21 Secrets to Top Converting Websites – SES Toronto Liveblogging
Although the average conversion rate for a website is around 3 percent, many websites convert at 10 percent or higher. This session at SES Toronto covered what you may not be doing to reach that conversion level. The speaker was Bryan Eisenberg (founder of Grok.com and author of several books), and he provided, examples from retail sites, B2B sites, publishers and everything in between.
Bryan started out by reminding us that conversion rate is a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take. Then he asked an interesting question: If technology and tools have improved so much since the late 90s, how come conversion rates only climbed from 1.8 percent to 3 percent?
1. Communicate Your UVPs & UCPs
You have to give people a reason to buy from you. Make sure that your unique value propositions and unique campaign propositions are clear and prominent on every page of your website.
2. Make Persuasive & Relevant Offers
Make sure that customers have a reason to convert. For example, Overstock.com offers free shipping for first time customers.
3. Reinforce The Offer Site Wide
Remind your users over and over again. Whatever your offer, have it all the way to your Thank You page.
4. Maintain Scent
This is about maintaining your branding, UVP, and UCP throughout your sales funnel. Landing page optimization is not enough. You have to look at the customer’s entire journey & experience. For instance, if you’re running PPC ads, make sure that the landing page and every subsequent page in the funnel is in-line with your ad copy.
5. Make a Strong First Impression
Whether it’s a good brand story or offer, find a way to distinguish yourself.
6. Appeal to Multiple Personas/Segments
None of us have just one kind of customer. But we often overlook all of our potential customers. Different customers will interact with your content differently. So build acquisition models for each potential persona you’re targeting.
7. Don’t Do Slice & Dice Optimization
When you do A/B testing, use your concepts of personas to get better results quicker. Spontaneous users seek top sellers. Humanistic users care about reviews. Methodical users shop by category/genre. Competitive users search by other product meta info, such as make, model, brand. etc.
8. Leverage Social Commerce: Use the Voice of Customers
Let your target market create the content for your products. Amazon does this better than anyone with their users reviews, and they have 25 percent of ecommerce transactions in the US.
9. Use Reviews for Navigation
Incorporate your most viewed and most reviewed products into your navigation by figuring them prominently on your site.
10. Use Reviews for Promotions
Use customer reviews in your other marketing material — email, PPC, etc…
11. Use Review for Credibility
Reviews from independent, third party customers add a lot of credibility to your brand and products.
12. User Reviews for Feedback & Research
What you used to pay a marketing research firm tons of money for is now available for free. And there are 69 free/low-cost tools to help you make sense of the user’s experience.
13. Use Persuasion Principles Like Scarcity
Usability helps people what they need to do, but not why they need to do it! You need to create urgency to persuade the user to convert — i.e. “Only 7 left in stock – Shop Now.”
14. Make Forms Engaging
Keep the clean, short, and simple — to be both visually engaging and easy to complete. There is no need to make people users register before they check out.
15. Provide Point of Action Assurances
Leads lose their effectiveness by “6x” within the first hour. So reassure customers of when they’ll hear back from you. Also, remind them that the check-out process is secure.
16. Keep Them in the Process
As users choose items, give them the option to either keep shopping or check out.
17. Consider Email Preview
Email is an effective way to retain users. Leverage it to follow up with leads and recent customers.
18. Budget for Experience
You can’t just invest in acquisition. You also have to invest in what happens once users get to the website. So work conversion optimization into your marketing budget. And work continuously to improve your customer experience.
19. Utilize a System for Prioritization
Prioritize elements of the sales process/funnel based on how the customer interacts with the site. For example, if users click on a certain feature a lot, optimize that feature first.
20. Make Data Driven Decision
As hard as it can be to go against your own (or CEO’s) personal preferences and ego, you (or your boss) don’t necessarily represent your target market. So use the data you have to optimize the funnel. Make a To-Do list of all the problematic parts of your sales process, think up ideas on how to improve them, and then implement A/B testing to figure out what elements of any given step are impacting conversions.
21. Know How to Execute Rapidly
Develop processes for rapidly adapting content and deploying new products. Map out the implementation process and template it so that when a marketing opportunity arises, you can quickly capitalize on it.
Bonus Secret – 22. Use your Thank You Page to Sell
Since you’re not trying to register users before they by (see #14), encourage them to create an account on the thank you page. Customers will be more likely to complete the process once they’ve got what they want (i.e. made their purchase), and getting the to create an account will help you increase users retention rates.