All posts in Conversion Rate Optimisation

Man With A Megaphone 2In today’s competitive online atmosphere, your site – and you – has to stand out as authorities. Credibility is key: the buzziest site, the most sophisticated features, the smoothest salespeople are for naught unless people trust that you can deliver on your promises and fill a need for them. One way to convey both your expertise and your integrity is through customer or client testimonials. The power of word of mouth is more important than ever.

“I Love this Brand!”

Just how powerful is this “social proof”?

  • 92% of customers give greater credence to online customer reviews than sales or promotional information.
  • 70% of customers look at online reviews, ratings, and testimonials before purchasing.
  • 69% consider online reviews as credible as recommendations from friends and family.

So, how do you incorporate testimonials into your website, blog, or other online platforms?

Ask! If you want customer reviews and testimonials, ask them. Request they write a (quick and easy) review of their experience. Some sites find success in offering a reward, such as a discount on a future purchase or another incentive. Ask that customers are clear and specific. Instead of, “I used XYZ and increased sales,” for instance, “XYZ helped me boost sales by 20%.” It is far powerful and effective.

Remember to ask for permission to publish or post these testimonials.

Never, ever fake it. If you don’t have genuine testimonials, or feel that the ones you have don’t adequately describe your service offerings, do not make them up. Some sites think it’s a “victimless crime,” so to speak, but you are eroding your credibility. We’re all familiar by now with online language; we can spot a fake.

Don’t limit customers to written testimonials. Make it as easy as possible. Some customers may prefer to leave a video review – and, many visitors to your website prefer video content, so it’s a win-win. Another option is a simple photo with a caption.

Make them visible. Don’t bury the testimonials. Place them prominently, so they are one of the first elements visitors see.  At the same time, make sure the specific testimonials coincide with the content. If you’re a business consultant, for instance, you might have different services: business coaching, strategic planning consulting, etc. Put the right testimonials with the right services.

Don’t ignore the negative. Not everyone is going to give you a glowing testimonial. But what do you do when you receive a negative review? Address it immediately before it blows up. Determine if you have done anything wrong or if you could have done more right! Respectfully respond, thank the customer for the feedback, and, if appropriate, offer to remedy the situation. If you, in fact, have done nothing wrong or cannot do anything to satisfy the customer, do not attack. Let it go. One bad apple will not hurt you as long as you deal with it calmly. And then make sure you have a dozen positive reviews to counter.

Testimonials demonstrate your credibility and ability to meet customer demands and needs. Don’t tell visitors how great you are – let your customers do it for you.

Old Phone 2Every business owner with an online presence, marketer, and SEO knows about the “2-3% myth.” That is, the average conversion rate for ecommerce sites is 2-3 percent. As one blogger put it, tracking the source of this data is a bit like tracking Big Foot. In any case, even if this is an accurate rate, you don’t want to shoot for it. A 10-20% conversion rate is a worthy goal –and an achievable one. One method which can yield significant results is implementing a click-to-call feature. What do you need to know?

Appeal to the Mobile Market

Sites that have a click-to-call button see:

  • Improved conversion rates.
  • Increased average orders.
  • Higher sales.

In addition, consider mobile users. Six billion people have access to cellphones and smartphones. Research shows that mobile searchers prefer to call businesses for which they’ve searched. Here’s just one scenario: a visitor queries local theaters, looking for good shows. He opts to call one to get information on show times. Click-to-call facilitates the process, making it convenient and easy.

According to Google, 69% of mobile users would use click-to-call if the feature were available. And, sites that implemented this functionality saw an 8% increase in conversion rates.

Click-to-Call for Your Website

Twitter is currently testing click-to-call in ads for certain brands, and you can enable it in your Adwords campaign. Here are a few quick steps to adding a click-to-call to your mobile site.

  1. Use this code:

<a href=tel: 112233334444”> 11-22-3333-4444</a>

(The numbers are simply your telephone numbers!)

  • Add a call to action to highlight this feature and let users know they can click the link to make a call.

<a href=”tel: 112233334444”>Click HERE to Call: 11-22-3333-4444</a>

When a user clicks this link, he or she will see a prompt: “Call 11-22-3333-4444? Yes/No. They know that they will be connected to your business. It’s as easy as that.

The good, old-fashioned telephone still wields a lot of power in today’s mobile world!

Click Here

Calls to Action are the essence of business online – ‘click here to learn more’, ‘add to your cart’, ‘donate now’, ‘download here’.  CTAs are found everywhere on the web, yet some are much more successful than others. There are mistakes to be made when asking someone to do something.  With these tips, you can ensure your CTA gets the desired result.

Be Clear and Concise With people so clearly distracted online, there is very little time to get your message across and get the desired response.  You must be clear with what you want a person to do because they aren’t going to take the time to figure it out. When you want someone to do something in live, you use action verbs – go, do, act, etcetera.  The same must be true online. Tell the viewer what you want him or her to do in a simple, straight-forward way.  It should only take two or three words to say exactly what you mean; to give direction.

Be Specific About the Gains to Be Had Why should the person do as you are asking?  What will they gain for having done so?  What sort of incentive are you offering that a competitor can’t provide.  Either as part of the link or in a description to the side, express in no uncertain terms what the person can expect upon clicking and why it is too good to miss out on.

Make it Urgent How often have you walked away from a deal because you figure the same value will be had tomorrow?  How often have you wondered if the sales will be better a week later?  If you want some to do something in the moment, you have to explain why it is an urgent matter. Consider adding the simple word ‘now’.  It’s small, but it’s powerful and gives your call to action a sense of time-sensitivity that it wouldn’t otherwise have.  Of course, there are also terms with even more enticement-factor, such as ‘while supplies last’, ‘first come, first serve,’ or ‘for a limited time only’.

Be Sure it is Seen If the point of the page is to get that person to act, then why would you hide the button or link that lets them do so?  Make it crystal clear by making it large, surrounded by open space, and starkly contrasted to the rest of the material on the page.  Additionally, be sure that people know that they can click on the button, photo or text that is meant to lead them forward.  A three-dimensional image of a button, for instance, is more likely to be clicked than a flat rectangle.

Make your CTA something that makes a person want to act and people will.

 

 

Optical Microscope 1A/B testing is an invaluable tool for website owners. If you don’t test it, you can improve. Do your visitors respond to this type of graphic or that? Does the red CTA generate for click-throughs than the green? Does integrating social prove increase CTRs? If you have it on your site, you can – and should – test it! Google’s Content Experiments is a tool that allows you to do just that.

What is Content Experiments?

This Google tool allows you to test up to 10 versions of a landing page to determine which specific changes yield the biggest improvements in conversion rates. It’s not straight A/B, then, which compares two versions, and it’s not multivariate, in which you test various combinations of different onpage elements. Instead, you can test up to 10 versions with separate URLs.

Improving Conversion Rates

The following tips will help you use Content Experiments to boost your conversion rates:

  • Focus on a goal. Do you want to increase opt-ins for newsletter subscriptions by 10%? Do you want to increase sales by 15% Whatever your goal, clearly define it. Make sure it is reasonable and achievable, or testing will only frustrate you.
  • Even though you can test up to 10 versions of your landing pages, target one feature at a time. Why? Because you won’t know which specific element is the one either attracting visitors or increasing bounce rates. You could, for instance, test your CTA. The versions remain much the same except for the CTAs. Test the call to action copy, the color, the style of the button. When you have your data, move on to the next critical element.
  • Analyze your traffic and decide on a timeframe. In general, the lower your daily traffic, the longer you should run your tests. Say you have a few hundred hits per day: take a week or so to collect data. Send the majority of your traffic to the test site to accelerate the process.
  • Optimise Ads. Google now allows AdSense users to use Content Experiments to optimise ads. You can experiment with placement and size to determine where you’re getting the most bang for your advertising buck.

Google provides a host of free tools for webmasters; this is one you definitely want to take advantage of.

Shaking Hands

Engaging content. Relevant content. Interesting content. Entertain. Instruct. Convert. In the hustle and bustle of designing and populating a website with all of this great SEO- and content marketing- gold, it can be easy to forget the building blocks of a great site. A solid About Us page is essential – but how do you craft one that not only gives visitors an accurate sense of who you are but encourages them to delve deeper into your website and trust you to fill their needs with your products or services.

  1. Tell them who you are. Why did you start your business? Why should visitors give credence to what you say? What’s your background? Don’t recreate your CV – but do tell an interesting story about who you are and why you’re here.
  2. Tell them what you can do for them. Scratch the itch. What brought the visitor to your page in the first place? As Simon Sineck says, “start with the why.” Describe the challenge or problem, and then segue into how you are the solution. It’s all about demonstrating value for them.
  3. Add social proof. Testimonials, positive mentions is respected publications or media, quotes, how many downloads, etc. can add to your credibility. You never want to pat yourself too hard on the back, but you can let others do a little for you.
  4. Bullet your credentials and accomplishments. Increased sales by 200% for one client? Have an MBA from Harvard? Great. Add it to a concise list. Skip the superlatives and stick with the facts. While we’re on the subject, keep paragraphs short and streamlined. Break up big chunks of text, and engage the reader visually.
  5. Include a professional photograph. This allows visitors to put a face to the name and business, building credibility. Conversion rates, by the way, are higher for pages with photos of real people. Don’t scrimp! No selfies; use a pro.
  6. Test your About page. Have a friend, coworker, or another trusted associate read your About page and then quiz him: does it explain, clearly and simply, who you are, what you do, where, how, and when? Think like a journalist: what information does your audience absolutely need?
  7. Keyword optimise. People are searching for you, or at least for what you do. Help them out, and reinforce your credibility, with targeted keywords. Remember, browsers conduct long-tail, question-based queries, so remember that when crafting your text. Include optimised headlines and subheadings.

The About page is one of the most visited on your website. With these tips, you can ensure it’s one of the strongest as well.

XDid the days of watching your commas, minding your semi-colons, and knowing it is “accidentally,” not “accidently,” end when you turned in your last term paper or put down the pencil? Does spelling and grammar matter to search engines, and will you be penalised for errors?

Is Spelling and Grammar a Factor in Your Ranking?

Yes, and no. And it depends. Bing’s Duane Forrester is clear with his search engine’s stance. In a blog post from February 2014, the Senior Product Manager writes:

…just as you’re judging others’ writing, so the engines judge yours. If you struggle to get past typos, why would an engine show a page of content with errors higher in the rankings when other pages of error free content exist to serve the searcher. Like it or not, we’re judged by the quality of the results we show. So we are constantly watching the quality of the content we see.

Google, too, wants to serve high-quality content. Typos and mistakes make it difficult to get through content, much less take it seriously. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, says that grammar and spelling are not among the over 200 direct signals that the search engine considers. But, he added, it can play a part in your PageRank. This is the measure of a site’s reputability, and egregious and consistent mistakes impact that.

We’re not talking about one mistake on 100 pages of great content or breaking “rules” by having sentence fragments, but rather serious misspellings and poorly constructed sentences all over the page. In addition to harming your PageRank, it can increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversion rate. Say a visitor clicks through to your site. He or she finds error after error and quickly bounces out. This is a signal to Google that your site may be of poor quality.

All of this boils down to the importance of having clean content that is as free from mistakes as possible. You’re not going to be 100% perfect. Your 3rd grade teacher may still be able to spot your errors, but for users, your content needs to “pass” the grammar and spelling test before they will engage further or consider viewing you as an authority.

Show you’re readers your a good writer!

Download Onscreen Button

Get them there, keep them there. Effective landing pages immediately engage your audience and effectively “scratch the itch” that has led them to your site in the first place. But they also go beyond: they entice visitors into staying, exploring what else you have to offer. They create new itches. How can you create landing pages that manage to do all of this effectively?

Some tips to get you started:

  1. Create more landing pages. Studies show that when companies increase the number of landing pages from 10 to 15, their conversion rates increased by 55 percent. That is too significant to ignore. Every offer or every campaign should have its own landing page. Otherwise, visitors land on your homepage and may not be clear on what you want them to do.
  2. Clear CTA. Again, feature one CTA, or call to action, per page. If you have multiple CTAs, you risk confusing the visitor. “What do they want me to do?” Perhaps “confused,” is the wrong word: they might just not care anymore. Craft a very clear CTA that explicitly and clearly explains what you want the visitor to do (Click here to download free report; Buy now! Sign up for our newsletter). Make sure your CTA is uncluttered and the color contrasts with the background and other elements. You want it to stand out like a beacon.
  3. Incorporate your logo. Who are you? The visitor shouldn’t be guessing, certainly not if you want them to complete a desired call to action. At the top of your page, add your business logo. Again, make sure it is not cluttered with extraneous imagery or text. Keep it clean.
  4. Add social validation. What “proof” can you offer your visitors that you are an authority in your niche? Try embedding tweets from happy visitors or satisfied customers or ask a Facebook fan if you can quote a positive message they’ve left on your page. If you have a whitepaper, a report, an ebook, or another type of content, mention how many people have downloaded it.
  5. Create urgency. Buy now or you’ll miss your chance and forever regret not completing our call to action! Well, word it more succinctly, but the basic point is to create a sense of urgency and immediacy in your visitors. CTAs never say, “Take your time; browse at other sites; sleep on it.” They say, “Only one left! Buy now!” or “Offer ends on X day” or “Last chance to save.” Amazon does this like the pros they are: “Buy in the next 2 hours and get it by tomorrow,” or “Only 1 left in stock.”

Landing pages need to convert. That’s their purpose. When you incorporate these tips and keep your design clean and simple, you’ll see an uptick in your conversion rate

Server Concept 3

Site speed is critical for optimal performance. Studies show that the average user will wait 6-10 seconds for a page to load – but they’re not going to be happy about it, and many bounce when they encounter even a second or two of delay. One of the ways that you can shave off some time is to opt for a content delivery network, or CDN? How does this work, and is it a good choice for your business and website?

What is a CDN?

Don’t be intimidated: it’s just a network! Typically, when a visitor comes to your site, he is redirected to your webhost server, which could be next door or a half a continent away. When a high volume of visitors sends requests to the server at the same time, it can lead to sluggish load times. CDNs solve tackle this problem on two fronts:

  • CDNs utilize a network of server, reducing the chances that you’ll overload any one server with high volume requests.
  • Visitors are redirected to servers closest to their geographical location, which speeds up the entire process.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved user experience and decreasing bounce rates.
  • Customer retention.
  • Greater network security and reduced risk of crashes.
  • Seamless delivery of content, including video streaming.
  • Removal of global barriers and expansion of reach.
  • Cachable files for reduced load times.

Is there any reason why a CDN is not an optimal solution? Cost is a major issue. It may not be useful for a small business, for instance, to invest in a CDN given the startup costs and maintenance fees. While large companies can save money by serving faster content, the same may not apply to smaller entities.

Another issue is that you’re sharing resources; if other customers within your particular CDN are experience high volumes of traffic, it could impact your load times. And, as always when you introduce more moving parts, there is a risk that there could be failures somewhere along the delivery line. Now, this is true no matter what server option you choose, but it’s something to consider.

Is a CDN right for you? Weigh the increased speed against the cost. Will it provide a solid ROI, or can you get by with a centralised web server? There is no right answer – just the one that will benefit your business most.

Thumbs UpIt is estimated that there are over 2 billion pages of indexed web content in the world. And somewhere in that 2 billion is you. SEO can help guide searchers to your website, but what keeps them there? What encourages them to share your content or to recommend your site/products/services to friends, family, coworkers? A big piece of that puzzle is credibility and establishing your position as an expert in your niche. Reviews are an integral step towards this end. How does Google’s new Review Extensions work – and how can you make them work for you?

Review Extensions

Google allows Adwords account holders to submit third-party reviews for approval. Once approved, the review appears in the search results. Here is an example from Google:

You may use an exact quote, as this example does, or a paraphrase. To submit a review for approval, log into your Adwords account and, under the Ad extensions tab, you’ll find a space for “new reviews.” Simply choose your format (exact or paraphrased), the text you want to include, the source, and the source URL. You can also schedule start and end dates.

Keep in mind:

  • The review has to be attributed to the published source and accompanied by a link.
  • As mentioned, the reviews must be approved by Google. It can take a few days for them to appear in the SERPs.
  • You can move reviews that already appear within your ad text and add a Review Extension. This gives more power to the review and promotes your site and business. Do not duplicate the text, however. Make sure Review Extensions and ad text are different.
  • As of now, this feature is available globally – but only in English. Look for other languages to be added soon.
  • Google recommends you use one Review Extension at the campaign level, rather than at ad group levels. A campaign might include several ad groups: Google prioritises campaign level extensions and reviews them more quickly. Essentially, it gives you more bang for your CPC buck (though the reviews are free, you do, of course, pay your cost-per-click for the ads).
  • Familiarise yourself with Google’s Review Extension policies. If your submission doesn’t meet the guidelines, the search engine will not approve it.
  • Be aware that reviews do not show up in the SERPs all the time. If yours does not appear, take a look at the guidelines and make sure your Review Extension conforms. If it does, know that there are other factors at play, such as space on the page, your bid, and ad relevance.

Positive third-party reviews can boost your CTR and your credibility as an online resource and authority. If you’ve receive a glowing report, a rave review, or two thumbs up from a reputable source, leverage its power to help you reach and connect with your audience.

 

 

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Retail and ecommerce websites have an average conversion rate of about 3 percent; professional and financial service professionals average 10 percent. Your conversion rate is all relative, of course. If you have 1000 visitors a day converting at 3 percent, that is much better than 10 visitors converting at 50 percent. But relative or not, every site wants to encourage more visitors to complete the CTA. Here are five easy ways to boost your conversion rate optimisation efforts.

 

 

Remember, CRO is all about user experience. Improving how users interact with and respond to your website helps convert more visitors to customers.

  • Reduce form lengths. This one change can increase conversion rates by up to 300 percent.  When creating your forms, think barebones: what is the absolute least that I can ask my customers and still get the vital information I need? Name, email, phone, address, are standard. Do you really need anything else? Keep in mind that the more questions you ask, the better visitors feel about bouncing.
  • Make it easy to sign in or check out. Adding social sign-in can push visitors the last few inches to becoming customers. Remove all barriers to signing in, signing up, or buying. In addition to making it easier on your customers, you get a wealth of invaluable data to help concentrate marketing efforts and spend. Another option is to offer Guest checkout so people don’t need to create an account.
  • Offer alternative payment options. With high-profile hacking stories dominating the news, consumers are understandably nervous about providing credit card information.  Today, your options are not limited to Paypal – though that’s a great one! Look into Google Wallet, Square (for iPhones and iPads), Amazon Payments, Bitcoin, and other services.
  • Remove clutter. You wouldn’t want to shop in a store that was packed floor to ceiling with junk. Neither do online customers. Again, ask, what do I really need? Get rid of extraneous images, extra text, and content that does not help you tell your story in a compelling way.
  • Craft engaging, clear CTAs. Ditch ambiguous calls to action (“Click here now!”) and replace them with clearly worded messages: “Download Now,” “Click for Free Sample,” “Buy.” Keep it simple and tell customers exactly what will happen when they click through.

Whether your current conversion rate is 2 percent or 10, improvements can have significant impacts on your business.

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