A great deal of the online marketing literature deals with generating traffic. How can you increase your traffic? What new channels can you leverage to generate more unique visitors and pageviews? What are the most cost-effective traffic sources? How can you reach new customers? These are all very important questions if you have an online presence – after all, without traffic, you don’t have a business.
But while generating traffic is important, converting that traffic into paying customers or subscribers is every bit as important. Just as you don’t have a business without traffic, you don’t have a business without conversions. A little attention to optimizing for conversions can also significantly increase the value of the traffic you already generate. A mere increase in conversions from 1% to 2% effectively doubles the value of your current traffic. Here are 5 simple tips that you can apply to increase your website’s conversions rate.
Create An “Instant Clarity” Headline
Research has shown that 83% of people will read headlines only. If your landing page has a poor headline, this statistic means that less than 20% of your readers will stick around. Unfortunately, many novice marketers use their headline to incorporate a cute slogan or generic information, rather than clearly communicate the value proposition of their business. This results in a high bounce rate and thus low conversion rates.
While writing great headlines is an art that requires time to master, poor converting headlines can be quickly improved by simply following a basic formula – always state your business’s value proposition. If your headline has nothing else, it should clearly and simply tell the customer what they will get from your business. A simple formula for creating a headline that converts is the “Instant Clarity” headline. The formula looks something like this:
“End Result Desired By Customer + Specific Time Period + Address Objections”
The most important part of the instant clarity headline is stating the first element. Simply by identifying what the customer desires, your potential customer’s interest will be immediately piqued and they’ll be forced to continue reading the rest of your pitch. Adding a specific time period in which results will be achieved and addressing potential objections add believability, which further drives the customer’s desire and interest.
Not all 3 items are necessary, but it is absolutely necessary to indicate the end result desired by the customer. If your headline says nothing else, it should promote the end result desired by your customer. For example, if you’re a tax lawyer or accountant who does tax planning for small businesses, rather than have a headline that reads:
“Experienced Tax Lawyer Ready To Serve Your Small Business Needs”
An instant clarity headline might read:
“Pay Less Tax This Fiscal Year”
Obviously not every business will want to (nor should they) necessarily offer this particular guarantee, but this is simply an example of how an instant clarity headline can immediately make turn a low converting headline into a stronger sales pitch. A more famous example of an instant clarity headline can be seen in Dominos Pizza’s old slogan:
“Hot fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or its free”
The highest converting headlines will get your customer curious or even greedy, and will all but force them to read the rest of your offer. Dominos’ “instant clarity” slogan was so successful, that many customers still believe this guarantee is in effect, even though this ad hasn’t been run in decades.
Failing To List The Benefits
It’s easy to fall into the trap of listing the features of your product, rather than selling the benefits. Another common mistake made by low converting websites is listing features rather than benefits of their service or product. Whether you’re looking to gain more subscribers or you’re looking to make a sale, it’s important to list the benefits of your product or service.
Even if you’re not selling a product or service (if you want more e-mail list subscribers for example), this principle still applies. Why should the customer subscribe to your list? Why should the customer purchase your product or service? Be sure that you’re answering these important questions by listing the benefits, not the features.
Be Extremely Specific
It’s important to use specifics in your landing pages rather than general descriptions and claims. The human mind is naturally wired to believe specific numbers and stories. If I tell you that unemployment decreased a lot last year, would you find that more or less believable than if I told you it decreased by 3.3% since November of last year? If I told you that Tom is a really good accountant, does that make you want to hire him? What if I told you that Tom did an analysis of my books last fiscal quarter, and helped me find $28,989 in additional tax deductions?
It’s not enough to say that your product will save the customer time, explain exactly how much time it can save and how. It’s not enough to say that your product costs less, explain how much less it costs and use real comparisons to back your statement up. The human mind is wired to believe specific numbers and examples, not vague generalities.
Are you generalizing too much in your copywriting? Learn to be ultra specific and your conversion rates will increase. As an example Highrise – the web based CRM – reported an increase in their conversion rates by 30% when they specified the exact length of their free trial offer.
Avoid Multi-Column Layouts
While multi-column layouts are good for design and web navigation, they’re usually poor choices for landing pages that are meant to convert. Multi-column layouts are great for navigation because they’re like newspapers – they let viewers flick around and select exactly what they want to read and what they want to ignore.
But if your goal is to get a conversion, you want a single column layout that focuses the reader on your copywriting. If you currently have a multi-column layout on your landing pages, try split testing it with a single-column layout. You want each idea in your single column layout to flow seamlessly to the next, connected by attention grabbing sub-headers. Be sure to include plenty of graphics and text boxes in order to keep pulling the reader through your copy.
Track & Split Test Everything
While the previous suggestions are based on significant testing and marketing experience, the fact of the matter is that your market, website, and product are unique. What works for one industry may not work for another, what works for one group of customers may not apply to another, and what works for one product may not work for another. Always track everything and make no assumptions. When it comes to maximizing conversion rates, your opinions only matter if they’re backed up by the numbers.
Nat is a full-time SEO and part-time blogger for Whoishostingthis.com – an Alexa Top 10k web property. You can find out more about their hosting reviews on their company web site.