December 18, 2015
One of the most effective things you can do to increase revenue is to increase your conversion rate; if you’re only getting two out of every 10 visitors to convert, it’s a much better option to learn how to optimize your website to convert four out of 10, than to double your number of visitors.
Based on time-proven tips and strategies, I’ll be sharing 12 conversion optimization tips that online business owners should consider in 2016:
1. Address the Mobile Browser: When it comes to conversion, your visitor’s mobile experience plays a major role; this is especially important when you consider the following statistics:
- More people now access the Internet on their mobile devices than on a desktop computer.
- Mobile influences eCommerce sales directly to the tune of $76.79 billion annually and indirectly to the tune of over $1 trillion annually.
- U.K. retailers lost more than £2.5billion (or approximately $3.7 billion) in sales during the 2014 Christmas shopping season due to poor mobile experience.
If you don’t cater to mobile users or if mobile users cannot properly access your site and make use of available functions, you’ll probably lose more than half of potential sales.
The solution to this is to optimize your mobile website and checkout experience; have a website that is responsive across devices, or a dedicated mobile site, and ensure that your checkout forms work well on mobile devices.
2. Work on the Sales Experience: Recent research by Showpad and Demand Metric reveals that a bad sales experience can result in up to 72 percent in lost sales, and that it often takes months or years to recover from the damage that ensues.
Whether it is the steps that lead to the order, available options or your checkout process, your sales experience matters a great deal when trying to make sales, and this should not be ignored in 2016.
3. Limit the Number of Checkout Form Fields: Research has established that introducing more form fields will always lower conversion rates, and this is worth considering as you prepare your conversion optimization strategy for 2016.
This is especially important when trying to close a deal; ask yourself if it’s absolutely necessary for a user to fill a certain form field at the moment. If it is not necessary, remove that form field to prevent a reduction in conversion; once you’ve converted the user, you can then ask for more information.
4. Limit the Number of Checkout Steps: It can be tough deciding if you should focus on building a database of your users by getting them to register on your site before they are able to checkout or if you should let them checkout as a guest. Research shows that a whopping 86 percent of shoppers do not like being forced to register before checking out, and that 58.1 percent of shoppers won’t make it past the registration form. In other words, having too many checkout steps is costing you BIG.
You can massively boost conversion by reducing the number of steps users have to take before they checkout; if you really need them to register, have them checkout as a guest and make them register before they access their purchase.
5. Embrace the Social Login: Also in line with the above point on limiting the number of checkout steps, you can boost conversions by embracing a social login; instead of asking consumers to enter a thousand details before they can order something on your website, you can simply ask them to login with Facebook or Twitter. Research shows that 77 percent of users believe social login is a better option than being asked to create fresh registration details. E-mail marketing leader MailChimp recorded a 66 percent drop in failed logins after introducing social logins.
6. Engage Customers with Content: Research shows that 42 percent of B2B marketers reported success with their content marketing efforts in 2014, and data shows that businesses are increasingly finding content marketing effective.
Content marketing works because besides educating and informing users, it creates a bond between users and their favorite brands; introduce, or enhance, a content marketing strategy focused on engaging and educating your users about the benefit of your offerings, and you’ll see a noticeable increase in sales and customer loyalty.
7. Start a Blog: Research by Hubspot shows that businesses that blog get 126 percent more leads than businesses that do not blog, and this data was corroborated by Groove when they analyzed results from their blog; according to Groove, a blog subscriber is worth 3.6 times the value of someone who visited their site directly.
Whether it is for attracting users or boost conversions, blogging works. If you don’t have a blog today, start one.
8. Optimize Your Customer Support Experience: Research shows that 78 percent of consumers have stopped an intended purchase due to poor customer service experience, and an estimated 96 percent of customers who experience poor customer service will not complain, while a whopping 91 percent will not use your services again.
If you’re looking to boost sales and conversions, work on creating a more satisfying customer experience for your users; the happier you can make your customers, the more they will reward you by buying from you and being a loyal customer.
9. Optimize Your Website Speed: Research shows that a one-second delay in site speed can result in a seven percent loss in conversions, and that as many as 40 percent of visitors will abandon your website if it takes too long to load. Your site speed will impact your sales and conversions directly, and it will also impact your brand image and perception in the mind of your users.
There are many factors that influence website speed, but your web host plays a crucial role. Focus on getting the right web host; I review different web hosts here (including Bluehost and Hostgator) based on site speed, uptime and a lot of other factors.
10. Set Up a Sales Funnel: If all you do is send consumers to your sales message, then you’re leaving money on the table. You can overcome this by setting up a sales funnel that helps you gradually develop a relationship with your audience, while gradually introducing low-end products to them before you make the big ask.
11. Emphasize Your Benefits, Not Features: Say you’re selling toothpaste and you tell people that your toothpaste is made from 102 rare ingredients from different parts of the world, this does little to communicate value to your audience and, as a result, they see no need for what you’re selling. If you tell them, however, that you incorporated 102 rare ingredients into your toothpaste to make sure that they have the cleanest teeth and the freshest breath, then you’re communicating the benefit of using your product.
Competition for sales has increased over the years, and it’s going to further increase in 2016; leave your competitors to sell features of their products and focus on communicating your benefits to experience a massive boost in conversions.
12. Include the Right Number of Options: Two things are anathema to good conversion rates; the first is availability of too many options, while the other is lack of options. In the Paradox of Choice, American psychologist Barry Schwartz reveals that giving people too many options will paralyze them, confusing them about what choice to make and as a result lead them to make no choice.
Make sure you don’t include too many options for your users; usually, if your goal is to get people to take a desired action, then make it so that that’s the only option they have; if you want someone to subscribe to your site, eliminate social sharing buttons from your landing pages.
What other tips do you have for boosting your website conversion rate? Please share in the comments section below.
Mike Wallagher is a media expert and blogging consultant who has helped more than 9,500 people start their blog through StartBloggingOnline.com