You’ve spent 12 months optimizing your site to the top of Google… you’re spending $5,000 per month on PPC advertising on Google and Yahoo, and you’re constantly working on optimizing your rankings and improving the ROI of your PPC campaigns.
But how well is your website converting the traffic you are sending to it?
One of the best methods of doubling or tripling not only your revenue, but your profit, is to increase your web site’s ability to convert a website visitor to a business lead or sale.
For example, let’s say you are spending $1,000 per month on search engine optimization and $5,000 per month on paid advertising (making a total monthly online marketing investment of $6,000). You’re receiving 10,000 visitors per month to your website and you’re converting 1% of those visitors, generating $15,000 in revenue.
If you just increased your website’s conversion rate to 2%, you would be generating $30,000 in revenue for no additional advertising cost. And because your advertising costs have already been covered by the original $15,000 revenue, your profitability has just skyrocketed!
But how do you improve your website’s conversion rate?
Here are 7 proven strategies to doubling or tripling your website’s conversion rate, broken down into high-impact strategies and medium-impact strategies.
High Impact Website Conversion Strategies
The following 4 strategies will have the greatest impact on your website’s conversion rate.
1. Identify your website’s primary aim – what is the main goal for your website? If you could only have your website visitor take one action, what would it be? Do you want to drive sales leads for your services? Do you want to sell more of your products? Do you want to increase your newsletter subscriptions?
Before you can even begin to start improving your website’s conversion rate you must first identify the primary aim of your website, the main ‘conversion’ action you want your website visitor to take, because the rest of the website conversion strategies are based on this primary aim.
2. Utilize a clear call-to-action strategy – now that you have identified your primary aim, you need to have every part of your website further this aim, and the best method of doing this is by adding call-to-actions throughout your website. A call-to-action is simply a prompt asking the website visitor to take an action.
For example, if you want your website visitor to subscribe to your newsletter, you would include hyperlinks and banners throughout your website with the text ‘click here for a free newsletter subscription’. If you want your website visitor to request a free consultation, you would say ‘click here for a free consultation’.
One of the biggest mistakes we see website owners making every day is not having a clear call-to-action strategy, and expecting the website visitor know what to do when they land on the website, rather than making it blatantly obvious what you want them to do. The key to utilizing a successful call-to-action strategy is to add the call-to-action throughout your sales copy and in the layout of your website, to make it extremely easy for your visitor to take the desired action. Every page of your website must include a call-to-action.
3. Make it easy for your website visitor to take the desired action – you’ve got your prospect on your website, now you need to convert them. You’ve identified your primary aim and you have a clear call-to-action strategy.
The next step is to simplify the process of taking the desired action. Generally, the more information you ask of your website visitor and the more actions you ask them to take, such as clicking to another page to complete a form, the lower your conversion rate.
For example, let’s say you’re a professional services firm with a website that has the primary aim of generating sales leads. You measure success by the number of website visitors that complete a form requesting a free consultation. To maximize your conversion rate you would include the form on every page, rather than having a link to another page on your site which has the form. And you would ask for the minimum amount of information required to follow up with that lead, such as their name, email, phone, company, position and enquiry type, rather than asking them 15 to 20 questions about themselves, their company and their needs.
4. Improve your offer – when you ask your website visitor to take an action on your website you are ‘offering’ them something of perceived value, such as a free consultation, a free newsletter subscription or a retail saving of 20% on a particular product. By increasing the perceived value of your offer you will increase the number of people that take you up on that offer and, in turn, increasing your conversion rate.
For example, let’s say you are a legal firm specialising in real estate development with the primary aim of your website to get real estate developers to contact your firm for a free consultation. The very first thing you can do to increase the perceived value of your offer it to add a value to it, for example ‘click here for a free consultation ($350 value)’. Just by stating a value on the call-to-action and on the title of the form, you’ve increased the perceived value of your offer.
Taking this strategy one step further, you can dramatically increase the perceived value by offering a free report on a topic of value to your prospects, such as ‘The 7 Biggest Mistakes Most Real Estate Developers Make Throughout The Construction Process ($497 value)’. Because information is ‘king’ on the Internet, the higher the perceived value of your information, the more people will want it and the higher your website conversion rate will be.
Integrating these 4 strategies into your website is an absolute must if want to maximize your website’s conversion rate.
Medium Impact Website conversion Strategies
The following 3 strategies, although not as powerful as the high impact strategies listed above, will also improve your website’s conversion rate, to varying degrees.
5. Improve the design of your website – with the rapid growth of Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, YouTube, WordPress and MySpace Internet users are quickly becoming more sophisticated in their expectations of what a website should look like. Depending on your market, the initial impact of your website’s design, the ‘first impression’, is the beginning of your value offering and is playing a greater role in website conversions every day.
If you have a graphically-elegant, eye-catching website your website visitor will instinctively value the content of your site (and your company) above that of a competitor that has a lower quality website. More importantly, your website visitor will be more open to your website content if the first impression is positive.
6. Improve your sales copy – it has been proven by direct marketers time and time again over the past hundred or so years… it is the words that sell. Masters such as Claude Hopkins, John Caples and Gary Halbert have generated millions of dollars in sales through the user of well crafted sales copy that compels the reader to take action on their offer. Websites are the same.
The words you use on your website are the only words a website visitor can read to make a decision on whether to take action on your offer or not. And, like any sales person, the better you make the ‘sales pitch’ on your website, the more people will take action on your offer.
7. Add testimonials from satisfied clients – because the Internet is a haven for scams, one of the greatest challenges online is to establish your company’s credibility, that is, that you will do what you say you will do. By adding testimonials to your website, you are showing your potential customers that there are other people like themselves who have benefited from your services. Generally, the more testimonials you can include on your website, the better.
So there you have it…
The 7 strategies listed above are the same strategies we use on a daily basis to build profit-pulling websites that generate maximum conversions for our clients and establish them as leaders in their field.
Think about it… how much more can you spend on your advertising if your website is converting 3 times as much as your nearest competitor? This is where the competitive advantage lies, and these strategies will soon be a must for any website owner who wants to compete in an increasingly competitive (and soon unaffordable) online landscape.
If you implement the 7 website conversion strategies outlined above you will definitely see a massive increase in your website’s conversion rate and, in turn, your profitability.
Alex Cleanthous represents Web Profits, a full service online marketing agency providing search engine optimisation, web design and pay per click advertising services.
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