Lessons Learned to Increase Site Conversion
Increasing sales can be achieved in broad terms by doing one of two things: increase the traffic coming to the site, or increase the rate of conversion of visitors to sales. In practice, you’ll be aiming for both of these to be improved over time, but in the early stages of a website’s life, the focus tends to be on increasing traffic. Zero traffic always converts at one, fixed rate – zero!
With visitor levels increasing, it is usual for webmasters and site owners to start trying to figure out what will help persuade more people to hit the buy button and complete the sale or sign-up for your service, i.e. increase conversion rates.
Increasing conversions involves continuous testing and experimenting, such as the look and feel of the site, user behavior and interaction, as well as handling hard visitor data from Analytics and other tracking tools. There are typically (5) major issues to focus on when you are conversion testing:
- Assign Responsibility – someone needs to be responsible for conversion rate, and it is typically a good idea to have one staffer given both the responsibility and authority to deal with conversion testing – avoid assigning responsibility to a committee.
- Use a Disciplined Approach – just like SEO and PPC, a rigorous, structured approach is necessary for optimal impact from your conversion testing. Again, you are dealing with a regular, reiterative process which must be monitored and reviewed with appropriate action taken based on the feedback you obtain; You will not improve a metric that you don’t track and measure every day.
- Embrace Experimentation – there are plenty of different tests you can use as part of your conversions regime, however Multi-Variate Testing (MVT) and Split A/B Testing is by far the most useful for gauging site sales performance;
- Utilize Usability Studies – to get the most out of conversion testing, it is critical you adopt a customer driven approach. You are trying to find out what makes your customers zero in on your site offering, and how to replicate that buying behavior with more visitors. There are a number of services that will help you see first-hand interaction with your site without significant investment. We recommend exploring: User Testing.
- Test Segmentation – splitting up your traffic into testing groups, or segmenting them, is very important. For instance, segment using geo-location, or test messages or offers that differentiate between new visitors and returning ones. Here’s a very helpful video from Magento, the eCommerce Solution Services Provider sharing a comprehensive overview of site conversion best practices and considerations.
Continuous experimentation is key to optimizing site conversion rates.
This practice is a must-have discipline. However, there is a great deal of hit and miss with conversion testing, and there is no universal rule for what will and will not work for any specific website and/or consumer segment. In the end, our lessons learned will hopefully help your pursuit as well. The primary rule is to be committed to always-on testing — it is truly a case of trial and error, with a constant effort for improvement.