Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and think about what they are doing, how they are feeling, and what questions they might have as they move through your site.
“More” is often the big ask in marketing, especially on websites. More ideas. More tests. More strategic. At the end of the day, there’s only one “more” that makes a difference: conversions.
From our work with companies in different industries, with different goals, audiences, and scales, we’ve seen common patterns amongst our clients that improve conversion rates. Read on for the step-by-step guide to laser-focusing your optimization efforts:
1. Look for the gaps
Start by considering the ideas that are most likely to make the biggest difference. You can start by asking these questions:
- Where are prospects dropping off of your site? Take a look at your analytics platform and find the drop off cliff. Where are they most likely to leave along the path to conversion? Focusing first on improvements to your highest drop off pages will have the biggest positive effect on conversions. For example, if clients are dropping immediately after visiting your homepage, you might think about creating hooks to relevant content directly. If clients are dropping off on your pricing page, perhaps there is an opportunity to better explain the value of your offering.
- How can you simplify the path to conversion? Are there ways to reduce friction for your users? For example are there any fields in your conversion form that aren’t absolutely necessary to process the order? Consider pre-populating fields for existing customers or for prospects using third-party data. You might also try a single page conversion form instead of multiple pages?
- How can you make the experience better for users on different devices? Most sites use responsive design today which adapts experiences to suit different form factors for mobile users. However, you should also consider the different use cases for mobile users versus desktop users. Mobile users commonly use their phone in short bursts such as commuting on a bus or waiting in line. In general, mobile paths to conversion should be quicker and simpler than their desktop counterparts, requiring as few steps as possible and the least amount of typing in information.
- How can you speak differently to different customer segments? Different audiences require different approaches. Business customers are typically value-driven, wanting to know what will yield them the best results without additional “fluff.” Individual consumers may vary more in their interests. Consider, for example, how you present your brand to parents versus their children or how different regions might require different strategies.
- How can you offer custom experiences to users in different parts of their lifecycle? Most of the time, existing customers are marketed to like prospects on websites. Consider pitching existing customers on upselling, your latest product enhancements, or referral incentives. We’ve been surprised at the gains simply talking to existing customers differently can yield.
2. Focus on strategies that are commonly effective
We don’t believe that there are universal truths that apply everywhere. Part of why conversion rate optimization is hard is that the right answer varies by context. That having been said, we have seen two approaches that tend to work in most situations, and we suggest considering them:
- Simplify. Simplification is a good general principle in marketing and certainly for your site’s design. Ask yourself, “How can I make it easier for visitors to my site to take action? How can I remove distractions?” In the context of increasing conversions, simplifying and/or auto-populating your forms and checkout process can be an effective tactic (and should be weighed against the value of the information you might be giving up).
- Personalize along the customer lifecycle. As we mentioned above, tailoring communications and goals based on a prospect and customer’s stage in their lifecycle with you can often makes a significant difference to them and to your conversion rates.
3. Consider the visitor’s mindset
As you design your strategy and choose elements to personalize and test, think about what’s going through your visitors’ minds as they’re on your site. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they are doing, how they are feeling, and what questions they might have as they move through your site. Think about the concerns and moment that are most likely to influence their conversion and test ideas around them.
4. Use predictive personalization
Any marketing strategies and principles are only as good as your ability to implement them effectively and in time to service your prospects’ needs. That’s where predictive personalization comes in, enabling you to spend more time thinking about and creating the right experiences for users. Predictive personalization automates much of the administrative work of managing numerous experiments and taking action on the results.
With predictive personalization, testing multiple ideas and providing personal experiences for different audience segments and different lifecycle stages is as simple as coming up with ideas and the creative assets to test. The system automatically delivers the right combination of experiences to each visitor to maximize conversions.
Hopefully, this approach helps you dial in the right, bigger ideas to test and helps focus execution so that you deliver better results with less time spent on administrative work. Happy testing!