The 5 key conversion optimization factors that lead to great success
- Posted in Conversion Rate Optimization
The first assumption everyone makes is to believe that increasing traffic to his or her website automatically leads to more sales; even though this is partially true, it is more likely they also suffer from lower conversion rates. You will always have the chance to work on your SEO ranking and on driving traffic to your website, but if your website is not ready and if it doesn’t satisfy the needs of your visitors, you will only contribute to an overall poor shopping experience. So how can you distinguish your company to the current visitors you have in such a competitive market?
Our 12 years of experience in online marketing, and specifically conversion optimization, has proven both to us and to our partners that it is possible to distinguish yourself enough to see great gains. There will always be room to continuously optimize your site, because like any marketing activity, conversion optimization is a long-term process and commitment. The key to a successful conversion optimization plan of course is for you to better understand your market, and follow a methodological approach to testing your optimized designs and copy.
It’s likely that you’ve read a number of articles describing the key successful conversion optimization factors. I don’t claim that I am going to reveal secrets here, however I will guarantee that you will be able to learn the best practices, in a logical and comprehensive manner, and never forget them again. This article is a general guideline, directing you to the most effective and rich sources of information and inspiration.
1. Get to know your customer
photo credit: Village9991
You have done an extensive market research, and you have been able to immaculately identify your market segment. Congratulations! You have achieved the first and most important step in marketing. Unfortunately, I am going to break the bad news to you, knowing your market is not enough to generate more sales. Trying to appeal to the masses means pleasing no one in particular. Instead, you need to select few personas, and fine-tune your message to meet their needs. Demographic data is useful to group your market segments by common factors; personas on the other hand enables your business to tap into your visitors’ key differences.
A buyer persona is a model that humanize and individualize a specific target market, its purpose is to relate to customers at an individualized level.
Our common practice with partners has been to create five to seven personas that represent your different key target market segments. This will enable you to cover the majority of your visitors while preserving the value of specificity of your choices. Developing personas for your website will help you answer the following questions: Who is your visitor? What does he value? And, How to speak to him?
Keep in mind that the goal of this exercise is to create real characters, with names, ages, jobs, social stands, and most importantly a set of fears, doubts, and needs. Identifying these particularities is what will enable you to best address them, and exploit them.
2. Maintain your value proposition throughout your site
It doesn’t matter how small or new your business is; as long as you distinguish yourself enough from competitors and as long as you offer what your site visitors need and want. Regardless of their persona type, whether they are logical, caring, aggressive or impulsive buyers, your site visitors must be able to see value; i.e. the problem you solve, whilst appealing to the greatest decision drivers.
Craft a value proposition that explains how your product improves your visitor’s situation while delivering specific benefits that differentiate you from what the competition offers. Keep in mind the two factors that increase your value proposition efficiency: clarity and its relativeness. Your value proposition statement should articulate your uniqueness; additionally it should motivate your customers and stimulate their internal and external needs.
Remember that your visitors are humans with fears, doubts and inspirations; arm yourself with this knowledge in order to effectively appeal to them. Use the insights you discovered while creating your business personas to bring the best solutions to your visitors problem. Do not hesitate to use their language and jargon, after all the objective of your value proposition is to BEST communicate your real value to them.
3. Enhance conversion drivers
Not everyone who lands on your website will convert into a client, visitors come to your website at different buying stages. Some visitors are simply browsing; others are looking for specific information or comparing prices, while others are ready to make a purchase. Each of these stages requires site elements to be specifically designed and structured to deliver the information the visitor is looking for. At this point, you might be asking what the buying stages are. Costumers typically go through these five stages before making a buying decision:
- Need recognition: your potential site visitor recognizes a personal need simulated by internal or external stimuli, and realizes that your online business can potentially fulfill it. He is looking to be educated, and consequently his commitment level is at its lowest. Provide him with inspirational content to arouse his curiosity.
- Information search: during this stage, your potential customer is gathering information about different products and services he needs. He understands his options better, and he is examining details. Provide him with educational material to quench his thirst.
- Evaluation of alternatives: at this stage, the customer has made his pick, and he is looking for the best provider, he is currently weighing his options ultimately leading to a purchasing decision. Provide him with validating tools to convince him you’re the right choice.
- Action: the customer has made the buying decision, and he is currently making the order. His commitment is at its highest peak; provide him with the necessary information to prove your value, worth, and reliability.
- Post-Action: this stage is crucial, you need to tend to your customer needs and fears, and take through the emotional and logical process that will hopefully leads to a repeat purchase. Make sure he is happy with your service and product, and engage him as a fan and supporter.
Your optimal goal is to play on their needs and wants in order to drive them to make a purchase. Your biggest challenge is to determine where, when, and how will you deploy these tactics.
4. Eliminate visitors anxieties and FUDs
photo credit: Lishmay
Even though online shopping has been around for a while, buyers are still apprehensive when they first interact with a new website. Your visitors have fears, uncertainties, and doubts (FUDs). They are afraid of falling victim to frauds or identity theft, or maybe just deal with a company that has bad service, doesn’t deliver on time, and sells cheap products. Your website content and design should address the questions, concerns or objections of your visitors. Dealing with FUDs head on will help relieve anxiety and decrease friction. By applying the personas to your website you can anticipate the fears and concerns that the different market segment have, thus applying cognitive progression.
Reducing visitors’ anxiety is important for successful conversion optimization. This can be achieved by addressing customer’s fears and questions about product and service quality, product description, website security, and pricing. Your site design and processes should induce trust and propose a user-friendly experience. You can reach this goal by providing proofs of security, authenticity, and reliability.
Keep in mind that there is no magic formula to completely reduce your visitors FUDs, but always be on the listen, learn what tick them off, and work on providing the most reinsuring solutions.
5. Implement an iterative comprehensive conversion optimization strategy
Conversation Optimization is a continuous process, and a long-term commitment. It’s not a light switch you turn on off, and much like any marketing activity, must be continuously improved upon. If you are not committed to embark on this journey, you can never really know what you’re missing, and you will never really see the true value.
Successful online marketing projects are delivered in an iterative manner; conversion optimization projects are no exception. By following a dynamic approach, there will always be room for improvement. Adopt a structured approach and successively implement your hypothesis. Perform A / B and multivariate tests to measure your solutions impact. Finally, don’t content yourself with early and first rounds of success, resist the urge to stop testing and seek professional advice when you face a brick wall.
Even though conversion optimization is promising by principal, it might take you some time to show relative and encouraging results. Therefore, my final advice for you is to secure management buy-in for the long haul.
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