How do you increase your conversion rate?
Increasing your conversion rate is one of the most valuable investments you can make into your website. Getting a lift in conversion rate as little as 10% can have dramatic impacts on your website’s sales and bottom line.
However, increasing your website’s conversion rate is a difficult, time-consuming process. You need a strategy in place to ensure that you’re going to get the best results for the time invested.
Here’s the process that we follow, and that you can follow yourself:
- Analytics Audit: Start by reviewing your Google Analytics to identify the key areas of drop off.
- Quick Wins: While you are conducting research, try testing a few “quick win” test ideas to get an immediate lift. This can include removing form fields, shipping offers, etc.
- Research: Conducting user research via simple onsite surveys (or in depth phone interviews) is hands down the best way to generate qualitative test ideas.
- Competitive Analysis: Check what type of offers your competitors are making special offers that you need to match.
- Advanced Personalization: On site targeting, product recommendations, customized pricing, etc. These are all the last steps to get your conversion rate to improve as much as possible.
How much you increase your conversion rate depends on where you are starting from. Typically you can get a 10-20% lift at each step, leading to 50-100% improvements in conversion rate.
Here’s more details on each step:
Having access to accurate Google Analytics information is essential. Without good data, you cannot expect to make good decisions.
The key items that we look for during an audit are:
- Bounce Rate: How much of your traffic leaves after the first page? (We call this the “vomit” effect, where someone simply views your homepage, vomits, and then leaves)
- Funnel Analysis: How many steps are there in the funnel? Where are people dropping off?
- Traffic Sources: What sources of traffic are converting at the highest rate? Are there any sources of traffic that need a customized experience in order to convert better?
If you’re an e-commerce site, then looking at standard metrics like checkout abandonment or shopping cart abandonment are useful as well.
While you are performing your research, you can start with immediate tests by queuing up what I call “quick wins.” These are tests that may work simply because they are CRO best practices, and have delivered conversion rate improvements for other websites.
Here’s a few common quick wins that we test with clients:
- Removing Clutter: More often than note, website owners add too much to their sites. We find that removing distractions, or “clutter,” often improves conversion rate, as it presents users with fewer options, making it easier to get a user to take your desired action.
- Unique Selling Point: Every website – no matter what type – needs a unique selling point in order to differentiate itself. This needs to be clear on site, typically as a headline on the homepage.
- Shipping: Offering a competitive shipping offer, such as free shipping or free shipping over $100, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve conversion. There are simple ways of testing this to measure the true profitability impact, as well as impact on customer lifetime value. In nearly all of our tests, free shipping will beat any other type of shipping offer on profitability, simply because so many more customers convert with free shipping.
Once you’ve gotten some initial insights from Google Analytics and have moved past quick test ideas, you need to continue generating test ideas by gathering data from customers. This is the research phase, and it’s where most of the best CRO insights come from.
Here’s a few simple methods for you to conduct research on your website:
- Qualaroo Surveys: Qualaroo was made for CRO (and marketing) research. Placing Qualaroo before and after checkout will help you get answers to simple questions such as “What stopped you from making a purchase?” or “What else could we have offered to gain your business today?” You would be surprised at the amount of valuable information from surveys like this. We found for example that customers were not even aware of the USP of a client.
- User Interviews: Nothing beats speaking to actual customers. Having customers participate in a brief 30-minute interview will help you get the best understanding of why they came to your site, how they got there, and what else you can offer them to keep them coming back.
- Heatmaps: Heatmaps and eye tracking technology will help you see where customers are spending the most time, as well as where they are getting stuck.
Despite all of the methods above, there’s only so much you can do if you’re not keeping a close eye on competitors. You need to realize that every site has competition, regardless of whether you have “direct” competition, or whether the competition is more general (such as another B2C brand that is competing for dollars, although not your specific product).
Some of the things we look for while conducting a competitive audit are:
- Special Offers: Are your competitors offering discounts or shipping offers? How important are these to consider? For example, what is their return policy vs yours?
- Value Proposition: What is the value proposition of your competitors? How can we enhance your value proposition to beat theirs?
- Selection: Are there additional products your competitors are selling that you can beat, either by quality or price?
- Service: Are there any items that you can beat out in customer service, or other ways to create a stronger experience?
Combining a competitor analysis along with direct user interviews is often the best way to find ways to enhance your sales effectiveness.
Finally – once you have maxed out your website for conversion using all the steps above – you can move onto the final steps for achieving maximal uplift. Note that you really should not spend time in any of these categories until you’ve taken care of the legwork above. Many clients will approach us already using advanced personalization techniques without having figured out the basic work to improve site conversion.
Some of the techniques that we recommend are:
- On-site Targeting: This includes behavioral targeting (exit pop ups, coupons), as well as live chat.
- Dynamic Pricing: This is an advanced strategy that changes pricing based on conversion rate or based on geography.
- Recommendations: These can get quite advanced depending on your inventory level and what you’re trying to maximize, as well as the amount of traffic on the site.
Again, while some apps make these solutions easy to implement, they shouldn’t be the first thing that you think through when getting your site maximized for conversion. You want to understand your customers and offer something of value first, then try to maximize the site conversion using advanced methods.
How to get started
There are plenty of resources online showing examples of successful tests. You can start by learning from others and mapping out your test strategy. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet and have shown some initial progress, you’re best partnering with an expert for additional ideas.