There are dozens of online marketing strategies out there, from SEO to paid advertising, and most of them can net you a positive return, if executed properly. However, the “positive return” here is almost always limited to inbound traffic, which is definitely a positive thing for your business, but doesn’t necessitate revenue. For that, you’ll need conversions.
Conversions can take a number of forms—from a prospective lead filling out an interest form to a consumer purchasing a product—but all of them manifest as some kind of exchange of value. How do you get your online visitors to part with this value?
First and foremost, your visitors need to be interested in whatever it is you’re offering them. This is a vague term, intentionally, because interest demands a number of sub-factors to be established. First, your landing page (or conversion area) must speak directly to your target audience with a relevant offer—otherwise, you’ll turn people away. On the flip side, you have to make sure that your website is attracting the right types of visitors in the first place — if your traffic stream is too random or disorganized, you’ll never generate the interest you need for conversion success.
Next, there needs to be some degree of novelty in your call-to-action. If your landing page looks like it was pulled from a template, and you aren’t saying or offering anything new, people are going to pass. At a minimum, you need a design that stands out with an image, video, or layout that people haven’t seen before. You need a headline that’s creative, unique to you, and differentiated from your competition. There are many techniques you can apply here, depending on your brand and target audience, such as playing up an emotional element, injecting humor into your presentation, or including more visual demonstrations of your products in action.
Next, your visitors need to trust your brand. Whether they’re parting with their personal information or cold, hard money, they need to know that there’s someone responsible on the other side. For repeat customers, this trust is already established, but for first-time visitors, trust is a much trickier emotion to cultivate. One of the best ways to increase trust is through the use of customer reviews and testimonials, which you can prominently display on your landing page. You can also speak to your company history, or list off some of the major clients you’ve done work with in the past.
Remember, at the heart of any conversion is an exchange of value, and you need to justify why that exchange favors the visitor. For example, let’s say you’re selling a set of table and chairs for $300. Why is this set $300? Will the customer get $300 of use out of it? You need to find a way to justify this cost, visibly and demonstrably; for example, you might list out the benefits of the set with bullet points, or highlight the inferiority of your competitor’s similar model. You’ll also need to provide and prove value when asking for users’ personal information; for example, you could offer a free downloadable eBook in exchange for this submission, or demonstrate the value of the email list they’re signing up for with past examples.
5. Mitigated Risk.
If given any reason to procrastinate or deviate from converting “right now,” your users will probably leave and never come back. If you want them to convert, you have to get them the first time they encounter your landing page, and as quickly as possible. To accomplish this, you need to add a degree of compulsion. For example, you could make your product a limited-time offer, or you could imply some level of scarcity value by making an offer only for the first X number of people to sign up.
Finally, you have to understand that your users aren’t going to go out of their way to convert. If you want them to hand over their money or personal information, the process needs to be as simple as possible. Any deterrent could turn them away, as we saw in the previous point. Keep things simple by asking for as few bits of personal information as possible, and by keeping your forms short and to-the-point. Offer integrations with popular payment systems when you can to offer speedier checkout processes, and limit the number of steps any user has to take to convert.
If you can establish these seven factors as part of your conversion process, you can almost guarantee some level of conversion in your online visitors. There’s no way to guarantee a 100 percent conversion rate, nor are these factors easily objectively measurable, but by gauging user feedback and relying on your market research, you can gradually increase your success rate.