Lots of digital marketers (and I know, cause I’m one of ‘em) love to blame low website lead performance on SEO – or lack, thereof. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it’s an easy target that I don’t see many smaller B2B businesses absolutely nailing. But I’m not here to talk about SEO. Not this time.
Because once you’ve sorted out your redirects, kicked your meta titles into shape and are driving a steady stream of traffic to the website – there’s still one more thing you need to get right to really ramp up your lead gen efforts – conversion optimisation.
What is conversion optimisation?
Conversion optimisation, also known as conversion rate optimisation or CRO (we marketers love an initialism don’t we?) is a process and set of practices which involves gearing aesthetic and structural elements as well as messaging on your site towards conversion. A conversion can be anything you want it to be – a purchase, a quote request, a newsletter sign up. ut when it comes down to it, whatever it is you want people to do, you want them to do it as often as possible. Conversion optimisation is a whole field of marketing within itself, with many facets, challenges and areas of expertise, but I’m going to try covering some of the basics here, and ultimately, spelling out why you should care.
Why should you care about conversion optimisation?
Well, I’m guessing you’d like the visitors to your website to complete an action, no? You want your website to drive a particular purpose, like one of those mentioned above. Whether you’re an ecommerce site with products, or you’re just trying to drive people to get in touch, you should care about conversion optimisation.
“But, if I get all my messaging right, the right people are coming to my website, and they’re interested in my product, they’ll convert, yeah?” I hear you ask. Well, you’d hope so. But this isn’t always the case. As we know, the human brain is a funny old thing, and as airtight as you’d like to think yours is – it can be tricked. It can be tricked in so many ways. If that sounds dodgy, I didn’t mean it to be – it’s more about suggesting an action to people, or guiding them down a path. And you can achieve that in so many ways, it’s important to figure what works for your website and your visitors.
So, how do you do this?
As I say, conversion optimisation is a topic as deep and wide as any field of marketing, but I’ll try and cover some fundamentals here.
Usability and customer journey
The fundamental question here is – what is the journey you want your customer to take through your website, and how easy is it for them to do this? For the interest of brevity I’ve grouped these two together – I think that good usability is as much about having a clear and seamless customer journey as it is about technical usability.
Of course, it’s vitally important to conversion that your website actually works – visitors to your website will quickly get frustrated if buttons don’t work, they’re lead to incorrect pages, or it takes too long to load. You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix to check for opportunities to optimise your speed, and a tool like Screaming Frog Crawler to check for broken links.
Mapping out your ideal customer journey and ensuring website visitors follow it (and complete it) is a tricky process, but it can be done. Ideally, you want as few steps as possible between where your visitor starts, and where you want them to get to. There’s a handy report in Google Analytics which can give you some insight into the path users are taking when they come to your website, and where the drop-off points are. On the dashboard, go to Behaviour > Behaviour Flow, and you’ll be able to see a flow diagram of entrance pages and drop-off points. If a large number of people are dropping off on a key page, it’s worth looking into why. There could be numerous reasons for this, whether it’s technical, commercial or visual. It’s useful to follow the path and put yourself in the shoes of your customer – where might you lose interest, or get stuck? You could also turn your website over to a group of users for testing, asking them to provide feedback on the process, or use a heatmapping tool like CrazyEgg to gather data at scale.
With the full spectrum of CTA colours and the whole English language of persuasive copy available – how do you know which is going to be the most successful? The simple answer is – you don’t, until you try. Some WordPress plugins and tools like Optimizely can help you run A/B tests on your website at varying levels of complexity. A/B testing simply means you change an element on your web page and pit it against the “original” to test which converts the best. This could be CTA colour, text, headline messaging, anything you like really. When a user lands on your website, they are randomly served a version of the page. The best way to approach it is to try and change as a few elements and variables as possible – you want to be able to narrow down which change or element was the most successful. Make sure you keep a log of the changes you’ve made and when so you can use this to reflect and then shape what you do in the future.
Tracking your goals
Let’s be honest, all of the above is kinda pointless if you don’t how well you’re doing against your goals and objectives. First of all, you’ll need to set the number of conversions/leads you’d like to achieve and in what timescales (weekly/monthly being the common). You can then track your progress against these objectives using Goals in Google Analytics. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve already written a handy guide to how to do this.
The bottom line is – the attention span of the average internet-using human is pretty small. If you want them to do something, you need to use all the tools and trickery you have at hand to encourage them to engage with your website and convert. If you’d like more help and advice on developing a conversion optimisation strategy – get in touch.