Posted by fusionbox on March 18, 2012, 6 p.m.
You enjoy your new website and you are excited about the traffic that your search engine optimization (SEO) program is providing, but why are people still not joining your mailing list? Believe it or not, this is a common question for many marketers. The problem lies in the fact that, even though your website is a blockbuster, converting your visitors into sales or business leads can be a confusing puzzle to solve. You may have heard someone say that the best site in the world can be a worthless marketing tool if people can't find it. Similarly, all of the traffic in the world doesn't mean a thing if your website's goals are not being reached.
Your site has reached a point where it needs to enhance its design and usability in order to receive more leads, make more sales or gain more members. Conversion Optimization is a buzzword that you may not hear as much as other website strategies, however the web marketing team at Fusionbox has been focused on converting visitors since day one. Trying to second-guess the actions that your visitors will take can be tricky business, however when you have the right combination of data, talent and know-how you will be getting more leads, sales and sign-ups than ever before.
What is Conversion Optimization?
Conversion Optimization is similar to SEO, as it sits at the intersection of development, marketing and the overall user experience. Both rely very heavily on collecting analytics data and making decisions based on data trends, however conversion optimization works better when the data is segmented by user activity. Both are also dependent on outstanding content. Media and copy that is urgent, compelling or conveys great value will automatically attract SEO links and bring in solid business leads.
While SEO works to bring visitors to your site, without having to pay for advertising, conversion optimization answers questions such as:
- What is the purpose of your website?
- What are the most desired user actions?
- Is it easy for users to find what they are looking for?
- Are your users getting what they expect to from your website?
- How confident is your audience in the process that you have built?
No matter how you define your goals or performance indicators, the anatomy of your lead generation and conversion optimization program is fairly simple. It must include:
- A strong value proposition
- A convincing argument
- An efficient conversion funnel
- Continuous testing
Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition is the most important factor in converting visitors. It will be the headline at the beginning of your conversion funnel. This is a statement that lets your visitors know what's in it for them. Before you begin to think about things like colors, buttons, sizes or any other on-page element, take a look at your value proposition. Which of these three fictional value propositions sound the most appealing?
- Free, no-obligation consultation
- Fast track your ROI by leveraging organic best practices
- Add value to your business with minimal cost and maximum return
When choosing a value proposition, start by reflecting on what makes your company unique. What is it about your products or services that set you apart from your competitors? Condense all that into one smart and credible sentence.
A Convincing Argument
Every one of your potential customers have objections to what you are offering. When you are conducting a sales meeting it is easy to evaluate your customer's hesitations and address them in real time. Unfortunately it is not possible to do that with web visitors, so it is necessary to identify and address these possible concerns directly on your site.
Add as much information as you can to convey the value of performing the action you want your visitors to perform. Whether you are selling a product, providing a service, or gathering leads, the information you offer should convince visitors to take action as well as give them faith in your organization.
Build credibility in the eyes of your visitors. The best deal in the world will look like an obvious scam if it's communicated poorly. If someone stopped you on the street and offered a brand new pair of high-end sneakers for $20, how would you respond? Even if the product is clearly top-of-the-line, and the deal is out of this world, you’ll have trust issues unless the deal is presented appropriately. Use your website to educate consumers about your organization, expertise, and experience and make the information easy to find and easy to verify. Customer referrals, testimonials or any third-party endorsements can work wonders, especially if they are from relevant and respected individuals.
An Efficient Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is another element in the conversion process that is straightforward and simple in the real world, but can be very complicated in on-line interactions. To develop an online sales funnel it is necessary to take into account all of the different ways a user can enter your website, what type of people are visiting and where they are in the buying cycle.
Detail each action that a user can take on your website including:
- Visiting a content page
- Joining a mailing list or newsletter
- Registering for a membership
- Purchasing a product
- Downloading a PDF or whitepaper
- Requesting more information
The actions that your user takes are based on the goals you are trying to accomplish. Once you have a list of possible user actions, map out just how they are able to reach each goal. Set up goal tracking in your analytics software and monitor how people are using your website. Are you losing conversions because users are being distracted by a secondary behavior along the way? Is there a step that makes it difficult for a user to move onto the next stage?
A/B testing is just as simple as it sounds. Create two versions of a given element; offer both versions to your users and see which version works better, version A or version B. Once you have determined which version works better, use it on your website. Test in a similar way that one would create a science project. At varying intervals measure the growth of your key metrics (bounce rate, total conversions, conversion rate, etc). Test variables like value proposition, page copy, page style/layout, form design, pricing, promotions, calls-to-action...and so on.
Conversion Optimization is about trying to get into the mind of your visitors. It is a process that begins as soon as someone types a query into a search engine. Does a user want to learn, join, buy or download? Do you have what it is that your users are looking for, and is it easy for them to find it?
Have something to add?
What experience do you have with conversion optimization or lead generation? Maybe there's something I left out. Do you think it works with organic traffic as well as it does with paid search? Please leave some ideas in the comments below.
"New York. West 56th Street. Psychic Readings. Snowy" image by Tomas Fano from http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomasfano/2806315320/, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/