What do I mean by converting? I mean converting browsers into buyers.
A conversion is when someone looking at your offerings decides to take the action you want them to take, i.e. making a purchase or providing you with their contact information. On a website, the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who make a purchase or give you their e-mail address.
When you know what your conversion rate is and what the average value of a conversion is, you can calculate return on investment, ROI, very accurately. When you know your ROI you can make the most informed and profitable decisions about the allocation of your marketing budget. The higher your conversion rate the greater your ROI.
Next month I’ll get into measuring conversion rates, and I’ll have a special offer for newsletter subscribers who want some help getting a system in place to provide these metrics. Now, I want to tell you about how to increase that conversion rate.
The most effective, simple way of conversion optimization is to simply put yourself in the shoes of your customers, clients or donors. Walk through the process you expect them to use when they do business with you. This could mean walking into your store and trying to see it as a customer would. If you do e-commerce then you need to go to your website, browse a bit and make a purchase.
Every business transaction follows this model: Visit, Obstacle, Goal. You have visitors and you have a goal you want them to perform. In between is what keeps them from converting, obstacles.
What obstacles do your put between your visitors and them taking your desired action? Obviously, some obstacles can’t be removed, like having to reach for their wallet. If they have to fill out a form on your website then too many fields to fill out can be an unnecessary obstacle. Every click and every keystroke a visitor makes is an obstacle. Try to make your website require as little clicking and typing as possible to carry out a transaction.
In a store there are many possible obstacles. The organization of your products might create obstacles. If people can’t find what they need quickly they’re less likely to follow through with a purchase. Your employees might seem disinterested, unhelpful, or even rude. Poor people create obstacles not just to making a purchase, but to feeling comfortable in a store.
Service providers often create a big obstacle with their price tag. It’s a lot of money to agree to up front. So, many of us change the goal. Instead of going for the sale right off the bat we offer a free consultation or free estimate. This gives us an opportunity to chip away at the price-tag-obstacle before the client has to face that decision. Plus, a no-risk goal will always convert better than a goal with a price tag.
Improving your conversion rate is the the process of making it easier to do business with you. There are more rigorous methods of going about it, such as split-testing, but I bet you can figure out some ways to improve just by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Don’t miss the follow-up to this post, Conversion Tracking You Can Do Yourself, Cheap.
This post first appeared in my e-mail newsletter.