Conversion, conversion rate optimization, conversion-boosting.
These are all phrases that we hear quite often in the world of digital business.
And quite rightly.
Conversion rates are always on our minds as website owners because it relates directly to how much money our sites can make for us and how much profit our companies generate.
In short, the number of visitors that our sites are able to convert into paying customers is what determines our success.
Make no mistake about it – attaining great conversion rates is a crucial aspect of running a successful online business. No matter how effective your various marketing campaigns are, if people are not buying your products, you are going to have a serious cash-flow problem.
In this article, we are going to look at six ways that you can boost the number of site visitors that become paying customers.
1. Simplify Your Checkout Process
Your checkout process is the gateway to your customer’s money. The fewer steps there are, the more likely it is for your customer to get through it.
Reducing friction in this process will directly result in a higher conversion rate because fewer shoppers will abandon a task they find needlessly complex.
To start simplifying your checkout process, think about the amount of information you need from your customers to finalize a sale.
Most businesses will only require a name, email, shipping address, and payment information to make the purchase. Anything beyond that is optional.
Do you really need to know the customer’s gender, where they heard about you, what industry they work in, and the like?
Do you need this information to get paid?
I’m not going to pretend that there is no value in having this information. Yes, it’s important for upselling, segmentation, and personalization. But the value that this data gives you needs to be measured against the risk of the shopper abandoning the transaction.
So take a good look at your entire checkout process. Think about every field that you force your customers to fill in. Ask yourself if every single one of them is absolutely necessary for the transaction.
Always remember that, for every field you decide to remove, your conversion chances get better.
Sephora.com went the extra mile when simplifying its checkout process. Instead of forcing new customers to go through a complicated, time-consuming registration process or returning customers to sign in to their existing accounts, the site allows guest shoppers to just get on with the thing they came here to do: buying something.
2. Use Exit-Intent Pop-ups
Exit-intent pop-ups are a great way to convert visitors into customers. These are pop-up boxes that appear when your site visitor is about to leave your site. They can be used for a number of things, such as:
- Collecting visitors’ details to keep engaging them via newsletter and score a future conversion
- Displaying product recommendations based on the shopper’s browsing behavior on your site
- Reminding visitors who are about to leave about any outstanding offers you might have
The key to a successful exit-intent pop-up is to display an offer that’s genuinely inviting. Visitors will only engage if you can convince them that the offer is worth their time.
Anytime Baseball Supply has a great example of a pop-up that succeeds at this. Just as a visitor is about to leave, the site displays a pop-up offering $20 off of their first purchase. All the visitor has to do is capture their email address.
This is a simple, effective strategy that can be used on any site to increase conversions.
3. Make Your Site Load as Quickly as Possible
Sites that load fast convert better. For every second that a site takes to load, conversions get worse, and bounce rates go up.
Now, when I say “fast,” I don’t necessarily mean that your homepage has to be on the screen in 0.5 seconds or less. But you should make sure that all of the pages on your site are loading as quickly as possible.
Here’s a quick overview of things you can do to ensure your website performs optimally in this area:
- Pay a little extra for a reputable host that prioritizes speed.
- Compress your image files to the maximum amount without losing quality.
- Use a file compression utility like Gzip to compress all of your HTML, CSS, and JS files.
- Use browser caching to speed up visitors’ future visits.
There’s a lot more to page speed optimization than these four tips. So feel free to dive deeper into this topic by reading Moz’s excellent guide to maximizing page load speed.
GTmetrix is a great tool for benchmarking your website’s performance and giving you granular feedback on where you can improve it.
For an example of a site that nails page speed optimization, check out Reachdesk’s performance metrics at GTmetrix.
4. Make It Easy for Visitors to Get in Touch
First-time customers are likely to have questions for you. Questions that you may not be able to anticipate with your site’s sales copy or FAQ section
To cater to this likelihood, it’s usually a great idea to allow site visitors to contact you directly, rather than having them leave your site frustrated.
Having a well-designed ‘Contact Us’ page is a good way to get this information out there for them. It’s also smart to have at least one communication channel that’s always monitored by a knowledgeable salesperson. This is somebody who will be able to answer questions and urge the visitor towards conversion.
You’d do well to also promote these contact channels on the other pages of your site.
A specific question could pop into the mind of a shopper while they’re looking at a product and the last thing you’d want is for them to navigate away from this page in search of an answer.
To address this issue, take the lead from Golf Cart Tire Supply and proudly display both your live chat and your phone number on every single page on the site.
5. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Great Call-to-Action Buttons
Effective CTA buttons can make the difference between a high conversion rate and a low one.
In case you don’t know what a CTA button is, it’s simply any element on your page that prompts visitors to take a specific action.
These are usually buttons like “Buy Now,” “Subscribe here,” or “Download this eBook.”
The key to CTAs that drive conversion is to make sure the button labels are highly visible, action-focused, and enticing.
Here are some things to bear in mind as you reorganize your site’s CTA buttons.
- Choose a button color that makes it stand out from the rest of the page’s content but remains complementary to the site’s overall color scheme.
- Choose a label that tells the visitor exactly what’s going to happen when they click. Don’t be vague.
- Use one word that’s going to trigger an emotion from the visitor. Think: “Free,” “Now,” “Discount,” or “Special.”
If you’re interested in learning more about crafting engaging CTAs that boost conversion rates, check out Visionet’s excellent piece on CTA Quick Wins.
Also, for a dose of inspiration, have a look at how Prezi uses color to make their different CTAs stand out from the background and from each other.
6. Offer as Many Payment Options as Possible
No matter what business you run from your website, whether it’s an e-commerce store, or a subscription-based software product, your customers are likely to have different payment preferences.
It’s absolutely vital that you don’t lose a sale just because your site doesn’t accept a specific payment method that one of your potential customers has at their disposal.
So make sure that payment is as easy as possible for your target audience by offering the most reputable and most commonly-used methods of payment.
You should, obviously, start with the two biggest ones: plastic credit cards and PayPal. Other options include GPay, Apple Pay, and Alipay.
Another benefit of offering a large variety of payment methods is that you create credibility in the eyes of a skeptical first-time customer.
When someone sees that your transactions are backed by a whole range of trusted payment processors, it fills them with confidence and encourages conversion.
According to research published by Column Five, 56% of online shoppers want to see a large variety of payment options for them to feel comfortable to go through with the purchase and not abandon their cart.
Conversion rate optimization is a continuous process of experimentation, testing, and analysis. You’ll never get it right the first time.
Keep trying new things out. Keep analyzing your data to see which changes are driving the results you’re looking for. And keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to conversion rate optimization.
Every site is unique and requires a tailored approach. So if you want to drive more traffic that converts, start with your visitor’s mindset as your guide, test often, and never stop improving!