How Do I Improve My Web Site Conversion Rate? Part 1
How Do I Improve My Web Site Conversion Rate? Part 1
In a recent teleconference I contributed too I was asked a
number of questions about specific problems people were having
and what I would do if I were in their position. This is the
first article in a 3 part series which we'll publish over the
next few weeks answering those specific queries, in the hope
that it helps you to solve some of your issues.
Question 1. What do you mean by conversion? Getting someone to
answer the simplest call to action i.e. "read more here" or
actually selling them product/service?
What you're talking about here is two different ways to measure
your website. "Read More Here" is what I would call a variable
effecting your conversion rate. I call these variables "Micro
Conversions" because they are all small (microscopic even) steps
toward a full conversion. A micro conversion is something which
you should test and measure. "Read More Here" might be better
clicked through as "Click here to find out how to win a months
supply of vintage wine". So by improving this click through you
get the browser to take another small step toward your final
website goal. By doing this you improve your overall conversion
rate, which in this case is to get someone to register or
subscribe to win a months supply of vintage wine. Micro
conversions can be tracked by measuring click through of links,
or read time for content, or bounce rate for headlines and copy.
Full conversion is persuading your visitor to do what you want
them to do, in my example it would be registering to win wine,
but it could be subscription to a newsletter, downloading an
audio file, buying a product, selling a service or whatever, but
it should reflect what your websites business objective is.
Question 2. What strategies would you suggest when there is no
"online" conversion possible? I need them to call me for more
info, to learn more and to eventually give them a proposal.
There is no such thing as "no online conversion". You're looking
for leads that will eventually ring you but the visitor is the
one with the power. If you don't give your visitor a reason to
let you continue to have a dialog with them then they won't.
Using opt in is one answer. If for instance you ask for a name,
email address and telephone number from your visitor so that he
can then get useful information from you in the form of a free
report or audio file you do two things. First you qualify the
visitor as someone whom is interested in your services and
second you get permission to contact him/her again. You need to
build into your website a powerful reason for your visitor to
give you permission to email or talk to them rather than expect
someone to pick up the phone. In your case you say they need to
ring you to learn more, put what they need to learn into some
form which they can opt in to get, such as a white paper, report
or audio file. Then you have a conversion rate which is the
amount of people who give you permission to continue the dialog
with them by giving you their email address or phone number so
that they can learn more about your offering. People visit a
website to get information, so give them the means to get it.
Question 3. What if the product you sell is also sold by several
others on the website, how do you get someone who is browsing
the internet to notice your site and want to order from you?
In offline marketing a successful tactic is differentiation.
It's no different online. If you stand out from your competition
then you get noticed. What makes you different (not necessarily
better just different) from your competition? A USP makes an
enormous difference to conversion rates. We improved
subscriptions by 11% per month for six months by differentiating
ourselves. The second point is that your site should be of use
to your visitor. The one thing that everyone online has in
common is that when they browse they are looking for
information. So give your visitors what they want in the form of
education. If your potential customer becomes educated about
your offer and takes away something useful from your website
they will remember you over your competition.
How do you get the address, telephone no and the name of the
owner of any company that you're trying to get in touch with to
see if they would be interested in what you sell?
You need to get permission from the visitor to get that
information. It can't be done with any tracking tools available.
There is a very good reason for this and it's called privacy. If
you or I went online and could have our names, addresses and
phone numbers tracked by software it could be potentially
dangerous. Imagine if you were online and were talking on a chat
room about going on your holidays in a far away land for the
next few weeks and your personal information could be gathered.
The person who sees that information then knows when to go to
your address and rob you while you're away. It's ok to track
browser behavior because no personal details are ever tracked. I
for one hope it stays that way.
Question 5. What should one look for in the web logs to
determine conversion rates?
Web log files are a problem because they record everything. Web
logs record every request to your sites pages from search engine
indexes, to email harvester software, link harvesters and
visitors. So you need to filter the information out from log
files which isn't relevant to visitors first. Then you're
looking for unique visitors (not visits) or unique sites. Once
you have that filtered figure you have the approximate amount of
visitors coming to your site, still not close to 100% because of
proxy servers recording multiple visitors as one browser, but
it's as close as you can get with log files. Then you divide the
amount of people who complete the conversion action by the total
visitors. That is your conversion rate. If you can get software
which doesn't use logs like IRIS Metrics or log software which
works out the filtering like Web Trends it makes your job much
Question 6. What factors have the biggest impact on conversions
on my web site?
The short answer is differentiation, target marketing, your
sites relevance to your desired audience, measurement,
experimentation and most importantly trust. Differentiation is
the first step in the process. You must find a way to stand out
from the competition. It should start with the domain name, and
continue throughout your entire websites strategy. Then in your
content, your copy and your design you must smack your target
audience between the eyes. You have to find out exactly what it
is they want and answer the wants and needs of that audience.
Relevance is hugely important also, if you're running a campaign
on Overture or Google with certain keywords your audience should
land at exactly the right place after typing those keywords and
finding your website. So if the audience types "Red Vintage
Wine" into Overture and your link appears, on clicking through
they should be taken to the page on your site talking all about
and selling red vintage wine. They shouldn't land at the home
page of your website which has a small link to the red vintage
wine section and 5 or 6 other types of wine for sale. Measuring
and experimenting is then the key to improving conversion rates.
You can't improve conversion without measurement unless you're
making educated guesses or you're just plain lucky. So get a
good measurement system, learn what it's all about and test your
changes. Finally and most importantly trust. You can't sell
anything if your audience doesn't trust you. You can help them
shipping procedure, the fact that you use SSL encrypted
protection for the forms on your site, that hundreds of
satisfied customers have already bought from your store, that
you make it very easy to find contact information such as a name
and address as well as support via email. You could educate via
your website with articles and ‘how to sections' or
newsletters and instill trust over time. In short your prospect
must trust you to part with his or her money.
In part two of this series we'll be looking at measurement
software tools, the pros and cons of logs versus ASP vendors,
average conversion rates, why it helps to track visitor activity
using the software which is available and what you should test
and tweak to improve conversion rates