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My Blogger Friends
8 conversion rate tactics below to help increase conversion rates on your website.
1. People Click On What They Want
People navigate the web by “scent”, Byran Eisenberg, conversion guru and persuasion architect, tells us. Scent was first described by Xerox PARC to describe the parallels between a human’s information-gathering techniques on the Web and an animal’s food-gathering techniques in the wild. People seek information through the “scent” given off by their trigger words.
According to research performed by usability guru Jared Spool, when visitors found their trigger words on a landing page, they were successful at completing their task 72% of the time; if the trigger word wasn’t on the page, they were only successful 6% of the time. The scent of the keywords kept them on the right path; lacking that scent, they stopped searching that particular “trail”. One tip to make sure you have your visitors’ trigger words covered is to make sure each major button or link:
completes this sentence: “I want to _____”.
includes trigger words / strong scent
2. Start Using Persuasive Call To Action Words
Impotent call to action hyperlinks like “read more” and “submit” sometimes make me feel embarrassed for website owners. They should know better.
Persuasive call to action hyperlinks should include an imperative verb and a benefit. For example, which hyperlink is more persuasive: A or B?
George found an investment secret that changed his life. Read More
George found an investment secret that changed his life. See how George doubled his income in one year.
You can see from this comparison why the second example is more likely to induce action.
3. Better Product Images Are Worth A Thousand Calls to Action
Having better-looking product images than other sellers will do wonders. If research is any indication, product images are a major factor in converting visitors. In fact, 83 percent of eBay shoppers skip listings without images, while sites with galleries get 15% more activity and those with so-called super-size photos show a 24 percent spike in sales. The better photo wins every time. Many people skimp on the quality of their product images and use manufacturer-supplied images which is a mistake.
4. B2B Products or Services Need Merchandising, Too
The same holds true if you are in B2B: Better product images are worth a thousand calls to action. Many B2B sites offer downloads of whitepapers or demos in exchange for completing a form, but fail to make the most basic of efforts to persuade visitors to do so. Don’t just tell them about your whitepaper… merchandise it. Show a cover, show them how easy it is to read with all your pretty charts. Test to see which pieces matter the most.
5. Headlines Must be Made to Stick
Most headlines (and copy for that matter) suffer from what Chip and Dan Heath refer to in their book Made to Stick as a curse of knowledge: Once you know something, it’s difficult to imagine what it is like to not know it. The headline on your page is the one thing that about 80% of your visitors will read. But while headlines are often crafted for their persuasive abilities, they often assume too much prior knowledge on the part of the reader. Make sure that everybody understands what your headline is about, even if they have no reference to understand it. Then invest as much time as possible testing your headline’s abilities to both (1) gather attention and (2) entice visitors to invest the next 30 seconds on your page by explaining what’s in it for them — in language they can understand!
6. Always be Testing
Doing A/B or multivariate testing used to require some in-house programming expertise or expensive third-party software. Thankfully, Google has provided us with a free alternative in the form of Google Website Optimizer. While it may not offer every feature some of the other solutions provide, it is quite an elegant solution and getting better all the time. I actually prefer that people don’t spend their money on a tool, but focus those resources on better copy and imagery instead. There are no more excuses for not testing regularly. Remember what Claude Hopkins wisely said in 1923: “Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – buyers of your products.”
7. Should we be testing hundreds of thousands of variations?
This question illustrates the market’s misunderstanding of testing. For the vast majority of businesses, this is more like random testing. You can test thousands of combinations in a multivariate test, but being able to doesn’t mean you should. Let’s focus on this example. I’ve kept the numbers simple for clarity’s sake, but let’s assume:
Example I (not recommended):
1,000 = Test combinations (the number of page sections and variations in the test)
10,000 = Page views per day
100% = Visitors in experiment (we’ll run the experiment with all our traffic)
2.4% = Current conversion rate (average conversion rate)
20% = Expected improvement
The duration for this test: 34.9 days. (More than a month!)
Example II (recommended):
20 = Test combinations (focused on key drivers)
10,000 = Page Views per day
100% = Visitors in experiment
2.4% = Current conversion rate
20% = Expected improvement (focus on key drivers in the hierarchy of optimization rather than just random elements, and your expectations should be higher)
The duration for this test: 0.698 days. (Under a day!)
Under the guise of being “scientific”, the companies that originally offered these tools charged on a monthly basis. While they had plenty of experience in managing their software, they had little experience in identifying valuable tests. Plus, they had zero incentive to get quick results while customers paid a monthly fee.
Multivariate testing for the sake of conversion rate optimization should be scientific. However, testing is about improving your business results, not scientific experimentation. Unless you’re running a lab, you’re testing for profit. (No offense, non-profits… yes, you should be testing too.) Testing only what matters is how to recover opportunity cost. Time is money. Don’t waste it by testing which variables matter; rather, invest your time in improving those variables and your understanding of them. Fix the things that hurt your conversions as fast as possible, and make more money today.
8. Read the Reviews on Conversion
Reviews have been all the buzz the past couple of years. If you recently purchased something online, has a review influenced your purchase decision?
New research further illustrates the value of reviews:
77% of online shoppers use reviews and ratings when purchasing (Jupiter Research, August 2006)
63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. (CompUSA & iPerceptions study)
86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. (MarketingSherpa)
Most people don’t seem to focus on all the factors involved in implementing reviews to enhance conversion. It’s important that you test and optimize for conversion and persuasion by focusing on the following areas:
Placement for Visibility
Above the fold
Stars or other graphic
Near point of attention or action
Ease of reading
Use across the site
Single Dimension versus Multi-Dimension Reviews
What are the key attributes across different categories
Can review content influence purchase decision
Negative and positive reviews
Review approval policy
What Does a Review Mean
Number of reviews
What questions are you asking
Qualitative versus quantitative
Reviews are just one example of the market trend demanding more authenticity and transparency, and they are key factors in getting your visitors to take action. Any time you have a choice between opening up more or less, always opt for giving your customers more.
What do you think? Do you have any ideas on how to make your website perform better?
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