Websites are among the most effective channels to drive conversions, yet many marketers aren’t optimizing them to their full potential. Confusing, bland, and disengaging sites can cause a visitor to leave before they interact with your content or complete your conversion goal. But with website conversion optimization (WCO), you can improve the customer experience and drive more conversions as a result.
Website conversion optimization is a data-driven scientific methodology that involves careful analysis and user research, the thoughtful development of hypotheses, and a controlled experiment to test the validity of the hypotheses. This marketing strategy enables businesses to leverage customer and web traffic data to optimize their messaging and content so that it resonates with various segments and individuals in their audience.
In this guide to website conversion optimization, we offer some tips to help you engage your website visitors and ultimately drive more conversions.
Businesses That Should Consider Website Conversion Optimization
Website conversion optimization is beneficial to many types of businesses, whether you’re focused on improving the customer experience or increasing conversions like leads or purchases. Some businesses that should consider leveraging website conversion optimization include:
- B2B/SaaS companies: Website conversion optimization helps B2B and SaaS companies boost website and landing page performance by grabbing their customers’ interest and engaging them to stay on site through the buyer’s journey to whatever the conversion goal may be. These companies use WCO to convert website visitors into leads for their sales teams.
- E-commerce companies: E-commerce continues to rise in popularity, but shopping cart abandonment still costs e-commerce companies over $18 billion in sales each year, according to Shopify. WCO can help solve this challenge by delivering user-friendly websites and addressing common barriers to conversion, such as friction in the checkout process.
- Financial services: Since financial services companies deal with a lot of confidential information, it is crucial that they provide a seamless customer journey and eliminate any friction points. From loan applications to bank account sign-ups, website visitors should feel confident entering their information on your website. Consider prominently featuring any applicable security badges and implementing other elements that would reinforce a sense of security.
- B2C subscription services: WCO can help subscription services increase their subscriber base and sales. On top of eliminating any friction points in the subscription process, these companies should also consider leveraging customer testimonials to give off a sense of community and draw in prospective subscribers.
How to Assess Conversion Rates
Before you can implement WCO on your website, it’s important to measure your baseline conversion rate. (There’s nowhere to go but up, right?). Of course, it can be helpful to look at industry benchmarks (the average B2B lead conversion rate is 2.4% and the average e-commerce conversion rate is 2.58%), but every business is unique and will vary from these numbers.
To calculate your baseline conversion rate, find the number of conversions, or desired actions, that your target audience has taken and divide it by the total number of unique visitors or user sessions. [Desired actions may include filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, scheduling a free demo or trial (for B2B businesses), and making a purchase (for e-commerce companies)]. Marketers typically measure conversion rates within a particular period of time, like a month or a quarter. This baseline conversion rate will become a crucial piece of your WCO program, as you’ll measure any future changes in conversion rate against it.
Common Tactics to Improve Conversion Rates
Once you’ve determined your baseline conversion rate, you should then set a goal of where you want your conversion rate to be. Then you’re ready to proceed with optimizing your website to achieve that goal. Here are some common tactics to consider as you get started:
- Incorporate pop-ups: Adding pop-ups to your website can help you generate interest in new content or offers. A 2019 study by Sumo found that pop-ups had an average conversion rate of 3.09%.
- Add reviews and testimonials: Before someone invests in your product or service, they want to know how other businesses that are similar to theirs have used your product and succeeded with it. It is crucial to show reviews and testimonials to provide proof that the things your website says about your solution are true.
- Remove distractions: It’s in the name—distractions (e.g. unnecessary animations, too many conflicting colors or fonts) pull visitors’ attention away from important content. Your website should be straightforward to navigate, with clearly visible headlines and CTAs to tell the visitor what you do and how they can learn more.
- Include third-party sign-up services: Third-party logins can help you improve usability, enabling new visitors to sign up quickly using their existing Facebook or Google account. The process reduces the time and labor it takes to create a new account, making it easier for visitors to convert.
- Add live chat: Adding a live chat function to your web page can help visitors get answers to their questions quickly. You can also configure these tools to create a personalized chat experience that takes into account previous behaviors the visitor has performed on your site, such as content they downloaded (for B2B) or items they purchased (for e-commerce).
- Personalize the customer experience: Personalization is one of the best tools to improve the customer experience and increase conversions. By personalizing elements like headlines, CTAs, and more, you’ll create a tailored experience for each of your website visitors.
- Design attractive landing pages: Landing page design affects the usability of a web page. The more user-friendly the page is, the more likely people are to stick around and explore the site, increasing conversion odds. Consider your use of white space and color contrast when optimizing your page design.
- Write crisp website copy: Just like a well-designed website has the potential to convert your website visitors, so does your website copy. Make sure your web page content is well-written and concise while clearly communicating the value of your product or service.
- Implement a strong call to action: Your CTA invites users to take a certain action and should set clear expectations for what will happen after the customer completes this action. For example, in B2B, if your eBook CTA is “Download Now,” your eBook should automatically download once a visitor clicks on it.
- Optimize forms: A confusing or poorly designed form can prevent users from converting. Clear and comprehensive forms are more likely to generate higher conversions, leading to higher returns. Consider testing the length of your forms to see what converts better, or pre-populating form fields with information you already have about the visitor.
For the best results, continuously iterate on your ideas to find what has the biggest impact on your conversion rate.
Metrics to Track in Website Conversion Optimization
Once you’ve come up with a list of ideas to try on your website, you need to determine how you will measure your success. Of course, the goal of website conversion optimization is to increase conversions, but there are other metrics you should track to measure your overall website performance and refine your efforts.
Here are some additional metrics to consider:
- The number of visitors: As you continue to optimize your website, it’s important to track the number of visitors on your site weekly, monthly, and quarterly. This number will help you measure your conversion rate, and it can also tell you if your marketing programs are successful in driving traffic to your website. Track both new and returning visitors on your website to see how those change over time as well.
- Bounce rate: Bounce rate is a ratio comparing your total visitors to those who quickly exit your website, often because they can’t find what they need immediately. Bounce rates affect your site’s SEO ranking, leading to poor visibility in search results. To reduce bounce rate, use web traffic and user interaction data to identify areas where you can improve your content and make it more effective.
- Exit pages: An exit page is the last page a visitor views before leaving your site. Looking deeper into exit pages can help you identify areas of improvement. For example, if several users have the same exit page, you can analyze the page and optimize it according to your visitors’ behaviors.
- Device source: Your website experience varies from desktop to mobile, so it’s important to understand how users are viewing your site and optimize it accordingly. This may mean running device-specific campaigns to provide the best user experience possible.
- Interactions per visit: By looking at where and how often visitors are interacting with your site content, you can see what is working and what might need to be optimized to encourage future engagement.
- Session duration: This tells you how long a visitor stays on your site. If you have a short average session duration (e.g. 10-20 seconds), you’ll want to see how you can improve the customer experience to keep visitors on your site longer and ultimately convert.
Using Machine Learning for Website Conversion Optimization
While website conversion optimization is beneficial as a marketing strategy, the approach you use to execute this strategy can make all the difference in your success. Some websites show the same version of their site to every last visitor. But these websites, which are taking a one-size-fits-all approach, are leaving money on the table since they only appeal to a subset of their entire traffic base.
With a machine learning-based website conversion optimization solution, you can deliver a unique experience to each unique website visitor. While your website visitors will enjoy a tailored customer experience that appeals to their needs and interests, your marketing team will also realize the benefits of machine learning by driving more conversions and revenue.
So, how does machine learning-based optimization work? Based on contextual, behavioral, and demographic/firmographic data, the machine is constantly learning what resonates with each individual website visitor and adjusts itself to present the right personalized experience accordingly. With machine learning, you’ll create tailored experiences, at every touchpoint every time, to optimize your site and increase conversions and revenue.
If you’re ready to optimize your website and your conversion rate, Intellimize can help. Powered by machine learning, our Continuous Conversion™ solution automatically personalizes your website for each visitor in the moment, and automatically adapts and adjusts even as their behaviors inevitably change, which helps increase your site conversion rates on a continuous basis. Request your demo today, and learn how Intellimize helps businesses achieve meaningful results.