25 TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR CONVERSION RATE

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1 25 TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR CONVERSION RATE A guide by SMC MARKETING

2 Table of Contents Introduction to Conversion Rate Optimization... 3 Why CRO Matters... 4 The Basics of Conversion Rate Optimization... 5 Improving Your Content... 6 Visual Appeal... 7 Keeping Their Attention... 8 Site Speed... 9 Buttons Forms Trust Factors Pricing and Value Calls to Action Specific Page Strategies Conclusion... 16

3 INTRODUCTION TO CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION You have a great website set up. It s successfully driving leads and contributing to your business. Things are working, so you can t complain. But just because everything seems to be in place doesn t mean that it can t be improved. What if you could improve the rate at which visitors sign up for updates, increase the number of items they purchase, or boost the number of phone calls you get? Imagine doubling or tripling the rates at which you get visitors to do what you want them to on your website. Wouldn t you be happier with your results then? Conversion rate optimization (CRO) will allow you to improve your current lead driving factors and find ways to optimize your current situation. By using CRO, you can improve even a well-converting website, identifying weak points and boosting strong ones. In short, CRO can help you turn good into great. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish with a little testing!

4 WHY CRO MATTERS There are many different areas of a website that can be tested in CRO. Basically anywhere you want a user to do something, like click a button or fill out a form, can be optimized for conversions. A person s brain often has a significantly great, yet subconscious, influence on their decisions when performing actions on a website. That subconscious influence may be why red links are clicked more than blue links. Testing what different things trigger your users to take action is a crucial part of CRO. By testing different elements of your website, you might just discover a way to boost revenue that doesn t require any more effort than what is already put into your daily activities. That s right: more revenue without any extra effort on your part, aside from some initial testing. That s why we wrote this guide! We want everyone to know how great conversion rate optimization is, and how much it can impact your website. So we decided to compile a guide of our 25 best CRO tips, and offer it for free to anyone who wanted it. In this guide, we ll show you all there is to know about CRO, and offer our favorite tips compiled from experience with more than 500 clients. Whether you re brand new to conversion rate optimization or an A/B testing expert, this guide will give you some tips to try to boost your leads, phone calls, purchases, and conversions dramatically. Without further delay, here are our 25 best CRO tips! 4

5 THE BASICS OF CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION If you are new to CRO, the very first trick might be to actually learn how to implement some of these tips on your website. Don t worry, it isn t too complicated! (If you know all of this already, skip to tip #2!) Tip #1: Learn the Basics Testing different elements of your website requires you to have two or more versions of the page itself. These A/B tests - named for the A and B versions you ll be testing - will be divided among a certain amount of your visitors to provide the valuable data you need to make CRO improvements to your site. A/B testing may sound complicated, but fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can help you do this easily! A/B Testing Tools If you are just starting out with A/B testing and CRO, try out Google Content Experiments. This free tool allows you to run A/B tests on your site, view results, and make decisions about the better-performing version of your page or content that should be implemented. There are also many paid options out there that provide a better experience for all of your testing needs. Tools like Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely are great for easy, detailed CRO and A/B testing. The Importance of A/B Testing in CRO Testing is the most important part of CRO. You need to find out which variation of the current situation does the best. Testing these elements is the only way to find out how to improve your conversion rates. Don t feel bad if the variations you put in place are worse than your control. Just go back to what it was before or test a different variation. Every website is different, which is why we can only suggest some tricks and ideas, instead of telling you exactly what to do with your lead forms, or what color button to use. It is up to you to see for yourself which changes are for the best. It s only through testing that you will discover a gold mine of improvements for increasing your conversion rates. Now that you know that, let s move on to the rest of the tips! 5

6 IMPROVING YOUR CONTENT The content contained on your website is crucial. It s how people read about you, how they learn, and a big part of what influences their decisions. Improving your content through CRO can help you keep visitors around for longer. Tip #2: Use Scannable Text Attention spans have greatly diminished in respect to online engagement. Try making your text easily scannable with headings, subheadings, lists, bullet points, and bolded sentences for emphasis. This may make your visitors stick around long enough to convert. Upon coming to your website, if your visitors see a huge wall of text, they will generally avoid spending the time to digest the information you have presented. Think about it this way: which would you rather look at? Tip #3: Use Headings Before webpages, newspapers and magazines relied on headlines and subheadings. They were used to introduce new articles and topics within them, breaking up larger blocks of copy and showing readers who tended to skim where each new idea began. Headings on websites are used much in the same way. Use heading tags in HTML - typically H1, H2, H3, and H4 - to show those who may be skimming your site where they can find what they are looking for. Not everyone will read every word you write, so testing the addition and location of headings can help you identify pages where conversions can be boosted with some larger, attention-getting text. 6

7 VISUAL APPEAL Text isn t the only thing that matters on your website. Visual content is important, too, and not just because it breaks up large blocks of content. Here s how you can test increasing your revenue with images and video. Tip #4: Use More Images Much like scannable text, images can help break up blocks of content, increasing engagement and reducing bounce rates. Images also allow visitors to quickly get a glimpse at what a page is about. This, in turn, may convince them to stick around longer and engage with more of your site. Try adding images to your pages to see if they help your metrics. If you don t have a lot of photos or images of your own, there are plenty of websites offering free or inexpensive photos that you can use within your content. Check out this list of our eight favorite stock photo sources to get started. Tip #5: Use Videos Like images, videos can increase engagement, especially when they are highly relevant. Short videos can explain concepts, show products, and provide instructions particularly well, so you may want to experiment with testing a page with a video against one without. 7

8 KEEPING THEIR ATTENTION Are distractions driving your website visitors away? These two tips will offer some ideas for keeping the attention of your potential leads or customers for longer, making it more likely that they ll convert. Tip #6: Cut Down on Distractions Does your site have popups, or display a lot of advertising in the sidebar or elsewhere on your pages? If so, it might be worth taking them away for a period of time to see how your other page elements perform. Distractions can unintentionally drive visitors away, and intrusive popups can even annoy some visitors into leaving (on purpose). Removing that popup might reduce your newsletter signups, but doing so could prevent some people from leaving your site before making a purchase or filling out a valuable form. Carefully consider which conversion is worth more to you in the long run. Tip #7: Give Visitors Less to Do If you really, really want visitors to fill out a particular form or make a purchase when they re nearing the end of the checkout process, limit their options so that s almost all they can do. If you eliminate the navigation from your checkout or form, it s less likely that a visitor will get distracted by it or click away. 8

9 SITE SPEED There have been numerous studies showing the impact that speed has on a website. Cutting down on load times is hugely beneficial not just for SEO, but also for your visitors. In one test, Amazon discovered that their revenue increased 1% for every 100 milliseconds of improvement! Tip #8: Improve Your Site Speed Visitors have come to expect a speedy website, and if your site is slow, you re losing money. You can improve your website s response time andincrease its speed by using some or all of the following strategies: Upgrade your server or hosting to accommodate more visitors, especially around times of high demand (ex. the holiday shopping season) Reduce image sizes instead of simply changing the size they appear at using HTML Utilize a lazyload JavaScript option to only load images when users reach them on a page (ideal for landing pages, blog posts, or long-form content) Utilize a content delivery network (CDN), which delivers your pages to website visitors from the servers physically closest to them, reducing delays and keeping your site active in the case of downtime Reduce or eliminate unnecessary redirections or 404 not found errors, which can add short - but still noticeable - delays or bottlenecks to the page retrieval process For a list of 26 helpful tools you can use to make your website load faster, check out this roundup on our blog. 9

10 BUTTONS A majority of your calls to action are going to be in the form of buttons, which indicate that someone can click on the element for further information. Here are four CRO tips you can use to test and improve them. Tip #9: Adjust Button Text What you tell your visitors that a button will do can make a world of difference. The typical submit or go type text can sometimes be the worst option. Make the text on your buttons clear, and adjust the specific phrasing until you find what has the highest conversion rate. Tip #10: Change Button Colors Certain button colors stand out more and catch a user s eye quicker. There is also some psychology behind colors and how we perceive them, which could be used to your advantage. Test out a few different colors and see which works the best for you! Tip #11: Modify Button Locations The organization of your page can really help direct visitors to complete a certain action. Does a button on the left side of a form work better than a button on the right? Test several placements to see if they make a difference. Tip #12: Increase Button Size Not getting enough clicks? Is your form being ignored? Your submission button might just need to stand out a bit more. Make it bigger! It may seem obnoxious, but sometimes your buttons are honestly being missed. 10

11 FORMS For businesses that don t sell anything online, forms are crucial. Without the leads and inquiries submitted here, your online activity could be dead in the water. But even the most highly-converting forms have room for improvement. Here are two ideas you can try to boost the conversion rate of your forms. Tip #13: Test Form Length Ever gone to a website to sign up for something, looked at the length of the form, and just hit the back button instead? We ve all done it. Sometimes simple is best, and a shorter form might convert better for you. Consider asking for less information up front, unless all those fields are crucial. Tip #14: Test Form Options Sometimes, something as simple as marking a form field optional can increase conversion rates dramatically. Or you may find that making the fields bigger and giving visitors more room to leave their comments adds to the likelihood of them submitting something to you. Or you may even find that changing from a drop-down menu to radio buttons boosts submission rates. Test the options on your forms. Remember: no detail is too small to A/B test! Even if you don t see any difference in the results, at least you tried it. 11

12 TRUST FACTORS Website visitors tend to be skeptical, especially if you re claiming to offer something amazing. The more you can do to establish their trust, the better. These tips will have you test trust factors, and help you find the point at which your visitors are likely to think you re credible. Tip #15: Feature Reviews and Testimonials If any of your customers have written a glowing review about your business, ask if they wouldn t mind it being used on your website. In some situations, adding reviews and testimonials front and center can have a huge impact on clicks and purchases. Tip #16: Utilize Social Proof Social proof, generally speaking, is any form of third party endorsement of something. One of the most common ways it s used is through the addition of social media counters showing how many times a piece of content has been shared or liked. If your visitors are easily influenced, social proof is a good way to convince them you are worth their time and money. You can learn more about successfully utilizing social proof by reading this blog post. Tip #17: Add Trust Badges Do you use privacy or safety software on your website? Add these logos or badges to your site somewhere visible. New visitors may be more likely to trust you if they spot a familiar logo, or if they are made to feel secure as they re browsing or shopping. Tip #18: Add Awards and Achievements Like trust badges, adding logos from awards you ve received or been nominated for can make visitors more likely to trust you. You can try placing these front and center, or somewhere a little less obvious, like in a sidebar, footer, or awards page. 12

13 PRICING AND VALUE Visitors to your website want to know they re getting a good deal... and even if they are, the temptation is always going to be there to look somewhere else. Try to keep more of them on your pages with these three CRO tips. Tip #19: Use Price Anchoring If you offer service plans or multiple versions of a product, you can use anchoring to make your prices look more attractive. By anchoring viewer attention to the more expensive plans, this makes the inexpensive ones look far more reasonable. You can read more about this practice in this blog post on CRO. Tip #20: Create a Value Proposition A value proposition is a short explanation of why someone should buy from you instead of a competitor. If you don t already have a value proposition associated with your business, test a few until you find one that works. Your value proposition can be as simple as a few words, or a full sentence. However, it should clearly statewhat makes you the better value.try being as specific as possible! For example, which sounds more valuable: we ll save you more money or we ll save you $100 per year? Tip #21: Offer a Guarantee Really want to keep those visitors sticking around? Offer a guarantee of some kind. They offer peace of mind - but more importantly, they say we re serious about what we re selling, and tell potential buyers that the good deal they re getting is real. 13

14 CALLS TO ACTION Calls to action - which may range from buy now to click here to get started and everywhere in between - are often the difference between a sale and a visitor who leaves without doing anything at all. Here are two ways you can test your CTAs. Tip #22: Try Different Calls to Action You may think that submit is a decent call to action but it s usually not. Try out some different CTAs to see what motivates your visitors the most. For forms, telling them what will happen next sometimes works well - for example, hear from customer service or get a free quote. Tip #23: Create a Sense of Urgency We know you really, really want your visitors to submit that form or make that purchase but what s the rush? they may say. We can just come back later. Create a sense of urgency to motivate visitors to take action now. This doesn t mean every form should flash red and yellow and alarm bells should go off on your checkout screen, but buy now can sometimes boost your conversion rates just a little bit higher than buy, and act now before it s too late can be far more convincing than register. 14

15 SPECIFIC PAGE STRATEGIES Our final two CRO tips are related to specific pages that you can use to potentially boost your conversion rates or make visitors more likely to stick around once they ve come to your site. Tip #24: Utilize Landing Pages If you use PPC ads, or frequently receive traffic from other websites through link building, you may want to try out targeted landing pages to quickly direct visitors to their desired destinations. You may find that visitors are more likely to convert if they don t have to search for the subject of their ad, or that a brand new landing page created for a specific campaign results in much higher sales. Tip #25: Add Thank You Pages A thank you page usually appears after a visitor has signed up for something, made a purchase, or filled out a form. So this tip may seem a little backwards - why recommend A/B testing a page that appears after a conversion? Even these pages are great opportunities for additional engagement. Thank you pages can be used to direct visitors to engage with you in additional locations, like on social media, or to encourage them to visit more pages on your site. Leaving them empty is a huge missed opportunity! Remember what we said at the very beginning of this guide: CRO can help you turn good into great. So even if you already have a page thanking someone, or already have a conversion under your belt, a little bit of work can potentially make it even better! 15

16 CONCLUSION You ve reached the end of our CRO guide. Thanks for reading! As we hope these tips have demonstrated, changing even the smallest items on your website can make big changes to your conversion rate. A/B testing may seem like a lot of work, but the payoffs can be enormous. If you re new to CRO and feeling a little overwhelmed, try to start small. Do one or two tests per month, or whatever you feel comfortable with. Resist the urge to check the results every few hours, and try to forget about the tests until they re complete and you have a reliable set of data from which you can draw your conclusions. If there s no clear winner, don t sweat it: you can always try again or test something else. Remember: what works for everyone else may not work for you. Your website is unique, so don t be afraid to test things even things you ve never seen before to make the most of every visitor. Good luck! Need help with your CRO? If you re eager to do some A/B testing and improve your website, but just don t have the time, SMC Digital has a variety of affordable conversion rate optimization plans that fit every budget. Each of our plans include quarterly or monthly testing, as well as advice from a dedicated CRO expert with one goal in mind: to increase your website s conversions. To find out what SMC Digital can do for you, or to learn more about the Internet marketing services we offer, contact us today. We d love to learn more about your business, the goals you have, and what you need to succeed. Get in Touch With Us 16

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