7 February, 2018

Getting website traffic is great, but if that traffic doesn’t convert, then it’s worthless.

So, how can you improve your website’s conversion rate?

What might seem like a simple question to answer actually requires an in-depth understanding of what drives online human behaviour. And this is where things get tricky, because human behaviour is just so incredibly complex to predict – proof of this is the conversion rate of online shoppers, averaged at a nominal 3% worldwide.

But first, let’s take a look at what exactly we mean by ‘conversion rate’. Quite simply, it’s the ability to persuade a certain percentage of website visitors to perform a certain action (a conversion). This could be anything from the percentage of people who made a purchase to the number of email opt-ins you received.

Here are the 10 best methods to increase your website’s conversion rate.

1. Embrace Video

Don’t underestimate the power of video!

In fact, research shows that our brains are wired to process visuals 60,000 times faster than a single blob of text. In other words, video engages people on a visceral level.

Still not convinced video is the future? Consider the following video marketing statistics:

  • Customers who watch a video are 80% more likely to remember it
  • By 2019, 80% of all web traffic will be consuming video content
  • Using video on a landing page can increase conversion rate to 80%
  • Customers are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a video of it in action

So, how do you create the perfect video?

  • Use storytelling: Good storytelling keeps people engaged and helps them understand and remember your product better – much like how you remember the stories your grandmother used to tell you as a child.
  • Use emotions: Forget about using technical jargon in videos and instead focus on creating emotional connections with visitors in order to drive conversions. Use a story that people can relate to and use words like ‘imagine’ and ‘paradise’ to instantly change the emotional state of their mind. On that note, because people tend to move away from pain to pleasure, focus on their pain points and come up with solutions. And remember: less is more.

2. Offer Free Trials

What’s better than trying something out for free before you buy it?

Free trials give potential new customers the opportunity to test your product or service without making a commitment, and this effectively helps you build trust and credibility as a brand and service provider. In fact, leads are 75% more likely to convert into paying customers if given the ability to get a little taster of what you offer.

When offering free trials, it’s worth noting the following tips:

  • Make sure your product/service has a unique selling point to stand apart from your competitors.
  • Determine the duration of the free trial offer, based on how long it takes a customer to use the product/service to understand its purpose and benefits. The most successful free trials typically last anywhere between seven days to one month.
  • Offer an option for extending a free trial. This is useful as not all customers are ready to buy your product/service at the end of the trial and may need more time to make a decision.

3. Leverage Social Proof

How many of us have bought something on the recommendation of a friend? That’s right: pretty much everyone. And you can translate that into your online marketing tactics, by using social proof.

Social proof is defined as a psychological and social phenomenon where people ‘conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of correct behaviour’.

In other words, you need to show potential customers that what you’re offering is real and not a scam. You can achieve this with the following tips:

  • Add positive video testimonials of customers who have already used your product/service. After all, people can always relate to other people.
  • Provide in-depth written testimonials (reviews) of previous customers.

4. Improve Website Security

Having a secure website reassures visitors that it is safe to use and encourages them to make online transactions with their debit/credit card and personal information. Here’s a couple of ways to do that:

  • Use HTTPS: This effectively provides secure communication between a web server and the user's browser. Visitors are put off by warnings for a site’s lack of security, and an HTTPS certificate is, therefore, essential.
  • Get a website security seal: This feature acts like an anti-virus for your website and checks for any malware illegally uploaded by hackers.

A website that visitors and customers can trust is key to a successful online business –check out our managed web solutions for information on how we can help.

5. Use Words That Convert

Words drive behaviour - in fact, people often click a button or headline because a certain word created an emotion – and knowing which ones to use can help boost your conversion rate.

Here’s a rundown of great words and phrases to use:

  • It’s free: Just adding these two magic words next to a signup button will do wonders for your conversion rate. In fact, they can be used on any call-to-action you want visitors to click on. (People are simply driven to take action when something is free.)
  • Instantly: People want things now; they don’t like waiting. Waiting for something is a pain point and the solution is to provide instant access (if you’re selling physical products, using the word ‘quickly’ will do the trick).
  • Because: Giving people a reason to do something has been shown to be a great way to persuade them into doing it – even a weak reason will do the trick! In fact, a study conducted by Robert B Cialdini found that giving a reason (any reason) gives you a 94% chance of cutting in line than not giving one at all. However, remember that this word is as dangerous as it is useful!

6. Use Colours

Colours have an enormous effect on our emotions and attitude. Our brains even release different hormones, depending on the colour we see, while one study found that 90% of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, often based on colour.

The tricky part is using the right colour. For example, black, blue and green appeal to both men and women, while purple only appeals to women. In other words, if you’re creating something for a primarily male audience, then adding purple to your design won’t be a good idea.

Meanwhile, colours can also help a brand how it is perceived. For example, black and blue work great for brands that want to elicit trust and a sense of luxury; green, on the other hand, is a great choice for companies selling outdoor products.

Here is a rundown of colours and what they mean:

  • Black: Sophisticated, expensive, successful and confident.
  • White: Clean, fresh, calm and good.
  • Red: Passion and power – great for diverting someone’s attention to important details.
  • Yellow: Cheerfulness, intellect and loyalty – note: don’t use too much yellow as it can be quite overwhelming.
  • Blue: Calm, authority and creative.

7. Give Users Multiple Login Options

Providing website visitors with a variety of registration/login options makes it easier and faster for them to sign up, and this effectively increases your conversion rate as it allows people to use the precise method that works best for them.

Implementing social media registration functionality, along with an email signup form is your best bet. You could even ask users to provide a telephone number during signup and allow them to log in to their account with an automatically generated code sent directly to their phones.

Remember: it’s generally always a good idea to offer more than one option when it comes to new people registering on your website. Also remember to keep the following in mind when building registration/login forms:

  • Eliminate all unnecessary fields
  • Group fields logically
  • Separate long registration processes into steps
  • Explain to visitors why they should register

8. Add Live Chat Functionality

One of the biggest problems customers face with online shopping is that they often have questions that need to be answered in real-time. A quick solution to this is adding live chat functionality to your site, allowing potential customers to get those questions answered instantly (without having to call a call centre) and proceed with buying your product/service.

It’s also very cheap to maintain, as it drastically reduces costs like phone expenses and employee salaries.

Below is a handful of tips to implement when live chatting with customers:

  • Introduce yourself by name
  • AVOID USING ALL CAPS (it looks like you’re shouting at people)
  • Use a typing indicator
  • Use correct grammar and spelling
  • Aim to respond within 60 seconds

9. Optimise Add-to-Cart Buttons

When a customer clicks on the add-to-cart button, this is the first step they take to showing an interest in your product or service. There are various ways you can make sure your button stands out and increases the chances of being clicked – and effectively improving online sales.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Position: While most online businesses place an add-to-cart button at the bottom of the page, placing at the top of the page (or above a product video, text or photos) can greatly improve sales and increase conversion rates. This effectively removes the need for customers to scroll down the page to get to the button you want them to click.
  • Colour: While there is no ‘perfect’ colour, it should contrast the other content on the webpage.
  • Size: Be careful not to make it too big as you risk making it look like an advertising banner. It should match the size of the webpage’s other elements.

10. Offer Flexible Payment Plans

Having flexible payment in place at checkout ensures that customers are able to proceed to buying your product or service – and this, in turn, increases online sales. For example, in addition to letting customers pay in one large sum upfront, you could offer a solution that allows them to pay over a longer term period.

Below are the two main types of flexible payment plans:

  • Monthly payments: Allowing potential customers to make equal payments for something on a monthly basis can increase sales by 17%.
  • Two separate payments: This method allows you to collect payments fast but it also gives customers more flexibility than just making one upfront payment.

Remember: you first need a great product/service to offer before any of these tips can work. You should also note that what might work for one company might not necessarily work for you.

It’s all about testing and learning, and you can do this through split testing (A/B testing), for example. This will essentially help you determine which method works best for increasing your conversion rate.