Conversion Optimization – Why is it so Critical to Learn?

Why Is Conversion Rate Optimization Is Such an Important Skill?

Imagine, you run a retail store in a crowded market of your city. You get 1000 visitors to your store on a daily basis; but only 40 of those thousand visitors interact with your store staff. Only 1 out of thousand decide to buy your product.

Most visitors leave within the first few seconds, without uttering a word. They leave no traces. You would not be able to reach out to them again, only a tiny percentage of them may pay a second visit.

Can you imagine running such an offline store? In a digital business, that’s 4% conversion rate, and its considered to be great. Attention is the rare commodity, most websites are lousy with poor content, and 4% becomes the industry best.

Hard Truth - Most Websites never make money!

The Internet entrepreneur is a million-dollar dream. Over a billion active websites are competing for user attention, While in reality, only a tiny percentage of web business ever get a meaningful conversion. Most small business owners have limited expertise in the design and development of websites or apps. 

Can you relate to these steps below – 

  • You hire an agency to develop a website for you.
  • You look for examples in existing websites or apps for layouts, content inspirations.
  • Your agency suggests you some WordPress themes, you choose one of them. You start creating content for each placeholder in the theme. You are not sure why it is there and how it fits in your business objectives.
  • You have done very little research on your target customer. You throw information on the web expecting someone to pick it up.
  • You put money to promote your business, people come and leave without interacting with you. You have no idea how to engage with them. Your website or app becomes a liability for you as the business owner. You will end up losing all your savings to the web development agency, not knowing why you ended up here.

If you are already running a digital business, you must be feeling the pressure. If your website visitors are not interacting with your business, getting more visitors will not help either. Trying a new marketing channel, spending money on ads or creating random blogs will take you nowhere

What is the right approach?

If you are running a business, you already have a fair idea of who your target customer is and the problem you are trying to solve for them. A shallow idea of what your customer look like or a vague definition of the problem seldom helps. 

You need to dig deeper. The functional design speaks for itself. Its THE bare minimum, not much no less. 

To transform your website into a conversion engine you need to be clear about the value proposition. 

Here is my 4 step process for optimizing your website for conversion.

Step 1 - Understand your visitors

The Conversion optimization starts with an understanding of your visitor. You can only delight customers if you know them well. 

To win the conversion game, you need to understand your visitor better than your competition does. You need to understand what you visitor like or dislike, their decision making process. 

Not every visitor is your customer. You can never achieve 100% conversion. 

Broadly you can categorize your website visitors into three kinds-

Committed buyers-

Have you visited any government website like Railway ticket booking or Corporate ministry? No matter how slow or confusing the website is, you will always navigate your way to complete the transaction.

If you are an authority website in a niche, you will definitely have a segment of visitors who will definitely buy from you. No matter how shabby your design is. They are your fans and will always make a purchase, subscribe to your email list and return to read your blog posts, they are not worried about design and navigation.  

Casual browsers –

A section of the visitor on your website would be students, your competitors or casual information seekers, or they can never afford your product. They will never buy from you.

Maybe visitors –

This segment of visitors is sitting on the fence. The focus of the conversion optimization process is to convert these people. They are willing to buy but have a few objections, confusion, trust issues, price sensitivity etc. They are talking to your competition also. Converting these visitors mean achieving the full potential of your website.

Further Reading on this topic

Step 2 - Understand the Conversion optimization process

What is Conversion?

Conversion is any measurable action taken by your visitor which adds value to your business. It could be filling up a form, sharing information, taking a quiz, calling your business or making a purchase. Based on their impact, the conversion can be divided into two categories – Micro and Macro Conversion.

Examples of Macro conversions are making a purchase, sending a request for quotation, calling your business, booking a table, placing an order, subscribing a service etc.

Micro conversion is signing up for a newsletter, creating the free account, adding the product to cart etc.

Why is your website low on Conversion?

Your website exists for a purpose. Their job is to engage the user and drive them to a specific action.

Yet, only a tiny percentage of the websites are scientifically designed to meet their purpose. The design elements, the fonts, the navigation menu, the callout; do they exist for aesthetics or to add value to the end user.

Look at Homepage of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. You will rarely spot a design element which is unnecessary. Its because they test everything before making it live.

How to Determine Conversion Rate?

When you drive traffic to your website, you expect visitors to take certain action. The conversion rate is your website visitors taking a specific action divided by the total number of unique visitors.

Conversion optimization starts with understanding your visitor, the information they are looking for and how to make it available to in a single click. It’s a systematic way of increasing the percentage of visitors who take your desired action, i.e. signing up for the newsletter, purchasing a service, placing an order.

Further Reading on this topic

Step 3 -Diagnose the Usability Problems using Tools

If you are running a brick and mortar store, you can simply walk to a visitor and understand why they purchased or not purchased from your store. To replicate this on web, you need tools. There are tools to cover every aspect of a visitor’s journey. I have covered the most frequently needed tools. You can decide which all tools you will need to get started with conversion optimization. 

Start by Installing A Tag Manager

Google tag manager

Having the ability to install the tools by your own, saves you a lot of time. The tag manager helps you just do that. A Tag management solution helps you reduce dependency on a developer. Additionally, You will have a lighter header file which improves the speed of your website and chances of a human error while installing the code. 

This easy to use Google Tag Manager Guide for Marketers will help you get started with tags. 

Get Web Analytics Tools to Uncover User Journey

Web analytics tools help you get started with conversion optimization. It offers a lots of quantitative data such as which pages are getting maximum amount of traffic, how the traffic flows, how much time a visitor spends on your website, which are the most valuable pages on your site and which traffic flow leads to the highest conversion. 

When you use web analytics in combination with tools which offer qualitative data, it helps you uncover the most profitable conversion strategy for your website.

If you have an up and running website in all probability you are using Google Analytics already. Start by checking if the configuration is correct, I would suggest you move your GA code to Google Tag Manager. Here is a quick guide to configure Google analytics on your website, also check this for most important GA metrics for Conversion optimization. 

Capture user attention with heatmap tools

The Heatmap tools can help you discover – 

1. Which part of the page is getting most attention. 

2. How far visitor scroll down on the page

3. Which area of the page is clicked (Even if its not a clickable item.) 

Study the heatmap report of your most important pages or pages to uncover the optimization opportunities. 

Record Visitor Session with Session Recording tools

Want to get a feel of How people interact with your website or what they did on a particular page? The session recording tools give you a feel as if you are looking over their shoulder while someone is browsing your website. 

Session recording tools capture the flow of mouse and watching the recording can help you understand 

how a visitor flow on your page, 

which stage do they exit, 

how far did they scroll and 

if a user has encountered an error while on the page. 

Understand which of your form fields are causing troubles

Worried about your form not capturing enough leads? May be you are asking too much details or an information which nobody wants to share? 

The form analytics tools help you understand 

which of your form fields are causing visitors to abandon. 

How much time does a visitor spend on your form. 

percentage of visitor dropped out on each form field. 

Which fields are always left blank. 

Any error message while submitting the form 

Which browser or device creates difficulty while filling up the form etc. 

Website form analysis

Understand visitors using Surveys

If you want to get answers to some of your pressing marketing questions, surveys might help. 

Asking right questions can uncover a lot of hidden gems. 

Use survey to understand which product customer like the most, what is the ideal price point. Ask Questions to both customers and non-customers. 

You can use this collection of 20 best survey questions, or Download this free guide on how to use survey tools to understand your website visitors. 

Step 4 -Start fixing website conversion issues

Improve website copy

Poorly written copy confuses the visitors. If they can’t understand the written words, they will not buy. Purpose of your copy should be to communicate and persuade the visitors to buy rather than sounding intelligent. Start using tools like Grammarly or Hemingway app to write clear, error free English. 

Use this guide to understand how to write a great website copy.

Discover and fix Usability issues

Using the tools listed above including screen recording, eye tracking and other similar tools you can discover lot of usability issues on the website. Create a swipe file of page designs and understand why it works (Don’t just copy blindly). You can use wireframing tools to create work in process designs and take user feedback before getting it through code. 

Check this mega usability guide to understand web usability. 

Make Your Value Proposition Clear

Most websites falter with value proposition. Check the value proposition your website has and how its clear communicated on your website. Your sales copy may be suffering from the unclear brand waffles or curse of knowledge. Try to create a simpler version of rather complex brand communication. 

How Conversion Rate Impacts SEO?

Conversion rate optimization helps you understand your customer. You develop insight about your customer which in turn help you with your SEO.

Better conversion rate means more time on the website and more repeat visitors.

Once you improve the conversion rate, you can expect a better ROI on your SEO and paid marketing efforts which means you have more money to spend to get more visitors.