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Five tips for improving conversions

Getting web visitors to become customers is the ultimate goal when it comes to running a business online. Your site can be immaculately designed, and your online marketing pitch-perfect, but if visitors don’t like what they see when they land, you won’t make a sale.

In truth, conversions come down to how well you meet customer expectations. And given each customer is likely to expect different things from the next, it can be a complex and laborious process keeping everyone happy. The following are five tips to make the practice of converting visitors to customers a bit simpler

1. Give them information

While it’s wise not to bombard customers with screeds of text, it’s important you let them know the crucial details. If there’s a piece of information that’s likely to nudge them over the line into a sale, then find some way to share it with them.

“Who are you, who are they dealing with? What do other companies deal with you? what are your shipping timeframes,” asks Felicity Bracegirdle, director of Metrix Solutions. “Answer as many questions as possible, so the person can then just go through to making that sale or purchasing that product. A lot of people are a bit warier about purchasing online. Giving away as much information as possible for them will make the decision easier.”

2. Don’t ask too much

While it’s always useful to have more information about a customer, trying to pry too many details out of them in a transaction or customer contact form is unwise. If the actual act of conversion feels like a lot of effort, most won’t bother.

“You’ve got to remember people on the internet are doing things quickly. They are probably in contemplation mode when they’re filling out forms,” says Amanda Bracks, business author, and consultant. “The more questions that you ask for a form, the less likely it is that someone will fill it out.”

3. Catch their eye

Having a basic understanding of how a visitor scans the layout of a page is useful when it comes to placing key information like calls to action or contact details. Most visitors will be prepared to spend very little time on a page when they first land – if you can catch their eye with a phone number or an offer, you can make the most of the minimal interaction.

Web Marketing Experts Lein notes that visitors typically look to the top right of a page for contact information, and to the left for information that identifies a business – a logo or slogan, or similar.

“A number on the right-hand side, and your logo on the left – that’s where people will look,” he says. “They’ll look straight to the right to see if there’s contact details, the email address, and phone number. Also, make sure that the navigation menu bar is centered so that people can see what pages are where.”

4. Leave them where you found them

Sometimes, conversions don’t happen on your website at all.  Elliott Bailey, business development manager at Zigg, has found that it’s often much easier converting prospects on their own terms. If they found your business on Facebook, don’t try to tear them out of their comfort zone.

“I actually found that people on Facebook tend to just want to be on Facebook – that’s why they’re using it,” says Bailey. “Rather than trying to over-optimize a landing page, just point them towards the Facebook page, and then put some real call to action in the Facebook cover image and your posts on the Facebook page.”

He uses the example of an iPhone repair business that is currently a Zigg client. The business’s Facebook page is used as a medium for fielding questions from customers. Contact details are prominently displayed, but the business’s interactions rarely point to them, focusing instead on solving customer problems.

“It seems to be working much better than the website landing page,” says Bailey.

5. Constant testing

Improving conversion rates should be seen as an ongoing process, not a one-time, set-and-forget exercise. It’s important to test and re-test any changes made to a site to see what works best.

A simple way of doing this is to use Google’s AdWords service for trial and error – claim the listing for a particular keyword, but point half of the ads to one landing page for the product, and half the ads to a different, but still relevant, landing page. Once this is set up, see which page results in more conversions.

“If you’re not getting much traction from your first landing page, you can change it, but then also make a second one,” suggests Zigg’s Bailey. “I’ve found that was really good because you work out you’re getting a 70% bounce rate on one, and 90% on the other, and then you can start to alternate and try to work out why you’re getting better rates at different landing pages.”

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