Savvy Search Marketing Certified Partners

Optimizing Your Website to Convert: Part 1


If you have a business of any size, whether it is local, national or international, you most probably have a website to promote and sell your goods and services.  We live in a world in which approximately 80% of consumers use the internet to search for products and services.  In fact, most consumers assume that all companies have a website, therefore for the majority of consumers, if you don’t exist in the virtual world, you don’t exist in the real world either.

Wasted Dollars

Every year, businesses spend tens of billions of dollars in order to generate website traffic but only a tiny percentage (under 5%) of visitors actually converts (Source: ZenithOptimedia©).  According to experts, the main reason for such low conversion rates is the fact that most businesses only spend about 1% of their advertising budget on converting customers (Source: Econsultancy). If you have a website you need to employ a host of conversion strategies and tactics to get consumers to buy your services or products, otherwise attracting them to your website will be a waste of your advertising dollars and a poor return-on-investment (ROI).

Understanding Your Customer

Before persuading visitors to your website to take the actions you want them to take, visitors must know that they’ll be able to achieve their goals. In order to do that, you need to understand your customers and their “pain points”. This way you’ll be able to offer them what they want and easily persuade them to take action. Knowing what to offer customers can be achieved simply by asking questions to get customer feedback,  engaging potential customers in a discussion which will allow them to open up about their problems or by looking at the pain points your competitors are addressing. This information can help you design a site that will have a high conversion rate. Naturally, the action(s) you want them to take must be clear and straightforward (e.g. “Sign Up”, “Join Free for a Month”, “Get Started Now” or “Send Me Specials Now”).  It has also been shown that by including pain points in a headline, your conversion rates can increase significantly.

You should also keep in mind that over 95% of first-time visitors to your site are not ready to buy, therefore when you come up with your call-to-action (CTA), start off by asking them to do something small that doesn’t involve a serious commitment on their part (e.g. “Sign Up for a Free Trial” or “View our New Model”).  This way you can lead them through the buying process without frightening them away.

The Fast Bird Catches the Worm

Most of the research done on capturing the attention of website visitors has found that you have about 8 seconds to attract and captivate visitors to your site with a compelling headline and landing page.  If you need more time to capture their interest, you’ll most likely lose them. Consequently, you need to make your propositions clear and visitors must understand immediately why they should be doing business with you and how they will benefit. Again, this means that you must know exactly what their pain points are and that you have a great solution for them.

In addition, if you ask your customers to fill-out a form before performing some type of a transaction, then you must keep it as simple and short as possible. Your visitors do not want to waste their time completing long detailed forms that will interrupt the buying process. Initially, potential customers are not prepared to provide a lot of details so a short form provides them with an opportunity to make contact and accomplish a transaction without any extra hassles.

“Must-Have” Site Features

  1. One very useful feature that can significantly increase your conversion rate, especially if it is on the low side, is a “Chat Now” button.  Being able to hold live chats with visitors enables you to create personal connections which will bias them in your favour.  It’s effective because when people want an immediate response to their queries, it is much more preferable than a phone call which can direct customers to automated prompts that can be confusing, to say the least. Also, live chatting is much faster than emailing which can take hours or even days to get a response.
  2. Using “Call-to-Action buttons” can also contribute to a higher conversion rate because they help guide visitors towards your goal conversion.  CTA buttons are very specific and should include “ACTION” words like “Get”, “Call”, “Try” or “Download” and use no more than five words.  Furthermore, they should be a striking colour, this depends on your site design. Researchers, however, have found that green and orange buttons attracted more clicks. The size of the text in your button should also be big enough to read but not so big that it looks obnoxious or overwhelm the rest of the content on your page.  Finally, Michael Aagaard, Unbounce’s Senior Conversion Optimizer, posted the results of a study which showed that changing button text from second person (e.g. “Get your free Trial”) to the first person (e.g. “Get my free Trial”) resulted in a 90% increase in clicks.
  3. Product videos have also been found to increase sales significantly. In fact, research by Invodo has suggested that 70 of the top 100 search listings include the word “video” and that viewers are 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video. Also, a study from Cisco predicts that by 2019, 80% of the world’s Internet traffic will be videos and a report, from Ericsson, supports that mobile video traffic will grow 55% per year until 2020. The housewares e-retailer Stacks and Stacks reported that their product videos help them increase sales by 144%, after comparing customers who watched a product video to those who did not. The reason for their popularity could be that people prefer to watch rather than read! Of course, videos are becoming more popular due to the fact that internet speeds are getting faster and faster by the day and that a greater number of consumers has access to the internet. Conclusion: Product Videos are a definite “MUST-HAVE”. They may be a little more expensive than the other features you can add to your website but the benefits you’ll reap will be worth it.
  4. There are some more features you can add to your website to help your increase conversion rates.  For example, more landing pages can help since they translate to more leads and help you segment your products and services in order to make them more relevant for visitors.  Another, which is already quite common, is testimonials in written or video form since they provide your visitors with validation.  It has been found that using natural language, can increase conversions from 25-40% and by including discount information in headings can help you raise your conversion rates by almost 150%.  What’s more, images of people on your homepage as well as having a security seal can help drive up conversion rates. Finally, having a well-constructed mobile site design can help you double conversions because of the fact that mobile web usage has overtaken desktop last October.

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Visit our Blog at the end of the month to read the next installment on optimizing your website to convert.


Categories: SEO, Website Development, Websites
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