A low conversion rate can harm your business by slowing your leads and sales to a trickly. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to fix the problem. First, though, you need to know why you have a low conversion rate. What’s causing people to bounce from your site or read your content without any other engagement? Data and tools can help you identify the culprit, but it helps to know what red flags to consider. I’m going to take you through 13 potential reasons for your low conversion rate, then answer four common questions involving conversion rate metrics. 13 Reasons…
I’ve written a lot about user experience over the years: how to improve user experience, when to implement it, and how to test for it. There’s a reason I cover it so widely. It touches every aspect of your business, from SEO to customer service. If you owned a brick-and-mortar store, you would worry about things like end cap displays, signage, aisle navigation, and sales support. Those things matter online, too, except they’re more difficult to observe and track without specialized tools. You can’t enter your customers’ homes and look over their shoulders while they check out your social media…
Seriously. A quick google will show you that Unbounce, QuickSprout, Moz, Qualaroo, Hubspot, Wordstream, Optimizely, CrazyEgg, VWO (and countless others), have been writing tips and guides on how to optimize your landing pages for years.
Not to mention the several posts we have already published on the WiderFunnel blog since 2008.
And yet. This conversation is so not over.
Warning: If your landing page optimization goals are short-term, or completely focused on conversion rate lift, this post may be a waste of your time. If your goal is to continuously have the best-performing landing pages on the internet, keep reading.
Marketers are funnelling more and more money into paid advertising, especially as Google allocates more and more SERP space to ads.
In fact, as an industry, we are spending upwards of $92 billion annually on paid search advertising alone.
And it’s not just search advertising that is seeing an uptick in spend, but social media advertising too.
It makes sense that marketers are still obsessing over their landing page conversion rates: this traffic is costly and curated. These are visitors that you have sought out, that share characteristics with your target market. It is extremely important that these visitors convert!
But, there comes a time in every optimizer’s life, when they face the cruel reality of diminishing returns. You’ve tested your landing page hero image. You’ve tested your value proposition. You’ve tested your form placement. And now, you’ve hit a plateau.
So, what next? What’s beyond the tips and guides? What is beyond the optimization basics?
1) Put on your customer’s shoes.
First things first: Let’s do a quick sanity check.
When you test your hero image, or your form placement, are you testing based on tips and recommended best practices? Or, are you testing based on a specific theory you have about your page visitors?
Tips and best practices are a fine place to start, but the insight behind why those tactics work (or don’t work) for your visitors is where you find longevity.
The best way to improve experiences for your visitors is to think from their perspective. And the best way to do that is to use frameworks, and framework thinking, to get robust insights about your customers.
– Chris Goward, Founder & CEO, WiderFunnel
Laying the foundation
It’s very difficult to think from a different perspective. This is true in marketing as much as it is in life. And it’s why conversion optimization and A/B testing have become so vital: We no longer have to guess at what our visitors want, but can test instead!
That said, a test requires a hypothesis. And a legitimate hypothesis requires a legitimate attempt to understand your visitor’s unique perspective.
To respond to this need for understanding, WiderFunnel developed the LIFT Model® in 2008: our foundational framework for identifying potential barriers to conversion on a page from the perspective of the page visitor.
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The LIFT Model attempts to capture the idea of competing forces in communication, narrowing them down to the most salient aspects of communication that marketers should consider.
I wanted to apply the principles of Relevance, Clarity, Distraction, Urgency and Anxiety to what we were delivering to the industry and not just to our clients. And the LIFT Model is a part of that: making something as simple as possible but no simpler.
– Chris Goward
When you look at your page through a lens like the LIFT Model, you are forced to question your assumptions about what your visitors want when they land on your page.
You may love an interactive element, but is it distracting your visitors? You may think that your copy creates urgency, but is it really creating anxiety?
If you are an experienced optimizer, you may have already incorporated a framework like the LIFT Model into your optimization program. But, after you have analyzed the same page multiple times, how do you continue to come up with new ideas?
Here are a few tips from the WiderFunnel Strategy team:
Bring in fresh eyes from another team to look at and use your page
User test, to watch and record how actual users are using your page
Sneak a peek at your competitors’ landing pages: Is there something they’re doing that might be worth testing on your site?
Do your page analyses as a team: many heads are better than one
You should always err on the side of “This customer experience could be better.” After all, it’s a customer-centric world, and we’re just marketing in it.
2) Look past the conversion rate.
“Landing page optimization”, like “conversion rate optimization”, is a limiting term. Yes, on-page optimization is key, but mature organizations view “landing page optimization” as the optimization of the entire experience, from first to last customer touchpoint.
Landing pages are only one element of a stellar, high-converting marketing campaign. And focusing all of your attention on optimizing only one element is just foolish.
From testing your featured ads, to tracking click-through rates of Thank You emails, to tracking returns and refunds, to tracking leads through the rest of the funnel, a better-performing landing page is about much more than on-page conversion rate lift.
An example is worth 1,000 words
One of our clients is a company that provides an online consumer information service—visitors type in a question and get an Expert answer. One of the first zones (areas on their website) that we focused on was a particular landing page funnel.
Visitors come from an ad, and land on page where they can ask their question. They then enter a 4-step funnel: Step 1: Ask the question > Step 2: Add more information > Step 3: Pick an Expert > Step 4: Get an answer (aka the checkout page)
Our primary goal was to increase transactions, meaning we had to move visitors all the way through the funnel. But we were also tracking refunds and chargebacks, as well as revenue per visitor.
In this experiment, we focused on the value proposition statements. The control landing page exclaimed, “A new question is answered every 9 seconds!“. Our Strategy team had determined (through user testing) that “speed of answers” was the 8th most valuable element of the service for customers, and that “peace of mind / reassurance” was the most important.
So, they tested two variations, featuring two different value proposition statements meant to create more peace of mind for visitors:
“Join 6,152,585 satisfied customers who got professional answers…”
“Connect One on One with an Expert who will answer your question”
Both of these variations ultimately increased transactions, by 6% and 9.4% respectively. But! We also saw large decreases in refunds and chargebacks with both variations, and large increases in net revenue per visitor for both variations.
By following visitors past the actual conversion, we were able to confirm that these initial statements set an impactful tone: visitors were more satisfied with their purchases, and comfortable investing more in their expert responses.
3) Consider the big picture.
As you think of landing page optimization as the optimization of a complete digital experience, you should also think of landing page optimization as part of your overall digital optimization strategy.
When you discover an insight about visitors to your product page, feed it into a test on your landing page. When you discover an insight about visitor behavior on your landing page, feed it into a test on your website.
It’s true that your landing pages most likely cater to specific visitor segments, who may behave totally differently than your organic visitors. But, it is also true that landing page wins may be overall wins.
Plus, landing page insights can be very valuable, because they are often new visitor insights. And now, a little more advice from Chris Goward, optimization guru:
“Your best opportunities for testing your value proposition are with first impression visitors. These are usually new visitors to your high traffic landing pages or your home page […]
By split testing your alternative value propositions with new visitors, you’ll reduce your exposure to existing customers or prospects who are already in the consideration phase. New prospects have a blank canvas for you to present your message variations and see what sticks.
Then, from the learning gained on landing pages, you can validate insights with other target audience groups and with your customers to leverage the learning company-wide.
Landing page testing can do more than just improve conversion rates on landing pages. When done strategically, it can deliver powerful, high-leverage marketing insights.”
Just because your landing pages are separate from your website, does not mean that your landing page optimization should be separate from your other optimization efforts. A landing page is just another zone, and you are free to (and should) use insights from one zone when testing on another zone.
4) Go deeper, explore further.
A lot of marketers talk about landing page design: how to build the right landing page, where to position each element, what color scheme and imagery to use, etc.
But when you dig into the why behind your test results, it’s like breaking into a piñata of possibilities, or opening a box of idea confetti.
Why do your 16-25 year old, mobile users respond so favorably to a one-minute video testimonial from a past-purchaser? Do they respond better to this indicator of social proof than another?
Why do your visitors prefer one landing page under normal circumstances, and a different version when external factors change (like a holiday, or a crisis)? Can you leverage this insight throughout your website?
Why does one type of urgency phrasing work, while slightly different wording decreases conversions on your page? Are your visitors sensitive to overly salesy copy? Why or why not?
For many marketers, personalized landing pages are becoming more normal. And personalization opens the door to even more potential customer insights. Assuming you already have visitor segments, you should test the personalized experiences on your landing pages.
For example, imagine you have started using your visitors’ first names in the hero banner of your landing page. Have you validated that this personalized experience is more effective than another, like moving a social proof indicator above the fold? Both can be deemed personalization, but they tap into very different motivations.
From psychological principles, to validating your personalized experiences, the possibilities for testing on your landing pages are endless.
Just keep testing, Dory-style
Your landing page(s) will never be “optimized”. That is the beauty and cruelty of optimization: we are always chasing unattainable perfection.
But your landing pages can definitely be better than they are now. Even if you have a high-converting page, even if your page is listed by Hubspot as one of the 16 best designed landing pages, even if you’ve followed all of the rules…your landing page can be better.
Because I’m not just talking about conversions, I’m talking about your entire customer experience. If you give them the opportunity, your new users will tell you what’s wrong with your page.
They’ll tell you where it is unclear and where it is distracting.
Prototyping tools have become an important resource for us designers — allowing us to document multiple states of a single screen, including animations, transitions and microinteractions that are hard to represent in static documentation.
Companies that pay attention to this trend have started to build prototyping tools to address this need; and today we’re seeing a plethora of tools emerge on a regular basis. But which should you pick? More importantly, what questions should you ask yourself and your team to make sure you choose the right one?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But online, a picture can be worth a thousand kilobytes or more! HTTP Archive shows that images make up 64% of a web page’s total size on average. Given this, image optimization is key, especially considering that many users will abandon a request if it doesn’t load within a few seconds.
The problem with image optimization is that we want to keep file sizes small without sacrificing quality.
We’ve all read a metric ton of marketing articles telling us that “A mobile marketing strategy is a must.”
If it feels like you’ve been hearing that forever, it’s because people have actually been spewing that advice for nearly a decade. That type of article started cropping up way back in 2008, according to Google Trends:
Several years later, you’ve likely (hopefully) got a mobile strategy in place; your landing pages are mobile responsive and your emails scale for many different screen sizes.
You’ve adapted to the new reality because you’ve accepted that this is just the way things are now:
But with sobering stats like that and #mobilegeddon behind us, simply having a mobile marketing strategy isn’t enough anymore.
As Chris Goward, CEO of conversion optimization agency WiderFunnel, explained in our recent Unwebinar, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to have an optimized mobile marketing strategy – one that you’re constantly refining and improving.
To help with that, Chris shared a three-pronged approach to mobile optimization that will help you stay ahead of the curve (and score more conversions). Read on for a summary of his process – or check out the webinar recording here.
The trinity of mobile optimization
On the webinar, Chris shared a diagram which broke down his approach to mobile CRO:
Every solid mobile optimization strategy, Chris explained, has three essential elements:
Persuasion marketing: tactics that motivate visitors to take action
Experience design: tearing down conversion barriers to create friction-free and delightful experiences
A scientific method: for testing your hypotheses and refining the tactics from elements #1 and #2
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these elements to get a better idea of how it all fits together into a killer, constantly-improving mobile CRO strategy.
The first ingredient of your optimized mobile marketing strategy should be a healthy dose of persuasion marketing.
If you’re a CRO buff, you’re likely already intimately familiar with a lot of this groundwork. It’s the intuitive (but super essential) stuff that will never change, regardless of which device prospects are using:
Using social proof, compelling CTAs, and other triggers that motivate prospects to take action
All pretty straightforward so far, but this is when things get a bit deeper.
Experience design is all about minding the experience you’re creating for your mobile users. It’s about understanding their state of mind and facilitating interactions that are unique to the mobile experience.
The first step in doing that, Chris explained, is understanding that mobile optimization isn’t just about the device:
You’ll be left with a list of optimization opportunities – and all you have to do is pick one and run your first A/B test.
Psst: if you’re wondering how you can start prioritizing these tests, check out this article by Chris about the PIE method – a straightforward formula for prioritizing your tests based on three criteria: potential, importance and ease.
Always keep learning and optimizing
With every test you run, be sure to debrief and reflect on what you’ve learned about your users.
As much as your end goal is to lift conversions, it’s also to gain insight that you can learn from and apply to all your marketing efforts.
And as Chris suggested, look for opportunities for borrowing insight across tests – and even across channels:
Because your mobile users and desktop users are the same people, your testing efforts across channels don’t exist in a silo. You can learn insights from your mobile tests that you can then apply to your landing page and campaign optimization on any channel.
No optimization effort is ever complete, but testing consistently and borrowing insights across channels will bring you closer to the unattainable goal of a perfect conversion rate.
The WordPress functions.php theme file provides an efficient way to modify WordPress theme by theme. This file contains mostly theme-related functions but can also be used to enhance or modify default WordPress behavior. This file is saved in the themes folder, and an unlimited number of modifications may be added.
In this article, we’ll share a few helpful functions that use WordPress default code to modify or enhance a blog’s behavior.
What is it that makes us loyal fans of the websites and apps we love? When we sat down to answer this question for ourselves, we found that the websites and apps we truly love have one thing in common: soul. They’re humanized. They have emotional intelligence designed into the user experience. And this emotional intelligence is crafted through thoughtful interaction design and feedback mechanisms built into the website.
This article is the fourth in our new series that introduces the latest, useful and freely available tools and techniques, developed and released by active members of the Web design community. The first article covered PrefixFree; the second introduced Foundation, a responsive framework; the third presented Sisyphus.js, a library for Gmail-like client-side drafts. Today we are happy to present Cameron McEfee’s Photoshop extension GuideGuide which provides a tool to create pixel accurate columns, rows, midpoints and baselines.
As a Web designer you’re undoubtedly familiar with CSS, the style sheet language used to format markup on Web pages. CSS itself is extremely simple, consisting of rule sets and declaration blocks—what to style, how to style it—and it does pretty much everything you want, right? Well, not quite. Enter the LESS CSS preprocessor. [Links checked March/06/2017]
You see, while the simple design of CSS makes it very accessible to beginners, it also poses limitations on what you can do with it.