Conversions are the key to online sales success, serving as the gateway between an interested party and one just passing by. Conversion rates are the filter between your web traffic and your active customer base, so if your conversion rates begin to dwindle, your revenue will take a corresponding nosedive.
A low conversion rate is not a hard problem to detect. If you’re seeing ample traffic to your website or landing page but you aren’t seeing many people make a purchase or fill out your information form, you have a conversion problem. Determining the root cause of your conversion problem, on the other hand, is more complicated.
If you’re suffering from a lack of conversions, investigate the root of your problem by focusing on these questions.
For a moment, forget everything you know about your business and everything you’ve done with this campaign. Look only at the final destination of your customer—usually the landing page, or the specific page of your website where you want people to convert. Using only the information available to you, form an impression of your business, including your brand identity and what it is you’re selling. If you can’t answer those questions, you may have found the root of your problem.
Visitors need to see, immediately, the personality of a brand and the core goal of the landing page. For example, a new customer would have zero motivation fill out a form and hit “submit” if there’s no information about the business requesting such data. At the very least, you should have a link leading to more information about your business, and a clear showcase of your brand for new users. It’s also helpful to have a paragraph (or two) summarizing your business and providing information about your target products and services.
If you’re answer to this is “everyone” or something as vague as “web visitors,” it’s time to take another look at your target demographics. The most successful online marketing efforts are the ones with a laser focus, pinpointing very specific demographics with targeted messaging. If you write the same message for a 45 year old woman and a 16 year old boy, you’re going to have very different results.
Only you can determine who your target demographics truly are. Use market research, historical data, or surveys to gather information about your audience, and assess which market segments are most likely to purchase your products. If you have multiple product lines for multiple demographics, you’ll need to split your landing page up into different segments so you can appeal to each independently.
Once you’re successfully isolated a key demographic, you’ll need to refine your design and messaging to reflect that demographic’s interests. As a simplistic example, an older visitor might be interested in the safety of your product while a younger visitor might be more interested in its design.
Great landing pages are minimalistic. Bombarding a user with tons of images and information is a sure way to overwhelm them. Instead, cut down anything that isn’t absolutely necessary for the landing page to function. You’ll need a goal, like a form to fill out or a product to add to a cart. You’ll also need a strong and visible showcase of your brand and business so people know who they’re buying from. And it doesn’t hurt to have a few compelling visual elements. Beyond that, anything else you include could be doing more harm than good.
A key example of this is bloated forms to fill out. A person’s name and email should be plenty of information to allow you to follow up—don’t ask them to fill out 20 different pieces of information. It’s too easy for users to quit halfway through the process, or bail before even attempting it.
Take a razor blade to your landing page if this is the issue you face. Instead of listing the top 20 benefits of your product, reduce it to three, and try to minimize those three to single-word bullet points to capture more immediate attention. Instead of listing 10 different information fields for users to fill out, cut it back to four. Users’ attention spans are at all-time lows, so don’t count on your information being seen unless it’s some of the only information on the page.
Again, you’ll need to play the role of someone who’s never seen your landing page or website before. Pretend you’re a first-time visitor, and give yourself three seconds to look at the page’s design. Are you able to instantly tell what it is the site wants you to do? For example, is your form the most prominent visual item on the page, front and center? Is the “add to cart” button (or similar call to action) plainly visible, standing out from all the other elements? If not, you’ll need to make some design changes to make it even clearer to the user. Simpler is always better.
The effectiveness of your messaging is also a crucial component of successful conversion. Already in this article, I’ve written about the importance of targeting your message to a specific demographic, and about keeping things as minimal as possible. Those are important elements of the copy on your landing page, but you’ll need to take things a step further.
You don’t have much room to work with on a landing page, and first impressions are everything. Look at the most prominent words on the page—usually your headline, first words of paragraphs, and phrasing around calls to action. Are they strong, compelling words, or filler words? Are your sentences clear, concise, and semantically appropriate? What emotions are you eliciting through your messaging?
If all of this seems new to you, or if you aren’t satisfied with the answers to these questions, you’ll need to do a critical analysis and overhaul of your existing copy.
One more time, I’ll have you pretend to be a first-time visitor with no previous knowledge of your business. You’re seeing your landing page for the first time. Ask yourself immediately—what’s in it for you if you fill out this form or make this purchase? What is the value of taking this action, compared to the cost?
For a simple purchase, you can make this clear by highlighting all the features of the product in question, along with any special offers—like a discounted price for web visitors. If you’re just looking for a form to be filled out, make sure the user is rewarded for the action. Offer a coupon or a free download of a piece of content. Just make sure it’s clear there’s something valuable available by taking action.
Optimizing a landing page or website for conversions is an ongoing battle. You’ll never have a form that encourages 100 percent of your visitors to sign up, but with careful attention and responsive tweaking, you can gradually ratchet up your conversion rate and turn more of your site visitors into qualified leads or paying customers. Ultimately, that means more revenue for your business.