We can’t force our audiences to take our desired actions online. However, we CAN influence our audiences enough to make them WANT to take action. That’s the key to increasing your conversion rates.
A conversion, simply stated, is when a user fulfills your desired action, whether that’s when someone fills out a form, makes a purchase, signs up for a subscription, requests more information, or spends a particular amount of time on your site. Following that, the conversion rate is the rate at which your possible converters are completing a particular action.
In order to calculate the rate at which your site visitors are converting, you simply need to compare the number of conversions (numerator) over the possible candidates (denominator) usually expressed in a percentage. The art of calculating conversion rate is in the assignment of those values.
When calculating, keep in mind the size of your audience; a conversion rate of 10% could mean ten conversions or one hundred. You can read more about how to calculate conversion rates here.
Conversions will certainly vary across different business models; one site’s conversions may be simple email signups, while another site’s may be purchases. At the end of the day, though, this is how websites generate leads, and ultimately, sales.
While tracking the hard, total number of conversions is perhaps most important, tracking conversion rate is helpful as well. It can help to show the effectiveness of your design, messaging, and content – and obviously, the higher the better.
However, conversion rates don’t exist in a vacuum. There are various factors that play into calculating your conversion rate, and how it can be affected, like the size of your audience, the clarity of your calls-to-action, your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), and website design. All of these things are important when analyzing your conversion rate. In addition, your conversion rate can mean a number of things, like how well your marketing efforts are performing or how popular your content may be.
So why are conversion rates so important? For nearly all businesses, conversions are the purpose of having a website. This number is often a strong element of proof on your ROI, proving that your efforts and investments are truly paying off. It helps you determine which of your efforts are successful, and which are not so much, giving you insights into which are worth doing again, and which you should consider taking off the table.
While conversion rates aren’t the only indicators of the success of your marketing efforts, it’s one that can help guide you down the right path and help you make the best possible decisions for your business, whether you’re a consultant, architect, accountant or advisor.
1.) Getting Eyes on the Page
The first thing to remember when calculating conversion rate is to focus on getting eyes onto the particular webpage you’re calculating a conversion rate for. By increasing the denominator in the conversion rate equation, you will in turn, by correlation, increase the numerator as well.
To get eyes on your page, it’s important to have a well-rounded marketing plan that includes paid digital advertisements and social media. That also means working on creating and maintaining a healthy SEO.
SEO is a bit ambiguous, and hard to pin down thanks to the ever-changing, secret search rules of Google; but, there are a few things you can do to push your website in the right direction, like using social sites, generating inbound links, maintaining a blog, and writing strategic copy. If there’s one thing you can do above all else, create good content.
We all know it’s true. There’s a lot of sub-par content floating around out there on the internet, but if you can create valuable content that will answer all the crazy questions your customers are Googling, you’ll surely increase your visibility.
How often do you conduct an online search on your smart phone? And, how often do you search through the search results on your smart phone? Probably every day. Now let’s ask this: how often do you leave a site because it’s difficult to navigate on your phone? Probably also pretty frequently.
Because mobile is increasingly becoming the device of choice, having a mobile-friendly website is mandatory. Your website should be well-designed, so that regardless of the device the visitor found you on, they’ll be able to surf your site with ease. A responsive site (a website built on a grid-like system that flexes depending on the size of your visitors screen) can boost the time spent on the site, and decrease your bounce rate.
A website that’s difficult to navigate on a smartphone or tablet is much less likely to return the results you’re looking for, and interfere with increasing your conversion rates.
2.) Measure the Right Activity
The next factor to keep in mind when calculating your conversion rate is to measure the right activity. First, consider what action proves the most value for the particular page you’re measuring. This will be the desired action to measure.
For example, an ad that leads to a landing page or contact page is intended to generate leads. So in this case, the most valuable action a site visitor can take is to fill out the form. In the case of products for sale, the completion of a sale is the desired action. Carefully consider the intended purpose of each of your marketing efforts in order to determine the number that will serve as your numerator in the equation.
The second part of measuring activity is having a definitive time period in which you’re measuring the conversions. Depending on the shelf life of your particular page or marketing strategy, you may want to measure weekly, yearly, or monthly. A comparison of time frames will give you apples-to-apples.
Lastly, to determine the denominator, you must only measure the number of people who had the opportunity to take the desired action during the specified amount of time. Use the number of people who had true potential in engaging in the conversion. For example, don’t count every user to your site towards your ebook conversion rate, rather calculate the visitors of the page with the form.
In the same example, don’t narrow your total candidates by those who are past the decision point to only people who have started filling out the form. They are past the decision point and moving towards conversion.
3.) Always Optimize
After you’ve successfully calculated your conversion rate (either on a weekly or monthly basis), it’s time to analyze it so that you can optimize your website and digital marketing efforts in order to improve it. This is a necessary habit to form after each rate you calculate so that you can continuously strive to improve your marketing tactics.
Ask yourself: When are the rates higher? When are they lower? What are some of the possible factors that affect the rate, and how can you change them to increase your conversion rate?
Take the answers to these questions into careful consideration when evaluating the effectiveness of your website design or ad campaigns. Looking good is nice, but creating customers for your business is better. That’s where conversion optimization comes in. Website redesign for conversion optimization means designing your website in a way that lays out a clear, effective path for your site’s visitors to become your customers. Updating ad campaigns means always providing relevant information to your audience.
Pay close attention to the things that could be affecting your conversion rates like website design, calls-to-action, and copy and use this information to conduct strategic A/B tests on your ad campaigns, email marketing and website. A/B tests will help to determine which elements will return higher results. Even small details such as button color or shape, photo selection, font or copy can make a big difference in whether or not your audience will convert.
Create Compelling Content
Another large part of analyzing and optimizing conversion rates is creating compelling content and reviewing the pieces that create the biggest wave. Which blogs have the most views or most time spent on page? Which blogs receive the highest engagement? And, what do all of these blogs have in common? Asking these questions will help you determine which topics to blog about in the future to keep your prospective customers coming back.
Compelling content will allow your customers to see you as a resource for their business needs. They will visit your website more often and be more willing to hand over their highly-guarded contact information, in return for valuable information.
Monitor Traffic Sources
Monitoring the sources of your traffic is also incredibly important when it comes to increasing conversion rates. That’s because knowing where your visitors are coming from will give you insight into which of your tactics are working best. You’ll be able to see, for instance, how effective your social media strategy or digital advertising has been in driving visitors to your site, or how you’ve been performing on Google searches.