The first question in any conversation that surrounds ‘how to increase your conversion rate’ needs to begin with a thorough understanding and plotting out of your conversion and attribution model. The success of your online business hinges on your ability to develop and define a concise path to conversion.
Sculpting the User Experience
As obvious as it may sound, many businesses fail to take the steps necessary to build an appropriate and enticing path to conversion, one that takes into consideration the “reasonable” expectations of the user, or potential customer.
The odds are that your business model is not unique and therefore your conversion goals are not unique and it makes sense to align your conversion path with other similar type websites.
Why? Because ultimately, the goal is to align your conversion path with other in-market user experiences, so that the user feels comfortable and encouraged to convert. Creating an experience that is too far outside what a user might experience on a competitor’s website, or similar type website, will most likely be declared “too demanding” and drastically reduce your ability to convert visitors. You want to streamline the experience, providing reassurance and comfort with your uniformity, but also apply laser sharp focus on the “benefits” of conversion, otherwise known as your unique value proposition.
Let me be perfectly clear, from the perspective of an internet marketing professional who has worked with hundreds of online businesses from the fortune 500 elite to small and medium sized businesses, “different” is not “better”. I’m all for thinking outside the box but today’s online consumers expect to have some uniformity across all websites, especially where it concerns common aspects such as navigation and the ability to quickly discover and engage with the content they’re looking for. If a consumer can’t find the information they need within a couple of clicks, your conversion rates will drastically suffer.
Forcing consumers to scroll down around and hunt for the right content will only force them to move on to your competitor’s website where they can more easily find what they’re looking for. Don’t be misled into thinking that creating a series of elaborate ‘conversion funnels’ is going to have a positive impact on your site engagement. It won’t. It will not drive them deeper into your website; it will only drive them away. Making it simple to navigate and engage with the content on your site will encourage visitors to convert. Do not worry that your website experience is too close to your competitors; uniformity is a key ingredient when it comes to user experience and will provide the reassurance and encouragement visitors need to convert.
Micro and Macro Conversions
Beyond the uniformity of the user experience, when it comes to setting conversion goals, another critical step is in understanding the differences between a “Macro Conversion” and a “Micro Conversion”.
Micro Conversions are activities that users frequently engage in before purchasing. Sites commonly have several kinds of micro conversions, which might include actions such as an email signup (think newsletter), new account registration, registering for a white paper download or webinar. A Micro Conversion could also include key session metrics such as extensive browsing of the website or multiple return visits.
A Macro Conversions is, simply stated, a sales transaction. Examples of macro conversions can generally be categorized as follows:
- Revenue based conversions
- E-commerce order completion
- Paid subscription sign up
- Lead/member acquisition conversions
- Application form completion (e.g. credit card provider or mortgage advisor)
- Member sign up (freemium software or social media platform)
- Inquiry conversions
- Contact form completion (for websites without e-commerce)
- Phone call (driven from websites without e-commerce)
The above list is not definitive by any means but it does provide a guideline of the most common types and examples of macro conversions for typical websites.
Clearly defining the differences between micro and macro conversions in conjunction with having an uncluttered and uniform user experience will increase your conversions.
For most business owners, the most critical component of their website, such as ‘path to conversion’, is almost always an afterthought. This is a financially costly mistake and can have an extremely detrimental impact on your bottom line from the get go and quickly start racking up thousands of dollars in consulting, website re-development and missed opportunities. I cannot stress how important it is to consult with an expert in conversion optimization before you begin to define your website needs.
Without the benefit of strategic goal setting and a solid Micro and Marco conversion plan, how will you best be able to determine the best structure for your website? The path to conversion must be free and clear of any distractions.
Ask For the Conversion
It sounds counter intuitive to some, but many websites fail to ask a user to convert and therefore do not get any conversions. You have to make it plainly obvious what you would like visitors to do, as in “click here to sign up and receive more detailed information”. In my line of work you would not believe how many businesses I speak with that tell me how they have little to no conversions and can’t figure out why and my usual response is “Well…are you asking for the conversion?”. If you want your visitors to sign up for your newsletter, you will need to ask them. If you want visitors to download your latest whitepaper, you will need to ask them. If you want visitors to buy a specific pair of sunglasses, ask them.
Asking for their conversion is like asking them to vote on their experiences with your website. If you have a website full of great and meaningful content that is aligned with in-market user demand and your offer is enticing enough, then YES, of course they will convert!