Companies that follow a structured approach to online conversion optimization are twice as likely to see a rise in online sales. Period. It is undeniable. Given this, you would think more online businesses would test and perform optimization experiments and A/B testing approaches. The truth is that 61% of organizations conduct less than 5 tests each month. This is mainly because most organizations are too pre-occupied with “business as usual” and they simply don’t take the time to think about focusing on conversion optimization.
In this post, we will discuss 7 ways to go about website testing and optimization to generate online revenue. Simply put, we are going to tell you what you need to do to increase your online conversation rates. First a few important facts complements of our good friends at KISSMetrics:
- – About 96% of visitors that visit your site are not willing to buy
- – Product videos can boost purchases of your products by 144%
- – You have just 8 seconds to impress visitors through convincing landing page and headlines. If unable to impress, then after 8 seconds, majority of visitors leave
- – The more landing pages, the more online leads you are likely to generate
- – A/B testing is currently the most preferred method of optimization as it has brought many businesses the most success
- – Slow loading times can result in 7% decline in conversion rates
With this backdrop of facts in mind, let’s take a look at the 7 best ways to test and optimize your site to sales.
1. Make your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) Clear
The first approach is to make your UVP crystal clear in the visitor’s mind.
Visitors must be able to clearly see on your website’s landing page or homepage why they need to do business with you.
Example – MailChimp There are many email marketing service providers out there. Thus, for any company like MailChimp, it is a pretty arduous task to differentiate themselves from the herd. However, MailChimp rose above the crowd by focusing on making email campaigns simple and easy.
If you think about this – who is generally tasked with sending out email newsletters? It is often someone who is not a marketing specialist, not technically oriented, and has a long “to-do” list. Making it simple is really essential.
MailChimp’s homepage makes this super-clear!
2. Check Your Page Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
Every page of your site should contain a keyword-rich meta description and title tag. These two items are usually responsible for the first impression your visitors receive of your brand in organic search results. Meta descriptions and title tags communicate the content of your web pages to visitors what to expect when they click. They also are extremely important to search engines as well.
In order to optimize your website for sales, focus on the following 3 things:
Make each Meta description and title tag unique:
- They should be different from other tags on your website, with emphasis on placing keywords in the first few words. If you are optimizing a page in Norway, your title tag might be:
Company Name (your) Search Engine Optimization Services in Norway
Your Meta description for this particular page could be:
“Search engine optimization services in Norway for the best website ranking. Contact us today at +YourContactNumber”
2. Keep it short:
Title tags are the place to keep it short and crisp. The thumb rule is to keep it around 70-characters or less (spaces including); hence be thoughtful and creative in writing a title that represents your page. Meta descriptions should be 150 characters or less.
3. Keep your visitors in mind:
The effort you put in with points #1 & #2 will certainly help your website appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Keep in mind though that you actually have to appeal to real person and get them click to your page. Make use of action verbs like “Meet our produce delivery staff” and use your company’s name to establish trust.
Here is a good example of a well-optimized Meta description and title tag shown from the SERP point-of-view
3. Write Compelling Headlines and Test Them
The third best way to optimize your website for sales is to write compelling headlines and test them. Product headlines can break or make your site, and certainly a sale. As mentioned previously, headlines form a major part of a visitor’s first impression. Hence, it is important to test and know what resonates most with your visitors. Headlines are the first thing that your visitors read when they land on your website from SERPs. You only have 8 seconds to tantalize them so make sure you spend time thinking about a compelling headline. There is no magic formula for this but there are a few guidelines that you should follow.
Consider the famous 50/50 rule of headlines: Spend half of the total time it takes to write persuasive content on the headline.
Think about what you want to tell your visitors. What do visitors want to hear from you? How can you entice them to read the rest of your content and steer them to perform the desired action? What is trending in your business sector currently?
The key is providing visitors with a reward for reading your content. Do not just sell, sell and sell. You are talking to people, not machines!
The four “U’s” approach to writing compelling headlines. Headlines and subheads should
- – Pass on the idea that the main benefit is
- – Be
- to visitors
- – Provide a sense of
- – Perform all of the above in an
Your headlines should also include keywords relevant to the body content, so be sure to include them.
Example: 37 signals amplified their online conversions and revenue of their Highrise product by 50% through their headline “30-day Free Trial on All accounts.” This lesson from this is that it is essential to have a persuasive headline with a unique value proposition.
Earlier to this, the company had the headline “Start a Highrise Account” – their worst one. This headline does not convey any benefit to the visitors and do not provide any reason why they should sign up. Consider adding “free trial” or “Save_%” in your headline and include the unique benefit that your product delivers. The most essential thing is to test it to see if it works for you.
4. Revamp and Test Call-to-Action (CTA) Designs
CTA designs have the propensity to get stale and obsolete, particularly when they are utilized every now and then within different marketing assets. Think about it, if you come across the same CTA design every single time your visit a site, it not likely to get you clicking. If you are utilizing the same CTA design for your several offers, it can become stale quickly. Over-used offers no longer lure visitors’ eyes and no longer captivate their hearts. As a visitor who has repeatedly seen the same CTA design, your eyes just end up glossing over it.
Therefore, it is extremely important to regularly update your CTA design. Next time you see your click-through rates dripping, spend some time revamping the creative of your CTA buttons.
Here are a few examples of good CTAs:
- – Change “Sign up” to “Get your Free Account” – The former asks simply for sign up and the latter tells you what you will avail.
- – Change “Watch Video” to “Take 2 Minutes Tour” – The first CTA does not provide you with any information, but the second not just tells you what the video is about, it also states how long the video is.
- – Change “Add to shopping cart” to “Buy the Service Now” – The first CTA is not tempting. It does not provide you with any incentive to click that button while the other one emphasizes action. It says “now you have checked the book, read the reviews….Now Go and get it. The second one surely grabs your attention.
5. Create Easy-To-Submit and Short Forms
Conversion experts recommend keeping your forms to only the essentials. How many times were you ready to sign up for something and over 25-fields that you need to fill in? Most of us, just leave such websites. It is very important to respect your visitor’s time. If you have persuaded the visitor to sign up, it is important that you do not have them leave because your form is too lengthy.
When optimize your online forms for conversions, consider the following tips:
- – Only add a field if you positively and really need that info. The longer the form, the less likely a visitor will fill it out. Request the minimum, only the essentials. If you cannot figure out why you need particular information, you should not request it.
- – The form must display on the top of the page. We have seen a lot of sites where forms are placed below the fold (at the bottom of the page). This means you do not even see the form once the page is loaded. The form is the point on your site there action is taken, therefore, put it in the place of prominence. You must ensure that it is visible the moment visitors land on that page.
- – Avoid using CAPTCHA s in your forms if SPAM signups are not an issue for you and you can avoid it.
Image source: http://www.jqueryscript.net/form/Simple-Math-Captcha-Plugin-for-jQuery-ebcaptcha.html
Testing the number of form fields
Most conversion experts recommend simplifying forms and making them clearer. Sometimes, having more fields in the form can boost your conversion rate. Usually however, less fields generate more conversions – it essentially depends on what your online form is for. The point is – do not rely on a rule of thumb – test and find it yourself.
6. Test and optimize your Site’s ads:
If you rely on advertising for a portion of your online revenue, you should also test and optimize your site’s ad types and formats. If you have too many or poorly designed ads, you are definitely annoying your visitors.
- – Instead of Banners, use In-text Ads
Very few people today even bother clicking banners anymore. Instead, test using text ads that are more contextual and embedded within the text of your pages.
- – Background Ads
Full background ads are becoming highly popular and common. They work extremely well if they are innovatively created. You can charge heavy premium from them as well.
7. Get Social
Ignoring social media is same like ignoring customer service. Many online businesses plateau when they do not utilize social media effectively.
You certainly do not need to go overboard, but chhoose a few social media platforms to get the ball rolling. The most vital factor to remember is to not be boring. Try to knit your social media strategy to 2-things: your company and demographic of your social media channel.
- – If your products or services are complex, video is a good approach to consider and Google+ and YouTube are best for video content.
- – Pinterest is a picture platform so if you have beautiful and appealing pictures of your products consider using Pinterest.
- – Facebook is the world’s most powerful social media network, so you definitely should not ignore it. You can also use Facebook as your customer service channel. Give your employees permission to interact with consumers on Facebook. You will need to tailor your Facebook strategy to your own organization, but you must make it a point to interact with your consumers at least one time in a day.
As your social presence increases, many companies experience also experience and increase in revenue.
So go get to work! Start implementing some of 7 online sales optimization ideas covered here. After implementing the above strategies, you should definitely see a pickup in growth.
Sandeep Sharma is a Project Manager with a prominent digital media marketing company TIS India for the last 10 years. He loves to create aesthetically appealing websites & eye-popping user interfaces for international clients. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.