Having a designer create a great looking website is only the beginning. The Field of Dreams approach to online marketing and sales simply does not work. It takes work to make a web presence work and in this post we outline 3 conversion rate optimization hacks you can use.
The first step in souping up your web presence to make in a revenue generating machine is to gather information.
Here is some basic information to gather that will help you progressively optimize your website to be more effective at turning raw prospects into probably purchasers.
Before you make changes to your design, check in with your existing customers, the ones who are buying from you today, and let them tell you some of the things you don’t know you don’t know. You want to make it easy for them to give you the information you are looking for. You will probably also want to give them something in return for the valuable information they are giving you.
Some questions you will want to be able to answer:
- What would your customers like to see that they are not seeing?
- What do your customers like about the way your website is currently set up?
- What could your customer do without?
Ask more general questions first, and zero in on specific changes. This may mean going back to customers more than once to gather information. Be sure to let them know you are doing this to enhance their experiences with your site. You will be surprised how willing many customers are to help and how much they want to see your efforts be successful.
You can actually look at how your customers are interacting with your web pages. Crazy Egg is a tool that allows you to set up a snapshot of a page on your website and then, after placing certain code on the snapshot, will track the ways customers interact with the content on that page. Over time, this snapshot will generate a heat map that will tell you precisely which areas of your web page is being clicked on the most–brighter areas are popular, darker areas are not so popular.
This kind of research will allow you to optimize the areas that are already drawing the most attention and will show you areas you can begin to experiment with to see if you can draw more attention to them.
If your page has a call to action (CTA), you will definitely be able to tell how much attention, your CTA is receiving in comparison to the rest of the page.
One version of a page will probably not be sufficient. However, you won’t know this without doing some testing. Basic A/B testing is a standard practice for deciding between two different layouts, or two different CTAs. However there are quite a few other variables it will be helpful to test in order to really optimize your marketing efforts.
Sending your messages to filtered or segmented portions of your lists at different times of the day, week or month can yield different results in terms of open and click-through rates.
Some headlines and emotional hooks will be more effective with different segments of your lists. It’s worth testing these to optimize conversions.
Different colors can be more impactful. Be sure to factor this into your testing.
Font sizes, spacing, sizes of the calls to action, etc. can also influence conversion rates. For some marketers, these are ongoing experiments because of changing trends in content presentation across the web, and how these trends affect what customers are expecting to see.
It is hard to know in advance what is going to work without asking, observing, testing. However, if you employ this approach in a strategic fashion, with a well-reasoned plan, you will be able to gather information that will lead to increases in conversions. The beauty of this simple approach is that will practice, you will find yourself getting better information faster, and the progressive cycle of optimization will be delivering results faster. Just Ask, Observe and Test.
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.