Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a red-hot topic. Marketing teams, CEOs and UX designers alike want to know why their website visitors aren’t converting into customers. But why does Conversion Rate Optimisation matter so much? As you probably already know, CRO drives more sales from your current website traffic. Converting existing visitors is much more cost-effective than paying to attract new ones.
However, converting the visitors you already have is no easy feat. Your website traffic is up, you know people are visiting. However, your sales aren’t rocketing. Instead, they’re bumbling along at a steady pace. If this scenario is all too familiar, it’s time for a CRO shake-up.
In our CRO experience, we’ve noticed 7 common website conversion issues. From poor copywriting to insufficient analytics, these recurrent mistakes hinder businesses of all sizes. Consider tweaking your CRO strategy if you’re:
1. Using Guesswork over Analytics
Whatever you do, don’t rely on guesswork. Perhaps you’ve Googled some conversion statistics. Maybe you’re a UX design expert. Either way, it’s vital that you collect data about your own site. CRO isn’t about guesses, hunches and tactical advice. It’s a complex “process of diagnosis, hypothesis and testing”.
Analytics packages like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are sound places to start. With tools like these, you can pinpoint exactly where you’re losing traffic. Use analytics to:
Define your goals. Are you after sales? Or do you want sign-ups to your email newsletter? Using analytics packages to set goals enables you to measure your website’s success rate.
Tackle leaky points in your conversion funnel.
A funnel is the route users take to reach your goal page.
Let’s say your business sells…erm…premium hoverboards. A visitor adds a board to the basket, enters their shipping details, adds payment details and submits their order. They’ll then view a confirmation message, which – ta da! – is your goal page. Through analysis, you can track a visitor’s progress through your funnel. You can see where visitors are leaving the process – super useful for planning improvements.
Track your conversions. Analytics packages show the total number of conversions day-in, day-out. They also display the conversion rate. This is the number of conversions as a proportion of the total visits for that day.
Heatmaps. Want to see exactly what’s happening on your website? Tools like SessionCam can generate heatmaps of your website. With all this technical analytics jargon f
lying around, it’s easy to forget that website visitors are real, individual users. Heatmaps bring you back to reality. They allow you to see mouse movements, clicks, page scrolling and more. This gives a direct insight into usability problems.
2. Avoiding Tests
If you’re trying to get customers to convert without carrying out tests, you’re doing it all wrong. Testing is a vital part of CRO, here’s why:
As the proud owner of HoverLovers Ltd, you want people to buy your hoverboards. Getting visitors to the checkout page is the conversion that you want to measure. Certain variables will drive this conversion, like the colour of your background or customer testimonials. It could be either, both or none of these factors. You’ll never know unless you test, like so:
Isolate one variable. For example, testimonials.
Form a hypothesis. It could be “adding testimonials may increase the number of hoverboard sales”
Compare conversion rates. Differentiate between when testimonials are displayed and when they aren’t. This is called A/B split testing.
Run the tests. Do this with testing software, e.g. Google Content Experiments, Maxymiser or Optimizely.
From there, you’ll need to interpret your results using your chosen software. When you declare a winning variation, you can implement the change on your site. Remember, tests are an ongoing process – customer behaviour changes!
3. Writing poor call-to-action copy
What does the President of the USA have to do with CRO? A lot, apparently. The winning 2008 presidential campaign is a popular example of powerful call-to-action strategy. Obama’s team tested three images, three videos, and four call-to-action copy versions. This made a grand total of 24 different variations. Taxing, but so worth it – the winning version increased newsletter sign ups by 40.6 %.
When writing call-to-action copy, it’s easy go for the simple, generic “Buy Now” approach. However, lazy call-to-action copy can harm your conversion rate. Make like Obama and customise your call-to-action buttons.
– Use action-packed text. For example, “try”, “go” and “download”.
– Make text clear and legible. It’s no use having captivating copy if it’s too small to notice.
– Instil a subtle sense of urgency. “Join Our Mailing List Now!” Applying some light pressure can substantially increase click-through rates.
– Test your buttons. We can’t stress it enough – test, test, test! You need to find out what works for your specific service. Experiment with placement, style, colour and other factors.
– Play around with graphics. It’s not all about words. Get creative with the design of your call-to-action buttons. What works better, rounded or square buttons? Green or orange?
4. Producing mediocre wider copy
Ask a copywriter how important words are for sales. Prepare for a lecture. Good copy can be incredibly powerful, and thankfully, easy to write. Follow these steps to ensure you don’t take words for granted:
Enforce clarity. By forming clear sentences, your visitors’ will have no unanswered questions. Read your copy aloud – make sure you understand the message and call-to-action.
Be compelling. You want visitors to buy your product/download your whitepaper/sign up for your newsletter. Be persuasive, but subtly so. No one likes feeling pressured.
Keep your copy concise. Most readers scan a page before deciding whether to read the details. Therefore, you must keep your messages snappy and digestible. Cut down unnecessary words. Add subtitles and bullet points. (See what I did there?)
Sweat the small stuff. A Carnegie Mellon University study found that swapping a single phrase can boost conversions. They set up a DVD trial program and tested between two phrases: 1) “a $5 fee” 2) “a small $5 fee”. Believe it or not, the second phrase increased sign-up rates by over 20%. The lesson? Measure, improve and track the success of your copy. Writing is a science and an art!
5. Blindly following “best practice”
We totally realise the irony in telling you, via an informative blog post, not to follow best practice. However, through this post we’re encouraging you to conduct your own research/tests, rather than handing you ready-made tactics. Such practices wouldn’t be personal to your website, and could therefore hinder your CRO.
For instance, it’s considered best practice to provide social proof (e.g. number of email subscribers) in order to convert visitors. However, a test run by DIY Themes contradicted this consensus. Surprisingly, their e-mail sign-up form converted 102 percent better without social proof. On other sites, social proof works brilliantly. Why? There’s no way of knowing for sure, but we are certain of one thing – the power of testing!
6. Forgetting to test and analyse other elements of your digital presence
Is your website optimised to the max? Great, but don’t stop there! Your digital presence goes far beyond the realms of your site. Take social media posts and e-mail subject lines, they need attention too! You can A/B test pictures on your Twitter page to see which ones generate the most followers. You can also test e-mail subject lines, blog post headlines, ad copy, Facebook statuses etc. The list is endless!
7. Only running tests on your desktop versions
On-the-go handset browsing has become increasingly popular. Thus, your CRO strategy must cater for this trend. Mobile and desktop visits are different experiences; you should carry out different tests accordingly. Who knows – you may find that your desktop site converts amazingly, but your mobile version is a dud.
To see if this is the case, filter results based on mobile or desktop traffic. By filtering them out, you’ll discover the conversion rates for each and optimise accordingly.
CRO can seem pretty complex. By saving this list, you’ll have some of the most common CRO issues, and advice on avoiding them, at your fingertips. From here, you can kick-start your own efficient conversion plan. Side-stepping these 7 common issues will help you reliably increase your conversion rate. Happy optimising!