Few things are more frustrating than having lots of traffic on your website and little business to show for it. With the amount of time you spend perfecting your SEO, and the amount of money you pay in advertising, you want people clicking those "Buy Now" or "Hire Me" buttons. If a measly conversion rate is a challenge your company is facing, you can take comfort in knowing that you're not alone. A 2014 study shows that over 75% of companies aren't satisfied with their conversion rate. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to start transitioning some of those website users into paying customers.
Design Your Target Homepage
Getting people who've clicked on your website, to stay on your website, begins with your homepage. You've probably heard before that you only have a few seconds to impress your visitors before they click onto something else, so having a homepage that works for your company is huge.
What works for your company? Unfortunately, that exact formula is going to be different for everyone and you'll have to spend some time playing with options like layout, headlines, button sizes, and offers until you're able to identify what jives with your audience. You can do this by hand over time, or through A/B testing tools like Optimizely, Unbounce, and Google Analytics' Content Experiments, which allow your website traffic to be split between two versions of your website. After observing which changes bring the best results, you can then use those statistics to make smart decisions about your homepage. But whether you're selling jewelry or selling board games, marketing your graphic design services or your construction company, there are a few things every homepage should keep in mind:
- It should load at ludicrous speed.
- It should have a professional look.
- It should include a call to action.
- It should be mobile-friendly.
- It should explain what your business does in 3 seconds or less.
If the majority of your site's customers are leaving immediately, your problem may have less to do with your homepage and more to do with where your customers are coming from. You may want to check that your social media, PPC advertising, and directory listings aren't suggesting your company is something that it's not.
Illustrate Your Reputation
You can convince your site's visitors to invest in your products and services by showcasing your past successes. This isn't as easy as having a lot of Facebook likes or simply making boastful statements. Today's consumers are smarter than that.
One way you can truly demonstrate your value is by including testimonials. If you haven't already captured some of these online or through surveys, reach out to past customers and clients you've worked with extensively. Ask them to be specific about why they were satisfied. Include their name as well as a customer photo or company logo.
Weak Testimonial: Dr. Jones does great work. Strong Testimonial: Dr. Jones has been serving our family for over 10 years. Whether we're there for a teeth cleaning, cavity filling, or whitening, he and his staff help to ensure we have a positive experience at every appointment! The child-friendly waiting room and prize box make his office a great choice for kids. I would recommend Dr. Jones to any family with young children.
If your company is still new, you may not have a lot of testimonials to provide. Including a case study may be a better option. A case study is like a success story. It introduces a unique problem, describes how that problem will be solved, takes the reader through the steps towards the solution, and then examines the results. Many new companies offer a discount on their products and services to customers who are willing to participate in a case study. Customers get a sweet deal and you're able to start building your reputation. While case studies were traditionally long, written documents, today's case studies can take all forms, including audio and video.
Another way to boost your company's image on your website is by including logos. Whether you've worked with big-name clients, you were interviewed on popular networks, you spoke at recognizable colleges, or your advice was published in major newspapers or magazines, including the logos associated with these organizations can quickly demonstrate to your website users your company's experience and prestige. Lead Them to Their Destination What do you want users to do once they've arrived at your website? Download your ebook? Subscribe to your newsletter? Buy a product? Fill out a contact form? Once you have an ultimate goal in mind, you can better design a website that takes your users from Point A (a visitor) to Point B (a buyer). Unfortunately, just like your homepage, the exact pathway to a sale is going to be different for every company, but there are a few components that will stay the same all across the board.
Have a Laser-Focus
One is to keep things simple by focusing on just one action per page. Imagine finding yourself on a road that goes in all different directions. You'd have a difficult time deciding which path to choose. You might just say "forget it" and turn back around. The same holds true for your website. Don't give your visitors too much stuff to think about or too many options to choose from. Instead, dedicate each page to guiding them to a single place.
Design a Strong Call To Action
It's been proven that a clear, strong, call to action is more successful than one that is a casual suggestion. What makes a strong call to action? First off, it's placed in prominent spots around your site so visitors see it. Secondly, it's specific. A button that says "Yes, Send Me My Free Marketing Guide!" is more inviting than "Send My Guide!" and much, much more inviting than "Click Here." Lastly, a strong call to action gets to the point. "Start your free trial today" is more powerful than "If you'd like to learn more about this program, you can start a free trial with us."
Make Engagement Irresistible
Moving from site to site, abandoning that tunnel from Point A to Point B, is way too easy for web users, so you have to have incentives that make continuing on the path, and responding to your call to action, the better choice. The best techniques are to offer something free, offer something quick, offer something for a limited time, or make something really easy.
Follow Up On Your Leads
This may seem like an obvious point to include. In fact, it may not seem like much of a secret at all, but there are an incredible number of small business owners who offer a contact form on their company website and then never respond to messages. Interested clients and customers are banging on your door! Unless you answer them (and preferably within 48 hours), you'll never know what kind of opportunities, connections, or money they'll bring.
Make sure that you're testing out your contact form on a regular basis, and that regardless of how busy you or your company gets, you take a moment to answer that question, get that quote, or write that proposal. Even if you can't provide the product or service they're looking for, you can still provide great customer care, and that's something worth giving!