Congratulations! You’ve just created a bunch of killer Ads and online promotions for your products and are eagerly waiting for the resulting sales.
However, weeks go by and only a trickle of orders come in. Since you’re paying for those Ads, your losses are mounting: both in terms of money and sleep!
Before you throw away your advertising campaigns and start over, take a deep breath and study them first. How many people saw your Ads? How many clicked them?
If the answer to these questions is, “a lot of people,” then your Ads are doing their job: they’re bringing people to your website. However, something then goes wrong and you fail to convince your visitors to make a purchase.
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How do I calculate the conversion rate of my website?
This is where conversion rate comes in. It measures the ratio between the people who visit your product page and those making a purchase:
Conversion Rate =
Number of people who buy your product / Number of people visiting your product page
Even though the exact numbers depend on your market, a typical conversion rate is around 2%. If your own rate is lower than that, it’s not your Ads which are letting you down. The problem lies elsewhere. But where?
Generally speaking, there are three possible reasons behind a poor conversion rate:
- You are not targeting the right audience
- You have a poor product page
- You have a problem with your product or brand
Since brand and product problems can be the subject for a whole book, we will assume that your product is fine and that your brand is not in the middle of a media controversy.
This article will focus on the first two problems and offer a number of tips and ideas on how to convert more website visitors into customers.
Part 1: Targeting the right audience
Getting people through your website is important. But not half as important as getting the right kind of people. Otherwise, you’re just spending money on Ads—which is great for Google Ads or Facebook but a rather poor business practice.
That is what marketers mean when they say that you need high-quality traffic and not general traffic.
How do I get more targeted visitors to my website?
To target the right audience, you first need to get to know it. Understand what makes them tick—and don’t assume they’re the same as you.
Think about it this way: you probably love strawberry tarts and hate eating worms. Which one will you choose as bait when you go fishing, though?
You know this because you know what fish like (if you chose strawberry tarts, please never go fishing). Well, your audience is your fish. Get to know it.
Know your visitors. Understand who they are and what they expect from you. Find out what they need, then provide it to them. This way, you can target them and lead them to your website.
At the same time, be clear about what you want them to do: download an app, register for your newsletter, buy your product, make an appointment, complete a form, give you a phone call… the list goes on.
Have a clear strategy of what your goal is and how it meets your audience’s needs (even though this article assumes you’re interested in making a sale, the same principles apply to all kinds of consumer behavior, whether it is services or products you are selling).
Work on people’s psychology
Did you know there is a whole area of psychology dedicated to studying shoppers? Called consumer psychology, this is a growing niche area which studies how one’s thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and perceptions influence how and when they purchase products.
Fear of missing out
What consumer psychology has taught retailers is that there are some simple tricks which can optimize conversion rates and boost sales. The most common one has its own acronym—FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out.
When someone visits your store or product page, they need to feel like they’ll be missing out if they don’t make a purchase. This is usually achieved by providing time-sensitive discounts: if they don’t complete their purchase now (or in the next X minutes), they are going to miss out on something great.
This provokes a sense of urgency, especially effective if you combine it with people’s herd mentality: “you have one hour to take advantage of this offer. Ninety-nine people already have. Don’t miss out!”
Social Proof also uses people’s herd mentality to encourage them to make a purchase. Word-of-mouth remains the most powerful way of advertising. This is because you trust your peers more than you trust an Ad and you are much more likely to listen to a friend encouraging you to buy a product.
A way to mimic this behaviour on your website is to display positive reviews. If possible, include people’s name and photo, in order to help your visitor identify with them. You can also display any awards, press releases, etc.
Another trick to convert more leads is to present scenarios designed to use people’s imaginations to create a strong emotional response. One way of achieving this is to create a mental image by asking, “what if?” questions. What if your house got flooded? What if your computer got hacked? What if you won a luxury cruise?
Depending on your product, you can also promote novelty. According to neurological studies, being exposed to something new and novel increases how much dopamine is released into our brain. That is part of Apple’s appeal and explains why people will literally sleep outside stores to buy a new product.
Law of reciprocity
Another useful trick is to instil a sense of reciprocity. If you walk into a store and sample a few products, you may feel obligated to buy at least one of them. After all, shouldn’t you give something back?
A study discovered that getting something as small as a free can of soda was enough to generate a positive attitude toward strangers. That is why free samples and little gifts can go a long way toward securing a sale and boosting your conversion rate.
A personalised experience will also go a long way toward encouraging people to make a purchase. From newsletters to shopping carts, it’s more effective to address people with their name. “Welcome, Alice,” sounds much more personal than “Welcome to our store” and can subtly influence Alice to make a purchase.
Finally, tell your audience a story instead of simply selling them a product. A key point here is to make them agree with you: “It’s a hot summer day but you don’t have to sweat” is a lot more convincing than “buy our deodorant (you stink).” Don’t sell them yet another product. Create an experience and have people nod in agreement with you.
Segment your audience
All people are different. However, they can also be grouped in various segments, depending on their interests or the stage they are in their purchasing—the so-called purchase funnel.
This may sound complicated but actually makes a lot of sense. Some people come to your website because they’ve never heard of your product but saw your Ad and are curious about it.
They will have a shopping behaviour that’s wildly different to one who’s come to your website with the explicit purpose of making a purchase, or to someone who’s familiar with your market and is price-checking.
Just like inside a bricks-and-mortar shop, some people might be browsing. Some might be about to make a purchase. Others might be concerned about the cost and might be postponing their purchase.
Since your visitors will have different things in their mind when entering your website, you can offer them different incentives to nudge them towards clicking that “buy now” button.
So, ask yourself, at what stage of the so-called purchase funnel are your visitors? From least engaged to most engaged, you will need to guide them through the funnel.
Take advantage of consumer psychology to:
- Make them aware of your product
- Make them interested in your product
- Make them consider buying it
- Give them the intent to buy
- Help them evaluate their purchase
- Make a purchase!
To encourage your audience to move through the funnel, you can track and study their movements and target them appropriately (more on that later).
So, if someone is spending a lot of time on your website, it probably means they’re genuinely interested in your product. Only show them what interests them the most to make them register.
This is a good idea even if someone is still considering making a purchase. Offer your audience enough choices but not too many. Too many choices overwhelm people, making them leave without buying anything.
Finally, use a very low, or even free, item in the beginning. This works as an incentive to continue buying and takes advantage of the reciprocity principle to encourage them to move on to your more expensive items. A small purchase will often lead to a bigger one.
Create a relationship
The best brands are those which can create a relationship with their audience. Again, think Apple and the people who buy its products. Many of them don’t even think about switching to a rival company, because of their strong relationship with Apple.
The key to this is the fact that Apple is not selling these people a technology product. It’s selling an experience. A lifestyle. Even an identity.
So, how can you mimic the company’s success and boost your conversion rate?
As mentioned before, the first step before you can captivate your audience is to get to know it. Once you have done that, you will need to tell a story which will evoke an appropriate emotional reaction and response. This has to be a story they can relate to. Like Apple, sell them an entire experience; not a simple product.
Use free swag to get the relationship started, but also ask people to make a small commitment in exchange for it. For example, ask for their email, for a tweet, or to follow you on social media. If you don’t ask for anything, they will actually place less value on your gift!
Once you have a way to reach them, do so in a way they can identify with. Relationships are hard work but become a lot easier if both parties feel they are peers. In your correspondence with them, be personal, fun, and engaging. Always respond to their questions right away, whether they come by emails, phone calls, tweets or instant messages.
A blog is a great place where you can communicate with your audience in a more relaxed manner. Talk to them and share your insights. Show your friendly, personable side. Don’t be afraid to share your failures as well as your successes (as long, of course, as this doesn’t damage your brand).
Part 2: Improving your product page
Once you have engaged with the right audience, you still need to be sure that you are offering them the best possible experience on your website. Only then will you apply the best practices for how to convert more website visitors into customers.
From your actual website to the product page and social media, you need to cultivate your brand and have a consistent image. Here are some tips to help with that!
The perfect website
Nowadays, it’s easy enough to create a company website, even if you’re not a web developer. Your best chance to make a great first impression is when people click on an Ad to visit your website for the first time.
A fast-loading website with clean design, easy navigation, a fresh look, and up-to-date news and information will go a long way toward boosting your conversion rates—and building a relationship with your customers.
To help build trust, it is good to display your contact details and email in a prominent place. This not only tells people that you’re trustworthy but also encourages them to contact you instead of leaving should something go wrong with their purchase.
The first page people will see is the one they will remember. This makes it crucial that your landing pages are optimized for conversions. A common mistake is to put too much information on your landing page. This can overwhelm people and put them off.
All content, including your text (aka web copy), images, and videos, needs to be professional. For example, texts should have no typos and the images should be sharp and clear. If you have products to showcase, use a white background for the photos, as this allows products to better stand out.
Prominently display social proof such as testimonials, reviews, etc. to generate confidence in your product and increase your conversion rate.
No, we won’t tell you how to make a perfect product; that’s up to you. But we will remind you that it’s easier to convince people to give it a try if you offer free trials and have an easy cancellation policy. This shows you are sure about your product and you have faith in it.
Besides photos, you can highlight your product and its use using videos and demos. Just make sure that videos are shot professionally.
You may need to invest in software and professional services, as quality matters and everything has to be as good as possible to convert a visit into a purchase.
Finally, think out of the box when you show how effective your product is. For example, besides testimonials and reviews, you may include graphs or other data to support any claims you make.
Advanced website tips
You have a great website. That’s one of the ways how to convert more website visitors into customers. Now, is there anything more you can do to stand out from the competition and convert more leads?
Popups (yes, really!)
One way to increase your conversion rate is to use a confirmation popup before people exit your website. Yes, popups can be annoying if not handled carefully. And never include more than one popup, unless you want people to avoid your website in the future.
However, a well-placed popup creates a sense of urgency if phrased correctly. A text like, “before you leave, take advantage of our introductory offer and get for free an X item” offers visitors a reason to stay on your website. Other incentives to stay may include discount codes, free downloads, or limited-time offers.
Learn visitors behaviour
To better understand your audience, you need to study their behaviour on your website. Record visitor movements using plugins and Google Analytics to see how shoppers behave on your website.
By examining where they go, where they stop, which pages they avoid, and which they like, you will know which page or product attracts more attention and which are not popular. This can help you tweak your marketing efforts for maximum efficiency.
Targeted landing pages
Another advanced trick is to have many landing pages and display whichever is most appropriate to your visitor. As mentioned before, shoppers will be in different places in the purchase funnel. This is where your segmentation will come in handy.
Lead visitors to different landing pages, depending on where they are in the funnel. For example, first-time visitors should be taken to a different landing page from those ready to buy your product: the former need convincing; the latter need to make a speedy purchase.
If possible, you may also offer a live chat option. People appreciate their questions being answered immediately. This way, you can intervene before an undecided customer leaves your website without making a purchase.
Stay in touch
Even after your visitors leave your website, keep in touch with them. Sales often happen over time. You can use retargeting options to reach people who have visited your website without making a purchase. Use your Ads to offer these shoppers discounts and FOMO to remind them of the great experience they’re missing.
You can also send newsletters to remind registered visitors of sales and offers. This is an especially powerful tool when coupled with time-sensitive discounts. However, don’t forget to include a personal touch. A newsletter or email focusing exclusively on products has far fewer chances of being read than one which tells a story.
When composing a newsletter, don’t pepper it with links. Instead, use three “Calls to Action” (CTAs)—buttons which link to your product page and urge people to make a purchase. Place one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end of your newsletter for maximum effect.
One last tip: use an appropriate emoji (yes, only one, unless your audience consists exclusively of preteens) on your email subject to make it stand out. Choose them smartly: for example, if you are selling holidays, a little plane or something related would be perfect.
The power of A/B tests
As mentioned before, you can lead visitors to different landing pages, depending on their place in the purchase funnel. You can further expand on this idea by conducting a series of A/B tests to test these pages and discover which page elements work best.
To set up an A/B test, you create two nearly identical pages and change only one element. For example, you may use one photo on page one and another on page two.
By leading half your visitors to one and half to the other, you can see which one converts best.
Discard the other one and repeat the test, this time by changing another element—for example, your CTA or text. Experiment with your taglines, headlines, long phrases vs short ones, etc. and see which converts best. Even a simple word choice can have an impact.
For example, use power words like get, access, download in your CTA to encourage people to act rather than think about it.
By continuously repeating this process, you will be constantly improving your conversion rates.
One last way to optimize your conversion rate is to harness the power of analytics and other media. By connecting your website to Google Analytics, you will be able to study not just your visitors’ behaviour but also see which sources give you the highest-converting traffic.
You will likely discover that only certain sources and campaigns are driving profitable traffic. This will let you optimize your traffic sources. Spend time and energy on them since they are the profit-making ones and discard the rest.
When you have the power to analyze which sources bring you which traffic, you can start experimenting with more media. For example, you can run an A/B test with Facebook Ads vs Google Ads to see which ones work best.
With so many social media available, you can try a number of approaches before you settle on your best one. So, remarket your message through various media and check which one works best for you.
This works best when combined with sales and promotions. Offer your gifts and discounts on as many media as possible. The more open your funnel, the more chances you have of getting customers.
However, there is a caveat here: be careful not to overexpand. The more social media you invest in, the more time you will need to keep everything up to date. There is no point in having accounts on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter if you don’t create relationships and respond timely to your followers.
Use A/B tests to settle to the ones which media work the best for you and your audience. It is far better to successfully engage people on a single medium than to have your message get lost among a dozen social media.
So there are some solid ideas on how to convert more website visitors into customers. It would be great if raising your conversion was as simple as throwing a switch. Unfortunately, this is not the case. To improve your conversion rate and convert more leads, you need to consider many factors.
You have to optimize as many of them as possible in an ongoing process which requires dedication and patience. It takes time and lots of trial and error before you get it right. Dedicate a monthly budget to the process, in terms of both money and time.
Yes, it is a lot of work. But getting it right will do more than boost your sales and your conversion rate: it will help you build your brand expand your company, and grow your business to new heights!