For rookies and veterans alike, wrangling website conversion rates is a daunting task. Getting a buyer, visitor, or prospect to “convert” can mean very different things to different organizations. The process that works for one business can be useless for another. For some, this can make starting a new conversion rate project feel like reinventing the wheel.
Fortunately, there are some tactics that are near-universal. These tactics range from strategic framings to technical considerations. While execution may look different, some core themes will always be valuable for marketing and SEO teams to consider. Applying these tactics to your business can help lead your audience to convert.
This post will walk you through the top 10 tactics for increasing conversion rates. It includes guidance across the stages of improving conversion. These stages range from planning and benchmarking to execution and iteration. These tactics will help you whether you’re optimizing existing conversion rates, or starting from scratch!
Benchmarks and Ballparks
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re starting from. Creating an existing baseline for conversion rates is a crucial first step. This initial prep work will help set the rest of your planning and execution up for success.
#1a: Set a Goal for Conversion (and Define what “Conversion” Actually Means)
It may seem simple, but too many people skip defining clear goals and objectives. For the untrained, it’s tempting to say that you should “increase conversion rates” without saying by how much. This makes it hard to budget resources effectively. It also sets the execution team up for failure since they don’t know what they’re shooting for.
The first step is to define what you want to optimize for on your site. In B2B context, “converting” is often getting visitors to sign up for a demo. . In B2C contexts, converting is usually when they sign up for a mailing list, or actually purchase something. Conversion can also mean visitors moving from a landing page to another higher-value page on the site.
The identifier for when someone has “converted” is usually when they click a CTA button. These Call To Action buttons often receive much of the attention when it comes to conversion rates. However, the entire page, or site, impacts your conversion rate.
In any case, be intentional about what you want visitors converting to. This will impact the rest of your process. For instance, news sites may want visitors to convert to their stories to read content. For tech companies, reading content may be a step to lead visitors to convert elsewhere. One business’s tactic may be another’s goal.
Once you’ve established the conversion function you’re measuring, the question is the quantity. What’s an ambitious, but achievable, goal to increase conversion by? Your confidence in this number can vary drastically. It can feel like guesswork when first starting to measure conversion rates. This is why starting with a baseline rate is so crucial. The more industry experience your team has, the more effectively they can set conversion goals. You should also leverage the existing signals your website visitors are giving you.
#1b: Collect and Analyze Visitor Data
The visitors already on your site are the best guides of what your conversion rates are and should be. Make sure you’re learning as much about your visitors and their behavior as possible. This will help you create target personas to craft your conversion strategy around.
Tailor conversion metrics to target personas and audiences. The value here is twofold. On one hand, different personas may convert to different degrees, and in different ways. On the other, your business may value certain personas converting more than others. Segmented visitor analysis will help you set targeted goals that reflect your business interests.
Using visitor data, identify exactly where you’re losing people. Is a particular page type converting way less than the rest of the site? Are people clicking into a high-value page, then immediately abandoning it? Find the places where visitor behavior isn’t matching what you want. These are the areas that will be the most likely to benefit from improvements.
#2: Perform Competitor Analysis
Your visitors and buyers aren’t looking only at your site. Take a look at what your competitors are doing for a market benchmark. Odds are, your website isn’t the absolute best when it comes to conversion optimization. It’s also most likely not the worst. Looking at competitors’ sites can help you learn what to do, and what not to do. Some factors to look for:
- Where are your competitors placing CTAs? Do you find those locations intuitive?
- How natural does the flow of the high-value pages feel on their sites? Are you naturally led to conversion opportunities, or does it feel forced?
- What tools are competitors using to encourage visitors to convert? Are they using social proof, statistics, or creating a sense of urgency?
There are many other factors that you can look for on competitors’ sites. This should also be an ongoing exercise. Competitors are also trying to increase their conversion rates. Keep an eye out for new tricks and tactics you can– ahem– “adopt” from them!
Conversion conversations can often get bogged down in overly-technical considerations. There are a number of non-technical tactics to improve conversion rates. These tactics range from high-level considerations to concrete investment options.
#3: Invest In Your Copy
Out of all the go-to recommendations, “improve your copy” is probably the most-said and least-respected. Everyone always thinks their copy is good. Taking a closer eye to marketing, sales, and site language will usually surface opportunities for improvement.
Even product landing pages benefit from better copy. Every page’s copy should be human, skimmable, and tightly aligned to your brand. One of our in-house marketing experts praised Gong for their focus on copy execution.
In reality, copy optimization is an ongoing effort, rather than a one-off exercise. The copy across your site will leave a lasting impression on visitors. This impacts not only the chance that they convert right now, but in the future as well.
Your copy also includes CTA copy. Your CTAs in particular should be very clear and easy to read. They should also deliver on what they promise. If a CTA advertises pricing information, it should take the visitor to pricing information. It should not take them to a demo request form. Conversely, if you want folks to request a demo, provide a CTA that advertises a demo opportunity. Bait-and-switching visitors with CTAs is one of the fastest ways to lose potential customers’ trust. Speaking of….
#4: Increase Trust
If you’ve ever accidentally clicked on a banner ad and been stuck on a mailing list for 5 years, you know that not every website is trustworthy. If a visitor doesn’t feel like they can trust your site, they most likely won’t convert. To turn trust into an asset inside of a liability, everything on your site should reinforce your trustworthiness.
Trustworthiness is often described as a feeling, more than something concrete. When designing your site, have an eye towards how professional it looks. This goal is sometimes in tension with feeling engaging or getting visitors’ attention. Site designers must balance these two goals.
There are also several discrete mechanisms for increasing trust. Highlight the expertise of your organization. Industry certifications and awards can provide that validation for visitors as well. Also use restraint with promotional content. The last thing you want is for your limited-time offer or white paper to feel like spam.
#5 Offer Proof
Talk is cheap- data isn’t. Wherever possible, validate the claims you make on the site to build credibility. This can take many forms, such as quantitative results, testimonials, and case studies. Accessible demonstrations can also be particularly compelling for visitors.
User reviews are an increasingly impactful strategy for social proof. For example, vendors leveraging TrustRadius review content have seen conversion rate increases range from 14-70%. The exact results can vary, but the trend suggests that user feedback is especially persuasive to B2B buyers. Locating user reviews near conversion opportunities is an effective tactic for increasing conversion rates.
#6: Make Converting as Easy as Possible
Converting on your site should not be hard for your visitors! It seems simple at first glance, but there are many factors that increase friction. Common pitfalls include:
- Having to click through multiple pages from the CTA to the end-state
- Arduous sign-in processes
- Overly-invasive form fills
Use the information the visitor has given you elsewhere to make the conversion function easier. Utilizing Single Sign-On functions like Gmail can also improve the sign-in experience and checkout process.
In B2C cases, save visitor’s carts so they can return to their spot in a later session. Use the visitor information you collect to inform what discounts, offers, or promotions would be most interesting.
In B2B contexts, the focus will likely be on lead gen opportunities. Place CTAs in convenient places on high-traffic pages. When asking visitors to fill out a form, be as restrained as possible. Don’t ask for more information than you need to deliver on the CTA’s promise.
#7: Create a Sense of Urgency
You don’t want your visitors to look at your CTA and think, “eh, I’ll do that later.” Odds are, they probably won’t! Along with making converting easy, you should also give them a reason to do it now.
There are a number of ways to create urgency, depending on your business case. Limited-time offers and discounts can be helpful in highly-transactional or B2C contexts. These tools can work in B2B as well, but competitive FOMO can also be powerful. Casually mentioning competitors that have benefitted from converting can motivate some visitors to convert in order to “catch up.”
There is a range of methods to increase conversion rates for the technically-inclined. These tactics will be more useful if you have ongoing engineering or design resources. You can also pick up new skills here if you want to up your conversion rate game!
#8: Improve and Maintain Site Quality of Life
There’s a lot of technical ways to improve your visitors’ experience behind the scenes. Modern browsing experiences have raised visitors’ expectations for even small sites.
This process starts when designing your webpages. Structure each page as intuitively and simply as possible. Also consider what functionalities are beneficial. For instance, most sites should have an internal search functionality. This is particularly crucial for eCommerce sites. Site navigation should also be as intuitive as possible.
There are also ongoing updates and considerations. If visitors have to wait more than 4 seconds for a page to load, they’re likely to abandon the page entirely. There are several ways to keep load times down. For instance, avoid large images and auto-play videos.
You can also leverage Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to improve load times. Consider how to implement the newest user experience (UX) features on your site. This will help you maintain a modern-feeling visitor experience.
#9: Implement Ongoing A/B Testing
You don’t want to commit to a change until you know it’s the best! A/B testing help you testing the impact of various changes on your site before fully committing to them. A/B testing splits traffic between two nearly-identical pages.
This split lets you gauge the impact of a specific change on a page. A/B testing can be between a change vs. the status quo. it can also compare 2 different changes. It measures a change’s impact on traffic, conversion rates, and other metrics. If the change has a negative effect, you simply revert the change.
One approach to A/B testing is to fully create a change, then fully revert if it’s bad. This approach is resource and time intensive for most organization. Fortunately, there are many A/B testing tools to help you choose which changes to make. Google Optimize is a simple, easy-to-use A/B testing option. It’s particularly helpful if you also use other Google tools, like Google Analytics.
There are also A/B testing tools for more intensive or larger organizations. Optimizely and VWO are popular products among midsize businesses and enterprises. They both approach A/B testing with an eye towards conversion rate optimization.
#10 Optimize for Mobile
One of the more recent technical optimizations for conversion rates is to focus on the mobile experience. This is primarily because Google has switched to mobile-first indexing. This means that sites with better mobile performance will get more visibility in Google search results. More visibility leads to more site conversions, and more conversion opportunities from there.
Fortunately, Google doesn’t force you to optimize in the dark. They offer a free mobile-friendly testing tool. This will help you gauge how mobile-optimized your site is in Google’s eyes. You can also get helpful tips on where and how you can improve your site for mobile users.
Remember Your Digital ABCs: Always Be Converting
Conversion rates is a critical piece of any website’s performance. No two approaches to increasing conversion rates are identical. However, these 10 tips and tricks will give you a good foundation for improving your rates.
You also don’t have to go into this process alone. There’s an entire market of conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools available. These tools include site analytics, A/B testing, survey building, and a host of other capabilities. Consider which capabilities you need to get inside into and increase your conversion rates.
For even more tips on improving your conversion rates, check out the youtube video below!