Conversion rate optimization:
The key to Internet marketing success
Be it on TV, the Web, through infomercials, or in person, we’ve all seen sales pitches that are too compelling to ignore. From Ab Rollers® to Quick Chops, there is a commonality with all successful products: their pitch copy was written to convert you into a customer.
Don’t wait—Get started now
Getting people to buy what you’re selling is referred to as a ‘conversion.’ But it doesn’t only apply to selling products online; it could also be getting customers to sign up for a free trial, subscribe to your newsletter, ‘Like’ your page, or share an article.
Connecting with customers and building buzz is crucial for a new business, even if you haven’t launched yet.
Many business owners feel apprehensive about generating customer connections long before the product is complete. That’s understandable—but it’s also wrong. There is a strong business case to begin promoting prior to your official launch. How so? Offer your fans and followers benefits such as early access, beta experiences, or early-adopter pricing. Provide incentive for sharing content or do pay-with-a-tweet giveaways to get fans to help you grow your audience.
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Conversion begins with the right message
Now that you have your conversion page, how can you convert the customers that show up? As a Web site or business owner, you know what you want your customers to do. But before you type anything, I invite you to clear out a few moments and answer the following questions in written format. Don’t cheat (like I do) and answer them in your head before sprinting on to the next paragraph. New doc or blank piece of paper—whatever you choose—be sure to write these down. As an example, I’ll include responses for one of my current client projects.
- What are you selling or promoting? Personal training and outdoor group fitness classes.
- What problem does your product or service solve? An experienced trainer will help you reach your goals faster – far more effective than your gym membership.
- What do you want users to do on your site / email / page, etc.? Purchase a package of training.
- Why would it benefit your users to click on / do / complete the call-to-action? They will be one step closer to achieving their goals.
- Why is it a good idea to click on / do / complete the call-to-action NOW vs. later? Pricing will go up, so they should move quickly for the best rates.
- How can you prove to your users that what you’re asking them to do is the right thing? Other happy customers have experienced great results.
- What types of incentives can you offer for their action? The trainer is currently offering promotions, such as buy-one, get-one-free, etc.
Answering these questions gives you a solid set of messages from which to work.
Get more customers with good design
Before we begin putting these messages together, it’s important we discuss the role of layout and design. Think about the way your visitors are going to be consuming your messages. The design MATTERS.
Make it obvious. Imagine your entire site or email was translated into Greek—or some language that you are unable to decipher. All you would be able to see would be the design elements and the size and placement of text. Could you figure out where you’re supposed to click? Intuitive layout is a hallmark of good design. It should be clear what a user should do. And if it’s not, work on making the call-to-action link or button more obvious.
Visual hierarchy. I like to say that content needs to ‘pay the rent’: If it’s going to be there, there better be a damn good reason. Of the information you’re trying to convey, some things are critical, others important, and others are helpful. Look over the messages you want on the page and determine the most critical, what provides additional support, and what might be great to include if there were space. Play with text sizes, weights, and colors. The design should reflect this visual hierarchy.
Above the fold. You’ll hear this term a lot, and it refers to the amount of pixels site visitors see without scrolling. Part and parcel to making it obvious, is putting the call-to-action above the fold. Don’t bury the button way at the bottom of your site – make it easy. Oh, what? You need to include a War-and-Peace length of sales copy to convince people to click on the button? No, you don’t.
Writing copy that converts visitors into customers
Once you have thought out the design and the way the copy is going to be displayed and consumed, it’s important to write your messages.
I like to use the following formula:
- Problem-solved statement. Articulate what your business can do for customers.
- Why now statement. Inspire your visitors to act now because even warm leads likely won’t return.
- Do statement. Describe what you want them to do – this is often the text with the link or on the button. Try to be brief!
- Proof + benefit statement. We’re all over-exposed to advertising, naturally leaving us pretty skeptical. Provide some proof or testimonials, and reiterate the benefit of the product or service.
How to put this in action? Let’s go back to our example for the personal trainer.
- Problem-solved statement: Reach your goal weight in record speed by working with a personal trainer
- Why now statement: Only a few spots left for this month
- Do statement: Schedule your free consultation now
- Proof + benefit statement: In only 30 days, over 500 pounds and counting – hear the results from past clients about how they dropped weight, increased energy, and felt better than they’ve ever felt before all by working with %SeattlePersonalTrainer%
Conversion rate optimization – A/B testing
Before you change your site content, make sure you make a note of your current metrics. This information will give you a baseline and help as you experiment.
Inherently, distilling your messages down to a line or two lends itself to laboring over every… single… word. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been in a conference room having great debates about something as seemingly trivial as whether or not to use the term ‘steps’ or ‘tasks’… These are where these things end up, and at that point, it’s usually all about personal style. This is ok—it’s fodder for your A/B testing.
Even if you can commit to one message, give yourself a couple options and test to see which is more successful at drawing conversions. The results might actually surprise you. While there are some very elaborate systems to manage A/B testing, it can really be as simple as running each message for 30-days and seeing which won a higher click-through. Just be sure to note other variables, for example, if you’re running a campaign in a particular month, etc.
Optimizing conversion rate will be an ongoing process. But don’t stress—the process will be rewarding. Each improvement is easily measurable and all the progress from your efforts directly benefits your bottom line.
About this article
This article is written by Hillary Bassett Ross, a Principal with Kinetic Pencil. Kinetic Pencil provides marketing strategy and web development to help small- and medium-sized businesses win on the Web. Read more articles like this at www.kineticpencil.com