Conversion Optimisation always has to keep in mind the conversation a person is having with himself as soon as he visits your website. A visitor arrives with a certain purpose on your website, and it is your task to guide this visitor in such a way that he or she succeeds.
If you don’t keep that always in the back of your mind, you’re only ending up trying out things in the hope that maybe one day someone will convert. In today’s article, we will look at four different steps you can start taking right now to improve your conversion rate.
Step 1: Make a list of reasons why visitors don’t take action on your website
In an ideal world, everyone would take the action on your website that you want them to take. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Everyone has their reasons why they don’t take any action. It’s your goal to find out what the reason is this is happening.
Make a list of the objections, concerns, advantages and disadvantages by having conversations with people trying out your website. You can do this in a one on one conversation in the office, try giving them an assignment on your website like “buy item X on our platform”, or “sign up for the newsletter”, or by using platforms like usertesting or whatusersdo.
- objections: obstacles blocking the decision process of a visitor
- concerns: questions, ambiguities and uncertainties a visitor might have while trying to convert on your website
- advantages: reasons why a visitor would be inclined to convert
- disadvantages: reasons why a visitor would be less inclined to convert
Step 2: Finding reasons why something is happening
When creating a list of reasons why visitors aren’t converting on your website, try to divide that list into four separate categories:
- What is happening?
- How often is something happening?
- What else is happening?
- Why is something happening?
You will need all of these categories if you want to improve, but the last category is, of course, the most important one. All the other categories are only showing you an incomplete view of why someone is not converting. By adding the question “why is something happening” you will get the entire overview and will start to have the information from which you can improve.
By looking at your web statistics for example (by using Google Analytics) you could see that a particular part of your website has a lot more views than another part of your site. But is that necessarily a good or a bad thing? Did your visitors wanted to see more information, or could they just not find what they were looking for in the first place because of a bad navigation structure on your website?
Questions like these are the reason you need to why question. The why question can help you find these reasons. Use the first three questions to help you identify what is happening, and then use them as the input for your why question.
Let’s quickly go into ways to find answers to the first three questions before diving deeper into why something is happening.
What is happening?
The question “what is happening” can be answered by using tools like Google Analytics. You can measure the way visitors navigate on your website, and it can give you insights into bounce rate, time on site, etc.
How often is something happening?
Now you identified what is going on; you need to determine how often something is going on. Try to determine how long an average session last and if what percentage is below that average. You can even look at heat maps of your website to see which parts of a page are used more often.
What else is happening?
For some industries, you can try to find sales numbers and conversion numbers online. If you can’t find them online, maybe your local chamber of commerce can give you numbers around your industry as well. Why would you want to have these figures? Let’s try to explain that with an example:
Let’s say you’re participating in a car race with other people. The only problem is that all your windows are so dirty you can’t see what happening outside your vehicle. The speedometer is showing you how fast you’re driving. The question is, is the current speed you’re driving a good speed or should you be driving faster to win? What is your position in the race? Because of your dirty windows, you will never know, and your speedometer doesn’t give you the insights you need. When you’re able to clean your windows, you’re able to see the competition, where they are and how fast they’re driving. Now you’ve got a complete view of the situation!
As you can see, using industry numbers will help you paint a better picture for yourself about, how you’re performing.
Why is something happening?
To get a better understanding why something is happening we’ve identified nine items you can start using:
- Browsing on the internet: A lot of information can already be found by searching the web for people talking about your company, your product/service offering, your competitors or other sector related news. Start searching for relevant terms and start reading other websites, forums, blogs, etc. Tired of searching the web manually? Try using tools like Google Alerts to bring more structure in your searches and be automatically alerted when something happens.
- Get Voice Of Customer insights: by using tools like Qualaroo, you can start asking questions directly to your visitors. Asking questions to your visitors can be done either:
- After a visit (exit survey): By using an exit survey, you’re asking questions to your visitors at the moment they want to leave your website. Good questions to ask are: What was the reason for your visit / Did you manage to get done what you came for? Why did you, or why didn’t you?
- During their visit, you can give them a small pop-up, asking them if they’re willing to answer some questions. Good questions to ask are:
What are the changes you would recommend us to a friend or colleague? If we would create something especially for you, what would it be? How would you describe us to a friend? Which other options were you looking at before coming to us? Are you using our service to fix all your problems and if not, which alternatives are you using? What would convince you to use our service more often? If you were the owner of our company..how would you convince people to start using our services? If you were the owner of our company…how would you get a better brand awareness? What are you biggest doubts to start using our service? What would convince you otherwise? What are the biggest questions we could not answer for you on our site? Why did you choose for us? What can we improve? Did you enjoy your stay? What parts did you not like?
- Specific questions (inline survey): You could embed specific questions on specific pages like if the search results were the results they were searching for. Or after they completed a certain action, like watching a video: Was the video relevant for you? What could be improved?
- Have a look at the conversations with your customers: by using a dedicated mailbox for support, or a support system you can catalogue your conversations with your customers and identify patterns. Or maybe include a chat box on your website and read through those log files, or write down as soon as you finished a phone call with a customer what the conversation was about?
- Talk to your people: people within your company (especially people working on support) know a lot about what you’re customers are going through. Have a chat with your employees and write down all the useful information.
- Having conversations: Just like doing customer development and having conversations with (at that point still potential) customers, having conversations yourself with your customers, or potential customers on the street.
- Have your website tested: you could set up a test in the office in which you let new customers do a particular task on your site. Ask them to think out loud and record the sessions. Doing tests like these might sound difficult at first, but you will get a lot of potential insights from this because you can see directly what is going wrong
- Create a focus group: a focus group is a group of customers who you can ask questions once in a while. Asking your most loyal customers to be part of this group, can make them feel extra special. Maybe even give them something in return for participating this will provide them with some extra encouragement.
- Email the competition: with a lot of marketing questions you can go directly to your competitors. You pretend to be a potential new customer of your competitor (never show you’re working for the competition) and you ask them questions like “What is the main difference between your company and. There a big change they will start to list your weaknesses and their strong points.
- Sending emails: The easiest way to get a lot of data, but potentially not the most trustworthy if you don’t formulate your questions right, is by sending an email to everyone you know and asking them for feedback or to perform certain asking on your website and see where they are stranding.
After you’ve gathered a list with all the objections, concerns, advantages, and disadvantages, and labeled them in the correct categories, order them in order of importance (most mentioned, most impact, etc.).
Step 3: Find segments in your list
Your website probably has multiple different goals. Goals which could differ from person to person and even from visit to visit with the same person. Next to that, there are probably multiple different target groups with all their own sets of preferences. And finally, your visitors are arriving on different parts of your website via different entry channels (adverts, links on other websites, social media, etc.).
While working on your list from the first step, try to spot patterns on which you can segment different items. To do this, try to split up the visitors on your website in smaller similar types of people, based on criteria you can identify within your Google Analytics. This will be different for every company. For example, if you’re selling books online you can make a segment around fiction or non-fiction books. The rule of thumb here is that a proper segment can only be defined as a proper segment if the action on your site related to this group of people is totally different than the actions of another group.
Different criteria you might be able to use are:
- Geographical criteria: countries, cities, postcodes, etc.
- Demographical and socio-economical criteria: age, sex, income, education, etc.
- Lifestyle criteria: attitudes, interests, opinions, etc.
- Behavioural criteria: buying history, search history, product usage, communication behaviour, etc.
Our recommendation would be to create a couple of different segments, each of the segments being different enough from the others that it would be worthwhile to start optimising for them. Try to ask yourself the question, are these segments interesting enough for me as the business owner? Are they big enough? Is the segment increasing in size? Is this segment profitable?
Step 4: Coming up with solutions
Your list is now complete. For every item on your list, you can now start writing a reason why something is happening. Ask yourself: What can I do to take away one of these objections or concerns. How can I highlight one the advantages on the list better on my website? How can I convert disadvantages into advantages? These are the action points you will write down so you can start taking action on your website and start improving your conversion rate.
Making adaptations on your site and start testing
Of course, coming up with things to be changed are useless if you don’t do something with them. Time to start taking action on your website! You can now start to make adaptations on your site and start testing to see if the solutions to the identified are the correct way for your visitors. Start small by making the adjustments that require the least amount of efforts from your, but will have the biggest amount of impact on your conversion and move on from there.
This four-step process is a process you can start using for your business straight away. Don’t wait for your visitors to start magically to convert better. Take control of your website and your conversion. Which steps are you taking on your site to help increase your conversion? Leave them in the comments.