Getting Started with Conversion Optimization
Mike Deraco | Jan 3, 2019
Every business leader and marketing team wants to see more leads come from the website. But how do you increase leads and expand your sales funnel? Consider conversion optimization.
One way to generate leads from your website is to increase the traffic to your site; you can do this by focusing on SEO and paid advertising. Another way to generate more leads is to improve your site’s conversion rate, so that more of your visitors are converting.
Here’s an example: a home improvement contractor averages 1,000 visits and 10 conversions (either phone calls or form submissions) each month. Say the business owner wants to see the leads double (20 conversions a month). You would need to double the number of visitors each and every month, or you could find a way to increase the conversion rate from 1% to 2%.
What is Conversion Optimization?
Conversion optimization is a method for improving your website so that more people convert into leads. Conversion optimization utilizes a variety of tactics and tools to make it easier for users to navigate your site, find what they are looking for, and connect with your team.
One of the greatest benefits of conversion optimization is that it helps improve the results from all your digital marketing efforts, including paid, content marketing, email campaigns, social media, and even traditional marketing.
5 Common Friction Points on a Website
When looking at ways to improve conversion rates, here are the most common areas we look to improve.
- Confusing main navigation
- Conflicting/too many calls to action (CTAs)
- Counterintuitive site flow
- Non-responsive design
- Unexpected behavior or functionality
How to Measure Your Site’s Performance
Before you start trying to improve your conversion rate, you need to first establish a baseline. How well is your site currently performing at generating leads? Here’s how to measure your conversion rate and performance:
1. Conversion Tracking
The first step is to set up conversion tracking within Google Analytics. Depending on your site and digital marketing goals, you will likely need multiple conversion goals, including tracking form submissions, emails, and phone calls. Additional options include tracking certain behaviors like email submissions, video plays, landing on a certain page, or click to get driving directions.
Google Analytics provides additional metrics that help in measuring site performance. Bounce rate, time on site, behavior flow, and exit pages all provide important information on how your users are interacting with your site.
3. Heat Mapping
Behavior tracking software like Hotjar can provide detailed heat maps of key pages on your site. You can use this data to see where people are clicking, scrolling, and tapping on the site.
4. Screen Recordings
Hotjar also provides screen recordings, so you can see how real-life customers interact with your site. After watching a handful of recordings, you’ll immediately identify areas of friction and confusion along the user journey.
5. Evaluate Past Leads
Increasing the number of leads is not helpful if your existing leads are not ideal. That’s why we always recommend periodically looking at website leads for the past month or quarter. Are they qualified leads, so-so leads, or spam? Are there ways we can weed out tire kickers or generate more qualified leads?
Why the 5 Second Rule Doesn’t Apply to Websites
The 5 Second Rule, developed during the heyday of direct mail advertising, states that you only have 5 seconds to make an impression and convince the customer to read more; failing to respect the 5 second rule means your direct mail piece will be thrown away.
Some marketers and website designers argue that the 5 second rule should apply to your website, too. They say that the above-the-fold section of your homepage should clearly communicate who you are and what you do.
Here’s why the 5 second rule does not apply to websites: unlike direct mail, your website is not the first time your audience is interacting with your brand. Every single person that visits your site is coming from somewhere else: organic search result, online ad, social post, email campaign, or map listing. Even traditional marketing efforts like print ads, billboards, and direct mail will send the customer to your website.
When a visitor lands on your website, they are in the middle of their journey, not the start of it. So while the 5 second rule applies to digital and physical ads to start their buying journey, it does not apply to your website. Instead, the first 5 seconds on your website should reinforce the design, feel, and message the user has experienced previously on the journey.
3 Tips for Improving Conversions
1. Identify your target audience
You are not your customer. The more information you have about them, the better you can design your website with your target audience in mind. This includes demographic information, type of device they prefer, geographic location, and behavior patterns.
2. Make small changes
One common mistake we see others make is embarking on large scale changes in hopes to improve conversions. Completely revamping your navigation or homepage may have an impact on conversions, but which change was most important? Too many changes at once make it impossible to measure the effectiveness of individual changes. By making smaller changes, you can test the impact the updates have on your conversion rate.
3. Start with site bookends
When embarking on conversion optimization, we typically start with the bookends of the user’s journey on the site. This means the homepage/landing page and contact page. For the entry page, you want to look at the clarity of the message, how well the page sends users deeper into the site, and the CTAs. On the contact page, you’ll want to evaluate the contact form, including how much information you need to ask for at this stage in the sales cycle.