What are conversions?
Conversion optimisation is the process of getting more out of the traffic that visits your site by increasing the conversion rate.
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who take the action you want them to.
For a site used to sell products, the obvious conversion is a sale. However, all the steps leading to this, from creating an account to adding the product to the cart, are also important micro-conversions.
The benefits of conversion optimisation
One advantage of conversion optimisation is that it increases the return on investment from other types of marketing. Increasing the traffic to your site only gives a significant benefit if the conversion rate is high enough. A higher conversion rate therefore makes other types of marketing, like SEO and social media, more productive and more cost-effective.
Conversion optimisation also creates more potential for growth. It increases sales without relying on an increasing customer base, which allows your business to grow without running out of resources or customers.
Conversion optimisation will also result in a better site and a better user experience. By developing what your site does well and making improvements where needed, customers will enjoy a better experience. This means more conversions, more repeat customers, and an increased customer base through word of mouth.
Focusing your efforts
Rather than simply guessing how to improve, the first step of conversion optimisation is gathering data to determine how people interact with your site.
Questions like who interacts with your site, where they come from, and what devices they use can all be answered by analysing web traffic. Importantly, it can also show you where the conversion chain breaks down.
This data turns conversion optimisation from indiscriminate guesswork based on hunches into an effective and focused way to improve specific parts of your site, letting you focus your efforts on where they'll have the largest impact.
For example, you could discover that the majority of your traffic comes from users on mobile devices, but that the users on mobile devices have a low conversion rate compared to users browsing on a computer. This could indicate that there is some problem with browsing the site on a mobile.
Three easy ways to optimise your conversions
Once you've gathered the data on the current use of your site, you can begin to make changes.
One way to optimise your site is to make sure it is simple to understand and easy to use. Using the earlier example, it could be that the mobile site is less well set up than the main site. It could run slowly on older devices, or be hard to navigate. In this case, simply making sure the mobile site runs smoothly could massively boost the conversion rate. If the site runs smoothly, then make sure the headlines are eye-catching, the colours are appealing, and the call-to-action is distinct and striking.
Another important way is to address customer concerns. If customers are making micro-conversions, like creating an account or adding the item to their basket, but are not making the macro-conversion of actually buying the product, it could be due to uncertainty. In this case, addressing the uncertainty would result in a higher conversion rate. Give potential customers all the infomation they need about a product and consider adding an FAQ to address any questions they may have or product reviews to give the customer the confidence to buy.
Finally, create a sense of urgency. Give the customer a reason to convert now, and not in the future. Remind them if the product has a limited number left and if they delay they could lose the opportunity to buy the product, or give them a time limited shipping option or special offer.
Testing the conversion optimisation
Once you've determine what to change, assess the impact of it using split testing. For infomation of how to do this, see our blog post - Split Testing - What is it and why should I do it?