Conversion rate optimisation is fast becoming recognised as one of the most important disciplines in online marketing - the reason being that all the traffic in the world is useless unless you can convert it into sales or enquiries. No point spending all that money on SEO only to see all those visitors just disappear eh?
So how many businesses are now using CRO? We recently carried out a fairly extensive survey that produced some interesting stats:
Image credit: Zickie
- 97% of business websites are intended to generate sales or enquiries.
- Over 80% of UK businesses are dissatisfied with the conversion performance of their websites, which fail to make the most of visitor traffic.
- Around 75% of online businesses now take advantage of search engine optimisation (SEO), compared to around 10% who actively optimise conversion rates.
Despite the massive ROI benefits of improving website conversion rates (doubling or tripling online sales isn't uncommon) conversion rate optimisation (CRO) remains one of the most overlooked and underrated internet marketing activities.
All too often, a website's conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who take a desired action e.g. purchasing or enquiring) is either completely ignored or given only cursory attention.
Clearly webmasters have become used to concentrating on attracting more and better visitor traffic. To then not convert that traffic properly is a bit like pouring more water into a leaking bucket instead of plugging the holes - a waste of time and money.
So, what can be done to achieve optimal conversion rates?
How to Improve Poorly Performing Websites
In simple terms, conversion rate optimisation is a way of analysing site performance and identifying why customers choose not to buy (and head off to the competition's website instead) before correcting the problems.
A full CRO campaign requires a significant amount of analysis and testing - practically every element of a website can affect conversion rates - but here are some of the more common problems to look out for:
Not taking the time to find out who your customers are and exactly what it is they want from your business is like designing with a blindfold on.
Your customers are individuals and factors like personality type, age group and level of product knowledge all have a huge impact on how a website needs to be developed to lead them through the buying process.
Sloppy site navigation means lost, confused visitors. Don't worry about them too much though; if nothing else they can always find their way out.
Some of the worst offenders are (i) multi-layer menus most people would need a GPS system to successfully navigate (ii) websites organised to suit the company's structure rather than its customers' needs (iii) menus that don't use plain English.
Calls to action are the instructions given to readers to encourage them to do something. They can as simple as basic requests for people to email or call you, but usually work better if they are a bit more compelling and imaginative.
Every page should have at least one clearly visible call to action. Sites with no or weak calls to action fail to drive customers through to the conversion goal.
Any salesperson will tell you that being able to establish trust is vital. Lots of businesses forget that without face-to-face contact, trust can be a little harder to come by.
Not featuring full address details, a comprehensive 'About Us' section or testimonials can start alarm bells and make a purchase less likely.
Website text might look innocent enough, but flat, boring copy kills conversion rates.
Well-written, persuasive copy separates the average from the great, so don't leave writing it to the work experience kid. If you don't have the skills in-house, the time of a professional copywriter is definitely worth a little extra expense.
Owners of snazzy new websites are often surprised to hear that attractive web design and effective web design isn't necessarily the same thing.
That beautiful pale blue font might go fantastically with their logo, but people struggling to read it has halved their conversion rate at a stroke.
Multivariate and A/B Testing
Once you have identified your main problem areas it's time to test some alternatives. Multivariate and A/B Testing software can test multiple versions of your web pages - evaluating the conversion rate impact of anything from different images and content to formatting or navigation options.
If you aren't sure exactly what needs fixing on your website or how to go about it, feel free to give us a ring
and we can give you some pointers for getting your website on the right track.