Listen: you don’t need double digit jumps in conversion percentages to get more traffic through your search listings, more subscribers to your email newsletter or more sales off of your product landing page.
Often just a three or four percent jump can lead to significant increases in traffic, leads and sales. Furthermore, the changes you need to make often can be done under 45 minutes.
Sadly, most people don’t make the changes. They just “finish” the product and then forget about it.
But if you knew how to make changes to your marketing funnel that would lead to single–even double-digit growth–wouldn’t you be wise to make those changes?
To help you out I contacted thirteen conversion experts and veterans to see what single best lesson they’ve learned when it came to improving online conversions.
It could’ve been a tweak to a landing page or SE listing, an overhaul of an email newsletter or Facebook ad. Whatever it was a it was a defining moment.
The only other requirement was to keep the advice under 100 words (this will make sense of Derek Halpren’s sublime answer).
Carlos del Rio | Unbounce
The best lesson I have learned is that testing doesn’t have to be comprehensive to be effective. The first time that I used SilverBack was a defining moment. I recorded 5-minutes of a real person using an e-commerce site and was able to raise cart completion by 13-percent. It only takes a few minutes to solve customer problems if are willing to let go of your ego about the site and hold the customer sacred above all else.
Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg | Bryan & Jeffery Eisenberg & Associates
We started optimizing websites for conversion in the mid-90s and it wasn’t until almost 15 years later that I discovered the magic shortcut to conversion success. After I left the agency my brother and I built that focused exclusively on improving conversion rates was able to look back at thousands of tests and discover that every successful CRO improvement came from enhancing one or more of factors from the Conversion Trinity.
- Relevance. Are you relevant to my wants/needs/desires (search query)? Have you maintained scent/ad consistency?
- Value. Do I know why you are the right solution for me? Have you explained your value proposition/offer well?
- Call to action. Is it obvious what I need to do next? Have you given me the confidence to take that action?
AJ Kumar | Single Grain
The single best lesson we’ve learned with improving conversions is that you must survey your audience. Changing a button color doesn’t necessary make a significant difference in your site’s conversion, it’s the overall message that’s being conveyed. Too many people make blind changes and as a result see little to no lift. If you survey your audience, you get to understand the minds of your visitor and then can alter your marketing message accordingly. You may learn that you should push more of feature XYZ as opposed to ABC.
Neil Patel | Quick Sprout
The best lesson I learned about boosting online conversions for your website is that you just can’t create a ton of a/b tests and expect to boost your conversion rate. You need to gather both qualitative and quantitative data, analyze it, figure out what changes to make, and then run a/b tests. Even then a test isn’t guaranteed to win, but your odds dramatically increase.
Sean Platt | Ghostwriter Dad
You must reach in and touch the reader’s heart long enough to feel the muscle twitch. This works no matter the venue. On a landing page or a subject line in an email, a headline that hits the heart will always set the reader up to receive with their brain. “You Are Not Alone” is a headline I’ve found especially effective.
In copy, truth is everything. I wrote something recently (this week at the time of this writing) that wasn’t even designed to serve as copy. It was simply an open letter to my audience. Yet it served as one of the most effective pieces of copy I ever wrote, with a better than 50% conversion rate. I wasn’t trying to do anything other than honestly express myself, but sometimes that honesty is the best conversion tool there is.
Rand Fishkin | SEOmoz
Creating a singular, cohesive story through words, visuals, testimonials, videos, and other elements is far more powerful than simply testing and tuning the little things (buttons, colors, titles, etc).
Landing pages don’t makes sales. The story makes the sale. It starts with the first time someone hears about your company or product and continues through all the touchpoints along their journey of interactions with you. If that journey tells a remarkable narrative, your online conversions will be equally remarkable.
TL;DR – don’t just optimize the landing page, optimize the customers’ journey to find you.
Derek Halpern | Social Triggers
I don’t need 100 words. I need 4 words: One page, one goal.
Daniel Gonzalez | Conversion Love
The best lesson? Well, it would have to be identifying and testing appeals that your audience will respond to. Basically, I was working on a landing page designed to onboard small business owners as service providers in a marketplace for services. It was free for small businesses to register, so that was one less barrier to getting people to take action.
Before I went to work on the page, the headline explained how the market place worked. But, the main appeal to the small business owner was that they’d “Get Free Leads for Their Business.” I rewrote the headline to so that the appeal was focused on getting the business owner free leads.
The result? I got a 100.85% conversion lift on that page. So, to sum it up, identify several appeals your audience might respond to, then test them.
Jason Acidre | Kaiser the Sage
I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot, but if I have to choose one, I’d definitely say the perceived value and trust built through the middle of the funnel processes. These processes involve content and strong brand indicators that a site builds to promote itself such as highly-informative blog posts, design/presentation/experience, reviews and mentions from other people/sites, and a lot more.
These things have fueled my business, seeing that most of the clients we have acquired through my SEO services page (3% – 5% monthly conversions) are majorly attracted by what they have seen from my content and from what others are saying about my brand.
Wayne Mullins | Ugly Mug Marketing
One of our clients has a very successful local restaurant and a very effective online presence. The form on their website, which was above the fold and beautifully designed, was getting an 18% opt-in rate.
We decided to try getting people to opt-in to the restaurant using those old fashion tools called a pen and piece of paper – and it WORKED! We created small opt-in forms that asked for the person’s First Name and Email address. On the bottom of the form, it had some text that basically said “by filling this out, you understand we are going to email you.” The result: the first week the opt-in rate from patrons at the restaurant was over 40%.
Sean Work | KISSmetrics
Improving the product and helping new customers understand what to do once they signed up. The more focus we put on helping them understand the value of the product and where to start with it, the healthier our conversions became.
James Chartrand | Men with Pens
Online conversion is really a game. So many factors affect it that it’s almost mind boggling. Your brand, your image, your content, the way that button lines up on the right, the color of the background on that section down there, the expression on the person’s face in the photo…
People try so hard to “get it right” but there are just too many factors about online conversion to control, experiment with and test.
So that’s my best piece of advice: That there is no right answer. That you CAN (and should) play with your website’s look, content and appeal. There aren’t any rules. Tinker away! (And measure carefully, of course.)
Kristi Hines | Kikolani
The best conversion tips I have found are the simplest – if you have a page on your website where there is a particular conversion goal, make sure that goal is first and last on the page, make it obvious, and don’t let it compete with a lot of other things people could take action on instead.
Take the average blog post for example. People are given the options to click on links within the post, share the post on social networks, and (lastly) comment. Chances are, once they’ve done any one of those things, they will move on. Plus, there is usually a header to take you to other parts of the website and a sidebar with even more actionable items including subscribing to the blog, signing up for a newsletter, or clicking on advertising banners.
This is why sales pages and squeeze pages need to be removed from the website’s main theme if possible. Take away the header menu, social sharing buttons, sidebars, and other features so that the person who lands on it will only have the choice to buy your product or sign up to your mailing list.
Once they can’t get distracted from your conversion goal, they will be more likely to actually convert. I learned this from my own eBook sales page. While it was in the standard page template along with a sidebar with tons of options, sales were alright but not plentiful. Once I just removed the sidebar, sales went up.
I’m sure that if I took away the header, that it would increase sales even further. Although website usability standards usually includes letting your users navigate to other areas of your website, there are times you just don’t want them to. On a sales or squeeze page, you definitely want them to just have one or maybe two goals to choose from.
So, what about you: what’s the single best lesson you have ever learned when it comes to improving online conversion?