Conversion Rate Optimisation
What is a Conversion?
When dealing with online marketing there are a lot of terms to get your head around. First, we must consider what a conversion is. We consider a customer to be a conversion when they have taken the specific action that we had hoped they would take.
e.g. of sales funnel
For most businesses, the simplest and most common type of conversion is a sale. We direct our marketing efforts to get people to take an action – in this case buying a product from us. When they have made the purchase they are said to have converted.
Now, why don’t we just use the term ‘sale’? Because our immediate goal with marketing is not always to get a sale – that can often come far down the road when a person understands and trusts our brand more completely. Our marketing may instead be directed at getting an additional Twitter follower, for example, or a sign-up to a weekly newsletter. Though these are smaller goals, their conversion move the visitor closer to becoming a customer and are therefore just as important.
Setting the right goals for your online marketing is paramount to success. Once you know the goals, you’ll want to find ways to improve the percentage of people who convert. This is where conversion rate optimisation comes in.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
Anything we can do to improve the percentage of people who convert on your site can be considered conversion rate optimisation. Typically this means we’ve improved the number and percentage of people who act upon your ‘call to action’ (e.g. “Join our newsletter!”, “Call us today!”)
We don’t believe you should throw money into advertising or marketing without knowing what it is you’re hoping to achieve and how you hope to achieve it.
Optimising your website can return better rewards than throwing money at Google AdWords, targeted SEO and off-line marketing. Your website should be honed to perfection before you put extensive funds into these marketing avenues.
One of the most important things about optimising your conversion rate successfully is to ensure you’re monitoring and recording the conversion rate accurately. You need to track the conversion rate (and the other metrics outlined below) and monitor how the changes you’re making to your site and marketing are affecting them.
Conversion rate optimisation starts at the initial building of your website. We consider how to best appeal to your target demographic before the site even goes live.
After your site is live and we’re starting to get data on how people are interacting with your website and overall online presence we start to tweak and optimise the content. Typically we will run multiple versions of pages at the same time to see which are getting the best response. We are quickly able to narrow down the perfect setup for your site so it becomes a mean, lean, selling machine.
Important Conversion Metrics to Follow
We’ll say it again – for your website to improve so that it converts more visitors you need to be able to accurately monitor what is happening on your site and how it is performing. Here are some of the metrics we will follow closely:
- Average No. of Page Views – If the average number of pages visitors view on your site each time they visit is increasing, this can indicate your content is becoming more compelling and useful to them. It could also indicate your site is not focused enough on directing the visitor towards your conversion goal.
- Average Time on Site – When visitors are spending a longer period of time browsing your site, you’re typically doing something right.
- Bounce Rate – The bounce rate of a page or site refers to the percentage of people who visit it just to immediately disappear again. Content with a high bounce rate needs to be reworked and reconsidered.
- Exit Rate – A page’s exit rate refers to the percentage of people who leave after they reach that page. It’s particularly important when you are directing visitors down a ‘sales funnel’ of pages and people seem to be jumping ship before getting to the final page.
- Conversion Rate – Our ultimate goal, the percentage of visitors over a period of time who converted. If you have 100,000 visitors in a month and 2,000 of them converted, your conversion rate is 2%.
Be Consistent When Recording Metrics
A customer to your site can make multiple visits before ultimately converting. Perhaps they headed off for a coffee, or needed time to think about the proposition. Perhaps they initially come to your site for informational purposes and after months of building trust in your brand they end up converting. This is why we often consider unique visitors instead of simply unique visits when recording metrics.
Whichever metrics you choose to focus on, it’s important to be consistent and keep tracking the same metrics over time or your data becomes skewed and useless.
What Affects Conversion Rate?
Often, tiny changes to a site can have a big effect. There are five building blocks to a good conversion rate:
- Value – Is what you’re offering to the visitor worth what you’re asking from them? For example, if you’re asking them to give you their email address, what’s in it for them? Are you offering something for free or at a discount?
- Clarity – Is it obvious what you’re asking the visitor to do and what they’ll get in return? Are there items on the page that cause potential anxiety or concern for the visitor, so much so that they might reconsider converting?
- Relevance – Are you offering something that is relevant to your visitors? There is no point in offering a value proposition that is not in line with your visitors’ needs and what they expect from you.
- Focus – Often, visitors don’t follow your preferred conversion route because you’ve left too many alternative routes through your site or ways to get distracted. Consider which the most visible elements on your site are and whether they’re the most important to you. Are there elements that are diluting your brand message or feel contradictory?
- Urgent – Adding a time limit on a conversion goal, even if it is simple like ‘offer ends soon’ can have a good effect on conversion rates as visitors feel more compelled to act.
Building a Conversion Rate Optimisation Strategy
At 15 Degrees North, we will make you a comprehensive strategy for optimising your conversion rate. Some of the things we focus on are:
- Call to Action – Your website’s call to action should be front and centre. It doesn’t matter if your site is a work of art if your most important call to action is hidden behind superfluous items. Many websites have unnecessary items that simply distract the visitor or confuse them.
- Usability – In a bid to stand out from the crowd many sites try to do something different with customer interaction. This usually just gets in the way and confuses visitors. When it comes to your sales funnel and call to action, simplicity is key. E-commerce sites, in particular, must ensure the checkout process is fool-proof.
- Number of clicks – Every time a visitor has to perform an action to get to the conversion goal it’s an opportunity for them to get bored or change their mind. Reducing the number of required clicks on your site is, therefore, a smart move. Consider also that people also browse your site on mobile devices so you need a robust mobile version of your website.
- Trust – Does your site look and feel trustworthy? When visitors are asked to hand over information or make a payment they become acutely aware of how trustworthy your site feels so you may need to add reassurances and safety measures.
- Search Engine Optimisation – Correct on-site search engine optimisation not only improves the number of visitors you’ll get to your pages but will also bring the right visitors to your pages. If your page titles are inaccurate, for example, your visitors will be confused when they arrive, contributing to higher bounce rates.
- Social proof – People gravitate towards ideas, products and services that have been approved of by others they respect. Testimonials from happy customers can go a long way.
These are just the first things to consider when coming up with a strategy for your site. We know that every company is different so will build a unique plan for you.
Fixing your Website’s Aesthetic and Usability Problems
A site that is difficult to navigate or includes too many distracting elements can haemorrhage visitors.
Also, consider whether every link on your site is working as expected, there’s no missing content, there are no technical errors (try with multiple browsers and with mobile devices), and check to see how long pages take to load on a slow internet connection.
Do you find your own website easy to use?
Reducing Website Bounce and Exit Rates
It can be disconcerting when you put a lot of effort into your site only for visitors to leave immediately (bouncing) or browse for a while before ultimately exiting without converting.
A report from Google Analytics will give you some idea of why this is happening and where you can improve. Your overall bounce rate is good for an overview, but you’ll want to drill down in the individual pages to see where the leaks in your website are.
You can also get a report showing you where the visitors to your site are coming from. This can be important to working out the reasons for a high bounce rate.
Additional tools can be used to view exactly what users are doing when they visit your site – where they are clicking and what they are reading. This can be invaluable to see where people may be getting distracted or following links to other websites.
Using A/B Split Testing
As briefly discussed above, A/B split testing is an excellent way to quickly get feedback on proposed changes to your website at a low cost.
With A/B testing, two different versions of your website are displayed to different visitors at the same time. 10,000 people will see one version of your page and 10,000 others will see a tweaked version, for example. You record how many conversions you got on each version, and the best version becomes the new live version of the site for all visitors.
With A/B testing, it’s important to only change one thing at a time so you can be sure what change is having the effect you’re seeing. For example, change the position of a call-to-action button, or choose a different headline. Quickly your site becomes better and better, converting more and more visitors.
Conversion Rate Optimisation with 15 Degrees North
15 Degrees North has perhaps the most qualified and experienced team of search engine optimisation specialists in the country. We offer a complete service including project management, search engine optimisation, inbound marketing, content creation, and website development.
We offer website design and development from the ground up, creating a website that’s head and shoulders above your competitors’ sites in design and search engine optimisation.
We also offer our conversion rate optimisation know-how on a consultancy basis or as part of an on-going inbound marketing service, transforming any website from a poor performer to a conversion-making machine.
Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help with your website’s conversion rates.