4 Methodologies of Conversion Optimization

Regardless of what type of website or eCommerce platform you’re running, conversion rate management should always be top of mind for your business. Your main goal is of course to make more sales and in order to do so, you’ll need to have the right tools in place in order to improve your conversions.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

First off, let’s start off basic. You might be asking yourself, what is conversion rate optimization? Well, it’s the process of increasing your website leads and sales without spending a ton of money on attracting more visitors while reducing your visitor’s bounce rate.

It doesn’t matter if you have a small business or work for a large enterprise level company, there are many methods to monitor which headlines, images and content help you convert more visitors into customers. A great resource to get you started, is Moz‘s fantastic post on conversion optimization which includes a 91 Point Checklist on how to best optimize your site for better traffic, sales, and of course conversion! They also created a visual representation with this infographic:

There is a lot of information out there to research which methods of conversion optimization will work for your site, but the key is to experiment and find out what works for your customers and what does not.  Here are several suggestions to consider for your online business:

1. Determine the Page Objective

Start by analyzing a different group of pages (eg. product pages, category pages, homepage, about us page etc) and really think about what you want to accomplish with it. Each set of pages should have a specific objective for your business. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when analyzing the different subsets of the pages on your site:

– What is the goal of this page ?
– Do you want to increase email signups?
– Do you want to increase click through rate to another page?
– Do you want to increase revenue through this page?

Once you have a better idea of what you want to accomplish with your pages, you can then start to edit, design, and optimize those pages accordingly. Want to increase newsletter signups on your homepage? Create a signup area with a colourful button, or have a specific newsletter pop-up to grab your customer’s attention right away. There are many different strategies that you can execute once you have your objectives set in place.

2. Measure, Track, and Analyze with Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the best analytics tools on the web, and it’s free! Google Analytics can provide merchants with a lot of insight from the data and stats it collects, and with that you can:

– Identify top pages with the most traffic
– Identify pages with highest bounce rates
– Set up conversion funnels in Google Analytics
– Create custom reports and segmenting channels

And that’s just to name a few of the many things you’re able to track, analyze, and report on in Google Analytics. Use this tool to your advantage, and start measuring! You’ll be able to see right away if different strategies you have put in place are working for you, or if there are new opportunities to take advantage of (eg. a certain page might attract a lot of traffic and you don’t have any Call-to-Actions on it).

3. Review and Understand Your Competition

Understanding how your competitors are currently presenting their value propositions online is a key first step to ensure that you’ll be able to effectively compete with them. Study their landing pages to decipher motivation, anxiety, friction, & incentive that a customer might experience. You can do this by running a content audit of 3-5 competitor websites and analyze the following:

– Asses competitors’ value propositions
– Assess competitors’ messaging
– Assess competitors’ Calls-to-Action
– Assess the path to conversion (how easy/difficult is it?)

From there you can experiment with some of the ideas that your competitors are currently doing and see what works best for your target audience. Perhaps they are doing something better in some areas while you are in others. Finding the right mix will help grow your online sales. Understanding customers is often the key to a successful website, if you aren’t answering all the important questions a customer may have then you will create friction points and that means you’re leaving money on the table.

Another great area to consider is studying competitor reviews to find out what customers really want. In a recent study, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. To take advantage of the information given from customer reviews, you’ll need to first choose one of your competitors. Pick one of the bigger names in your niche simply because they’ll have a higher volume of reviews. Once you have selected your competitor, head over to a review site such as Trust Pilot and start reading what customers are saying about that competitor, remember – don’t just focus on the negative reviews, find out why some customers love your competitors, and why others hate them.

4. Become Your Own Customer

Imagine you visit your own site looking for an item. Is it easy for you to find that item and follow through to the checkout? Think about how quickly it took you to find the product and how your customers might feel if they take too long to find what they looking for. It is critical to understand what your customers are thinking when they come to your site, so take a step back and become your customer to really start to know exactly how easy/difficult it is to checkout.

Take some time to test your store as a new customer from start to finish. Here are a few suggestions:

– Browse pages
– Add product to the cart
– Change the quantity
– Search for a product
– Add another product to the cart
– Follow through to the checkout process

What you want to do is try and completely test what a new customer may do when they visit your website for the first time. Take screenshots or record yourself buying an item right through to the end of the checkout process to fully test out the experience. From this test you’ll be able to make sure shipping rates and options are working as expected as well as test all the payment options you have available. If you support credit cards, and PayPal – then place 2 orders, each one using a different payment option to ensure successful checkout. If you’re processing credit cards through a live payment processor like Authorize.net or Optimal Payments, once you place your order make sure the transaction appears in your merchant account control panel, and the money then transfers to your bank account correctly.

Measure and Adjust!

These are just a few methods of conversion optimization to get you started. The key is to understand what approach works best for your site and more importantly your customers by experimenting and measuring the success and failures of your strategies and adjust accordingly!