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Beyond the Click: What’s Truly Driving Your Conversion Rate?

You could have the most sale-clinching copy in the world, the most beautiful design, and the most well-thought-out sales funnel, and your conversion rate could still remain stagnant. Have you ever looked at your analytics and thought “what can we do better?” If you’re the kind of marketer who’s always looking to improve, let’s take a look at the core human behaviors and psychological tactics that are powering your conversion rate – and how to use them to their fullest.

Value: The Spark that Ignites Interest

One of the first things you’ll learn in marketing is that you should always create or provide something of value to your customers. This usually ties in with your USP or Unique Selling Proposition – what makes someone want to do business with you?

But how do you actually create value? And even if you do offer something of value to the customer, what can you do to ensure they’ll want to continue doing business with you? On the customer’s end, you have the all-important questions like “what’s in it for me?” and “why should I do business with you [now]?

No matter what you’re selling, the customer needs to know that their most pressing issues will be solved and that they’ll be understood. They’ve gotten this far in the decision-making process and are taking a serious look at you. To keep that spark aflame, you have to go beyond telling them about the value you provide, and actually show them in the way you do business.

A recent report from eConsultancy and Sitecore asked companies and agencies alike what the most effective tactics for improving a customer’s lifetime value were:

customervalue

The most effective methods for improving customer LTV

No surprise that customer service improvements are at the top, followed by personalization. People find inherent value in being treated well and getting answers to their issues. They appreciate businesses taking the time to make personalized recommendations and sharing information that’s relevant to them.

In other words, the value that customers so eagerly crave is driven just as much by what you’re selling as who you’re selling too, and how you can convert them from casual browser to brand evangelist.

Consistency: The Glue that Holds the Conversion Together

What is consistency when applied to customer loyalty and conversion rates? According to a study by The Society for New Communications Research, quality was the number one factor in how customers form an impression of a company, with pricing and customer service not far behind.

impressions
Customers’ impressions of your company are driven primarily by quality

Consistency in these cases means that a customer can depend on the same level of product, service or care from each time they order. A cheeseburger from McDonalds is the same quality whether you’re in California or Maine. Customers rely on that and it drives their expectations.

Their expectations in turn drive your conversion rate. As you might imagine, there’s a certain level of inherent trust here. I trust you’ll be able to provide me with the same caliber of goods and services I’ve come to expect from you. The more companies can do this over time, the more favorable the impression becomes, the more likely they are to recommend, rate, like and share with others because it is a reflection on them.

Even if you have demonstrated value to the customer and ensured a quality process that delivers consistency, you’re still not finished. You have to ensure that what you do present to the customer is clear enough to encourage them to act on it.

Clarity: Making Sense of What’s Presented

How clear is your marketing message? Not just to you and your team, or to your marketing department, but to everyone from the CEO to the janitor. Many companies rebrand themselves every few years to focus on something new in an attempt to appear fresh and vibrant to their consumers.

But look at things from your customer’s point of view, or even better, the perspective of someone who hasn’t visited your site before. All this change makes them question the value of what they’re getting, and consistency gets swept to the wayside. They’re not sure that this company understands or embraces their lifestyle and motivations, much less has a place in it.

This isn’t to say, of course, that you should remain stuck in something that isn’t working or that your company should be perceived as old-fashioned. But change when and where it makes sense to do so – not just because it seems to be the “in” thing to do at the moment.

Creating and living true to a mission statement, a philosophy or a manifesto that affects everything from how the company operates to how it treats its customers paints a perfectly clear picture of what “clarity” truly means when it comes to driving conversion rates. Better yet, share this philosophy with your customers. Don’t just tell them, show them how your company is taking strides to be better in tune with what they want, and make yourself open and available to the two-way communication street that is the social web.

Clarity means complete understanding and reliance on the company to deliver what they promise without a shadow of a doubt. And conversions can only happen when all the other factors come together to make your offer, and the customer’s actions to take advantage of it, crystal clear.

Alleviate Friction and “Action Paralysis”

Two of the issues that plague most conversion optimization touch-points are friction and “action paralysis”. Friction happens when one of these key drivers doesn’t align with the others. For example, you may provide clarity and value to the customer, but consistency isn’t always there. They’re not sure what they’re going to get this time and would rather not turn it into a guessing game.

Or your message is clear and consistent, but the value doesn’t drive the customer to click. They might fear they’re being cheated or duped, and no one wants to look like a fool. In other words, there’s a misalignment of persuasive factors and that can cause your conversion rate to flat-line.

Even if you have all of the key conversion drivers working in perfect harmony, there’s still the ever-looming specter of “action paralysis” which makes the customer second-guess themselves and their decision. Common questions here would include:

  • How much is shipping going to cost on top of the price? How soon will my order be here?
  • What happens after my order is complete? What if I don’t get an email confirmation?
  • Who should I contact if something is wrong with my order when I receive it? What is the return policy? Can I exchange my item for something else?
  • How does the company use the information I give them?
  • What are other people saying about this product/service?

The good news is that you can eliminate a lot of these issues by way of a plain English returns/exchange policy, as well as a straightforward privacy policy, concrete details on pricing and shipping and by following up to make sure the customer is satisfied and doesn’t have any questions after the item or service has been received.

Here again, it all goes back to the cycle of what’s driving your conversions – value in your offer, consistency in your methods and quality, and clarity of purpose and message while avoiding frictions that cause the customer to step back and question their decision. Getting these things right may take time and effort, but anything worth improving your conversion rate always does.

Have you used these methods in your own conversion optimization campaigns and processes? How have they worked out for you? Tell us about it in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

  1. All true, nice to see an article focusing on stuff not found in analytics!

  2. I thought that the price was more important than the quality of the product, but I guess they both correlate. Becoming a brand is perhaps the most important task as it drives trust and being trusted is the first step to sell a product. Great work, Sherice!

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