Guest post by Natasha Lane.
No matter what type of online business you run, you depend on persuading your website visitors to take some kind of action. Whether it’s as simple as signing up for a newsletter or putting an item in their shopping cart—or as challenging to get them to contact a sales person—your goal is to get them to convert.
The rate at which you turn site visitors into buyers or known sales prospects is arguably the most important metric for your business, and there are many tactics you can use to boost it.
Here are five of the most effective techniques to boost conversion rates.
1. Use Popups
Ideally, your call to action (CTA)–the content element prompting the user to do what you want them to–should stand out clearly from the content of your site. This isn’t always possible, for a variety of very valid reasons. You may be limited to an acceptable brand color palette, or you may not want it to detract from a page’s primary content.
In these cases, popups are an excellent option. They’re not only a way to introduce a CTA on a page that isn’t ideal for one, but they also typically result in much higher conversion rates than embedded CTAs.
There are many ways you can configure when the popup appears, making it unobtrusive and less likely to annoy a visitor. Plenty of websites use popups that launch as soon as their homepage loads, but there are also examples like ZooShoo, where the popup is displayed only after the user has scrolled past a certain anchor point.
You also have full creative control over the popup’s content; there’s no need for it to align precisely with the information on the page that launches it.
Because it is, essentially, its own “mini-page,” a popup’s CTA sits comfortably outside of the reader’s expectations as they interact with a particular page on your site.
2. Place the CTA Intelligently
Not a Travel Club offers an excellent example of how to subtly place your CTA amid content that is certain to already have captured the reader’s attention as they browse the site’s homepage. Having a “Popular Posts” section in the page’s sidebar is an excellent way to engage the reader with other content on the site.
As the visitor skims the content of this user interface (UI) element, they’re presented with a clear CTA, prompting them to sign up for the site’s newsletter. This smart placement in the vicinity of UI elements that site users are familiar with (and comfortable to skim through) significantly increases the chances of the CTA grabbing attention.
3. Offer Multiple CTAs
This tactic is especially effective for affiliate marketing sites. Typically, the norm is for a particular product’s CTA (a link to the e-commerce store where it can be bought) to be accompanied by a variety of visual elements.
The “Buy Now” or “Check Price” button may very well be lost amid the product title, description, gallery, pros & cons, and other content that usually accompanies an affiliate review.
Best Spy offers a really innovative solution to avoid this scenario by placing a “Favorites” element above the main content of the site. Before visitors delve into the details of the products they’re considering, they’re shown a neat summary of the editor’s choice from the products being reviewed.
This element offers less information than the in-depth product review entries, a convenient and concise comparison between the selected items, and a very visible CTA.
Not only does including an additional CTA increase the chances of a conversion, but there’s also a smart, subtle design game being played here. The way that the CTA buttons align with each other makes them far more visible than a single button “buried” among the review content further down the page.
4. Get the Most Out of Your Social Proof
By now, most digital marketers are aware of the incredible benefits that social proof offers and the way it is affecting online purchasing behavior. Providing product and service reviews, star ratings, and detailed testimonials has become the norm for many companies who sell their goods online.
However, it’s critical to bear in mind that there’s “social proof” and then there’s “credible social proof.” While the concept of credibility may seem very subjective, there are certain guidelines that help ensure your reviews and testimonials carry real weight.
If you offer a B2B product, don’t use testimonials from companies that don’t have an online presence or, even worse, don’t exist anymore. Be careful whom you choose as visible advocates for your products, and frequently audit their websites to ensure they’re not compromising your brand.
Also, note that most prospective customers need to see at least 40 reviews of a product before believing that the star rating is credible. Some e-commerce companies won’t be able to boast these figures, but it’s important that you give as much visibility to the stat as possible.
The “freshness” of reviews is also something to keep in mind for consumer goods. 85% of online shoppers don’t trust reviews that are older than 90 days. If your sales cycle is slow or you operate in a market that isn’t conducive to frequent customer feedback, it may be a good idea to omit the date when a review was provided.
Conversely, if you get very frequent reviews, make use of this knowledge and advertise the fact that your reviews are flooding in.
5. Test Your Call-to-Action Elements
Few of the elements that comprise a CTA are as important as the label on the button you want your user to click or the header of the form you want your visitor to complete.
Motivating action with UI elements is a well-researched topic, and there’s plenty of content available online on how to optimize in this area. However, more important than copying what works for other successful sites is frequent A/B testing. Your ideal customer has a different persona than those of companies you’re trying to emulate.
Ultimately, the key is to continually strive to improve the effectiveness of your CTAs. It’s an ongoing journey. With a solid strategy, observation, and testing, it will be a journey that leads to higher conversions, and ultimately, business growth.
Natasha Lane is a lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about branding, digital marketing trends, and business growth strategies. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter feed.