Nothing delivers supreme ROI quite like website conversion rate optimization because everything about it is in your hands. You can make changes one day and see real results by the next. Compare it to efforts to attract more traffic, which are often arduous long-term wars of attrition, and it’s so clear why CRO demands focus.
Marketer and web designers want to the following:
- What is conversion rate?
- What is my website conversion rate?
- How do I increase my website conversion?
But while the need for CRO is simple and obvious, the execution is another thing entirely— if it were that easy to convert users to customers, everyone would be doing it, and there are a lot of important factors to be taken into account. Let’s run through them as we identify some great tactics for boosting your website conversion rate.
Every aspect of marketing is entirely useless unless it produces conversions.
8 Ways To Get Higher Conversion Rates for Your Website
To start converting more of your existing website traffic and set your ROI rising, here are 8 methods I recommend you work into your overall marketing strategy to increase your website conversion rates:
Simplify your layout and options
A choice is stressful. Having too many opportunities presented to us tends to give us what is often referred to as analysis paralysis— a breakdown in action that results from being unable to reach a conclusion about the preferred option from a wide selection. If you’ve ever been to an ice cream store with millions of possible flavor combinations, you’ll know that having choices, however wonderful, can feel very frustrating.
This is exactly why the best thing you can do with a conversion-geared website is cut out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Strip it down to its essential parts, then weigh up every additional piece of content and every single CTA to see if it’s truly justified. Most likely, you’ll discover that there’s room for further brevity.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should only ever provide one option, because multiple options can be reassuring and help users feel that they have more freedom to choose. Just don’t assume that more options will be better— find the middle ground. If you have five pricing tiers, for instance, and your analytics reveal that only two are ever used, ask yourself: It is worth having those tiers there is no one ever wants them?
Use emotive and conversational copy
People aren’t compelled to buy things by stiff, formal, dispassionate business talk. They’re motivated by subconscious feelings, desires, and impulses. Whatever you have to say in the conversion-focused parts of your website, it needs to be worth caring about and make the user feel something that makes them want to act in a way that aligns with your interests.
There are numerous viable emotional motivators (you can read about the most effective ones here, but there are hundreds at least), so it shouldn’t be creatively stifling in any way. How do you want your users to react to your website? What kind of offering will push them to buy? Most businesses will aim squarely at emphasizing the positives to make users feel good about buying them, but if there’s an awful negative from which your solution can save them, you might want to highlight that instead.
Think about the difference between selling a hat and selling a bug zapper. For the former, focusing on how happy they would be with the hat would be more effective than suggesting that a hatless life is terrible. For the latter, making it clear that you can get rid of the visceral annoyance of being bothered by bugs would be more effective than implying that the zapper would radically improve their happiness.
Add slick and compelling imagery
Visuals reach us faster than words do, and often more powerfully in the big picture. We’re more doubtful of what we read than what we can see, even if what we’re seeing is a glossy promotional image on a website.
During the conversion funnel, you should include high-quality imagery that reinforces what’s happening at every turn, extending as far as the directional cues and iconography. When you want the user to add a product to their cart, you need the best image you have of that product to be displayed prominently. When you want to communicate securely, you might want a crisp padlock graphic.
By pulling all your visual elements together and pointing them in the same direction, you can do a lot to maintain momentum during the user journey.
Lean heavily on social proof
We might instinctively want to stand out through being special, but we definitely want to fit in when it comes to our opinions of products and services. We’re tribal creatures, after all, and if a lot of other people really like something, we’ll feel more confident in giving it a try.
At a minimum, you should bring in reviews (and possibly testimonials), mostly from happy customers but also from some with complaints— this is for two reasons. Firstly, having nothing but glowing reviews look untrustworthy. Secondly, showing negative reviews gives you opportunities to openly address them through your customer service, ultimately making you look better.
There are various differently-priced review services, but however you choose to allow for social proof, you need to make it a priority.
Create urgency (but don’t overplay it)
From ticking countdown clocks to alarming messages about remaining stock, urgency is a powerful driver of action in the ecommerce world. It forces us to suspend our relaxed decision-making process (which often ends up erring on the side of caution) and try to make a choice in that exact moment, which often results in a panic buy due to fear of missing out (FOMO).
By showing how many products are left in stock when the number falls below a certain point (say, 10) and making use of limited-time offers, you can greatly increase the urgency to decide that your users feel and resultantly yield a lot more conversions.
Just be mindful not to overplay or misuse this option, because you can only provide so many countdowns and stock warnings before people stop believing that there’s any reason to heed them. There’s no reason to worry about an offer disappearing when you know there’ll be another one just as good within days.
Meet the demands of different parts of the sales funnel
Where do you focus your attention while you’re trying to improve your sales funnel? Do you give every part equal weight? Prioritize the checkout stage because that’s where the stakes are the highest? Go for the former, because it doesn’t matter specifically when someone leaves. Think about it as making the strongest chain you can— it will only be as strong as the weakest link.
At every stage of the funnel, though, be aware of what factors will matter most to the user making their way through it. Since the effort demanded of them scales up as they get deeper into the process, you must also scale your intensity. Just like a traditional in-store salesperson, you must know when to do a soft sell and when to go for a hard sell.
By ensuring a strong level of overall quality but also tweaking the content to suit the customer’s journey, you can raise the rate at which users convert, and not only at the very last stage but also at every stage that precedes it, compounding the effect.
Automate your email chases
Every ecommerce website has to contend with the near misses. The users who get right to the end of the sales funnel just to back out abruptly, whether because they got distracted, suddenly changed their mind on a whim, or realized something new about the product. But the near misses aren’t all destined to be lost causes.
By configuring pre-built reminder emails to trigger a short while after users leave your store with items still in their carts, you can win sales from users who got distracted and have another opportunity to convince those who are simply on the fence. This kind of trigger-based email marketing automation has become an increasingly common option in recent years owing to the rise of software like Moosend, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor (made possible through sophisticated analytics and data segmentation options).
You don’t have to stop at abandoned cart emails, of course. You can use email automation to achieve a wide variety of things, and it’s something you should consider for your general digital marketing strategy if you don’t already use it.
Keep running split tests and studying analytics
Split tests, or A/B tests, are exceptionally useful for incremental website improvement. The idea is simple: you make two versions of a page, set them to alternate for users, wait a while, and check the metrics to see which one performs better. This takes most of the guesswork and estimation out of the equation and provides you with clear justification for making particular changes.
Because tastes, best practices, and technological standards are all subject to ongoing revision, it isn’t viable to fully optimize a sales funnel and then leave it alone entirely. There is no perfect ecommerce site, no realistic conversion rate that couldn’t be a little higher (and no ideal arrangement). Yielding the highest and most profitable website conversion rate is just something you have to commit to working on indefinitely.
There you have it: how to boost your website conversion rate, going through 8 things you should start doing if you want to raise the performance of your ecommerce website. How do you think your website could be improved? Put some time into reviewing it, and you can start moving things in the right direction.
Kayleigh Alexandra (@getmicrostarted) is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories.