Did you know that companies that take on a structured approach towards conversion optimization are twice as likely to see a large increase in sales?
Given this, you’d think more companies would test and run experiments. Yet 61% of companies do less than 5 tests per month.
My gut tells me the reason for this is MOST companies are too caught up in the “business as usual syndrome”, and they rarely take a second to stop and think about really focusing on conversion optimization.
In this post we’re going to go over what the highest converting websites do differently. But before we get into the details, we want to highlight a few points to get you thinking first:
- You have 0-8 seconds to make a compelling headline and landing page. After 8 seconds, the majority of visitors leave.
- Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.
- The more landing pages you have, the more leads you are likely to get.
- Product videos can increase purchases of the product by 144%.
- A 1 second delay in your site speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- A/B testing is becoming the preferred method that has brought a lot of the companies the most success.
Got that? Ok, let’s get into what the best do differently….
1. They Make Their Unique Value Proposition(s) Clear
Visitors should clearly see on your homepage or landing page why they should do business with you and the benefit of it.
A great example of this is MailChimp:
There are plenty of email service providers out there, so for a company like MailChimp it’s quite difficult to differentiate yourself from the pack. MailChimp made themselves different by focusing on making email campaigns easy.
If you think about it, whose usually tasked with sending out the email newsletter? It’s usually someone who’s specialty is not marketing, who’s not technical, and has a never ending “to-do” list. Making it easy is really important!
And by looking at their home page, they make this very clear:
Not to mention, if you have ever used their service – everything from campaign creation to sending out your emails is really simple and clear.
Another example is Helzberg Diamonds. They are a little more subtle about their USP, but they definitely address “Why you should buy from them”.
For example they state free shipping on orders over $149:
Scroll down the page a little bit, and you’ll see some reassurances:
Certainly having 12,266 fans on Facebook doesn’t hurt their conversion rate, either.
What are the reasons customers should buy from you? Is it a money back guarantee? Free shipping? Find what yours are and make it clear.
2. They Test Their Calls-to-Actions
Hubspot featured a company on their blog that increased their conversions 105.9% by having a clear call-to-action that leads to a whitepaper. In this whitepaper, the company informs the visitor about the company & what they offer.
The company also made a more effective headline and used meaningful graphics to help guide the user. Just these three changes led to more than doubling their conversion rate.
Mozilla increased downloads of their popular Firefox browser by having a stronger call-to-action. “Download Now – Free” performed better than “Try Firefox 3”. They made it clear that Firefox was free and called the viewer to download the program.
Proflowers is a site known for high conversion rates, with some estimates being around 40%. They make it really easy for customers who are in a hurry to buy flowers – they can start by simply picking a day they need the flowers by:
ProFlowers eliminates any initial questions that the prospect may have. The prospect knows right away the answer to the question “can you get this to me by __?” They’re helping to overcome any obstacles to a purchase. See if you can do something like Proflowers has done—answer one of your most popular questions in a clear, above the fold headline. If some obstacles to prospects purchasing from you are:
“I don’t feel comfortable purchasing from a small company like yours” – then some ideas to help overcome this fear could be:
- Include a behind the scenes video of your company and how your operations work.
- Include a banner at the top with customer testimonials, each one showing for a few seconds.
- Give your unique value proposition right at the top. Tell how long you’ve been in business, how many orders you’ve shipped, customer satisfaction rate, etc.
How do you find out what questions your customers have?
You should always be asking your customers questions to get their feedback. Understanding your customer’s pain points, confusion and what they are really looking for can help you design a site that converts higher. KISSinsights is a tool that allows you to do just that:
3. They Test Their Headlines
The headline can make or break your website, and possibly a sale. As mentioned in the intro, the first impression is formed quickly, and the headline is a big part of that impression. It’s important to test and see what resonates most with your visitors. There is no magic formula, but there are some good guidelines that you can follow.
37signals improved conversions of their Highrise product by 30% by having the headline “30-day Free Trial on All Accounts”. Their worst headline was “Start a HighRise Account”.
The key lesson from this is that it’s important to have a clear headline with a unique value proposition. “Start a HighRise Account” doesn’t tell of any benefit. They don’t give a reason why they should sign up now. Consider having adding free trial in your headline or try “Save __% and start [enter the benefit of your product here]”. The important thing is to test to see what works.
CityCliq improved their conversions by making a clear headline that tells the user what they’ll get. First, the tested headlines:
- Businesses grow faster online!
- Online advertising that works!
- Get found faster!
- Create a webpage for your business
This is the best headline because it’s clear and avoids any language that you may find in your spam folder. Be creative with your headlines and inform the visitor of what you do or the benefits of your product.
One more tip: having a headline that addresses a pain point has in one case, increased conversions by 32%.
4. They Tend To Have Short Forms
Conversion expert Tim Ash recommends keeping forms to only the essentials. How many times have you been ready to sign up for something, continue and see 25+ fields that you have to fill in? I have many times and I’ll often just leave the site. It’s important to respect the users time. If you’ve gotten the user as far as wanting to sign up, it’s pivotal that you don’t let them drop off because your form is too long.
Take a look at Dropbox’s signup form:
Dropbox is only asking for what they need. No username, no security questions, no birth date, no verification code, no re-enter password field, nothing unneeded.
For Proflowers, they don’t force you to signup before you order. If you’re a first time buyer, they’re not interrupting your buying process at all. You don’t have to create a new account; you have the option to do that after you make your purchase. Proflowers is removing any obstacles to ordering.
Test the number of form fields!
Most conversion experts will agree that simplifying forms and making them clearer should be the direction you want to aim for when you ready to start iterating.
Sometimes, having more fields can improve your form conversion rate. However, in general, fewer fields tend to produce better conversions (it depends on what your form is for). The point is: Don’t look for rules of thumb, test and find out for yourself!
Other Techniques To Try
- Implementing a “Chat Now” button increased free signup form fills by 31%.
- Cars.com recently boosted their conversion rate 2.7% by having a security seal on their site.
- Including discount information in the title (e.g. 15% off Product A vs Product A) increased add to cart conversions by 148.3%.
- Benefits, social proof and credibility indicators led to a 144.1% improvement on landing pages.
- Putting people on your homepage can have a huge impact on conversions.
- Including a pain point in a headline increased conversions by 31%.
- Changing your call-to-action button from green to red has been shown to increase conversions by as much as 34%.
- Try moving around your Buy Now button. Appsumo did this (among other things) and doubled their conversion rate.
- Changing a button from “See Plans and Pricing” to “Get Started Today” increased conversions by 252%.
- Turning CAPTCHA off led to no conversions lost and very little spam mail in this case study.
- Showing testimonials can drive validation.
- Using natural language on forms has been shown to increase conversions by 25-40%.
- Having a nice mobile site can double conversions.
- Segmenting your users can increase conversion rates be giving more relevant content to the user.
- Putting your call-to-action button can really improve conversions.
The important thing is to test and experiment. What has worked for you? Let us know in the comments!
About the Authors:
Sean Work is the Director of Marketing at KISSmetrics. Follow him on Twitter @seanvwork.