All the traffic in the world is going to be worthless to you if it doesn't convert into sales. And, each tweak that increases your conversion rate will multiply the value of every visitor that lands on your site. So even if you're converting at a decent rate, there's no reason not to try to push it even further.
In this post, we want to help you land more sales with 7 proven conversion rate optimization tips that internet marketers and web designers have been counting on for years.
What is conversion rate and why does it matter?
If you aren't aware, your conversion rate is a measurement of how well your website convinces your visitors to take the action you want them to take. Sometimes, this means a sale. Sometimes, it means filling out a contact form. And sometimes, it's as simple as subscribing to an email list. Whatever goal you set for a given page, when a visitor takes it, we say they “convert”.
Conversion rate is expressed as a percentage. So, if 4 out of every 100 visitors to your landing page fill out the lead capture form, we'd say the page has a 4% conversion rate.
Conversion rate matters because the higher your web pages convert at, the more valuable every single visitor becomes. It doesn't matter if you are acquiring them through SEO or paid ads. You want to maximize the chances of conversion for every single visitor.
With that cleared up, let's get on to our big list of conversion rate optimization tips…
#1 – Split test your landing pages
We chose to put this one first because it demonstrates an important point about conversion rate: you never actually know what will work best until your test it.
Every other one of our conversion rate optimization tips that follows is a general suggestion based on the combined experiences of every internet marketer everywhere. But the completely random nature of target audiences means that not all things work for all people.
So, the best strategy for increasing your conversions is to use your best judgment to create a landing page for your audience, then split test it. Split testing landing pages involves creating a duplicate page that includes minor tweaks, such as a different image or a new headline. You measure the conversion rate of each version, keep the one that performs better, and then split test a new variable. Eventually, after enough iterations, you've got a page that is laser-targeted to your specific visitors.
#2 – Use fewer form fields.
Website visitors can be amazingly lazy. So lazy, in fact, that one case study found that adding a single form field reduced conversions by more than 10%. The trick is to ask for exactly as much information as you need to make contact with your lead, and no more. For example, you don't absolutely need their last name in order to follow up with a potential roofing customer. Just capture their first name and phone number, and get everything else over the phone.
#3 – Place your call-to-action above the fold.
Your call-to-action (or CTA) is the element that prompts visitors to convert. It's your lead capture form, your phone number, your “Buy Now” button, or whatever else you're driving your traffic towards. A common conversion tactic is to put the CTA above the fold, meaning that users see it without having to scroll at all.
You might place additional CTAs throughout the page, but making it the first thing that your traffic sees helps to instantly convert people who don't need any additional selling. If they found your website by Googling “emergency plumbing repair”, for example, odds are all they are going to look for is a phone number. So you might as well put it front and center for them.
#4 – Add genuine testimonials.
Testimonials from past satisfied customers will build trust with your visitors. The more you can do to make them look personal and authentic, the better. For example, having a customer's photo accompanying their testimonial will go far to establish a connection with your website visitors.
#5 – Use trust badges.
Along the same lines as testimonials, trust badges ease the apprehension that is inherent in conducting business online. Your BBB accreditation badge, social media icons, money back guarantee ribbons, information security badges, and payment processor logos are all visual elements you can add in order to increase your trust.
#6 – Test your headlines.
Only about 20% of website visitors that read a headline will continue to read the content. That means you have to create headlines that sell. But you won't know what sells until you try them out. So generate at least a dozen different headlines (your brain gets more creative as you work it more), and then split test the few that feel the best to you.
Some methods to create high-converting headlines (along with examples):
- Use powerful words that evoke the senses (for example, Dazzle Visitors With a Website That Converts).
- Ask closed questions with a simple yes or no answer (Is Your Website Converting Enough Visitors?).
- Include numbers and a benefit (7 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips to Land More Sales).
- Make it a how-to (How to Convert More Visitors into Customers).
#7 – Lead with the benefits, not features.
Customers want to know more about how your product or service is going to make their life easier, rather than the nuts-and-bolts of how it works. For this reason, it's generally better to talk about the benefits of what you're selling before the features. Including the features is important, because many customers will want to know about them, but selling the experience should come first.
For example, imagine a line of automated vacuum robots, like the Roomba®. The sales page would want to focus on benefits like “never push a vacuum again” before getting into the nitty gritties of the lithium battery, charging station, and filters.
Conversion rates don't increase overnight.
Okay, sometimes you get lucky and a little change does skyrocket your conversion rate immediately. But, for the most part, it requires a constant cycle of testing and tweaking over time. So start applying these conversion rate optimization tips and never stop split testing. Over time, with patience, your conversions will increase and every single visitor will become that much more valuable to your business.