First things first: Take away as many things as possible. Make every page about one thing and one thing only. This is potentially the best tip in this post, so if you learn nothing else, learn that. Your website needs to answer the question, “Why Am I Here?”
This concept is one of the most important factors in CRO. This is something that the internet’s best websites, i.e., Google, have mastered. Needless to say, if you want to be one of the best websites in the world, you’ll have to figure this out as well.
Let’s look at Google as an example. The home page of Google exists for one reason: to enter a search query into the box in the middle of the page. That’s it.
So, why does your website exist? What one action do you want people to do? If you can answer this question, you will win. We tested many versions of our website’s home page before we landed on the most recent edition. Go check it out and let me know what you think. Other great examples of this are KISSmetrics and Optimizely.
#2 People like this: AKA social proof
Your visitors need some help. How many of you have a blog? if you didn’t raise your hand, go get one. Seriously, go right now. You need one. Don’t come back until you do! 🙂
You would be surprised that bloggers seem to think people will magically know what to do. They think their visitors will like them on facebook, tweet them, stumble them, plus them, digg them, reddit them…. and subscribe to their newsletter! Guess what! That’s not going to happen.
This website is your responsibility not theirs, you need to tell your visitors what to like. It’s your job to them what they should do.
Here is a challenge: Go back to your site and find ways to tell people what you want them to like. You can do this by putting social proof elements next to things that other visitors have liked.
One way to accomplish this strategy is to use an FB like or a thumbs-up button on your blog posts. You can do this by adding a facepile widget on your product pages, You can even do this with a better testimonial section.
Pro Tip: Get more shares on a post by using a “sharewell.” Here is a good sharewall plugin that will help. Use this to protect information, e.g., free downloads, videos, or code snippets. You can tell people to share the page to unlock the free content. We tested this and it resulted in 200% more shares.
#3: Rethink your newsletter signup CTA
SO, you have a newsletter. Good job. You probably have a signup form on your website; that’s good, too, but what compelling reasons do you give for someone to sign up? If the only CTA you have next to your newsletter subscription is “sign up for our newsletter,” then, rethink your strategy.
People are busy! (By the way, thank you for taking time to read this. I’ll try my best to make it worthwhile.) You may find this surprising, but your visitors are not going to sign up for your newsletter simply because you tell them to do so.
Sit down with your team and discuss a better strategy. Think of something that you can give people through your newsletter that will improve their lives.
Here are a few good examples of newsletters: Point Blank SEO, The Lean Startup and Indochino. You’ll notice that with each of these examples, there are layers of newsletter CTAs all over their site. You never know when or where people will decide to convert, so place CTAs throughout various parts of your design.
#4: Hello Bar
This one is easy. I know you’ve heard of Hello Bar, but have you used it? Next time you have something on your site that you need EVERYONE to know about, consider using Hello Bar. The thing that I like about this tool is that it’s easy to set up, and enough websites have started using it to make it an acceptable practice to have their orange bar running across the top of your website.
Pro Tip: Instead of using Hello Bar to promote a product, use it to promote a part of your marketing funnel. It’s easier to get people to “enter to win a free ______” than “Check out this cool new expensive gadget.” Once you have them in your marketing funnel, you can remarket to them forever.
#5: A better team page
People don’t just buy from companies; they buy from people at companies. Even the world’s largest corporations benefit from putting a prominent person in the limelight, i.e., Apple/Microsoft.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality. This team page made me laugh.
#6: Better contact information
Your point of contact is one of the most important conversion factors on your website.
Did you know that a local company will see a significant increase in conversions if they have a local number? One of our clients actually tested this. A local cable company ran two offline ad campaigns. They were both direct mail ventures, and they both had the same leads list. One ad resulted in about ninety new customers, and it used a local telephone number. He tested the same ad with an 800 number and gained only two new customers.
Are you a web company without a phone number? That’s ok too. If you’ve decided not to have a contact phone number (ahem referralcandy) explain why.
Tell your customers that the lack of a phone number is in their best interest because it helps you keep your cost down. If people understand the value in a decision, it can actually increase your conversions. This company did a great job at pulling off the “no phone number strategy.”http://www.sunshine.co.uk/
#7 Better testimonials
Which one of these testimonies impress you?
“They were great.”
“Hey, Bryant, I spent some time going over BoardMart’s CR since our consultation, and I wanted to let you know that your recommendations increased our online sales by about 30% . Thanks again for everything.”
It’s time we got serious about testimonials. There is a reason. Yelp is one of the most popular websites in the world. People care about the recommendations of others.
Pro Tip:Some of the highest conversion increases we’ve seen is by adding video reviews to your site. If you can interview your clients and put those videos on your site, you’ll see an instant lift in your CR.
#8: Results, Results, Results
Virtually, any business can utilize this strategy. Your website should tell the world about the results you’ve gotten for other customers.
If you are an SaaS company, you can post case studies. If you are a service company, you can post pictures of your work (think, landscapers, mechanics, architects). People need to understand the value in what you are selling before they’ll ever be interested in buying it; so, show them the value that you’ve given other customers.
#9 Social Comments
I’ve noticed an interesting trend in CRO. People are starting to focus most of their social strategies around the comment section of their blogs. It makes sense. The bottom of a blog post is the spot that you either need to hold someone’s attention or potentially lose them forever.
I recommend to clients that they pick one, maybe two social networks (preferably networks that actually drive conversions) and focus most of their efforts to that platform. This typically looks like using a social commenting system or having an incentive to perform a social action like “follow me on twitter.” We’ve decided to do a little of both for our site.
Our blog, auto-broadcasts blog, posts to FB and Twitter via Mailchimp’s newest WP plugin. If you comment on our tweet, it will show up in our comment feed. In addition to that, we focus on building our Twitter following by having a big “Follow Us On Twitter” button at the bottom of every post.
#10: Play It Cool
Remember that CRO isn’t all about getting people to buy from you. There are other actions for which you can optimize.
Everyone wants more sales but optimizing your “buy now button” may only take you so far. You can also optimize the CR of newsletter signups, RSS subscriptions or joining a community. One of our favorite things to optimize for is viral marketing loops. In fact, we’ve started running a new practice that I call “CRO for VML” (mostly joking on that name). Seriously though, don’t make the mistake of being short-sighted. If you can build a viral-marketing loop, you’ll build a potentially unlimited number of new customers. This is infinitely more profitable than optimizing the purchase button.
Well that’s 10 tips. If you use even one of them today, you’ll start to see an improvement. Don’t forget to track everything that you do.
Photo Credit: Pixabay/Nemo