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21 Secrets to Improve Website Conversion Rates

After recently attending the SES 2010 conference I have finally found the time to upload my blogpost on Brian Eisenberg session on How to Increase Conversion Rates. It was a great session by Brian and I hope you take as much from the tips as I did.

Everyone loves a secret. Some people keep secrets, others like to gossip. Similar to the latter I couldn’t hold this one in any longer, so unlike most secrets here is one that can really benefit you. You ready? Ok, come closer…

Did you know the average conversion rate of a website is 3%

Even after all the vast increased capabilities of technology, design and analytics in the last 10 years it still hasn’t improved. Why? Read below and see.

1.    Communicate UVPs/UCPs (unique value propositions & unique campaign propositions)
Online users on average decide whether they want to purchase your product or service within 7 seconds so ensure you communicate your UVP/UCP simply and effectively

2.    Persuasive and Relevant Offers
In the B2C environment messages like ‘Free Shipping’ has a very small cost but a massive impact on conversion rates, surprisingly even scrapping a few £’s. For the B2B environment, consider ‘Free Trials’ as a persuasive offer.

3.    Reinforce Offers Sitewide
Surprising how many websites reinforce offers across the website except for the most important page – the checkout. Jacob Nielson said “Don’t make them think”, if you make them question whether they missed a stage and do not qualify for the offer then you are going to lose a sale. Customers make a decision on every click.

4.    They Maintain Scent
The term and concept ‘scent’ was discovered by Xerox in the late 90s. It essentially details the clues that a website can give to ensure users follow the right path. This includes imagery and colours as they can be visual clues that separate ages are connected. It is important not to focus on one page but the whole journey.

5.    Strong First Impression
Every type of advertising needs to create a human connection. It is widely believed that advertising mediums and even human interaction has 8 seconds before you form an opinion.

6.    Appeal to multiple personas/segments
Online users can be placed within 4 individual character types; competitive, spontaneous, methodical, humanistic.

–    Price orientated
–    Know what they are looking for

–    Make quick decisions
–    Look for clickable features

–    Most time spent on pages
–    Analyse every detail

–    Look for human elements (reviews)
–    Like images of product/service

7.    They don’t do Slice/Dice Optimisation
The issue is time and resources; you need to look at the opportunity cost of implementing multi variations. The best way to test is for impact not variation and this is best suited to creating hypothesis such as ‘if A changes then would affect will this have on B’.

8.    Leverage Social Commerce
It is important to not only listen but to utilise the voice of the customer. Reviews make HUGE impacts on the conversion rate of websites.

9.    Using Social Voices in Navigation
By adding features such as ‘rating’ in the navigation it allows customers to view honest and peer opinions which is great since 78% of users trust peer reviews.

10.   Use Social Voices in Promotions
Let customer voices shape the content you write. By analysing customer conversations you can review strengths and weaknesses of your brand/product and address these issues in promotional content. Additionally, utilising user generated content in emails works well to increase conversions.

11.    Use Social Voices to Build Credibility
By implementing user generated content you increase your authenticity which will have a direct effect on decreasing bounce rate.

12.    Use Social Voices for Feedback and Research
Jacob Nielson states that “5 people can identify 80% of problems on a website” Ensure you use the free tools or undertake studies to highlight usability issues within your site. If you search Google for “69 free tools” you can find great resources.

13.    Use Persuasive Principles like Scarcity
Utilising persuasive statements such as “until stocks last”, or “for a limited time” can help drive conversions. This is especially important for spontaneous buyer types.

14.    Make Forms Engaging
Just because you managed to get users this far it doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to the little details. The brand colours and design should be kept consistent so users know they are on the right path.
It is also a strong recommendation that you should you the thank you page as an opportunity to up sell your product or service.

15.    Provide Point of Action Assurances
Ensure that when users enquire they receive an assurance of a time when they will be contacted. Leads are shown to lose effectiveness by 6% after 1 hour delayed response time.

16.   Keep You in the Process
Don’t necessarily take people to the basket once clicked.

17.    Consider Email Preview
Ensure that the message you are trying to portray in emails can be read without downloading images. A large percentage of people with email will disregard emails if they have to download images.

18.    Budget for Experience
Clients will often spend budget on methods which aim to drive traffic to websites yet will debate whether to spend the same amount of time on website testing. Prioritise what is more important, increasing traffic by % or increasing conversions by %

You should build a better customer experience. Amazon run over 400 tests at any given time and are constantly monitoring what changes could positively affect their business.

19.    Utilise a system for Prioritization
When making changes to your website use a simple methods which highlights the ‘impact’ over ‘resources needed’. This will let you assess what changes can be made with relatively small effort and can let you plan further changes with your resources.

20.    They make data driven design decisions
Make educated and informed decisions based on data.

21.    How to execute Rapidly
The key to online is change. Websites need to be flexible and react to changes in the online environment.

5 steps which would help you move forward and see real progress:
1)     Identify problems, identify high bounce and exit rate
2)     Create a to do list
3)     Document your hypothesis
4)     Prioritise your to do list
5)     Start testing

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6 thoughts on “21 Secrets to Improve Website Conversion Rates

  1. VizFact | Website Marketer

    Thanks for a good marketing smack around to keep me and other marketers straight. silly as it may sound I never prioritze my ttd lists, and end up doing the easy tasks first and slacking on the tasks that I should be prioritizing.

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. Steven Male

    Interesting point about the scent – been studying conversion for a while and never heard about it before. I really wish I could add a physical scent to my website ;)

    Keep up the good work!

  3. annie

    Awesome tips for the website conversation rate. I read your article carefully your tips are just awesome. Some of them are great I think and following the tips we can improve our website conversation rate.