Conversion Optimization or Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the technique of creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the objective of increasing conversions of visitors into customers. Most web traffic to your ecommerce website may not convert into a customer including sign ups, buy your products, call your company or download your info. Converting web traffic into customers requires conversion optimization techniques including A/B testing, landing page optimization and a comprehensive marketing strategy to target your demographic. In order to improve conversions, one must tweak, modify and test the way your web pages look, the colors, the copy, buttons and images etc to improve conversions of your visitors into customers. Below is the systematic guide on conversion optimization strategy for your websites:
Step 1 – Do Your Research and Analysis
a) Think Like a Customer: Research & Analysis is very important for internet marketing success. Buy your own product and service while taking screenshots of the process or record yourself buying it with video making software like Camtasia. Understand what you are selling, test the product in as many ways as you can.
b) Use Funnels in Google Analytics: Set up goals and funnels in Google Analytics and keep them properly updated and maintained. If set up right, they will give you an idea where and why you are losing traffic and in which direction you will find the greatest opportunities.
c) Set up Other Analytic Programs and Study User Behavior: Many other analytics packages show you what is taking place on your website. For example, Crazy Egg generates great heat maps of your website to show the areas that are receiving more clicks. Crazy Egg also shows the places that have no links but are still getting clicks denoting the areas needing more information. ClickTale is another program with many tools. It offers heat maps of how far down visitors scroll through, record videos of visitor sessions, and great form analytics that let you see which questions on your form makes visitors to leave the page.
d) Do Usability Tests: Usability test are very profitable for your business. Do them with companies like UserTesting.com for UK and USA, and whatusersdo.com for UK. Usability tests are cheaper and are greatly beneficial. Make the tester use on your site as they would as a customer. Give them plenty of room to do their job.
e) Set Up a Customer Survey: By now, you have some good reasons as to why visitors are not converting. To gather more data, start surveying your customers. Create a survey using free-text answers via SurveyMonkey and email it to all your customers. You can also use Kampyle to get feedbacks directly on your website.
Step 2 – Solutions to Your Problems
a) List All Objections and Issues: Put in all the usability issues on a spreadsheet on one tab, with the objections on another tab. Prioritize the issues based on their importance or frequency of occurrence.
b) Think Hard: Think and find ways to overcome all the issues and the objections. Put all the possible solutions into the second column of your spreadsheets.
c) Be Creative: There may be more than one solution to each problem. Do what fits you and your business best. Take posterous.com, they removed the sign-up process totally. Lovefilm.com has takes it one step further. If you abandon their sign-up form, they will redirect you to it on your next visit. Think outside the box to improve your conversion rate.
d) Aim for Fast Action and Utmost Improvement: Prioritize according to the importance of the usability issues and objections. Implement solutions for those that will give you speedy and huge wins.
Step 3 – Develop and Test your Solutions
a) Develop your Variations: Start with the development of your variations and don’t test too many things for each variation. This will confuse the process. Be scientific with your approach. Take screenshots after your variations are developed and keep accurate records of all your tests.
b) Use Crazy Egg on your Variations: Set up Crazy Egg analytics for your testing. Put the Crazy Egg code in your footer and it will test the new variations automatically. Set up a test at CrazyEgg.com and they will generate a heat map for that page. Compare the before and after page to get a clear idea on why one page is converting higher than the other is.
c) Use Google Website Optimizer: Google Website Optimizer is powerful, easy to use and free. You can also use other software for testing. Check out whichmvt.com for a detailed guide to good testing software.
Step 4 – Review
a) Log Results and Screenshots: Keep a log of all the test results accompanied by the screenshots of the variations. As you do more tests, you will find insights to all the things that increase your conversions and those that do not.
b) Analyze All Results: Think positive about your results. Big wins are always welcome, big losses not so much. So instead of crying about the losses, try to get the bigger picture. What led to the loss, why the conversion of that page is lower than others, and so on. Then start putting it to rights using all the work you did to increase your conversion rates.
c) Develop Your Wins: After getting a win, try to find ways of developing it further to get even bigger wins. If adding a testimonial to your landing page increases your conversions, what will happen if you added some more? Whatever works, take it to its extreme and see what happens.
d) Apply the Winning Strategy Elsewhere: Use whatever led to an increase in conversion rates and find ways to apply it to other parts of the funnel.
Step 5 – Do it All Again
The process works in a continuous cycle with interations. One test result will take you back to the top giving ideas on other tests to undertake. After completing a few cycles, go to Step 1 and do the usability tests again plus product analysis and some others. This will give you fresh ideas for Conversion rate Optimization. Follow the above guidelines and you will find your conversion rates improving drastically.