Conversion Rate Optimization

The importance of the target market

Ask any marketing student, and he will tell you that it is constantly drilled into them to always remember and have the target audience in mind. A product or service may be the best in the world but if it is not known to its target market much less the public then the quality that is being brought by that product or service would not matter. The most powerful force is the consumer and they should never be forgotten in any kind of plan in order for a business to be successful. Many businesses have closed shop not because they were selling an inferior product or service but because they have forgotten their market and have not been effective in bringing the company’s message out to the public.

This marketing tenet has permeated not only the traditional markets but also new markets and new media as well. The tenets of marketing apply to whichever market or sector that I have discovered that the tenets of marketing still apply to the internet. In fact, the internet is such a new form of media and practically a new frontier for businessmen and marketers that a number of new concepts and philosophies are being formed as a way of trying to put well established marketing beliefs and then apply it in innovative ways to new media.

The importance of conversion rate optimization

A good example of the use of marketing techniques in new media is the concept of conversion rate optimization. It is considered as an important tool in ensuring the success of a website. This new type of conversion rate optimization is now a well established service being offered by some top website content and design companies with the purpose of helping website owners make their websites more effective in drawing customers while also ensuring that customers’ experience in the website is also enhanced. Conversion rate optimization is both a science and an art that seeks to improve the online experience of a visitor who visits a website or sees a web based ad. The ultimate goal of this is to turn a website visitor into a customer.

What is conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimization is borne out of the discovery that human behavior – particularly ones that would influence a sale or susceptibility to positively react to an ad campaign – is not at all consistent as it fluctuates at any given time or set of circumstances. Using statistics, studies are made on large population samples in order to determine particular patterns where none would usually exist. The resulting conversion rate optimization methods are then applied to a real time environment and the data collected as well as the messaging that is the product of it would serve to further increase the effectiveness of the online ad.

The foundation of conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimization is actually rooted in actual mathematics and analytical thinking using various elements that include data collection and processing, optimization goals, rules in business, real time learning as well as decision making. Marketing a website is not as easy as it looks and that for any website owner or business owner it will always a good idea to improve the whole browsing experience of a visitor because it will ultimately be for the benefit of his business.

Conversion Rate Optimization is also the fastest and easiest strategy to increase your sales without spending more money on increasing your traffic.

In fact, the most successful companies test everything. For example, increased their conversion rates by 400% by testing the following:
* Headlines
* Call to Action
* Copy
* Images
* Graphics
* Button Look
* Button Text
* Button Location
* No Links
* Press Quotes
* Testimonials
* Pricing
* Flow Through Process
* And more

Optimizing Your Landing Page’s “Conversion Funnel”

If you review your web site statistics (called “log files”) you’ll notice the following 4 things are happening on your landing pages:
* The largest percentage of your visitors are bailing within 0-8 seconds after briefly viewing your landing page.
* The second largest percentage of visitors bail when they decide your landing page does not prove compelling.
* A small percentage of visitors attempt to convert (buy or use a contact form to become a lead) but fail. Many of these people will call.
* A small percentage of visitors convert.

Conversion rate optimization is the process of optimizing your landing pages to minimize your “bail out rate” and maximize your “conversion rate” (CR).

The Top 6 Landing Page Components to Optimize for Maximizing Your Conversions

The following are the top 6 conversion components that should be tested and improved to boost your conversion rates:

Headline – Since your headline is the first line that your visitors will read, the headline of your web page offers the biggest opportunity (about 80% of the opportunity) for improvements in conversion rate. Use headlines that clearly state the biggest benefit(s) that your product offers.

Offer – Since your offer is the “call to action” that asks your visitors to act (purchase, sign up, opt-in), your offer accounts for the second the biggest opportunity for improvements in conversion rate.

Lead – The “lead” or first paragraph is the third biggest opportunity for improvements in your conversion rate. Leads must be written with strong benefits that capture your visitor’s attention and make them want to read more.

Benefits – The “benefit bullets” (bullet-point format) are the forth biggest opportunity for improvements in conversion rate. List your benefits in the order of your product’s “value hierarchy” to your target market. In other words, state your product’s strongest benefit first, and its weakest benefit last.

Images – The images you use have a big impact on your conversion rates. The best practice is to use images that clearly portray the biggest benefit your product offers your customer (rather than generic “feel good” stuff like unknown logos and clip art). Studies show that product images work best when placed to the left of your product description (or lead paragraph) since it makes it easier to read your copy from left to right. Plus, people like to reads “captions” under your images almost as much as they read your headlines. So, add powerful captions and make your images clickable to the order/sign up page.

“Look & Feel” – According to a recent study by Stanford University, 46% of Web sales are lost on web sites that lack the critical elements that build value and trust with website visitors. The number one reason the people indicated why they wouldn’t buy from a web site was because it had an unprofessional “look and feel” that lacked credibility and did not “feel” trustworthy. Having a professional look, and trust building tools (such as VeriSign and BBBOnline certifications) help convert significantly more of your web site’s qualified visitors into new customers.

Other Important Conversion Elements to test:
* Buttons – Button text, color, look, etc.
* Pricing
* Formatting and placement of page elements, images and copy
* Navigation links versus no navigation links
* Press Quotes
* Testimonials

Other Conversion Best Practices and Tips:

* Reduce your “bail out” rate by optimizing your web pages to download within 5 seconds on a 56k modem
* Add a Logo and a powerful “Value Proposition” to the top left
* Instead of letting visitors click off your landing page, put all your information on one page (This tactic alone increased the conversions of a landing page by 55%)
* Use colors that fit your target customer’s personality

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