All posts by Sujan Patel

How To Optimize Conversion Rate On Website Templates

Optimizing conversion rate for web templates

The huge number of website templates available today has made it easier than ever to launch a professional-looking website—whether or not you know how to code.

Besides representing an easy, useful starting point, templates are more cost-effective than contracting with a designer (which can cost $10,000+). They also let business owners leverage established design patterns to create a consistent, pleasing digital experience.

According to Josh Dunsterville of KlientBoost, as interviewed by Shanelle Mullin of ConversionXL:

“As humans, we pay attention to patterns, in fact we seek them out. We expect when we visit a site to find the logo in the top left corner, followed by the navigation in the top right. When we come to a site that breaks these patterns, it does one of two things. It either intrigues us, or frustrates us.”

That said, all of these benefits come with an important caution: website templates are built by designers to look pretty, not by CRO specialists to convert.

Using a website template can help you launch an MVP quickly and affordably. But after your site is live, it’s up to you to undertake the conversion rate optimization work necessary to drive maximum performance.

Process

For performing CRO on website templates, you require appropriate tools for your situation and a plan to use them.

Choose Your Tools and Technical Processes

Thanks to advancements in web technology, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to split testing tools.

If your website runs on WordPress, a platform-specific split testing plug-in may provide the targeted functionality you need to work within your CMS. Alternatively, if you are looking for a tool that’s platform-agnostic and free, Google Content Experiments is another great option.  

If you need more complex testing and customization options, look for third-party tools like VWO. As an example, if you’ve built an eCommerce store on Shopify, which doesn’t have a native split testing tool built in, you may find the program’s Shopify integration helpful.

Take features, pricing, and your personal comfort with each option into consideration before you make your final decision.

Choose What to Test

To some degree, deciding the specific tests you’ll run may indicate your choice of tools and techniques. If you want to test the impact of different product landing page variations on the overall revenue, for example, you’ll need a tool that’s capable of attributing and calculating the monetary value of individual conversions.

Beyond this decision, however, the process of choosing what to test can be overwhelming. Since website templates are made from so many different moving parts, how do you decide where to begin?

The following 3 approaches should give you clarity:

1. Optimize Closest to the Money

In an article for Shopify, Tommy Walker shares the following sample screenshot:

Shopify Survey Report

Looking at this data, Walker states:

“Think about the people who visit your site. Some are random, some are window shopping, some will never buy. But those people who add something to their cart and reach the checkout… they’re motivated.”

Although you could start anywhere with your website template CRO, Walker suggests looking at the abandoned checkouts mainly because that’s where the most motivated prospects are. In this case, figuring out how to turn more than 47 buyers out of 192 shoppers would have an immediate bottom line impact.

On an eCommerce website template, that means the checkout or the pricing (especially if you’re using a product sourcing solution that offers suggested prices).

On an educational blog or corporate template, that might mean the CTAs that lead to your desired action. In either case, find the step before prospects become leads or customers and focus your attention there, no matter what type of website template you are working with.

2. Test Big Wins vs. Small Tweaks

The Obama campaign’s 41 shades of blue split test is famous for a reason. But when you’re working off a stock website template, testing button colors should be the last thing on your mind.

ConversionXL’s Peep Laja puts it this way:

“There is no best color, it’s always about visual hierarchy. Sure you can find tests online where somebody found gains via testing colors, but they’re all no-brainers. Don’t waste time on testing no-brainers, just implement. You don’t have enough traffic, nobody does. Use your traffic on high-impact stuff. Test data-driven hypotheses.”

When working with website templates, one of the easiest ways to find big wins to test is to compare your template with your competitors’ sites. What elements do they have that your site design doesn’t?

Maybe it’s a row of trust logos on the checkout page. Maybe it’s a product page layout that emphasizes larger images.

Try to figure out what makes them tick. Then, test similar variations on your site against its default template design. Going big will give you a better direction for moving forward than lining up multiple, small tweaks.

3. Optimize for Performance

Remember earlier how I told you that website templates aren’t built by CRO experts? Well, they aren’t built by web performance experts either….

The result, in many cases, is website templates that load slowly and perform poorly, even if these look really cool after they are loaded. Gavin Ballard, writing for Shopify, describes it this way:

“Sitting on a high-bandwidth connection in our offices, and not experiencing our stores through the eyes of customers, it’s easy for both developers and clients to overlook performance and instead focus on that snazzy new lightbox or worry about the colour palette.”

Website template optimization doesn’t have to be about page layouts or checkout flows. Speeding up your site might be enough to boost performance, given that “a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.”

4. Survey Visitors on Site Behavior

Finally, don’t forget that one of the fastest ways to uncover problems with your website template is one of the easiest—just ask people.

Use live chat tools or survey tools (depending on your business’s unique needs and processes) to ask why people chose not to purchase. Was there information missing? Did they feel your site was untrustworthy for some reason?

Take the feedback you receive using this approach and use it to drive the future testing decisions you’ll make.

Website Template Testing Challenges

According to Josh Uebergang, writing for Shopify, as you develop a website template CRO program, there are several challenges you need to be aware of. Site users on platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce must be especially cautious. Some of these challenges are as follows:

  • If checkouts happen off-site (as in, on a domain like checkout.shopify.com), it may be difficult to track and properly attribute the final revenue generated. This is especially the case with Safari users.
  • Sending out abandoned cart emails—as all e-commerce sellers should be doing—can throw off the results of your CRO campaigns.
  • Users who browse on one device and complete their purchases on another can cause the same attribution problem.

Uebergang offers solutions for these challenges in his article. These involve properly configuring your third-party testing tool and integrating its data with Google Analytics. But for now, what’s most important is recognizing some of the challenges you may encounter when testing your website template.

Building a Website Template CRO Campaign

Technical challenges aside, one of the worst things you can do with this information is nothing.

Remember, your website template wasn’t built to make sales. It was built to look good enough for you to purchase it from the template marketplace of your choice.

Use the tools and strategies described above to start improving its performance today. Don’t put your business at a disadvantage by sticking with a template that isn’t optimized to your needs.

What other tips do you have to add on the website template CRO? Leave a note in the comments below with your suggestions.

The post How To Optimize Conversion Rate On Website Templates appeared first on VWO Blog.

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How To Optimize Conversion Rate On Website Templates

How to Leverage eCommerce Conversion Optimization Through Different Channels to Maximize Growth

Note: This is a guest article written by Sujan Patel, co-founder of Web Profits. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Sujan’s.


“If you build it, they will come” only works in the movies. In the real world, if you’re serious about e-commerce success, it’s up to you to grab the CRO bull by the horns and make the changes needed to maximize your growth.

Yet, despite the potential of conversion rate optimization to have a major impact on your store’s bottom line, only 59% of respondents to an Econsultancy survey see it as crucial to their overall digital marketing strategy. And given that what’s out of sight is out of mind, you can bet that many of the remaining 41% of businesses aren’t prioritizing this strategy with the importance it deserves.

Implementing an e-commerce CRO program may seem complex, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of possible things to test. To simplify your path to proper CRO, we’ve compiled a list of ways to optimize your site by channel.

This list is by no means exclusive; every marketing channel supports as many opportunities for experimentation as you can dream up. Some of these, however, are the easiest to put into practice, especially for new e-commerce merchants. Begin with the tactics described here; and when you’re ready to take your campaigns to the next level, check out the following resources:

On-Page Optimization

Your website’s individual pages represent one of the easiest opportunities for implementing a conversion optimization campaign, thanks to the breadth of technology tools and the number of established testing protocols that exist currently.

These pages can also be one of the fastest, thanks to the direct impact your changes can have on whether or not website visitors choose to buy.

Home Page

A number of opportunities exist for making result-driven changes to your site’s home page. For example, you can test:

  • Minimizing complexity: According to ConversionXL, “simple” websites are scientifically better.
  • Increasing prominence and appeal of CTAs: If visitors don’t like what you’re offering as part of your call-to-action (or worse, if they can’t find your CTA at all), test new options to improve their appeal.
  • Testing featured offers: Even template e-commerce shops generally offer a spot for featuring specific products on your store’s home page. Test which products you place there, the price at which you offer them, and how you draw attention to them.
  • Testing store policies – Free shipping is known to reduce cart abandonment. Implement consumer-friendly policies and test the way you feature them on your site.
  • Trying the “five-second test” – Can visitors recall what your store is about in 5 seconds or less? Attention spans are short, and you might not have longer than that to convince a person to stick around. Tools like UsabilityHub can get you solid data.

Home Page Optimization Case Study

Antiaging skincare company NuFACE made the simple change of adding a “Free Shipping” banner to its site header.

Original

eCommerce conversion Optimization - Nuface Control

Test Variation

eCommerce conversion Optimization - Nuface Variation

The results of making this change alone were a 90% increase in orders (with a 96% confidence level) and a 7.32% lift in the average order value.

Product Pages

If you’re confident about your home page’s optimization, move on to getting the most out of your individual product pages by testing your:

  • Images and videos
  • Copy
  • Pricing
  • Inclusion of social proof, reviews, and so on

Product Page Optimization Case Study

Underwater Audio challenged itself to simplify the copy on its product comparison page, testing the new page against its original look.

Original

Underwater Audio Control

Test Variation

Underwater Control Variation - eCommerce conversion rate optimization

This cleaner approach increased website sales for Underwater Audio by 40.81%.

Checkout Flow

Finally, make sure customers aren’t getting hung up in your checkout flow by testing the following characteristics:

Checkout Flow Optimization Case Study

A Scandinavian gift retailer, nameOn, reduced the number of CTAs on their checkout page from 9 to 2.

Original

nameon-1

Test Variation

nameon-2

Making this change led to an estimated $100,000 in increased sales per year.

Lead Nurturing

Proper CRO doesn’t just happen on your site. It should be carried through to every channel you use, including email marketing. Give the following strategies a try to boost your odds of driving conversions, even when past visitors are no longer on your site.

Email Marketing

Use an established email marketing program to take the steps below:

Case Study

There are dozens of opportunities to leverage email to reach out to customers. According to Karolina Petraškienė of Soundest, sending a welcome email results in:

4x higher open rates and 5x higher click rates compared to other promotional emails. Keeping in mind that in e-commerce, average revenue per promotional email is $0.02, welcome emails on average result in 9x higher revenue — $0.18. And if it’s optimized effectively, revenue can be as high as $3.36 per email.”

Live Chat

LemonStand shares that “live chat has the highest satisfaction levels of any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.” Add live chat to your store and test the following activities:

Case Study

LiveChat Inc.’s report on chat greeting efficiency shares the example of The Simply Group, which uses customized greetings to assist customers having problems at checkout. Implementing live chat has enabled them to convert every seventh greeting to a chat, potentially saving sales that would otherwise be lost.

Content Marketing

Content marketing may be one of the most challenging channels to optimize for conversions, given the long latency periods between reading content pieces and converting. The following strategies can help:

  • Tie content pieces to business goals.
  • Incorporate content upgrades.
  • Use clear CTAs within content.
  • Test content copy, messaging, use of social proof, and so on.
  • Test different distribution channels and content formats.

Case Study

ThinkGeek uses YouTube videos as a fun way to feature their products and funnel interested prospects back to their site. Their videos have been so successful that they’ve accumulated 180K+ subscribers who tune in regularly for their content.

thinkgeek

Post-Acquisition Marketing

According to Invesp, “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.” Continuing to market to past customers, either in the hopes of selling new items or encouraging referrals, is a great way to boost your overall performance.

Advocacy

Don’t let your CRO efforts stop after a sale has been made. Some of your past clients can be your best sources of new customers, if you take the time to engage them properly.

  • Create an advocacy program: Natural referrals happen, but having a dedicated program turbocharges the process.
  • Test advocacy activation programs: Install a dedicated advocacy management platform like RewardStream or ReferralSaaSquatch and test different methods for promoting your new offering to customers with high net promoter scores.
  • Test different advocate incentives: Try two-way incentives, coupon codes, discounted products, and more.
  • Invest in proper program launch, goal-setting, and ongoing evaluation/management: Customer advocacy programs are never truly “done.”

Case Study

Airbnb tested its advocacy program invitation copy and got better results with the more unselfish version.

airbnb

Reactivation

As mentioned above in the funnel-stage email recommendation, reactivation messages can be powerful drivers of CRO success.

Pay particular attention to these 2 activities:

  • Setting thresholds for identifying inactive subscribers
  • Building an automated reactivation workflow that’s as personalized as possible

Case Study

RailEasy increased opens by 31% and bookings by 38% with a reactivation email featuring a personalized subject line.

raileasy

Internal Efforts

Lastly, make CRO an ongoing practice by prioritizing it internally, rather than relegating it to “something the marketing department does.”

Ask CRO experts, and they’ll tell you that beyond the kinds of tactics and strategies described above, having a culture of experimentation and testing is the most important step you can take to see results from any CRO effort.

Here’s how to do it:

Have an idea for another way CRO can be used within e-commerce organizations? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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The post How to Leverage eCommerce Conversion Optimization Through Different Channels to Maximize Growth appeared first on VWO Blog.

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How to Leverage eCommerce Conversion Optimization Through Different Channels to Maximize Growth