If you are a small business owner then it is fairly certain that one of the reasons for having a website is to attract new customers and as such make more money. This is the process of conversion.
A conversion rate is essentially the percentage of visitors to your website that you successfully convert into taking a specific course of action. The “action” could be anything from clicking a link to making a purchase.
Working out your conversion rate is actually really simple to do. Lets say that you have a single web page where you are selling an eBook. A visitor to that page needs to click a link to pay for the eBook and then it is delivered to them by automatic download. The conversion in this instance is the amount of visitors that purchase the eBook from the total number of visitors to the page. So, to work out the rate you do as follows:
Number of Purchases / Number of Visitors x 100 = Conversion Rate
If the page had 100 visitors and you made 10 sales then here’s what that would look like:
10 [purchases] / 100 [visitors] x 100 = 10% Conversion Rate
It really is that simple.
It all sounds fairly easy to do, but realistically speaking achieving a good conversion rate on the web is extremely hard to do. There are several reasons for this which most certainly include the large amount of competition that sits just a few clicks and a couple of seconds away from the user looking for your particular product or service. Other potential reasons can be anything from the time it takes your web page to load to quite simply how professional (and trustworthy) your website looks.
Getting traffic to your site in the first place is the easy part, with all kinds of online marketing techniques and resources available to you including Affiliate Marketing, Google AdSense, Search Engine Optimisation, Blogging, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Google AdWords and other Website Promotion.
The slightly more challenging part of this whole online business thing is the actual process of achieving conversion. There are thousands of websites that fail to even convert a single visitor, and then there are some really big players out there that don’t even need to lift a finger to achieve astonishing rates of conversion. A good example of such a website would be Facebook. The Social Network giant converts visitors into registered users simply because it’s ‘cool’ to be on Facebook.
Convincing your visitors to register for free is one thing, but to convert visitors into actual paying customers is quite different. After all, we are now talking about parting them with their hard earned cash.
Luckily there are several steps you can take to improve your chances of converting visitors, and with continual focus you can also increase your conversion rates.
The beauty of increasing your conversion rate is that the better the rate becomes the more money you make. So, by increasing your traffic and at the same time increasing your conversion rate you can transform the profitability of your product or service without making changes to the cost of production etc.
9 Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rates
Tip 1: Use your return policy to convert visitors into customers.
By offering a refund and return policy that reduces the risk to the customer there is a greater chance of someone buying your product or service. An example could be a full money back guarantee.
Tip 2: Offer Multiple Payment Options
Don’t limit yourself to just one form of payment. There are loads of online payment processing options out there so don’t restrict yourself to just using a single option.
Tip 3: Provide a Phone Number and Make it Visible
You would be amazed by how many sites don’t give potential customers a way of contacting them other than by email. Nothing says ‘trustworthy’ more than a direct phone number where visitors can get in touch. And it may sound stupid but make sure that when you do provide a phone number that you place it in a prominent location on your site. Make it big and put it somewhere in the header section of the site so that it’s always there.
Tip 4: Provide Easy Access to Customer Service
Make sure that you have a simple way for visitors to make enquiries. It could simply be an online contact form, or you may have an FAQ’s page or dedicated customer service area. Again, providing this kind of online service screams trustworthiness.
Tip 5: Make Your Site Secure
In this day and age everyone, and I mean everyone, is concerned with his or her privacy and security. Make sure that when you take personal details and process payments that you do so via a secure server – https – which you will need to arrange via your web-hosting provider.
Tip 6: Keep an eye on Competition
Pay a regular visit to your competitors’ websites and see what they are doing. Take note of techniques that appear to be common in use. Chances are that if all of your competitors are doing something that you are not then it is time to think about starting.
Tip 7: Welcome Feedback
You would be amazed how few online businesses don’t ask for and welcome feedback. Asking your customers thoughts on usability, security and how you did with service will help you to understand what you are doing well and what you could do better.
Tip 8: Offer Discounts and Special Offers
Offers are a great way to encourage conversion, and discounts are a great way to encourage repeat purchases. Make sure you have a solid strategy in place that makes full use of the tip, and make sure that you promote any discounts and offers heavily.
Tip 9: Be your own Mystery Shopper
Make sure you cast a critical eye over your own website and find ways to continually improve your offering.
If you find that you can’t trust yourself to do it properly then get a friend or family member to do it, and make sure you are receptive to their findings. Do not go on the defensive. Anything you can do to improve what you have is beneficial.
Remember, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and potential customers. You have to think like they do, act like they do, and want the same thing as they do. It’s a hard trick to master, but if you can then your conversion rates will soar.