Conversion rate optimization has been one of the hottest topics in the online marketing industry.

Improving the rate at which your website converts is the easiest way to increase incremental revenue.

This means with a few small tweaks, your website could be producing thousands of additional dollars. What business owner wouldn’t be interested in that?

The beautiful thing about CRO is we are taking advantage of the traffic your website is already generating. We are going to give you the best practices for turning your website into a sales machine.

Analytics: the foundation for effective CRO

One very important thing that many people don’t understand with conversion rate optimization is the importance of accurate analytics. Having the ability to measure user performance on the website is an absolute necessity to be able to get started with effective CRO.

We strongly recommend using the Google Analytics platform for your analytics needs. It is a very robust platform that has been customized for users to be able to perform conversion rate optimization.

At the core of all CRO is the split test; it comes in many forms such as A/B tests (where visitors are presented one of two versions of a page), or multivariate test that is essentially several A/B tests running simultaneously.

The bottom line is we are isolating different variables on a page. Through accurate analytics, we are able to see what option is more effective for getting the user to move forward in the sales process.

We apply web conversions and review web analytics data to discover opportunities for CRO. When an opportunity exists, we will typically run an A/B test on the two different variations.

What’s going to have the greatest impact?

When getting started on conversion rate optimization, you always want to focus on the elements that are going to make the biggest difference. You definitely aren’t going to want to start with testing if a button is more effective being green or blue. This type of change is going to have a very small impact on the overall rate at which your website converts.

When thinking about a few things that will have a significant impact on the ability for a website to convert, these things come to mind: First, you are definitely going to want to condense the number of steps in the checkout process. This might mean that you will have to combine a few of the current steps into one. That is no problem. The idea is we want to limit the number of times a user has to click another page to move forward in the process.

Second, add reviews or testimonials to your product pages. The general idea is we want to give the consumer as much confidence as possible in your product or service. When they see others have been happy with your offering, they are going to have confidence that they will have the same experience. This would be a great variable to test to see if it has an impact on the conversion rate of the site.

Take the pain out of the purchase process

How many times have you visited a website to make a purchase and it has turned into a complete headache? Customers are getting more and more options for making online purchases. The bottom line is we need to make it as easy as possible.

It is extremely important to have as short a check out process as possible. This limits the possibility of a user stepping out of the checkout funnel. An easy rule of thumb is to limit the checkout process to two steps or less.

One of the easiest ways to improve your conversion rate is to have a “guest checkout” option available. How many times have you gone to make a purchase and seen that there is a long process required for creating a user account for the site? When this is the case, I almost always abandon the purchase. We want to make sure your users aren’t experiencing similar frustration. We highly recommend having a guest checkout option available. This can make a huge difference in improving you website’s performance.

Another problem that causes users to not complete the online transaction is being presented with too many options. Being presented with an excessive number of choices can create intense anxiety for shoppers.

There was a very popular book written in 2004 by Berry Schwartz called The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less. In the book, he details how presenting users with too many options can greatly decrease the possibility of them actually making a decision. Again, we want to make sure your users don’t experience these issues.

Make your customers love you

Having repeat buyers and brand advocates are the easiest things you can do to increase sales and improve conversion rates. If your customers love your product or service, they are sure to refer their friends and family. It is very important to actually deliver what you promise on your website. Below are five things you can do to make sure your customers love your company:

  1. Amazing customer service: how many times have you had a question for a service provider and you have had to wait days to get a response? This actually just happened to me the other day. I ended up canceling my account with them and finding another provider. Make sure you don’t make this same mistake.
  2. Deliver your product or service on time: if your customer orders a product and signs up for over-night shipping, make sure you make it happen. Nothing can frustrate a customer more than having a tight deadline on a product and not getting the order on time.
  3. Get personal: interacting with your customers on a personal level is a great way to build brand loyalty. Social media is a fantastic way to make that personal connection with your customers. Having an active content marketing strategy with your blog is another way for your customers to start to know what your company is all about. The bottom line is we want your customers to become absolute brand advocates.
  4. Reward social followers: social media is an amazing platform for rewarding people that have taken the time to get to know your company. We highly recommend engaging in different giveaways or contests on your different social networks. This gives users the chance to get something for free from your company. Who doesn’t love that?
  5. Set up a referral program: people deserve a little something for telling their friends about your company. Set up some kind of referral program where brand advocates get something of value for referring your company. This will really take things to the next level as far as creating hard core loyal customers.

CRO Checklist

Below is a starting checklist you can use for getting started with conversion rate optimization. This should be a starting point for getting started with CRO efforts.

  • Is there a clear call to action on every page?
  • Is the Google Analytics JavaScrip code installed on every page?
  • Is there a phone number on every page?
  • Can you condense the number of checkout steps?
  • Are there reviews or customer testimonials on every product page?
  • Do you have a “live chat” feature available to users to get into contact with customer service in real-time?
  • Do you have a form users can fill out for a “soft conversion” on every page?
  • Do you have goals configured to analyze the checkout funnel in Google Analytics?
  • If you are doing PPC, do you have AdWords traffic segmented in Google Analytics?
  • Are there IP Address filters configured to segment (segregate) out internal traffic to the website?

Improving the conversion rate of your website is one of the easiest things you can do to boost incremental sales.

If this is a foreign concept to you, get started with the basics. Spend some time getting to know Google Analytics. If you are a private business owner, this is sure to increase your monthly revenue.

If you are looking to implement these principles at your job, it is sure to impress your boss and make you a super star in the office.

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