Published on December 2nd, 2014
"Quick! Conversion rates are down! Let's rebrand, publish 100 new articles, and double our tweet frequency!"
Before you start throwing your entire marketing budget at conversion rate optimization, let's focus on getting to the root of the problem.
It starts with identifying the sources of friction. What's holding your visitors back from taking the next step?
Believe it or not, making small adjustments to overcome these barriers often comes at a low cost, yields a high return, and won't drive you or your team up a wall.
So in an effort to help you get started, we've identified 3 obstacles that are commonly responsible for stifling your conversion rate, as well as actionable advice on what you can do to improve lead generation efforts across your site.
Holding on to non-essential steps
Minimizing the time and effort required to convert will often times improve the odds that a visitor will take the desired action.
(Nothing groundbreaking to see here.)
However, streamlining this process calls for a strong understanding of how to get visitors from point A to point B while maintaining a balance between efficiency and effectiveness.
Before you go eliminating steps all willy-nilly, make note of what elements are essential to the completion of a quality conversion. For example, don't chop 5 fields off your form if you need that information to qualify the lead in your system.
In an effort to streamline our own conversion path, we implemented calls-to-action with a form embedded directly on it (we refer to them as in-line CTAs.)
Before the implementation of these in-line CTAs, the conversion path on our blog looked like this:
- landing page
- thank you page
- follow-up email
With the in-line CTA added into the mix, it now looks like this:
- thank you page
- follow-up email
While it may seem like a minor change, eliminating this non-essential step means that prospects are now one step closer to a conversion.
While this worked for us, you might find that eliminating non-essential form fields will be enough to up your numbers. After all, according to research from HubSpot's Dan Zarella, conversion rate improve by nearly half when the number of form fields are reduced for four to three.
Point being, sometimes asking less of your visitors will help you to receive more in the long run.
Too much risk
One of the best ways to mitigate risk is to address everything up front.
No hidden fees. No trap doors. No tomfoolery.
If you're committed to delivering an up-front, customer-backed experience, you'll find that it's much easier to move forward with a sale.
According to research from Marketing Sherpa, both case studies and customer reviews appeared in the top 5 most effective pieces of content in terms of achieving marketing goals:
What case studies and customer reviews do better than almost any other marketing asset is work to alleviate doubt by providing proof.
If you're looking to tips on how to leverage third-party validation to prove your business' capabilities, consider the following:
Show off real numbers
Case studies, reviews, and testimonials that incorporate tangible results carry far more weight than those that don't.
Consider the following:
Improved site experience vs Increased time spent on site by 27.5%
Which one sounds more convincing?
When putting together these types of assets, vague doesn't translate to valuable.
Invite follow up
Consider the benefit of tying your case study or testimonial back to a real person.
While studies have shown that including an actual photo of the person helps to increase conversion rates, you can take things a step further by providing their contact information (with their permission, of course.)
Often times people won't even bother to reach out to the person, but the simple fact that they have the option offers them peace of mind.
Appeal to different personas
Often times it's hard for a visitor in industry X to relate to the success of someone operating in industry Y.
If you're looking to go after a specific industry or persona, you'll want to be sure that you have the proper social proof in place to appeal to them specifically.
This will make it easier for them to insert themselves into the situation, and generate a better understanding of what your product or service can do for them.
Failure to optimize for mobile
The trouble with many lead generation strategies is that they fail to take mobile visitors into account when optimizing for conversions.
And truth be told, mobile visitors are taking notice.
In fact, research from KISSmetrics revealed the following about mobile Internet users experiences with mobile websites:
- 73% of mobile Internet users say that they've encountered a website that was too slow to load.
- 51% say that they've encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
- 41% say that they've encountered a website that had formatting which made it difficult to read.
- 45% say that they've encountered a website that didn't function as expected.
- 38% say that they've encountered a website that wasn't available.
If left unresolved, these issues can have a series impact on your website's ability to convert a high number of visitors.
Rather than sweep the issue under the rug, here is our best advice:
Leverage progressive profiling
While a desktop visitor may be willing to fill out a 7 field form to gain access to your latest ebook, mobile users are often plagued by small screens and chubby fingers. Rather than alienate them, consider condensing your mobile forms, or employing progressive profiling to replace form fields that have already been completed. Shorter forms = more optimized experience = more conversions.
Cut back on copy
When operating on a smaller screen, the amount of information a visitor can see at once is constricted. This means that they are forced to remember more, making long-winded content less than ideal. Get to the point in as few words as possible.
Employ clickable contact info
When exploring your website from their smartphone, your visitor literally has their phone in their hand. If they come across your number and it’s not clickable, forcing them to write it down or copy and paste, it adds friction to the experience and increases the possibility of losing them.