Business owners in every industry across the world are at this very moment mulling over data, statistics, and analytic reporting to break the code on one of the most complicated problems in business. Individually, business owners face the same puzzle; they have spent on marketing, advertising, consulting, and everything short of a “medicine man” to push target customers to their website, but what happens next depends on the strategic planning of the business.
Conversion is a complex issue for businesses because every dollar spent on gaining traffic and/or branding is critical for business cash flow, especially for start-ups and young businesses. The big question for every business owner is how do I turn the traffic into real business? Most business owners know that they need new customers this is a common sense conclusion as the bills come due at the end of the month. The dilemma is how do you get from Point A to Point Z?
The first step to improving your online conversion is to take a long look at your business goals. Many business owners do not even have a plan so if you have set out your strategic goals in a business plan this is an excellent place to start. Your conversion goals can be a variety of different actions taken by your customer – submit personal information, click to contact page, etc. The goals should align with what your website is selling so that you direct your customer to the action you desire them to take. Remember, in sales it is your responsibility to keep control of the sales process in order to help the customer make the purchase decision. If your website handles all the ebb and flow of the buying decision-making process then conversion will be more likely for your website.
The conversion process has many different moving parts and I believe there are five critical points that you must include in your website design in order to convert more often. These include Analytic Reporting & A/B Split Testing, Customer Insights, Usability, Momentum, and Credibility.
The big players in each industry are fully aware that analytic reporting is one of the most important investments they can make. These companies spend millions of dollars on reporting divisions or outsourcing of the reporting to niche companies that specialize in analyzing market data. My experience, as an expert in this field, is that small businesses have a tremendous advantage over the large corporations in this specific area if they invest in compiling analytic marketing data.
I believe that many small business owners think that the costs of investing in analytic reporting will be too high or even worse they just do not have time or resources available to do it. The advantage the small business owner has is that their business is nimble compared to the large corporate competitors in the market so they can react quickly to the trends found in analytic reporting. This allows them to quickly make decisions that can seize market shares and profitability before the larger competitors can gain approval for making any moves.
This relates to conversion because the analytic reporting shows exactly where your website traffic is coming from, how they are engaging your site, and how they are navigating throughout your website. This allows you to conduct A/B Spilt Testing within your site to see what attracts your target customer more towards converting to the task you expect. Trying simple variations of the same website landing pages can produce different results like playing around with the design of the site layout from fonts, picture position, color variations, etc. to see how it affects your website conversion.
Your past customers are also a very excellent source of information that can be used for conversion. Conducting research from within your “power base” can provide you with real-time information about what made them purchase from your company, what they like and dislike about your website, and ideas for improving the overall customer experience.
Customer insights can be solicited by conducting after purchase surveys, focus groups, active review sights, etc. The most important thing for a business owner is to use your “power base” to gather important information for improving conversions. I find this is one of the biggest untapped resources for business owners as they are mostly afraid to solicit their customers for their opinion.
Your customers can also let you know about the usability of your website. Usability is extremely important to conversion because if your site is not easy to navigate then you are ensuring your bounce rate will be high. The bounce rate is a statistic from your analytic data that measures whether your traffic engages your website or whether they leave immediately. If they are all leaving without visiting other pages then you will not be able to turn them into a conversion. Therefore, usability is closely related to your bounce rate because if customers find the site difficult to navigate they will leave.
However, if you can get the website traffic to engage you will create momentum for your website conversion. The biggest problem facing a business owner is obscurity in the marketplace. This simply means that there are not enough people seeing your website to generate enough business to be profitable. The bigger budget companies will always dominate the space with advertising both offline and online so it is imperative that your conversion rates be higher as each customer lead is the most valuable asset to your business. Conversion creates momentum for business and when you have momentum then people start talking about your website building your brand’s trust and credibility.
Your website should show your customer reviews, accreditation, and any other resource you have that makes you credible to your target customer. The more credible your website is then the more likely you are to convert the traffic into new business. Customers want to do business with people and companies they can trust so solid business ethics backed by honest customer feedback will have profitable effects on your conversion.
In summary, if you are looking for more conversions for your website then you have to understand that it is not a destination that you can just reach. Conversion is an ever-changing path that you have to consistently adjust your strategic direction in order to meet your set goals. Once you have arrived at your pre-set goals then you will have to set new ones because when it comes to website conversion the changes what it takes change nearly daily. If you apply the advice given to record your analytic data, gain more customer insights, keep your website usability simple, continually create momentum, and build your credibility you will enjoy improved conversion numbers for your business.
nida lopez, mba
Marketing expert focusing on digital advertising & marketing, marketing analytic reporting, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and all traditional marketing.