How to Increase Conversion Rate: Useful Strategies and Common Mistakes

increase conversion ratesThis is a guest post from Diane H. Wong; a web developer who specialises in marketing and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. She has her own column at Do My Writing.

The primary goal of every business is revenue. It’s therefore reasonable to say that the goal of every website is more conversions, leads, sales, or whatever action you want your visitors to take.

To get more action from your visitors, you need to make frequent changes aimed at increasing the effectiveness of your website and all its elements. You may consider using a website builder because you can continuously change and improve the design and functionality of your site.

It’s normal to be wary of making changes so you don’t switch the wrong button and hurt your website more instead.

Good news is, there are proven ways to play safe and still grow. Conversion optimization has its safe playing too that is, those practices that have been tested and proven to work generally.

In this Process Street article, we’ll look at:

Our free conversion rate and website optimization process template

If you’re looking for a checklist you can plug straight into your operations to systemize your conversion rate optimization and increase your conversion rate, we’ve included this free Process Street checklist!

You can add this checklist to your Process Street account immediately by clicking the edit checklist button! Click through into each task to find more detail.

Click here to open the conversion rate and website optimization template.

Actionable ways to optimize your website for increased conversion rate

Here are 10 actionable conversion rate optimization (CRO) steps you can take to increase your conversion rate:

CRO tip #1: Test! Test! Test!

This is not the first point for fun. It’s probably the most important step in your journey towards web conversion optimization.

Even when you’ve been assured that these and countless other tips have been tested and proven to increase conversions, you should still endeavor to test every element you add or every change you make with your specific audience before reaching a permanent conclusion.

Running rigorous marketing experiments really is the key to success.

The best way to go about this is to carry out A/B testing where two variant web pages or page elements are being tested against each other to determine which converts more. Then stick to the option that converts more.

You can follow this free Process Street checklist to help you document your A/B testing process and record your approach and results.

Click here to access your Process Street A/B testing process checklist.

CRO tip #2: Get rid of image sliders

Of course, they look cool, but you want your visitors to explore your site at their own pace. Sliders distract the attention of your visitors from what matters. Hundreds of tests and research efforts have been done, and conversion experts have said sliders are conversion killers.

Instapage lists 6 reasons you should bin the sliders and focus on value.

Trust me, those are good enough reasons to do away with sliders for good. What to do instead? Display your most important offers front and center.

CRO tip #3: Offer incentives

One good way to increase your conversions is to offer something that will induce your desired action from prospects. You want her to buy your recipe book? Maybe you should first offer her a free special recipe, so you can later sell to her when you have her contact. It’s that simple.

For more tips on this check out our posts:

Or, check out this template below. This template was made in Process Street by one of our partners and walks you through The Tortoise Strategy.

CRO tip #4: Simplify forms

There are proven tests that simplified web forms encourage visitors to fill them. When you make actions easy to take, more people will take them. It just seems natural.

You should simplify the forms on your website by reducing the fields to be filled, and removing CAPTCHA, those things you’re asked to do to prove that you’re a human, where possible.

You should be careful to be aware of relevant regulation, though. If you want to add that person to a mailing list, be sure to get consent to send them mail. If you’re in Europe you’ll want to remember that in order to remain GDPR compliant.

CRO tips #5: Include a privacy policy

On the same theme, if you want people to trust you more and fill those forms on your website, include your privacy policy beneath it.

Assure them their personal info is safe with you. Your footer is another great place to include your privacy policy, especially on your landing pages. In fact, it’s one of the requirements for ads services like Google and Facebook, if you want your ads to be approved and delivered more.

CRO tips #6: Place your CTA above the fold

Your call-to-action (CTA) button shouldn’t be hidden down below the fold of your site. Check out the Process Street homepage for a good example of how to do that.

You don’t want to lose prospects because you gave them the task of looking for your links, or because there was nothing to spur them to action at first glance. If you want more conversions, bring your CTA button up and make it visible to visitors without them needing to scroll down.

If you want to read more on this, check out these examples:

Or you can check out another of our checklists generated by a Process Street partner:

CRO tip #7: Write great content

Whether it sounds cliché or not, content still remains king. In whatever form it takes – text, video, infographics or images – prospects now want to be educated in order to make informed decisions from amongst the thousands of options out there.

You should be creating the type of detailed, useful, relevant, and personalized content that users want. Whatever your niche is, if you can provide that more than the competition, they’ll trust you more, and buy more from you. If you have to, go brush up your content marketing skills. You’ll definitely see your conversions improve.

If you want to learn more about this, you can check out these posts:

You can also check out this Process Street checklist for the blog pre-publish process, making sure all of your content is the best it can be!

CRO tip #8: Talk in terms of benefits

When you write your content, focus more on what really interests your reader, and highlight what they’ll gain from taking the action you require. That’s how you get people to do things.

Don’t go on talking about how great your product is or how many cool features it has. No one cares. Tell them how it can help them and they’ll care.

CRO tip #9: Use testimonials

Humans are naturally wired to do what they see others doing, believing it’s the appropriate behavior. It’s called social proof.

There are many ways you can take advantage of social proof to show credibility and increase your web conversions, but using client testimonials is among the biggest. Anytime you get half a chance to grab a testimonial from a happy customer, jump at it and put it prominently on your site.

If you want to see what a comprehensive testimonial looks like, check out some of these Process Street case studies:

Or check out some examples from other websites:

CRO tip #10: Add live chat

I don’t know about you, but when I need to contact customer support I’m always discouraged at the thought of when I’ll get a reply.

Having a “live chat” option on your site solves that problem. Prospects will simply chat to you, get answers to their questions immediately, and most likely do business with you instantly.

Basic conversion rate optimization mistakes to avoid

We all make mistakes. Here are a few you might have already made – hopefully, if you haven’t made them, now you won’t.

CRO mistakes #1: You are impatient

Conversion rate optimization requires patience. What most digital marketers new to CRO do is start a test and implement one of the winning variations quickly without waiting to see if any of the other tactics worked better in the long run. We are all anxious to implement changes that show good results quickly, but they might not continue to do so forever.

If you remain patient and wait for statistical data that is complete and targeted for different occasions, there is a higher chance that your conversion will increase. Sometimes, even the time of the day or the day of the week can impact conversion tactics, but if you gather information for a longer period, you can evaluate what works best for different times.

That said, a good thing to do is kill tests that are performing extremely poorly. Focus on the winners.

CRO mistakes #2: Your website speed is slow

Picture this: you have a great looking website, your CTAs are beautiful enough that they would make anyone click and your content is grammatically correct and engaging, but you are still not getting leads. Have you checked your website’s speed? Speed plays an important role when it comes to conversion rate optimization. It is also one of the Google Ranking factors you should not overlook.

Tagman reports that a one-second delay in page loading speed can cause a seven percent decrease in customer conversion. Customer data platform QuBit also found that slow loading websites cost retailers £1.73bn in lost sales each year.

Though page load speed might not have a huge impact on SEO and organic SERP rankings, it is a major concern when it comes to conversion. Every second counts and if you cannot maximize your chances of retaining the traffic, your earning commissions are not going to increase.

Start with removing unnecessary files and plugins. Use an efficient caching plugin, improve your image sizes and get a CDN. This will vastly improve your website speed, and your users will not abandon your site, thereby increasing opportunities for a possible conversion.

CRO mistake #3: Your design elements do not blend

Design, what most consider as one of the first things for CRO, should always be ensured to run fluid on all platforms including desktop and mobile. In fact, as we are living in a post-mobile era, it is highly recommended to opt for a “mobile-first” strategy to optimize the site traffic. Get your web development team to work on the mobile responsive view – and make sure it’s smooth.

Why? Because growth in the use of mobile devices to make a purchase online has increased to an entirely new level.

You also need to make sure that different elements that are part of your conversion rate optimization strategy look good together. Audiences are more design literate now than in the earlier years of the web – you can’t get away with 7 conflicting color palettes as pop-ups, buttons, banners, and other materials start appearing on your page.

Check out this Process Street graphic design checklist to standardize your design process and make sure you always nail the right look:

Click here to get the Process Street graphic design process checklist.

CRO mistake #4: You are not using visual content marketing

If an image can speak a thousand words, an infographic speaks millions.

The age of text-only strategy when it comes to marketing is long gone. This means that you need to add several design elements including images, videos, infographics, memes, presentations, table of contents, etc. that will improve the user experience on your site.

Colored visual contents are stored in the human brain 70 percent faster than texts, and content with related images gets 94 percent more views as well.

Content Marketing Institute reports that 73 percent of content creators planned to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2019 while 55 percent of them planned on focusing on creating visual content.

To make your copy efficient, add several design details and optimize them for all devices.

2 bonus marketing strategies to increase your conversion rate

Here’s a couple of bonus tips to take home with you:

If you’re going to discuss cost on your site, emphasize savings

One of the biggest problems with the home pages of major sites is the emphasis on price. A price for a service, outside the context of the broader market, is a turn-off to potential buyers.

If I’m working with a client that’s looking to earn more customers, depending on how they’ve segmented themselves into the market, the most important thing to their customers might be reliability and quality. In this case, price isn’t even worth mentioning until the customer is ready to make a buying decision.

On the other hand, if the target customer is incredibly price-conscious (a site that sells commodities with little differentiation from the selection on competitor’s sites) it’s best to show pricing that’s accompanied by an “average savings”, or other value-building indicators.

The word “free” gives consumers the confidence to schedule a call without feeling like they’ll need to pay for a service they might not appreciate. Plus, the free interaction gives them the opportunity to earn a solid client relationship.

Focus on offering consumers a clearly communicated price-advantage up-front, or avoid bringing up cost until the customer is in the checkout phase.

Create instant value with short impactful statements

Many websites fail to quickly communicate their brand’s values and promises. Throwing a ton of information on a website is important in terms of educating motivated shoppers. But most casual shoppers will look at a webpage full of text and decide that reading through all of that complex information will require more effort than they’re willing to invest.

Vary the kind of communication you use. Focus on delivering value quickly and succinctly.

Some customers will want a wall of text because they want to trawl through the product specifications, ingredients, or your sustainability commitments, but most want to know the most important information as quickly as possible – and that’s good enough for them.

For more on how to achieve this, check out this article:

Increase your conversion rate with Process Street

At its core, conversion rate optimization relies on running regular experiments against standardized practices.

Process Street can help you manage both of those things.

If you haven’t used Process Street before (or signed up for a free account), Process Street is superpowered checklists.

By using, creating, or editing templates, you can document the processes you need to follow and adhere to. You – or others – can then run checklists straight from those templates, meaning there’s a single-use checklist to complete each time you want to tackle that recurring task.

What makes Process Street particularly useful is its workflow automation features.

These include (but aren’t limited to):

These integrated workflow features help to automate and improve your essential processes – for the better.

For instance, stop tasks ensure order as users can’t progress to the next step without completing the task at hand. Task permissions, meanwhile, allow only certain people to view tasks in a checklist, making it a great option for hiding sensitive data or information.

Below we also have some more CRO-focused blog posts, templates, and even a Process Street podcast you can use alongside your flashy new CRO framework template.

You can see our A/B testing template again in all its glory via the embed here:

And for our customer journey map template, you can jump straight into it by hitting the “Edit Checklist” button:

We’ve provided you with everything you need to know about conversion rate optimization and offered a bunch of immensely useful templates. Now all you need to do is dive in and use them yourself!

Here’s to making your business the best it can possibly be.

Are there any CRO tips, tricks, or insights you’d like to share? Write them down in the comment box below. By doing so, you could be featured in an upcoming article!

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Adam Henshall

I manage the content for Process Street and dabble in other projects inc language exchange app Idyoma on the side. Living in Sevilla in the south of Spain, my current hobby is learning Spanish! @adam_h_h on Twitter. Subscribe to my email newsletter here on Substack: Trust The Process. Or come join the conversation on Reddit at r/ProcessManagement.

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