The ultimate goal of every business’s website is to convert visitors to leads and customers
Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to know what changes to make to improve your conversion rates, as there are hundreds of variables that affect them. The only way to know is to start testing and finding out what works.
“A website without conversion rate optimization is like a car with no wheels – it will take you nowhere.”
The Research on Improving Conversion Rates
Run a Google search and you’ll see that there’s a substantial amount of research that’s already been conducted on conversion rate optimization. Of course, you’ll still need to conduct your own tests, as your visitors may respond differently than the subjects described in these case studies.
However, you’ll probably still significantly improve the success of your digital marketing campaigns by following most of the best practices laid out in these case studies. Here are a few of the findings you need to be aware of:
Eliminate Unnecessary Elements
You probably have many different elements on your website. Some of them are such an integral part of your site that you don’t even think about them. However, these elements can significantly reduce your conversion rates if you aren’t careful. Some of them may be extremely distracting to your visitors and may need to be removed from certain parts of your site.
Your navigation bar is one of the first parts of your site to take a look at. In general, it plays an important role in helping customers access your site, but it can kill your landing page conversions by tempting visitors to click away to other parts of your website. Several studies suggest that you can significantly boost your conversions by removing navigation menus from your landing pages altogether.
One of these case studies was conducted by Yuppiechef—an ecommerce provider that sells kitchen tools in South Africa. They conducted their split tests using the Visual Website Optimizer to see how customers would respond after the navigation bar was removed. Ultimately, they found that conversion rates on their sign-up pages doubled, lending credence to the idea that removing this seemingly-necessary feature can improve website performance without negative side effects.
Visual elements play a key role in engaging customers, but they can also distract people from your calls-to-action and increase your bounce rate. As a result, you need to ensure that your images are selected carefully and that you don’t use so many that your landing pages become cluttered, ruining your conversions.
Bradley Spencer of iCouponBlog conducted a study and found that removing a single image boosted conversion rates by 400%. What was most surprising was that the image was a security badge. This was another interesting finding, as most companies find that security badges improve conversions by offering social proof.
Key takeaway: Creating a leaner landing page can be a great way to improve your conversion rates. Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear which elements on your pages are supporting your conversion goals and which ones are hindering your efforts. It’s up to you to test all of them diligently. Don’t allow yourself to be biased by preconceptions, because as a couple of these case studies show, elements that you think may be helping you could actually be killing your conversions.
Ensure Clear Navigation Paths
As stated above, providing navigation menus on your landing pages could be hurting your conversion rates. On the other hand, improving navigation throughout the rest of your website is crucial when it comes to converting customers. You need a clear navigation path to make sure that they can find their way to your landing pages.
There are two important rules that you need to live by when creating a navigation structure for your site:
Make it as easy as possible for customers to find your landing pages or other conversion-optimized destinations.
Minimize the work for them as much as possible.
Key takeaway: Make sure that customers can easily navigate your website, whether that means reducing the number of tiers you use or taking some other action. This is especially important for large ecommerce companies that are selling many different products, as visitors can easily be overwhelmed if you provide too many layers in your navigation panels.
Make Your Calls-to-Action Highly Visible
Your calls-to-action are arguably the most important elements on your landing pages. That said, you need to make sure that they’re clearly visible to entice visitors to take the desired action.
One of the easiest ways to draw more attention to your call-to-action buttons is to tweak the colors. Ignite Visibility changed the color of their call-to-action button to provide better contrast with the rest of their site. They also used less catchy colors for their secondary calls-to-action.
The position of your call-to-action buttons is another critical factor, and it’s one of the things that people often get wrong. Many people ascribe to the belief that the call-to-action should always be placed above the fold. However, the button can actually do more good when placed wherever it best facilitates decision-making.
One study from Contentverve found that conversion rates were 304% higher when they moved their call-to-action and sign-up form below the fold, presumably because it was placed closer to where the readers would be looking when they were most ready to make a decision.
Key takeaway: Drawing more attention to your call-to-action buttons can significantly boost your conversion rates, especially if your visitors notice it when they’re in the right frame of mind to make a decision.
Providing online reviews can be a great way to earn people’s trust. According to research from BrightLocal, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Considering the level of trust that testimonials can build, it shouldn’t be surprising that a number of studies show online reviews can be great for boosting conversions. Andrew Girdwood, the Media Innovations Director for DigitasLBi, conducted some studies on the benefits of online testimonials and found that they played a valuable role in increasing online sales. One of the sites he analyzed was Figleaves, which was able to boost its conversion rate by 35% by merely adding a few testimonials to the company website.
Key takeaway: People are more likely to convert if you can show that other people have benefited from what you’re offering. Providing social proof is a good way to convert them.