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One of the fastest ways to boost profits is to turn your attention away from traffic for a while and start thinking about your conversion rate. If you’re like most sites on the web, you’re throwing a lot of sales out the window by making some simple mistakes or missing a few key pointers. Let’s talk about where to put our focus in order to maximize conversions.
Tip #1. Navigation
Nothing is more important than making it easy for your user to find what they’re looking for. Navigation starts with your choice of landing page in the first place. Most advertisers are sending clicks straight to the home page. Don’t do that. Use targeted ads and send your users straight to the most relevant page. You want them to see exactly what they expect to find based on the text of the ad. If they feel even slightly misled they will run screaming for the back button.
But navigation doesn’t end there either.
Check your internal searches to find out what your visitors want to find most, and make sure it’s placed somewhere prominent and obvious. Don’t make the mistake of trying to force your visitor into a conversion right away by making other popular navigations difficult.
This tactic backfires.
Visitors want to be persuaded before they make a purchase. If they don’t feel informed enough, secure enough, and if they don’t trust you enough, they’re not going to make a purchase. Let them navigate through their site the way their actions are telling you they want to. People are much more likely to buy if they feel like they arrived at the conclusion on their own.
Tip #2. Images
Images are arguably the most important aspect of landing page design. Humans are visual creatures, and our first impressions are typically formed on sight alone. If the landing page looks haphazard, old, unmaintained, clumsy, or cluttered, you’re going to lose a lot of ground in the first second of the visit.
Users expect a clean, professional from the second they land. Keep these four principles in mind.
1. Meaningful – Images have implications, even with the most basic of shapes. For example, to users, a horizontal line usually means “stop reading.” Photographs tell a story. No matter how basic the image, always consider what it means to your audience.
2. Custom – A stock photo here or there is fine for blogging, but when it comes to site design, and landing pages specifically, your images need to be custom made. If your images aren’t unique, it’s difficult to present a consistent brand image and nearly impossible to portray a unique selling proposition.
3. Logical – All too often I see landing pages with beautiful images that just don’t make sense for the site. Approach images logically by using them in a way that makes sense for the user. At the same time, think logically about your images and split test them for maximum benefit.
4. Clean – Images should not clutter your landing page or distract from text. They must always serve to enhance the experience. An image that fits right in between two paragraphs as part of the narrative is always better than an image of a smiling model wearing a headset (not that a little of both is always a bad thing).
Tip #3. Content
The content of your landing page is all about the user. Visitors don’t want to know your life story or why your business is better than the rest. They want to know how to solve their problem. Keep the following in mind:
• “Unique” isn’t enough – It’s not enough to say that your content isn’t plagiarized or even that it’s creative. Instead, it needs to serve a unique purpose. The content of your landing page should serve a purpose that isn’t met by any other page on the web. Content should have its own unique selling proposition.
• Forget SEO, at least for now – If you think about keywords while you design your landing page, it’s going to end up being junk. Optimize for user satisfaction. Keyword stuffing doesn’t work for search engines anyway.
• Be “neutral” – When we say neutral, we mean that you don’t want to go for the hard sale. Most visitors are savvy enough to realize that they can’t take anything you say for granted. Instead of getting promotional, get specific. Focus on the “how” of your product or service. How is it going to help them solve their problem? How is it different (different, not better) from the alternatives? It’s important to recognize that, in this context, neutral doesn’t mean formal or unopinionated. Personality is good for content, and those who take strong stances with no apologies are likely to win over those who agree.
• It’s all about the user – Pretty sure we mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. This is one of the most common problems we come across: sites that spend too much time bragging.
• Address concerns before the user has them – The default response to any buying opportunity is to say “no thanks.” We all have low-level fear and skepticism before making any purchase or commitment. Address these concerns before the user even has them. We made sure to do exactly that with our link building service landing page, by discussing not just what we do, but what we don’t do. This has had a tremendously positive impact on conversions. Find out what your users most common objections are right now, and address them as quickly as possible.
Tip #4. Call-to-Action
Everybody knows they need a call-to-action, but this is also one of the most common places where mistakes are made. The type of call to action you use is highly subjective and depends a great deal on what you’re selling, and for how much.
If you’re trying to sell a service that costs tens of thousands of dollars, they’re going to want to talk to you. It’s as simple as that. You must have a phone number and other contact information in place, and this is where you should be putting most of your efforts.
If you’re selling something on a smaller scale, the contact information plays less of a part, but it must be there.
If you’re selling products, it’s important to have both “buy now” and “add to cart” buttons. By giving them the choice of placing an item in their shopping cart, they won’t feel like they are making as big a commitment, and they can keep shopping. Once something ends up in their shopping cart, they are almost guaranteed to buy it.
Be sure to split test your call to action. You want to try different images, different text, different fonts, and different placements. Test as much as you can, and always think about new things to test. It’s amazing how much a small change can have a big impact.
Tip #5. Credentials and Featured Badges
This is one of the best things you can do to build trust with your visitors. We’ve seen pretty dramatic improvements in our conversion rate after adding a rotating badge demonstrating that we’ve been featured in sites like Forbes and SEOmoz.
Visitors are naturally hesitant to work with you or buy your products. By default, they have no reason to trust you. One of the easiest ways to overcome this is to demonstrate that organizations they are familiar with have been more than happy to mention you or endorse you.
If you can add certifications on top of that, it also does a great deal for your credibility.
If you haven’t been featured on any prominent sites or earned any credentials, get started now. It’s worth it for the conversion rate boost, let alone the referral traffic.
Tip #6. Loading Time
The loading time has a very strong and direct relationship with your conversion rate. Your users always feel like they’re in a hurry, whether true or not, and they won’t wait around to see what you have to offer when they know there are hundreds of other options to choose from, and millions of other ways they could be spending their time.
Invest in high speed hosting, and keep needless clutter off your site. Make sure the most important parts of the page (for the user) load first, and that the page doesn’t suddenly reorganize itself as soon as more images and multimedia finish loading.
Tip #7. Responsive Design
Roughly 15 percent of web traffic is on a tablet or a smartphone. That’s almost a sixth of your potential customers. If they visit your site and it looks ugly on their device, odds are good they’re going to pack their bags and head elsewhere. Meanwhile, study after study confirms that mobile users are more engaged, wealthier, and more likely to make a purchase than desktop users.
Responsive design ensures that your landing page looks perfect on every device. It means that images and text are clearly visible without side-scrolling; that buttons and links are large enough to be pressed with a finger; and that users get the experience they expect from a smartphone or tablet.
Without responsive design, you’re more or less sacrificing 15 percent of your traffic without giving it a second thought.
The key to a higher conversion rate is to put the user first. They’ve seen enough infomercials and scam sites to last a lifetime. Put the focus on their unique problem, how you can help solve it, and giving them the information they need to feel comfortable with a purchase. Test your calls-to-action and be sure to give them contact information.
Stop leaving sales on the table.