How To Improve Your Conversion Rate
By: Michael Cheney
Hardly a day goes by that I don't get an email from someone saying:
"Michael, I just don't know what to do. We are not getting sales, nobody is signing up, we are not making any money. What is going wrong?"
They start thinking about search engines, more marketing and expensive advertising. When what they SHOULD be doing is taking a step back and saying;
"Why aren't the people who are already finding my website doing what it is I want them to do?"
If you can get to the bottom of that problem you might not even need to get more people to your website. If you can convert a high percentage of the visitors that are already finding you into sales you won't need to devote as much time and money to marketing your site in the first place. So let's talk about some quickfire ways you can improve your conversion rate.
**This Visitor Will Self-Destruct in 5 Seconds..
You have probably heard a lot of figures and the average seems to be about 4 - 5 seconds: the time you have from when somebody lands on your home page to actually convince them to remain on your site.
You don't have long - after the 5 seconds if people don't see what they want to see they will disappear - forever. What happens is when I come to your site - I am looking to get a series of questions I have in my mind answered as quickly as possible.
For example, I want to know;
- Why you are different to your competitors, maybe where you ship to, how many products do you have on your site?
- What sets you apart from everyone else in your region or in your industry?
- What do your customers say about you?
- Do you have any testimonials?
- Do you have any press coverage?
- Do you have any accreditations?
- What makes your product so special?
- What do you actually provide on this website?
I want to know all of these things in about five or six seconds.
Now it is not easy, nobody is saying that it is easy, but you do need to get over these benefits as soon as you can on your homepage. One of the ways you can start to do this is to actually bullet points of information.
**Be Ruthless With The Pages on Your Website
Take a look at your web site and pare down everything that you think is not essential. Try to take a step back, put yourself in the shoes of the customer, look at your website and look at every element and say;
"If I removed that - would my web site be any worse?"
As a customer would that make the experience any worse, would that give the customer less information?
It is quite a scary thing to do. I have been down this road myself. When you start to do this it turns around your whole perspective on what your website is actually trying to do. I have landed on some websites, as I'm sure you have, that have the opening line;
"Welcome to our home page. Welcome to ABC Ltd. We were formed in 1973 and we have 50 staff. Our core services are.."
And it just goes on and on and on - boring long paragraphs. People just don't read like this on the web. They just want something now, they want it yesterday. So you need to think about how your website content is put together.
Don't put things on your site that the managing director wants on there or things that you want on there or the graphic designer or developer wants on there. Put things on there that your CUSTOMER WANTS.
**Don't Try To Be All Things To All Men
Another way you can improve your conversion rate is to try to focus on one single goal for your website or for each page.
The problem I see a lot of people struggle with is that they are trying to do too much with their web site;
- They are trying to sell a product
- They are trying to get people on their subscriber list
- They are trying to give information to their employees
- They are trying to get new business
- They are trying to get information to customers
- They are trying to give information about the community
Just hold fire a minute and zero in on the ultimate goal of the site. What is your site's primary objective?
You need to have one goal for the site or at least one goal for each page.
**Your Website Only Needs To Do One of The Following 2 Things
To help your thinking in this there are really only two things that a web site should do. If you are in the position that you can sell directly over the web that is what you need to do - you need to be selling through your website.
If you can't do that, and there are a lot of companies that can't due to the type of business they are in, then you need to be getting people's contact information. That is it. Just two things.
Either sell to visitors or get their contact information.
Once you realise this, and it might not be a nice thing to hear, because you might look at your site and think that lots of your pages are now redundant, or that certain pages don't sell anything or get contact information. You might realise that specific paragraphs aren't getting contact information for you or selling anything. The entire creation and copywriting process of your website becomes a totally different exercise.
But if you don't focus on one of those two things then nothing is going to happen. I know from experience that not many visitors will read through your homepage, through the about page, through the services page and then dawdle along and click on contact and say;
"I will go to the enquiry form and see how much do you charge."
You might get the odd one. But you are not going to get tens, thousands or tens of thousands. You need to sell something or get contact information. Your website needs to be a machine that does one or both of those things and that is it.
This article was posted on February 28, 2007
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