It’s about time

People are finding your website, but what are they doing when they get there? Are they buying your products or services, signing up for a newsletter, requesting additional information or otherwise interacting and engaging with your website?

If not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Conversion rate one measure of your online marketing success. While branding plays an important role in any decent marketing effort, and website activity is an important step, lead and sales conversions are where the rubber meets the road.

A conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who convert into a sale, a lead, a sale or some other kind of targeted goal. It’s measured by dividing the number of conversions by the number of website visitors during a given period of time. For example, if you ran a campaign in January to get people to sign up for your newsletter and that effort drove 3,000 visitors to your website (or landing page) and out of those visits, 150 signed up for your newsletter, your conversion rate for this effort was 5%.

While it may seem reasonable to set simple lead and sales conversion goals, you need to be a little careful here. Not all products and services lend themselves well to traditional conversion goals. Know your sales cycle. If you sell simple and inexpensive products or services that are well known, you likely have a short sales cycle. Short sales cycles can be more easily measured with conversion rates as the expectation is for a sale, lead or other measurable conversion during the first website visit.

Longer sales cycle products and services like jets or business consulting services are higher cost and complexity, requiring a longer and more involved sales cycle. For these, conversion rates should not be measured in terms of sales and leads. Repeat visits, time on site and key pages viewed or combinations of such activities can and should be set as conversion goals. A combination of post-click goals can be combined to create aggregated values of each website visit. This can be expressed as a dollar amount with a certain threshold set as a conversion goal.

So in basic terms, how do you boost conversion rates?

Find the numbers. The first step is to know what your conversion rate is today. Use Google Analytics or a similar tool to track your visitor data. This information can help you create a behavior flow report, which can show you the pages that most often drive people to take action and the pages that most quickly lead people away. With that information, you can do more of what people respond to and optimize (update) the pages that aren’t driving engagement.
Know your audience. Digital marketing allows you to target a deep, but narrow audience. It’s narrow in the sense that you can have a very specific target audience, such as fans of 1990’s games, movies and memorabilia or fans of Ford Mustangs made between 1965 and 1967. But it’s deep in that you’re targeting every fan of that specific genre all over the world. Such specific target audiences likely will not respond to the same messages and styles as many other specific genres.
Be what they need. Your visitors made it to your website for a reason. What are they looking for? How can you help them find it? Or better yet, how can you supply what they want or need, or answer their questions? One huge mistake people make is asking visitors for information (such as name, email, phone, etc.) too quickly before giving information. Think from the customer/client perspective. They came to your website to get information, not give it. Also, it today’s digital world, people don’t want to be sold, they want to be in control. Give them what they are looking for, be a resource, make them feel in control. After you’ve developed a virtual, digital relationship with visitors, it’s OK to ask for their information, it it’s done in conjunction with giving them something of value that they want or need.
Test everything. Test every campaign, advertising platform, ad format, image, message, call to action, etc. Boost what works, jettison what doesn’t.
Don’t neglect the conversion funnel. An old mainstay of traditional marketing strategy, a conversion funnel shows how you move customers from awareness to interest to consideration to preference to conversion. Be aware of your industry’s specific sales cycle when you build your funnel and set up conversion goals. Pair your ideas with the analytical data to see what works and what doesn’t.
Optimize your pages. Design matters, and trends change often. Keep your pages appealing and to the point. Provide visitors with easy ways to engage with you or your website at every point so when they are ready to take that next step with you, it’s there and it’s easy. And make sure your pages load fast for SEO.
Don’t be afraid of trying something new. Styles change. Don’t be afraid to test new angles but make sure you do so in a test and control environment. Stick with what works, pause or delete what doesn’t.
Pay attention to your calls to action. Use different kinds of calls to actions with different types of buttons and languages. Experiment with button size and color. Use strong words and images to catch your viewers’ attention
Use testimonials. Website visitors increasingly are relying on the opinions and experiences of other “regular people.” Take advantage of that trend by including testimonials from your customers. Honesty is always the best policy here. If customers were compensated for their testimonial, it’s best to disclose the relationship.
Use specific keywords. Specific (long tail) keywords tend to have better conversion rates than general keywords. People searching for specific models or product numbers are likely to have researched the product and know what they want to buy. Make the buying process easy for them.
Use negative keywords. These will prevent your ads from showing to those who are searching for something similar but irrelevant. For example, if you offer appliance repair, a negative term such as “book” will prevent your ad from showing for searches for “dishwasher repair books”. Without that negative, broad- or phrase-match keywords would trigger your ad to show.
Ask for as little information as possible. When asking for information in an opt-in form, don’t ask for more than you need. Too long of a form can lead people to bounce away.
Consider adding a guarantee. People are more likely to sign up if there’s less risk to them.
Be specific. What is your unique selling proposition? Clearly state the benefits of your products or services and how it is unique or better than that offered by your competitors.
Protect privacy. Include a privacy statement on opt-in forms to help your customers feel more confident sharing their information.
Keep it simple. Don’t offer too many options. Don’t make people think too hard. If a visitor feels overwhelmed, the back button is just a click away.
Avoid jargon. Fancy, complicated business language is more likely to lead people away from your page than to lead them to buy from you. Use conversational language.
Be trustworthy. Tell the truth. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of your information by using testimonials and backing up your claims with facts and citations. Point out the expertise in your organization. Make it easy for people to find and contact you.

If you’d like a few tips on how to increase conversion rates in your specific industry, or if you have a product or service you’re trying to market online, feel free to contact us here at AdEdge at (203) 682-4585 or email us at