Conversion optimization is such a concept that pops up automatically. Your website stands and the visit grows steadily with the content that you post regularly. You can already use Facebook and Google very well, and now you have to wait for the large stream of new orders and customers. But that doesn't happen. And you still have to fight hard every month to get your sales and margins. What's going wrong? And especially: what can you do about it? In this blog you will get some strong tools to turn the tide and turn your traffic into revenue. We elaborate on this in detail conversion optimization. In part one we give you the most important insights to improve your conversion.
Conversion optimization means more sales with less effort. Customers who see your offer will say yes faster. But you don't just buy a car or a consultation 'just like that'. A lot of steps precede this, such as the choice to visit your site and see what you have to say. Every step brings your customer closer to the sale. It is a ladder that you climb, with all kinds of conversion steps. We will elaborate on this in this blog. So that you can see right away: where does it stand with me? How can I ensure that there is more conversion and therefore sales?
What is conversion optimization?
Conversion optimization is a container concept from online marketing. It includes all activities to increase the ratio of visitors performing a desired action to all visitors. The desired promotion can be a purchase, but also a request for a quote or a subscription to a newsletter. This is called a conversion, and is the purpose for which the website was set up. Increasing this is called conversion optimization, and in English it is Conversion Rate Optimization: CRO.
There are very few sites where it is only about visitors and nothing more. Everyone who has a website with which he or she wants to achieve something, benefits from conversion optimization. The playing field of conversion optimization is usually the website (but can also be about a newsletter or app). There are three other numbers besides conversion optimization that are related to your final revenue. All four are:
- The number of visitors to your website. If the conversion rate remains unchanged, your revenue will grow with more visitors. Google is the largest supply channel for most websites; with SEO (search engine optimization or search engine optimization) you bet on this. If you want more Google traffic, you bet on content marketing to offer your audience a story, on page SEO so that Google finds your content and link building to place this content higher in Google. Social media, in particular Facebook and Twitter, also ensure traffic. That traffic is only controlled by algorithms, so you suddenly get more or less traffic. With interaction and advertising you always get more traffic on social media. Advertising on Google, called SEA, is another commonly used method to get visitors. Where SEO needs time, you can score directly with SEA tomorrow. That is why they often become together deployed.
- The number of visitors that converts. That's what this piece is about. Important factors are the quality of the traffic, the match between the channel from which the visitors come and the page on which they land, derivation on the page, the action buttons, images, the storyline, sales arguments, the key message ... and of course the offer. The step to conversion is called the call to action: this is what the customer must do to convert.
- The total purchase price. Do you want something to drink with it? When someone buys, it is then the art to increase the total amount. That is possible Additional products to offer, such as travel insurance or hotel room with your flight, and through impulse articles to offer. You know it from the cash register: the bar of chocolate, the discounted item or that apesite sausage at the butcher.
- The lifetime of the customer relationship. Consider the inexpensive printers of two decades. You then need expensive ink regularly. Online it means that you no longer have any costs to attract new customers. Some parties, such as a Media Market, for example, stare with prices in such a way that they almost lose out on those products. But then you are inside, the total purchase price goes up, and you keep coming back.
You can easily capture the first three in numbers: unique visitors per month, conversion rate and purchase amount. Google Analytics works perfectly for that. For the fourth, you must record each purchase per customer. In B2B this is done as standard with invoices, in B2C you as a consumer are tempted with a loyalty card or loyalty program. A good CRM package (customer relationship management), such as Google's Vogsy for example (but there are many), you combine marketing with your customer data, so that you can sharpen your marketing.
Conversion optimization: 6 key things you need to know to get started
Unfortunately, there are a large number of misunderstandings about conversion optimization. You must therefore have six things in order to apply conversion optimization correctly:
- Conversion optimization is numerical. While you can easily test your ideas and assumptions with conversion optimization, you should always start with the figures. There are no real self-explanations. Whether something works must always be measured. The boss is not automatically right here, nor the customer. Because what we say or find is not always what we do.
- There are multiple conversions. A webshop is not just about selling products. You also want subscriptions for your newsletter, likes for your Facebook page or contact requests, for example. Even viewing a product page or placing it in a basket are already conversions. Google calls this Mico-Moments and states that every contact is actually a conversion; read here further.
- Quality and quantity. Quality is, of course, an even broader container concept. Conversion optimization is about the visit intention of the visitor (what is he looking for?) and the connection of our website to it. If your visitor is looking for apples, you should not offer carrots. On the other hand, to improve the conversion, you need enough visitors and conversions to significant statements to be able to do. One purchase says nothing. Ten gives an interpretation. Five hundred tells you everything. You can only count on statistics.
- Conversion is about trust. And you build that trust in all kinds of ways: via a secure HTTPS url, a Thuiswinkel.org label, expert and customer reviews (read more about review marketing), an advertorial of a famous Dutchman, customer logos, customer figures, quotes, publications and surveys.
- Fewer thresholds, more conversion. The first threshold is the user friendliness. Is your website also easily accessible on the tablet and mobile? Does iDEAL work well? Is the website fast enough? Along with HTTPS, speed and mobile friendliness are the hygienic factors for Google to include your content in the search results or not. User-friendliness also includes clarity, navigation, font size and readability (no yellow letters on a green background for example). Other thresholds are different per product or service. Consider, for example: shipping costs, your credit card details for a demo, many fields to fill in, pop-up advertising etc.
- Buying is emotion (and customers are illogical). Many things happen in the sales process unconsciously. Some things are obvious, such as that the green lock at the URL bar gives a secure feeling. Other things work rather oddly: if a doctor says so, then we believe it sooner. Whatever it is. Have you ever booked with Booking.com? He uses this in every possible way: this room is now being viewed by 5 people, there is only one room left, this is the best choice, click on book and go directly to step 2, etc.
Conversion optimization means trying and measuring. You should even try out what seems logical. Because your situation can be very different. In some markets, raising your price actually increases conversion, for example. Yet there are a number of things that almost always help with your conversion, so we will deal with that first. Then we will really measure.
Realize more conversion immediately? Checklist with 10 points for attention
Almost these points will always increase your conversion. At every point, consider whether this is also the case in your market and with your customers:
- HTTPS: protects the website visit and increases your positions in Google.
- Mobile friendly: increases user-friendliness and your positions in Google.
- Speed of the website: increases user-friendliness and your positions in Google. This includes server speed, image size, how CSS and Javacript are loaded and more. See Google's Pagespeed Insights for free advice for your website.
- Bring the conversion: without a call-to-action, the customer cannot do anything. Make sure that it is immediately clear to the customer what the intention is. Seth Godin calls this the banana on the page.
- Make the page clear: no pieces of text, but headings and titles. No screaming banners, but a quiet looking page. Do you have multiple points or arguments? Use bullet points.
- Not just text: Show your product or service provider. With image you give an atmosphere and a feeling. Your target group likes to identify with photos.
- Does not distract. So no banner for a completely different product or service. The navigation menu can also be set on one landing page lead the visitor to the wrong subjects.
- Don't ask too much. For a newsletter subscription you only need an email address. If you ask more, you increase the chance of dropping out. Everything you ask for must have a valid reason. Not only for customers, but also from 28 May 2018 because of the GDPR that protects the privacy of European consumers.
- Address your target group. You or you? What are the problems and situations that your customers recognize? You can also show the target group with photos and therefore appeal to them. Do not show elderly people if you appeal to young people. The other way around: if you speak to the elderly, show pictures of people who are 10 years younger. That's how they feel.
- Make your page visually appealing. Comic sans, stock photos, amateur pictures, it does not help to get your message clear and sharp. Your visitors are easily annoyed by these kinds of things, while as a website owner you have seen it so often that it doesn't even stand out anymore. Be aware of your own blind spot and ask someone else for feedback.
You can now apply this list directly to your website or landing page. They are conversion no-brainers or in the old Dutch way: conversion buds. But how do you find other points to test and improve? Don't panic, it will come later. First we look at how you get input from your customers.
Giving feedback: how do customers do that at your company?
You would almost forget: behind all those numbers are just people trying to do something on their laptop or mobile! And that is sometimes difficult. Now smart companies are very interested in the experience of their visitors on their website. But I'm going now not list the list for companies. We turn it around! We start thinking from the customer. These are frequently used options for visitors to respond online:
- Contact: With an email address or a contact form you can give your feedback quickly. With a choice field subject your response ends up with the right department. For example, Dutch people with a German site will be familiar with the friendly e-mails in which Germans point to language errors. Bloeise has sometimes received an email about a mistake on the page History of the Internet and Social Media.
- Participate in an investigation: You are really just on the site and they already ask you what you think and if you can find everything. Microsoft and Philips do this for example. Only if you really have something to say (stupid site!), Or if you have nothing to do, are you willing to participate. You must have the feeling that you want to tell the company something. At the bottom of a help page you are sometimes asked to respond to the content, was this page useful?
- Leave review: The average group of customers does not seem to make judgments. They are either lyrical reactions or complaints. For example, you award a company or person a good rating, such as that very good craft beer bar. Or, you have had a bad experience and you want to warn other people. If as a company you have to deal with reviews, then definitely read this guide review marketing.
- Complaints procedure: This actually falls under contacting, and yet I call it separately. Many companies do not have a complaint procedure at all. As a dissatisfied customer you must therefore either e-mail or leave a review. Do you want good reviews? Then offer a separate channel for complaints on your website.
The last three are typically measured and regularly reported. Only in the case of large flows of e-mails is the first measured, for example at a large company. The point with responding online: you just have to wait and see if something happens to it. That's why people prefer to call, because the caller is faster. And what's the first thing they point out to you with a strap? You will find answers to frequently asked questions on our website. Good. We have now looked at feedback from a customer perspective. What else can you do as a company?
Ask for qualitative feedback
Quality is not in forms, assessments or online surveys. You do that for quantitative feedback. 6 out of 10 emails are about our search functionality. We have three complaints about the delivery person. Since our new marketing automation system in June, our reviews have dropped. But before you implement changes and quantitatively validate, you want to hear what could be improved. And for that you get going yourself, because customers will not give you the feedback you need on their own. So:
Talk to your customers to learn
Certainly if you want to implement a structural change, it pays to see your customers in person. Present them new things. Ask why they could or could not work with it. What they would change. This comes in the context of a usability test. It is advisable to outsource this to a specialized agency that has a lot of experience with this and where there is less chance that the personal relationship will disrupt the feedback. Do it yourself? Consider the following tips:
- A small number is enough. Typically ten customers will call you all the important points.
- Paper is also good. Make a few designs and show them immediately. Where would you click? Okay, then you see this. Not much is needed to convey all the idea.
- Reward unexpectedly. Participating in an investigation takes time and attention. From the customer relationship, people will say yes. Make sure they don't regret this. After the examination, give them a receipt or a bottle of wine.
- Capture it. Ideally by video, nowadays that really isn't that expensive anymore. Even a good mobile on a small tripod can suffice. This allows you as a researcher to focus on the conversation and view the results later.
Increasing conversion starts with the right mindset
You may already have written a list of action points for yourself after reading this article. Our approach was to wake you up: conversion optimization is so much more than just changing a button here or there. It's about the mindset. Measure everything. Google is happy if the visitor is happy. Talk to your customers. That way you can see which steps you still have to take on the ladder of conversion optimization. In part two we will start immediately with action points. We provide a framework for each component, so that you can immediately see whether the action items also suit your situation.
To conclude the reactions: which conversion would you expect with this article?