by Andrew Slack
The various methods used to drive traffic to a website site have been well documented over the years. SEO, Pay-Per-Click and other promotional techniques all do their job well to get those valuable customers through your online door.
However, if your website is there to sell, what happens once the traffic starts building? What are you doing to convert online browsers into paying customers? It's one thing to get traffic coming to your site, but if no one wants to buy your business isn't going to get anywhere. So, how do you improve your conversion rate? How do you encourage your visitors to complete the buying process and press the order now button on your site?
Here are ten steps to help you improve online conversions.Make sure your customers know what you want them to do
Sounds like basic common sense, but just take a look at your site. Are your customers required to fill in a form, read the text, click to the next page, phone or indeed order today? You need to make it very clear to the customer what they need to do. It may be obvious to you that to order they should click the “join now” button but that type of button may not be clear to the customer. Let the customer know exactly what you want them to do. Make it easy for them.
Here are some examples of clear order instructions:
”Simply enter your e-mail address in the form below and click submit, you will then receive instant access to the free Despicable Me 2 video.”
”To order simply click this link and using your VISA or Mastercard put in your credit card details, it is easy and will take just a few seconds. You will then get an e-mail which gives you access to the latest ebook.”
Simple but effective and easy to understand instructions are keyMake navigating your site simple
Make your site navigation idiot proof and obvious. Just as customers in a shop don’t know their way around it as well as a member of staff, they do not know their way around your site as well as you do. They may have been to five other websites with very different navigation methods so keep your site simple. Remember, buyers are one click from leaving your site altogether.
'Watch' people using your site. Record the mistakes they make navigating their way around and make improvements to stop the mistakes happening again. There are some excellent tools out there to help with this : clicktale.com, luckyorange.com and mouseflow.com spring to mind.Websites need multiple navigation paths
If your customer has completed their research before arriving at your site or if you’re running an affiliate programme where the affiliate has pre-sold your product they do not necessarily want to read the same information again. This type of customer needs a quick path to the desired customer reaction, whether that is the order page, e-mail box or to ring you.
A good example of this in action is Capsiplex.com, Look where the “Order Now” button is. It’s bold and easy to spot. This is for those customers that know they want to buy the product. Make it easy for this type of customer.
If a customer is coming to the site without having done any research they should be able to find out everything they needs to know to make a knowledgeable purchase. In fact you should decide the path you want the customer to take, so by the end of it they feel confident enough to make a purchase.
Google knows this principle well, you’re never more than a click away from where you were or where you want to be. You do a search, you click on the link, if you don’t like it then you click back.Are you getting the message across quickly enough? Would you pass the 7 second test?
If a customer landed on any page in your site would they know what the site is and what you are selling within seven seconds? The average user will give a website seven seconds before moving on; this includes load time. You need to get across what you want them to do and what the product is within that timeframe.Don’t waste 'key space' with your logo
Keep logos small, so when people then want to know what or who they are buying from they can find out. Take a look at the Amazon logo and note how small it is.
A header which is basically there to make the site look pretty is useless. If your header doesn’t quickly convey what the product is, the benefits and what is included then dramatically reduce its size or do what Amazon do and make it practically non-existent.How easy is it for the customer to complete the desired reaction?
Are there any hurdles on your site that could prevent the customer doing what you want them to do? Check page load time, are there too many questions on the signup form? Do you accept their payment method? Do returning customers have to re-type all their information? Do you provide different shipping/billing addresses? These are all simple steps you can take to improve your site.How easy is it for your customer to get help if needed?
Why would it be more comfortable to wade through a strange website, when you can speak in person or email someone and get quick/knowledgeable information? Remember your customer is busy.
With navigation its important to not just put a “contact us” button but tell the customer why they should contact you. If the customer is contacting you then you know that they are already very interested and you should be converting them into a paying customer.Can your customer read your copy?
Long sentences and long words make things difficult to read, and this means fewer sales. Studies show that sentences should be preferably no more than 10 words.
Paragraphs should be short, preferably no more than 3-4 sentences (depending on sentence size). This is because onscreen long continuous paragraphs of text are hard to read, Bear in mind that 60% of the population need spectacles and therefore the text on your website should be at least 11pt in size, with adequate line spacing.Do your customers trust you?
A site looking credible and trustworthy is an important factor in a customer’s decision to buy. A simple way to improve your credibility is by borrowing some from trusted organizations.
When you associate your store with groups and brands that shoppers trust, that trust rubs off on you. Studies by McAfee and VeriSign show that online sales can increase by up to 36% when a retail site displays familiar trustmarks.
The emotional worry of security is usually dealt with by images of padlocks and credibility logos such as VISA / Mastercard. Amazon is a perfect example of this, “sign in with our secure server”, lots or credibility logos on the checkout pages too.Homepage promotion
Another way to entice shoppers to buy from you is to display a promotional offer on your homepage. When you offer a percentage off certain items or discounted/free shipping, a new customer is more likely to give you a try. After they experience your amazing service and fantastic products, they’ll come back for more at full price.
These are ten simple steps to improve your online conversions. By implementing just some of these you’ll notice a big difference to your online sales.Andrew Slack is managing director at MoreNiche