?

Content

11. Consider adding video. Just like those subtle animations we mentioned, the movement of video is innately appealing. Just keep it short. Including a brief video with motion graphics can significantly increase conversion rate.

12. Cut wordiness. Any good writer will write a first draft, then cut about 25% of the words they originally wrote. Especially when it comes to digital content, being concise pays off. This is not to say all your pages should be short, but you should cut wordiness and repetition no matter what.

13. Avoid manipulative language. Words are tied up with a lot of subtle connotations. Watch out for language that feels pushy or assumes emotion, such as “you need this.” Instead, choose language that implies a reward that the user can willfully choose.

14. Imply urgency. Does your special offer only last for 10 more days? Are there only two of that product left in stock? Communicating urgency helps you get people off the fence and into your sales funnel.

15. Draw comparisons. Why are you better than your competitors? Share your differentiators, being careful not to take your humble brag too far.

16. Include a phone number. While much of the world lives and breathes the Internet, many people still prefer to call someone rather than fill out a form. Make sure your phone number can be easily seen, even if you truly prefer form fills.

External Reinforcement

17. Build social proof. Have you ever looked a brand up on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn while you’re cruising their website? A strong social media presence helps you prove your business’s worth. Lucky you – we have a free social media audit checklist.

18. Use reviews. Have an awesome review on Google? Highlight it on your landing page in a call-out style, and provide a link so the user can check out the rest of your reviews on Google My Business. This is a great way to let your existing audience reinforce your value propositions.

an example of a review with an image added to our website to help improve conversions
Reivews can help improve conversions.

19. Include trust, security and awards badges. While trust and security badges may cost you, they can yield great ROI on an ecommerce site. For example, a safe checkout badge makes it clear that you care about protecting your customers’ financial information.

Customer Service

20. Chat ’em up. Live chat or a well-configured chat bot can make a potential customer more comfortable and therefore more likely to convert.

21. Offer something great. Running a limited-time offer is a great way to make your audience feel special while simultaneously creating urgency.

Tips by Channel

Trying the same tests for every channel isn’t the most efficient way to improve conversion rates. Here are a few additional CRO tips for channels that typically bring in lots of traffic: paid media, organic search and email.

How to Improve Ads (formerly AdWords) Conversion Rate

  • Use super-custom landing pages. Pointing ads to your homepage or a general service page doesn’t provide a great experience. Take the time to create powerful ad landing pages instead.
  • Make the journey cohesive. Does the copy on your landing page complement the copy on the display ad or paid search ad? Does the design have the same look and feel at every step of the user path? Make sure the answer is yes.
  • Test for different audiences. Is your PPC ad audience segmented by gender, age group and all that good stuff? Do different CRO tests for different segments. If you need help, check out our paid media marketing services.

How to Improve Organic Conversion Rate

  • Be specific. Content marketing and SEO are about specificity and relevancy. Choose target keywords that are specific, and then answer the queries specifically. This way, you’re more likely to give the user what they’re looking for, and that positive impression encourages future (if not immediate) conversions.  
  • Sprinkle the links. Without links, the user doesn’t have anywhere to click if they want more information. Not only is robust link structure important for SEO performance; it provides better UX. Plus, you can lead users from top-of-funnel content, like blog posts, to the pages where they are more likely to convert.
  • Mix it up with multimedia. Even if you crank out eight blogs a month that are perfectly optimized for relevant keywords, you might still be beat by a site with more visual assets. Use photos, videos, GIFs, checklists, infographics, interactive tools – whatever it takes to answer the user’s query in an interesting, helpful way.

    This tool on Mr. Handyman’s site is a good example of creatively answering a tough query within blog content:

How to Improve Email Conversion Rate

  • Escape spam filters. Are email marketing conversions low because people aren’t seeing your emails? Check your email templates to make sure they don’t send “I am spam” signals. HubSpot has some email deliverability tips we love.
  • Personalize. Smart list segmentation means very little if you don’t personalize (and test) content for each list. Additionally, ensure your marketing emails sound like they’re coming from a real person – not a faceless brand.  
  • Design drip and nurture campaigns. Email marketing isn’t a one-and-done thing. We have the scoop about drip and nurture campaigns here, plus answers to other email marketing FAQs.
  • Experiment with tone. Your customers likely get dozens of emails every day. Stand out by writing a punchy headline. See if you have better luck with a short, mysterious subject line vs. one that is long and detailed.

More Help with Conversion Rate Optimization

To refine our digital marketing creations and strategies for our clients, Oneupweb is always testing. CRO is intertwined with many of the services we offer, including these:

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We’d love to hear about your marketing challenges and see how we can help. Call us at (231) 922-9977 or reach out online.

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