Is your website getting good traffic but not converting the way you want? Effectively guiding visitors down the conversion funnel is no easy task and there is no magic formula to success.
Ecommerce is a trillion-dollar industry. In the United States alone, online sales are expected to reach $523 billion by 2020.
This could mean a number of things for consumers. For ecommerce business owners, it means that optimizing their online platform needs to be a top priority, if it isn’t already. The problem, however, is that competition is tougher than ever.
There is no shortage of online shopping outlets and consumers have no problem bouncing from platform to platform to find the best options. With an infinite number of choices literally at their fingertips, it is essential to go above and beyond to meet the wants and needs of visitors in as many ways as possible.
Let me start by saying that in most cases, a website just needs a few small tweaks to boost conversion rates, as opposed to a full revamp. Regardless of what adjustments need to be made, it is always wise to look before you leap. Planned and methodical A/B testing helps you see which tactics and strategies lead to good results and which ones should be set aside or improved upon. Optimizing your website should be a constant work in progress.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at three website hacks you can use to completely alter your ecommerce platform and bring conversion rates up.
1. Showcase relatable content
When a website displays stellar content, everyone wins. Generally speaking, marketing fluff – website copy or blog posts full of jargon, buzzwords and rehashed advice – doesn’t work nearly as well as it did a few years ago.
Consumers like viewing brand material that captivates them on a level they can relate to. Therefore, a good content strategy should be on every ecommerce business owner’s radar. An Aberdeen Group report titled “Crossing the Chaos” revealed that companies that prioritized content marketing increased their website conversion rates by more than 5 times.
There are many approaches to take at the drawing board with your content strategy. However, the bottom line in all your efforts should be to produce material that tells a story and provides a strong degree of value to the reader.
Looking to the future, marketing to millennials is going to be a very important task. This generation’s spending power is expected to exceed $200 billion in 2017. When it comes to buying patterns, user-generate content (UGC) has proven to be extremely effective. In fact, a joint study conducted by Ipsos, Crowdtap and the Social Media Advertising Consortium found that UGC is 20% more influential than any other type of media when influencing purchases among this age group.
One of the best types of UGC to showcase on your website are reviews. Showcasing reviews and previous customer experiences have the power to give your brand credibility from a third party – this is what comes closest to magic that increases sales.
Here is an example from Keurig’s website:
Keurig decided to implement customer reviews as a central theme of their website. They ran contests and sent newsletters to incentivize and encourage customers to review their products and leave comments. The results were huge. Keurig saw a 125% increase in conversion rates from visitors who interacted with these testimonials.
Compelling UGC need by no means be restricted to just reviews. Boosting conversion rates all start with the ability to keep visitors on your site. And the best content ideas don’t start with doing; they start with listening. A great strategy is to monitor social media to get an impression of your target audience and their opinions, questions, and concerns. Tools like Mention and Brandwatch are awesome for keeping tabs on what others are saying about you, your competitors, or your industry in general.
With such insights, you will get a good sense of what type of audiences, personas and segments you need to create and display content for.
GoPro is one of the best examples of how to showcase stellar content. The “Watch” channel on their website is a platform in which the customers themselves can share their life’s most memorable experiences, captured on – what else – a GoPro camera.
The reason GoPro is so effective with their content is because it delves deeper into the concept of owning a video camera. This being that people don’t buy cameras just to capture the highlights of their lives, they buy them to share these experiences.
When a visitor goes on the GoPro website, they are exposed to a countless number of breathtaking customer experiences and are encouraged to create their own.
This genius form of content marketing provides so much more than just a customer experience. GoPro provides a vehicle for customers to create their own experiences with the product, and a community to share it.
For perspective, there are over 6,000 GoPro tagged videos uploaded to YouTube every day.
Of course, content creation is far from a one-size-fits-all entity. Each industry has its own audiences with their own concerns and desires. The best way to stick to a successful content strategy is to produce two-way material that aims to educate, promote, and tell a powerful story that gives the viewer a clear-defined takeaway. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment. You never know when you might strike gold.
2. Speed up your site
The average human attention span is at an all-time low: it currently stands at about 8 seconds.
With this in mind, everything on a web property – be it a website or an app – needs to run smoothly, and more importantly, fast. When Google returns its search rankings, website speed is a huge factor, so you need to do absolutely everything you can to stay in the reckoning.
Additionally, if you happen to sell something online, potential buyers will turn away in droves if your website is slow.
A fast website is the key to keeping visitors around to guide them down the conversion funnel. Get this:
There are many factors that contribute to slow loading times. If you’ve tried all the small adjustments such as compressing code and images, shortening forms, or getting rid of unnecessary plugins, chances are, your web host is the problem.
When a user interacts with your website, there is a request to connect to the server in which the platform is hosted. The truth of the matter is that not all hosting services are created equal.
If your site is slow due to your host, more than likely, all the other aspects of that platform such as storage and tech support are subpar as well. If this is your situation, don’t waste time on fighting your provider – there are innumerable alternative options. Just be sure that you use a compatible hosting provider based on your CMS or scripting framework. For instance, if you used WordPress to build your website, start by looking into the fastest WordPress hosting services.
A good user experience (UX) is the foundation of any online ecommerce store, media publication, or forum. A fast website leads to good UX, and a good UX leads to more and quicker conversions.
3. Make your CTA buttons work harder
Whether you’re an online retailer, SaaS tool vendor or individual professional service provider, your call to action is the most important element of your landing page. Regardless of where the user is coming from and what information they are presented with, in the end, their focus needs to be on the CTA button. It should be so obviously placed that the user can identify it with a single glance.
Believe it or not, there a lot of psychological factors that go into a CTA button. In fact, CTA buttons are the most split-tested aspect of an ecommerce website. They make up around 30% of all tests.
Color is perhaps one of the most important factors that results in clicks. While there is no set-in-stone rule to coloring your CTA buttons, it should stick out prominently in contrast to the background layout. Preferably, it is a color that is not used anywhere on the rest of the page.
In this experiment conducted by Dmix, red and green CTA buttons were tested. The results saw that the red button received an increased conversion rate of 34%, in contrast to popular perception that “green” equates to “go.”
The text on a CTA also has a big impact on garnering conversions. Most importantly, the text needs to answer the key question of “Why should the user click this?”
Look at the button as a standalone object without the context of the rest of the site. Does it still make sense? It needs to be sharp and simple with a clearly communicated outcome.
“Read My Secrets For Free” instead of “Download”
“Start Your Job Search” instead of “Register”
“Save $200 On Retail Price” instead of “Buy”
Here is an example from iMPACT. This was their original CTA:
This was their new one:
By changing the copy from “Free Download” to a more personal approach, their website’s conversion rate saw a 78.5% increase. Adding a personal touch can do wonders.
Placement plays a huge factor as well. In addition to being obvious at first glance, trying different spots on your page is definitely something that should be thoroughly tested. Try every place, including the header, sidebars, center, and below the fold.
Ecommerce, social networks, media, and content consumption are all changing. And so are users and customers. Testing and optimizing your CTA buttons will likely be a never-ending project.
Over to you
As a business owner with a website, increasing your conversion rates will be one of your top priorities for the rest of your life. You should always be testing to improve. Keeping tabs on your analytics and identifying more avenues to test and optimize needs to be a daily task in this process.
Remember, there are endless options for online consumers; they are prone to switch loyalties before you can snap your fingers. The trick lies in drawing them to your website and providing a UX that keeps them interested, informed and engaged. Good luck!
Guest Author: Rohan Ayyar is a creative content strategist and CRO specialist at E2M, digital marketing firm par excellence. He doubles up as the resident UX authority at Moveo Apps, a premium app dev agency. Rohan is also an avid business and tech writer, with articles featured on The Next Web, Fast Company, and Adweek.