What is Conversion Rate Optimization and Why Should You Practice it?
Conversion rate optimization is the process of moving more site visitors through various stages of your marketing funnel without pouring significantly more money or resources into feeding the funnel. In other words, it’s what you do to turn more visitors into qualified leads after responding positively to your content.
If you have high conversions already without testing, wait until you try different formats, graphics, and designs on landing pages and in your emails. After definitive tests, you’ll start seeing higher results.
Conversion rate optimization should be based on data and not on opinion. It’s about observing what works best through statistical analysis specifically because our opinions don’t always lead us down the most successful paths. The trade-off for finding a better way to do something outweighs any short-term “failed experiments.”
If you’re working in a platform such as HubSpot or ActiveCampaign, they have built-in A/B testing tools that automatically choose the winner from a small sample of your leads, minimizing your risk while testing.
How Do You Optimize Conversions?
Titles, Headlines, and Subject Lines
Titles and headlines represent your first impression of a potential lead, making this a crucial aspect of conversion rate optimization.
Work backward to understand who might be reading this page or email. Take into consideration:
- The buyer persona(s)
- Their pain points
- Their search intent
- Your product or service
- The relevance of your offer
Your headline should promise its own value while touching on a specific emotion, telling readers exactly what they will find in this email or on this landing page. They should also be able to determine whether or not it is applicable to them or someone they know in an instant.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your landing page or email scannable?
- Can someone who is reading the page easily pinpoint how your page will solve their pain points?
- What value does this page have to them, and can they understand it without much effort?
- Does it evoke a definitely positive or negative sentiment?
Copy (and Offer) Message Matching
Does the page title match the ad that brought the reader here?
Optimizely tested out different messaging in their paid ads that lead to a landing page. In their control group, the headline was always the same with various messages on their ads. However, in the variation, each message on the headline of the landing page matched the message of the paid ad. Due to this slight change, they saw a significant increase in conversions.
In terms of landing pages, does your copy match your post or advertisement that brought the person here? You want to be able to deliver on your promise to provide. Ensure that the page flows logically so that the reader can browse from one section to the next, understanding your Unique Selling Point (USP).
Most important of all is consistency. Changing your message between your content assets (ads, social posts, blogs, landing pages, and lead magnets) will scare away interested buyers at worst, and confuse them at best. Match the message across the board to optimize your flow of converted leads.
Calls to Action
The goal of your CTA is to grab your readers attention and ultimately click on your button. It’s one of the single most important aspects of conversion rate optimization.
Play around with the placement of your CTA. Typically, it is ideal to place a CTA above the fold, but there are different places to put it. That being said, what works for some brands doesn’t always work for others. Kissmetrics did a study about CTA placements and believe that, ultimately, the fold might be myth.
The point is that you’ll never know what works best for your own marketing funnel until you try something new.
Sometimes, visitors begin to tune out static CTAs. Some blogs and businesses have found a solution to this that includes a sliding CTA. Once triggered, the CTA button will slide into the side of the page below the sider.
Your CTA is important, as it has many elements that can be tested. Here are some aspects that can be tested:
- Attached copy/message
- Placement in the funnel
- How many times it appears
Ensure your layout and design complement your message instead of distracting from it. Do readers know what they should be looking for? Having too many distractions may cause your reader to leave the page entirely, leaving your offer in the dust.
Identify the warning signs on your own pages:
- Too many images
- Moving graphics
- Navigation bar
- Social buttons
- Additional offers
The design should be clean and focused on your sales copy and your CTA.
Is the nav bar cluttered, or should you remove it altogether? (always for landing pages, but it’s a valid test for blogs and anchor pages).
Trust Signals and Social Proof
Make your content stands out and allows your readers to trust you as a brand. You can achieve this by using social proof such as:
- Customer testimonials
- Product videos
- Tweet embeds of endorsements (images also work)
Show potential leads that you’ve earned the trust from other people who needed to solve the same problem. It nudges people just a little bit further. It’s difficult to measure the direct impact of social proof next to more prominent elements of conversion rate optimization, but you should still notice moderate upticks when you do it correctly.
Sometimes you’re not entirely sure as to why your website, landing page, or emails have low conversion rates. The best way to find better solutions is to condct A/B tests, which is simply a test of a new variant against the original to compare performance. The changes to the variation could be as simple as changing the button colour on your CTA, or the placement. Maybe both.
Small changes come recommended if you already have good conversion rates, but noticeably low performance probably won’t be solved with a new button colour. That’ when you need to start thinking about changing up your messaging, offer, and visual style.
The design and copy of your forms can also affect your conversions. If the form is difficult to fill out or takes too long, your customer may not actually fill it out.
Simple changes in a form can go a long way. Switch up the length of the form and what you’re asking. Should you only be requesting an email adress, or are you looking for more information? That depends on where the form sits in the funnel.
Top-of-funnel forms should ask for no more than a name and an email address, whereas forms closer to the bottom of the funnel could ask for more detailed information, such as:
- Company Size
- Top challenges
- Open text fields for messages
Different types of tests that have worked for some companies:
Straightforward versus clever copy: The great debate between clear and clever marketing. On one hand, it’s great to make someone laugh, but the offer needs to be clear.
Removing social sharing buttons: Social proof works against your conversion goals if your followers aren’t thrilled on social media. Social buttons can also distract from the main CTA.
Message matching : Aligning your landing page copy with your ad copy has proven to increase conversions because it builds trust and provides clarity.
Calls to action – slide in versus static: Play around with your CTA button. Even HubSpot continues to test things like this. You should, too.
CTAs above or below the fold: If you’re more inclined to use a static CTA, play around with the placement. Above-the-fold placement matches industry best practices, but placing it further down the page might just improve your conversions.
Conversion rate optimization isn’t rocket science, but it takes attention to detail. Bookmark this page as a checklist to optimize your landing pages and emails in the future! Get in touch on Facebook and ask us questions on Live at the Hive every Friday at 4 p.m., too. Happy converting!