Turning Visitors into Customers with Conversion Optimization

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How many of your website visitors become viable customers? How do you increase that percentage? The first step is conversion optimization, or conversion rate optimization: discerning what works and what doesn’t, through analyzing data and garnering user feedback. Although mostly used for acquiring new customers, CRO can be used to improve a variety of metrics on your website.

Why is CRO important?

More than likely you are paying for visitors to your website in some way or another; whether it’s through pay-per-click or referral sites. CRO will improve your return on investment (ROI) – and ensure that visitors to your site are the right kind of visitors, rather than any visitor at all.

Take for instance a used bookstore. It is a lot more beneficial – especially to the bottom line – to have seven customers in one day, with five purchasing one book – rather than 20 customers with 10 customers purchasing one book. The first instance has a success rate of 71.4 per cent; whereas the second example only has 50 per cent.

Judging the success of your website by the amount of quality leads and/or purchases is extremely important. It may be easy to get caught up in increasing traffic to your site, especially in the morning, but the key is putting money in your pocket – and just straight visitors will not do that. It’s true that driving traffic to your website is a key ingredient to getting more customers – but only certain types of customers will purchase your item or service.

Analyzing the data

As mentioned above, CRO analyzes the data from your website to determine what can be improved. The most common element to analyze is the amount of proven customers that purchase something from your site, divided by the amount of total visitors – this is your conversion rate. For example, if you have 750 new customers, but 75,000 visitors in one month, that’s only a conversion rate of 1 per cent – most definitely a rate that can be improved.

Other important numbers to look at are your bounce rate; average time on site and average page views; and the exit rate. The bounce rate for your site is the amount of visitors that leave your site after visiting only one page, and the exit rate is the amount of visitors that leave your site after visiting a specific page. Average time on site and average page views are self-descriptive.

Figuring out a theory

Once you have all of the data in hand that you need, then you need to figure out a theory as to why 75 per cent of your customers are leaving after visiting your services page, or why your bounce rate is over 25 per cent. First, look at the page itself. Are there any broken links? Is the content easy to understand? Is there a call to action (where you impel the visitor to take an action, whether it be a “contact us” button, or sign up for a newsletter)? Is that CTA visible and upfront on the page?

Sometimes improving your bounce rate or exit rate is as simple as fixing a broken link, or moving a call to action to a more visible spot. However, improving your conversion optimization is a much more difficult task. It’s fairly easy to ask a visitor to move to one page or another, or even sign up for a newsletter; getting them to actually purchase something is another thing altogether.

The home page

Let’s look at our bricks and mortar example, the used bookstore. The outside of the store is like the home page of a website – you’ve got a sign, “The Next Chapter,” with books in the window. So it’s obvious what they’re selling inside the store – is your website home page just as obvious?

A successful home page is one that clearly and concisely states what you’re selling; has some eye-catching and sophisticated graphics – and a call to action. That’s it. Visitors should easily be able to tell what kind of business you are, and take it from there. Another piece of information that should be on your home page is why customers should choose you over your competition. This reason should be a viable one – no one likes to be told, “just cause I said so” – that excuse never worked when you were a child, did it?

Whether it’s because you have tons of experience, that you have a wide selection of items or that you provide free shipping, there has got to be one reason why customers should purchase from you. Otherwise they won’t.

Your CRO will not improve until you figure out the reasons behind your high bounce rate or exit rate. Instead of just trying anything and everything, determine what is causing the issue and fixing it will go a long way to improving your bottom line.