Building and growing a brand online takes skill and an eye for detail. Often, people think the more grandiose the idea for improving their website, the better their conversion rates will be. The truth is that most conversion increases come from changes to small, overlooked details.
Here are seven such small details that will make a big conversion impact on your site.
1. Focus on social signals
I love social signals. They harness the voice of the crowd and push people to make decisions. One of the most common ways to employ social signals is to place social-share icons with counters on your pages. But there much more effective ways out there.
One smart way to create social signals is to use data from your site's analytics. This method tends to benefit sites with product pages. Display individual product page traffic data (or approximations if you don't want competitors to know your exact numbers) on each product page—for example: "21,000+ people researching this product."
Another effective way to create social signals is to highlight how many people sign up, use, or purchase your product in a specific time period. Basecamp uses this method beautifully. When you visit Basecamp's homepage, you are promptly greeted by a prominent message that states, "Last year alone, Basecamp helped over 285,000 companies finish more than 2,000,000 projects."
That type of message instantly builds credibility and gives potential customers the assurance that a lot of people are using the product or service—so they should, too.
2. Continue to build out your evergreen content
This is possibly one of the most overlooked details on websites. I'm specifically referring to product pages. I understand that a lot goes into building product pages, and that it is a tedious task that most people want to be rid of. The truth is, though, that you should never be wary of making changes and adding to your evergreen content.
Here are just a few ways to continually improve your product-page content:
- Create tabs on your pages that expand information about your product or service. For example, add a Q&A tab. Publish frequently asked questions and answers about specific products or services. If you'd like to go one step further, allow your users to answer their peers' questions.
- Add a video to your product or service page. Videos are a fantastic way to increase conversion and to also add your product to YouTube (or Vimeo), increasing the possibility of being found via search.
- Get nitty-gritty with the details. Add information that dives into super-specific details of your product or service: dimensions, weight, altitude adjustments, etc. Give your customers no reason to misunderstand your product or service.
- Add content that fills voids within your industry. Are you in an industry where customers often get frustrated about certain elements of services? Can you provide information that will help hedge them from those frustrations? For example, I built a home security review site. There are thousands of complaints from consumers across the Web about home security contracts. So I decided to provide specific company contracts and explanations of those contracts on each home security review on our site. That resulted in an increase of traffic to each review as well as a bump in trust.
3. Be smart with calls to action on subpages
First, I recommend dividing your site's pages into two categories: Tier 1 and Tier 2. Your Tier 1 pages should be your site's primary converting pages. Tier 2 pages are those that don't necessarily convert, but do receive traffic; these pages tend to be blog posts and resource content.
Your Tier 2 pages should have optimized CTAs that help drive traffic to Tier 1 pages. Assess your CTAs—where they go and what they ask people to do. If they don't lead people to Tier 1 pages, consider removing them.
4. Remove distractions on converting pages
This one requires a lot more energy and focus than other conversion details. First you'll want to identify your main converting pages. Second, you'll want to thoroughly review each page and list all links, ads, and CTAs on the page, including your header, footer, and sidebar menus. Last, you'll want to remove any link, ad, or CTA that distracts from your primary goal. If the link doesn't lead visitors to a checkout page, I strongly recommend removing it.
You may wonder, "What if the link provides other value?" In my experience, though the link may provide value, it leads your potential customer away from you target and doesn't guarantee that they'll return to your converting page.
5. Audit the configuration of your conversion pages
I can't tell you the last time I rearranged the furniture in my house. As humans, we are creatures of habit and we like things to stay the way they are as long as they're comfortable. Don't treat your site like your living room or bedroom. You should regularly challenge the placement of elements on your conversion pages to maximize their effectiveness.
Look at each element of your page, and specifically the elements that lead to conversion, and challenge their placement. Split-test (A/B-test) your changes to record and document the results.
6. Build geo-targeted pages
Good conversion methods take a rifle approach rather than a shotgun approach. That is, they focus on a specific target and a small area within that target; that laser-like focus tends to yield concentrated and qualified results.
Geography-specific pages enable companies to home in on their target market and produce qualified leads. These pages allow companies to rank for more long-tail terms and receive qualified traffic from different sources.
For example, if I managed the San Diego Zoo website, I would create geo-specific pages targeting cities around the San Diego area. They would be high-quality pages with diverse media and relevant content, because the goal would be to get geo-targeted pages indexed and ranked by search engines. Your conversion rates will be higher on these pages than others because they are essentially driving prequalified traffic (e.g., people in Escondido searching for a zoo or weekend activity).
7. Provide more value than you think is necessary
I consider this to be one of the pillars of good business practice, in general. This approach is driven by an economic term called the law of reciprocity, which basically states that people tend to feel an obligation to give or to act when they receive.
Providing lots of value throughout your site will push people to feel in an interior obligation to reciprocate your generosity. Brian Clark of Copyblogger endorsed this principle when he said, "The paradox is the more info you give away, the more people will buy what you have to give..."
The challenge isn't to give value but to give more value than you feel is necessary. What tools, template, and e-books can you provide for free to your customers? Give until it hurts... and your customers will love you for it.
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