Conversion rate optimization is the art and science of increasing the conversion rate on a website. A conversion occurs when the user takes action on a specific goal. Conversion rate optimization uses several methods to encourage the user to achieve the goal. It’s a combination of creative design and content, psychology, science and statistics.
A typical conversion process involves three steps:
- find out where the user is getting stuck by analyzing the analytics
- A/B testing to statistical confidence to determine the best solution
- update the website with the new change and continue testing
With this 3-step process in mind, once you have found the page(s) that are blocking your users, there are some areas of the page design you should look at first.
Call to Action
The number one rule for Call to Actions is never have two CTAs on a page. The only exception to this rule is when you have both “buy” and “trial” buttons. Your CTA needs to be the primary focus on the page and it must be interesting enough for the user to take action. Having two CTAs causes the user to slow down and think more about what they want. The user should only have one decision to make, not multiple decisions. The goal is to bring them down a funnel of yes / no questions.
Each page has a purpose. There is a specific action that you want the user to take on each page. Before you do page layout, ask where the user needs to go and what action does the user need to take to convert.
It is absolutely essential that a website has a layout that promotes visual flow and forces the user to see your CTA and click on it. How do you make sure the user sees and clicks on your CTA? Use graphics with arrows that point to your CTA. Add images of people with their eyes looking toward your CTA, or people pointing with their hands or angling their body at the CTA. A website visitor will look at what the person is looking at or pointing to.
Words have power. More specifically, passive words cause inaction and active words cause action. For example, if you have a form where you want the user to register for an event, you would use the words “Register now” to encourage immediate action. Other action words are “Get,” “Join,” “Sign up,” or “Go.” The word “Submit” may sound like an action word, but it has a connotation of loss of control that has a passive meaning.
In this test example, three different words were tested on a navigation page: Sale, Deals and Clearance. Can you guess which test won? The winner was variation C. It won with a 20% lift.
When you are selling a product or a service, one of the things you want to emphasize is your product’s benefits and top features. Bullet points are a way to draw attention to these features and benefits. However, too many bullet points are distracting. Use no more than three bullet points for each product or service. Create the page so that speed readers can skim and get the content and detailed-type readers can continue reading more.
No Credit Card
If your website offers a free trial for your product or service, one of the best conversion tricks is to have “No credit card required.” By not requiring a credit card, you reduce the user’s risk to try your product. People are suspicious and risk-averse when it comes to entering their credit card online. You want to eliminate all possible risk so that the user takes action on your CTA. It is one less thing they need to do to start your trial. The best trials only ask for an email and request additional information later.
Colors and Fonts
Red may be your favorite color, but red may not be the right color for your website because it often means stop or warning. There is an entire psychology behind color and the emotion and meaning that each color evokes. Choosing your website colors is determined by A/B testing. For example, create two different pages for your A/B test, one with an orange CTA button and one with a green CTA button. See which CTA gets the most clicks. You will find that the color is not as important as the contrast in colors.
When choosing colors, pick the colors that are opposite each other on a color wheel. Why is this? Opposing colors create the most contrast. For example, purple and yellow are on opposite sides of the color wheel and provide a stunning contrast. There are three colors to consider in a button: the text font color, the button color, and the page background color.
Font size is another key metric that determines conversion rate. An 8 point font is very small, and a 24 point font is very large. Something in the middle is your best bet. A 12 or 14 point font is easy to read and not too obnoxious. This is especially important for pages that get a lot of mobile visitors or visitors that are over 45 years old.
The type of font also has an effect on conversion rate. You may have to select a font style that is approved by your corporate brand, but if that is not a requirement, choose a Sans Serif font which seems to have a higher conversion rate than other fonts. Sans Serif is easy to read, which is one reason why web pages with this font get higher conversions.
Pop-ups, Sliders, Surveys and Chatbots
Popups, sliders and surveys are tools that boost the conversion rate of a website if they are used correctly. The goal of using these tools is to increase user engagement and get new leads without annoying your website users.
A popup that is correctly executed can increase your conversion rate over 15%. The key to effectively using a popup is how it interacts with the user. When a popup appears immediately on a website, the visitor has not had a chance to see your content. This is the worst time to show a popup. The user has to close the popup to read the page contents. A better option is to present the popup as a trigger or on a timed basis, for example, when the user scrolls to the bottom of the page. The best use of a popup is on exit of the page. It triggers when the user is about to leave the page or site. For mobile, use a mobile banner which is Google-safe.
Sliders are another option for boosting conversion rates and they are less intrusive than pop-ups. A slider appears at the bottom or the side of your web page and allows the user to still view and read the page. There are two types of sliders: lead sliders and offer sliders. Lead sliders capture leads by using a form such as “Get a Quote” or “Free Estimate.” Offer sliders present an offer, discount or coupon such as “$100 Off” or “Holiday Sale.” The benefit of sliders is that they can be minimized and visitors can open them later, like when in checkout to get a coupon code.
Surveys and chatbots are an unobtrusive way to gather information about your users in a way that does not block the contents of the page. You may think you know what your customers want, but if don’t ask for their opinions, you are wasting money on your marketing campaigns. A survey can ask useful questions such as “Why did you visit the site” or “Did you find what you were looking for.” Surveys help you better understand your customers and your market so that you can develop products and services that appeal to your target audience. The questions can be open-ended text fields or a short list of radio buttons to click and submit. Just like pop-ups and sliders, surveys can be timed or triggered by the user’s position or length of time on the page. The best surveys are one-question surveys. After the first question, the survey response drops significantly.
Chatbots are a better way to gather user information. Chatbots help users find products and services quickly on a busy site. They can answer pre-sale questions and support questions. Chatbots learn and become smarter. The data collected from chatbots is vast and provides insights about your audience and customers.
For examples of pop-ups, sliders and surveys, click here.
There are many elements in the conversion rate optimization process. To start you must understand your site metrics and have a conversion baseline that you measure against. This baseline should connect to the revenue and/or profit. Once you have analyzed the conversion metrics and determined where users are getting blocked from completing the goal, then you should start testing variations. Remember to limit the variables you are testing and test separately for mobile. Once complete, implement the winner and start the process again.
Greg Ahern Founder and President of Ometrics® is a fanatic about conversion rate optimization, chatbots and lead generation. Greg has been a successful Internet entrepreneur since 1994. He speaks at conferences and webinars and has built a number of internet businesses, including web marketing, web development and internet lead generation, which have been successfully acquired. Greg is the Denver Chapter Leader for the Digital Analytics Association. You can follow Greg on Twitter @gregahern and join his CRO Hacks Groups on Facebook and Slack.