A conversion rate is what percentage of visitors to your website complete the desired action, such as make a purchase.
Conversion rate optimization is when you focus on increasing that percentage. Typically, you do this through a variety of actions, such as a better design, more compelling copy, or a smoother checkout experience.
If you have website traffic and you want to make more money, chances are conversion rate optimization is on your mind.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
You may have heard of conversion rates. This is the measurement of how many visitors to your website perform the desired action. For example, if out of 100 people who come to your site one of them makes a purchase then you have a conversion rate of 1% for sales.
Conversion rate optimization is the process of getting this conversion rate as high as possible.
You may be thinking “Of course I want to convert 100% of everyone who comes to my site.” While that would be a dream come true for business owners, it’s not realistic.
However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve your conversion rates, and conversion rate optimization is in place to ensure you take advantage of tools for increased conversions. And interestingly, some industries have lower conversion rates than others.
For instance, B2B services have a typical conversion rate around 5.9%, which is really high compared to real estate, which is a lower 1.3% rate.
One more point — conversions take on many forms, not only sales. While getting a customer to complete a purchase is an obvious one, there are others. Converting visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter, register for an event, or donate to a fundraiser are all examples of conversions.
Calculating Conversion Rate
It’s important to know how to calculate your conversion rate so you understand what you’re trying to optimize.
(Total transactions / Total visitors) X 100 = Conversion rate
If you have 30,000 visitors to your site and make 3,000 sales your conversion rate is 10%
(3,000 / 30,000) X 100 = 10%
Why You Should Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization
Let’s use the fictitious numbers from above to further illustrate the point. Except let’s assume that each of the 3,000 transactions are worth $20 each.
Since you have a 10% conversion rate, you know that 30,000 visitors will give you $60,000 in revenue (3,000 purchases of $20 each).
But if you increase your conversion rate to 12%, then you increase the number of transactions to 3,360. Now that same 30,000 visitors gives you $67,200. You’ve netted over $7,000 more simply by increasing your conversion rate by 2%.
But what is most interesting in this formula is you did not boost your traffic.
When you focus on optimizing your conversion rate, you boost your sales, registrations, sign ups — whatever your goal is. And you do it by converting the people who are already visiting your site, not focusing as much on getting new visitors.
The other key aspect of this is how you are increasing sales without increasing spend on ads for new website visitors or other marketing tactics. Typically you don’t have to spend much at all (if anything) to get higher conversions. Instead, the goal is make the benefits of the offer clear and remove any roadblocks to purchasing as possible.
Improving Your Conversion Rate Optimization
Getting a higher conversion rate boils down to two main actions: communicating value and removing roadblocks.
Here are specific actions you can take now to start improving your conversion rates, while focusing on these two core actions.
Know Your Target Audience
If you know who is visiting your site and who is most likely to complete a purchase, then you have data on your target audience. Spend time understanding who is purchasing from you (or whatever your goal is) and then tweak your messages accordingly.
From there, make your messages specific to your target audience. Use the language they understand most and present an offer they can’t refuse.
Gather Useful Data
You have insights available to you through Google or your e-commerce platform, but take it a step further. Conduct surveys or set up polls to find out what your audience is really interested in.
Keep it short and sweet, but ask questions to find out what it is they truly want.
Use Even More Data
You can track conversion rates and optimization through Google Analytics and other sites. Start looking closely at this information and see if you can identify any trends, patterns, or other useful nuggets of information.
Using analytic tools such as heatmaps is another great way to see what is resonating with your audience.
Craft your messaging and tweak your offerings based on this information.
Running A/B testing on your site is a fantastic way to see what is working and what’s not. Once you find something that converts, whether it’s an improved landing page or easier checkout process, then take it and run.
A/B testing quickly gives you feedback and many digital marketing tools, such as SamCart, include this testing ability.
Understand How Your Customers Get to the Checkout Page
Knowing where your customers come from, whether it’s blog posts, ads, or search is critical. But then knowing what journey they take once they land on your site is equally important. You can tell quite simply by following each customer’s journey using the data in your analytics.
Offer a Strong Call to Action (CTA)
Take time to be strategic with your calls to action. Clearly let the customer know what they should do next.
For instance, if you are selling an online marketing course and you’re writing a blog post about it, strategically place “buy course now” buttons throughout the blog. Don’t make someone hunt to get the information they need or make a purchase.
Make Checkout as Easy as Possible
No matter how great your product or service is, if checkout is difficult then you will lose a potential sale faster than you can say “complete my purchase.”
Focusing on a seamless checkout experience is one of the best ways to improve your conversion rate.
What makes a checkout experience better and more likely to convert?
- As few steps as possible
- Accept multiple payment methods
- Offer guest checkout options
- Keep fees to a minimum
- Try to offer free shipping if possible
- Keep the checkout pages clean and easy to read
- Make sure customer knows their transaction is secure
These are only a handful of ways to improve the checkout experience, but they may directly contribute to higher conversion rates.
Make Sure Your Site Speed is as Fast as Possible
Site speed is a big deal. And this is another example of an obstacle you need to remove if you want more conversions. Some statistics suggest for every second it is delayed, you lose 16% of traffic.
Use whatever tools necessary to improve your site speed, so your customers aren’t frustrated and can easily maneuver from one page to another.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to conversion rate optimization, there are a ton of pieces to the puzzle. As you can see from the actions above, it takes more than one step to get your conversion metrics moving in the right direction.
Focusing on removing obstacles for the customer and offering compelling reasons to buy your product gives you the highest chance possible to increase your conversion rate.