While your website is definitely no one-trick pony, when it comes to its role as an inbound marketing tool, its ability to drive conversions -- both in terms of net new lead generation and reconversions -- is definitely one of its bragging rights.
But surely there must be more you can do to boost your website's conversion potential, even after you've got all the conversion basics down pat ... right? Absolutely! Read on to learn about 9 different ways you can improve your website's ability to convert.
9 Tips to Improve Your Website Conversions
1) Leverage Social Proof
Social proof stems from the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. In other words, it's the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trust those people, that's validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator for your site visitors' and prospects' actions.
Consider the various ways you can add some social proof to your marketing assets to drive conversions. This very blog, for example, uses it on our blog subscription CTA at the top right-hand sidebar as well as on our blog subscriber landing page. It encourages visitors to think, "76K other people have already subscribed? I probably should, too!"
You could also experiment with other types of social proof such as testimonials on landing pages or on CTAs themselves. Check out what we did with our blog CTA for our ebook, "The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing," for example. We added testimonial tweets to add credibility to our offer and emphasize that others thought it was worth the download -- and worthy of a Twitter endorsement.
2) Revitalize Your CTA Designs
Call-to-action designs have the tendency to get old and stale, especially when they're used over and over again within various marketing assets. Think about it -- if you saw the same CTA design every time you visited a particular website, it probably wouldn't get you clicking, even if you've never converted on the offer it's promoting. This is true for multiple offers, too. If you're using the same design for various offers, it can also get stale pretty quickly. Why? Because the design no longer captures your visitors' attention. As a visitor who has seen the same design repeatedly, your eyes just end up glossing over it. On HubSpot's website, for example, we've noticed that the longer a CTA design appears on our site, the lower and lower its click-through rate becomes.
That's why it's important to regularly update the designs of your calls-to-action. Once you notice click-through rates dipping, spend some time updating the creative and copy of your CTA buttons, whether you do it yourself in PowerPoint or hire someone with design chops.
3) Feature New Offers
Updating CTA designs can definitely improve dropping click-through rates, but it won't do much if the offer you're touting is outdated itself. Just like designs, offers have the tendency to get stale, too -- and for a number of reasons. I mean, if you've been promoting the same offer over and over again, or if the content of the offer is obviously outdated, even to a new visitor (e.g. "Free Ebook: 10 New SEO Tips for 2010"), it's probably not going to have the best conversion rate. The solution? Time to create or feature some new offers!
Marketing offers aren't effective forever, so put some time and effort into creating brand new ones or updating and repositioning evergreen offers that could benefit from some revitalization. Before you do, analyze the strength of your existing offers so you can put your content creation efforts into the types of offers that you already have historically performed well, whether it's a particular offer type (i.e. ebooks vs. webinars) or certain subject matters.
4) Update CTAs on High-Trafficked Blog Posts & Web Pages
Imagine this scenario: you've just created a brand-spanking new offer, as we suggested in tip #3, and you're testing it out for the first time via a call-to-action on a new blog post. Over time, that blog article becomes a big hit, getting tons of traffic and inbound links, and thus ranking extremely well for one of your most desirable keywords. But the offer? Despite that fact that you based the creation of that new offer on the success of an existing offer on the same subject, it's not really delivering the same awesome results, and well, it's kind of a flop (hey -- it happens to the best of us!).
But that fantastic blog post it's on will still continue to get a ton of traffic, right? So keeping a CTA for a subpar offer on that post probably isn't the smartest decision. No worries. All you have to do is swap out that CTA for a higher performing one. As a result, you'll have much more success converting all those people coming to read that post into new and reconverted leads. Not a bad deal, huh? (Note: If you're a HubSpot customer using our Call-to-Action tool, all you have to do is replace the underperforming CTA with a better performing one within the CTA group, and every post/page containing that old CTA will automatically be replaced with the new one. Easy!)
5) Reduce Friction
How friction-less is your website's conversion process? Truth be told, there are quite a few distracting, annoying, and confusing obstacles that can prevent your website visitors from converting. And if you're not aware of -- and actively removing -- these various hindrances from your website, you could be leaving precious conversion opportunities on the table.
To reduce friction and increase conversion rates, here are 8 things you should consider doing (all of which we elaborate on in this blog post):
- Shorten your lead-capture forms.
- Create targeted landing pages.
- Remove top/side/bottom navigation from landing pages.
- Get rid of calls-to-action on landing pages.
- Share landing page links in social media.
- Place landing page forms above the fold.
- Use actionable language in CTAs and on landing pages.
- Make it as easy and user-friendly as possible to convert.
6) A/B Test and Optimize Landing Pages and CTAs
Conducting regular A/B tests is a smart and data-driven way to improve the performance of your marketing, particularly when it comes to conversion rates. What's more, there's no shortage of variables you can test and optimize.
When it comes to CTAs, consider A/B testing such elements as design, button size, colors, copy, messaging, tone, imagery, and placement. When A/B testing landing pages, you can test many of the same variables you test within your CTAs, in addition to variables like page layout, length, number of form fields, etc. (Note: HubSpot's Call-to-Action and Landing Pages tools make it very easy to A/B test CTA and landing page variations.)
If you conduct regular A/B tests, be sure to document your results so you can keep track of the insights you gather from them. Over time, you'll be able to use these insights to develop best practices specific to your own business that can help you optimize your marketing efforts right off the bat!
7) Experiment With Secondary CTAs
I know what you're thinking: "Wouldn't including two different CTAs on the same web page confuse and distract visitors from the action your want them to take?" The answer is, it depends on the offers your CTAs are promoting. Yes, displaying two CTAs on one page can distract your visitors from completing your desired conversion. However, when the secondary CTA is not promoting a competing offer, it can actually save a conversion when your visitor isn't interested in -- or ready for -- the main offer.
For example, if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you'll notice that we actually have two separate calls-to-action there. One is for our main offer -- our ebook on mastering the design and copy of calls-to-action. The secondary CTA, which isn't as prominent, promotes subscription to this blog. And having that subscription CTA there might actually capture a few of those people who weren't interest in the ebook (maybe they've already mastered CTA design and copy), but did find our blog content valuable enough to want to subscribe to future updates. Blog subscribers may not be as valuable to us as new or reconverted leads, but hey, they're still valuable.
Identify opportunities on your website where secondary CTAs for non-competing offers make sense, and monitor the results. If they seem to take away from conversion on your main offer, a secondary CTA may not make sense on that particular page. However, if you notice that they actually add more conversions when visitors typically would've left without converting on anything, including a secondary CTA is probably a smart decision.
8) Appropriately Align CTA Selection With Web Pages
When you're selecting CTAs for your various web pages, there should always be a method to your madness rather than just slapping a CTA button on any page on your site, particularly if you have an arsenal of different marketing offers at your fingertips. But how do you determine which offer's CTA goes on what pages of your website? We've created a detailed, step-by-step process for figuring this out, but here's the jist of it ...
First, you'll need to map your various offers to each stage in your sales cycle, since your offers are likely more appropriate for different stages. For example, a free trial of your software would probably be a better fit for a lead who is closer to making a purchasing decision than say, a first-time visitor to your website, who would probably be better suited for a lower-commitment offer like a free, educational ebook.
After you've mapped your offers to your sales cycle, you'll need to do the same for the various web pages on your website. In other words, based on a combination of common sense and your marketing analytics, you'll need to determine how each page on your website aligns with the stages you identified in step 1. For instance, if you know that your blog attracts a lot of new visitors, you would probably associate those pages of your website with site visitors in the awareness stage of the sales process, not the purchase stage.
Once you've mapped your offers and your website pages to the different stages in your sales cycle, you can start placing appropriate calls-to-action where they belong. Use your analytics to identify the top offers in each stage, and add them to pages you've mapped to that stage. Voila!
9) Optimize Pages You Expect to Receive High Traffic
From time to time, conversion optimization opportunities arise that are time-sensitive or events-driven. You just have to be quick to identify and leverage them! The idea is, if you expect a certain page or pages of your website to receive a surge of traffic around a certain time, you can proactively optimize those pages for increased conversions.
So if you decided to launch a new marketing campaign that may end up driving more traffic than usual to a particular page (e.g. perhaps you included a link to your 'About' page in the description of a new contest you're launching in social media), it would behoove you to audit and optimize that page for conversion opportunities. You might realize that it's not optimized at all, that the CTAs on that page are stale, or that there are other opportunities for improvement.
For example, at HubSpot, we expect that our INBOUND conference website will receive a surge of traffic next week during the conference, so it would make sense for us to swap out any CTAs for users to register for the conference, and place lead generation calls-to-action in their place since registration during the conference would be pointless.
What other tips would you recommend to increase a website's conversions?
Image Credit: Katie@!