This post may save you thousands of dollars.
Before you hire a website designer or spend dozens of man hours in “upgrading” your website in ways that don’t help your bottom line, understand this:
A good website turns visitors into subscribers, subscribers into customers, and customers into raving fans.
What matters in a website is its power to “convert.” Conversion is the act of inspiring a person to a higher level of commitment. You should judge your website by this standard alone.
The tricky thing is that there are no hard and fast rules in conversion. Every audience, every niche and every industry has a different conversion rate. So the best marketing tactics for your website will vary according to your core industry.
But no matter what industry you’re in, here are some battle-tested web conversion tips that will work for you:
- Use Social Proof
If everybody else jumped off a bridge would you do it too? In the marketing world, the answer is yes.
Most people don’t like to be the first to try something. Going first is risky, and scary. But if 500 other people took risk and survived, it doesn’t seem that bad to us. We think, “ I want to be cool too, so why not? “ Peer pressure works.
The fancy name for this principle is social proof. Robert Cialdini first coined the term in his marketing classic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Big brands such as McDonald’s, Amazon, and Walmart constantly use this social proof to keep their cash registers ringing.
So how can you put this psychological phenomenon into practice?
First think about your business.
- Do you have happy customers?
- How many clients have you served?
- How many likes do you have on social media?
If the answer is yes, let social proof do your selling online.
Instead of making your website visitors guess if anyone else likes your business, put your numbers and your success stories front and center. People will trust you more if you do. And trust is the first step in transforming a person from browser to buyer.
Here are some practical tools to help make this easier:
- Use easy social proof apps such as Proof, Fomo, and ProveSource to put your social proof on steroids in less than 15 minutes. These tools automatically create pop-ups that tell visitors about people who recently subscribed to your email list, purchased a product, or took any other step that you want new website visitors to take.
- Get different ideas for using social proof in this insightful article: “29 Proven Ways to Use Social Proof to Increase Your Conversions.”
- See examples of how the biggest brands use social proof in this post: “How to Effectively Use Social Proof to Increase Conversions.”
- Keep it Simple (K.I.S.S.)
Drop the fancy sliders and cut out the bells and whistles.
Every single page of your website should have only one goal. Not five. Not two. Just one.
When it comes to creating sales, less is more. This is the brilliance of sites like Google. For example, when you land on Google’s homepage, what do you want to do?
You want to fill in the box. That’s the point! Once you type your search word into their box, a world of information opens up to you, and Google brings in ad revenue.
Think of your website the same way. On every page, you want to present one tiny door that opens up to the exact profitable world you want visitors to explore.
Many web designers believe the myth that prettier a website is, the more effective it is. This belief is false. As famed Internet Marketer Neil Patel points out, sometimes, ugly sites win big.
So don’t worry about how “pretty” your website is. Focus on simplicity instead.
And if your potential web designer doesn’t mention conversions or even know what that word means, run! Instead, find a designer that is conversion focused.
Simplicity is key. If your website design doesn’t follow the modern principle of simplicity, your site’s visitors will open your page, instantly get overwhelmed, and leave your site faster than you can say, “Hold on!”
Practicing the simplicity principle will keep that from happening.
So how can you put this tip into action? Here are a few suggestions.
- Comb over every page of your website. Especially your home page.
- Ask yourself, “What single action do I want each site visitor to take based on this page?” For example, are you trying to get them to empathize? Read? Shop? Subscribe? Purchase something? Whatever that one goal is, make it crystal clear.
- Simplify your layout. By making the layout simple, you’ll make sure that everything supports the single goal of a page.
- Use conversion focused page builders such as ClickFunnels or Leadpages, or WordPress themes such as Thrive Themes to easily create singularly focused pages that lead to more conversions.
- Make it Obvious
This tip is all about user experience. Think about your current website flow from the perspective of your visitor. Is it easy for them to navigate? Can they quickly do what they want to do? If the answer is no, then you have some work to do. Is there clutter you can eliminate from the page?
Colors are important because they tell us what to pay attention to. When improving your website conversion rate, simply changing the color of an order button can have a huge impact.
In addition, tools such as Hello Bar can increase conversions dramatically because they immediate place a bar at the top of page, telling a visitor what they need to do next.
So what steps can you take to make your website better in these areas?
- Ruthlessly eliminate clutter. If there is extra information that your website doesn’t need, take it off. Filler is a conversion killer.
- Test, test, test. The only way to know what works best for your site is to test it. You can use conversion-rate optimization tools like Optimizely or FreshMarketer to run experiments with different options for your website. Change button size, color, and more to see what creates a better experience for your visitors.
- Use lead generation tools such as Hello Bar, Leadboxes, or WordPress plugins such as WP Notification Bars to immediately tell your users what action they need to take.
- Make it Visual
You’ve heard it before: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
It’s true. We are visual creatures. Our brains process pictures much faster than text. Consider the following:
- 65% percent of people are visual learners.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
- Content with images is shared 94% more often than text-based content.
So to have a successful website, you need to find ways to make your website more visual.
Here are two tips for adding a stronger visual component to your website:
- Add video to your website to increase conversions. Forbes reports that embedding videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 80%. Plus, people love video. Ninety percent of customers say that video helps them make purchasing decisions.
- Heat up your website. You can visually understand where your website visitor’s eyes are going with heatmap tools such as Crazy Egg and Mouseflow. This will help you see where people are most likely to click, improve what’s working and fix what isn’t. Crazy Egg offers a free trial and a chance for you to see your own website heatmap right now.
- Follow Up with Email
Email is still the top online sales generator. If you are not creating bright, unmistakable, well-placed email sign up opportunities on your website – you are missing out on sales.
Don’t get so caught up in the latest social media platforms and Instra-crazes that you lose sight of the big picture. Social media is the attention grabber that brings people to your website, but email closes the deal.
According to VentureBeat, email creates a $38 ROI for every $1 spent. Email is the sales king, and it’s been that way for the past 10 years.
On a practical level, this means several things:
- Use giveaways. As soon as visitors land on your website, offer a lead magnet, giveaway or incentive in exchange for their email address. The opportunity should be enticing, easy and visually obvious.
- Use behavior based or exit-intent pop-ups. For example, you can use Sumo and AddThis to prompt people to give you their email address before they leave.
- Use autoresponders to set up emails that go out to your new subscribers on autopilot. Email marketing is the best way to build trust and create sales online. Take a look at some of the top email marketing tools here. I personally recommend Active Campaign – due to its rare combination of ease of use plus advanced features.
Choose just one or two of the tips above and put them into action. That’s all you need to do see major results.
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