Online marketing campaigns are becoming more and more complex. So, using basic Facebook and Google ads will probably not get your brand noticed, particularly if you are just starting out. Your company's way out of virtual oblivion is most likely going to be paved with an intricate web of content marketing, ads, newsletters, webinars, online events, influencer campaigns, and the list could go on seemingly forever.
However, there is one aspect that companies sometimes neglect when looking to drive up conversions and revenue: the company's website design. No matter your choice of media and strategy - SEO, paid ads, or email marketing, none of them will deliver the desired results if, at the end of the marketing funnel, the user does not reach a website specifically designed to help him convert with as little effort as possible. Consequently, in order to leverage all your marketing efforts, your company must also invest in optimizing the website for conversions.
How do we define conversions?
What is a conversion? Surprisingly enough, any event that requires an action from a user and is sufficiently important for the company can be considered a conversion. Usually, both customers and marketers tend to associate conversions with a product purchase, but it all really depends on what you want to achieve.
If you want to generate awareness through an email-marketing campaign, when someone opens said email he or she converts. If your goal is to collect leads through a form on your website, filling out the form is a conversion. Depending on how important your website is for achieving your conversion goals, you should invest more time, knowledge and resources into optimizing it for conversions.
Although in this article we will be discussing good practices and recommendations, please keep in mind that optimizing your website for conversions is a complex process that relies mostly on testing different methods and designs, in order to see what works best for each specific company and audience.
Optimizing for Conversions: Best Practices
When designing your website, choose an effective call-to-action and magnify its impact through design. A good way to emphasize its importance and ensure that users know right away what you would like them to do is to place the CTA above the fold, with plenty of open space around.
You can also play around with the font's style properties, making the message bigger and bolder, or use eye-catching colors to get people's attention. Users need to do more than just see the CTA, they need to click it, so make sure you create a button or a visible link to ensure that users take action. Adding a hover effect is also a good idea, if you want to draw even more attention to your CTA.
However, the message itself needs to be interesting for consumers, or all the neon-colored buttons won't improve the website's conversion rate. An effective CTA should always provide value, so try to be clear and concise. Buy now and get 20% off is much more powerful than Buy know, and Contact us for a free evaluation will generate more leads than a simple Contact us!
CTA placement can also impact conversions. Usually, CTAs are placed above the fold. it's a typical method to ensure that users know what action is expected from them as soon as they reach the website. However, you can also place your CTAs at the bottom of your pages or include it in your copy in order to persuade users who need more information before they convert.
It's important to also include CTAs in your thank you pages and start nurturing your relationship with new customers. There are plenty of resources available online that can help you find the right call to action, so be sure to check out this article for more information and inspiration.
If your conversion goal is more than a simple download or newsletter sign up, then you probably need a custom landing page in order to convince users to begin a more complex action. Landing pages are great tools for converting visitors into leads because they are designed eliminate all distractions and non-essential facts and allow users to focus on the action they are encouraged to take.
Sometimes, it's even recommended to remove the main site navigation from this type of page, thus preventing the user from being distracted by other available pages. Consequently, an effective landing page will always draw the user's attention to a single offer/product/action, but what additional sections should it include?
Even the most minimalistic landing pages offer additional information in order to persuade visitors to convert. In most cases, enough information can be communicated through: a headline (and an optional sub-headline), a description of the offer (keep it brief!), at least one supporting image, testimonials (optional) and security badges if available. However, the most important element of the page is the form that capture's the visitor's contact information or the button required for making a purchase.
Forms are the foundation of an effective landing page, a make it or break it component that should be designed with the user's experience in mind. They need to be as intuitive, as friendly and as short as possible in order to truly maximize conversions.
When it comes to the number of required input fields, there is no ideal number that guarantees a good conversion rate. However, it is considered good practice to only include those fields the sales team truly needs in order to start building a relationship with consumers. Avoid asking for sensitive information.
If you are offering a hefty discount or valuable free services, you can ask for more information, than you would if you were offering a downloadable pdf or a newsletter subscription. The value of the offer impacts how much effort users are willing to make in order to claim it.
Aside from input fields, all forms share a key element, the infamous Submit button. Why infamous? While it's, of course, important to have a button that sends the user's data to your servers, by naming it submit you are not offering the incentive website visitors need to take action.
It's considered good practice and smart marketing to actually indicate what the user stands to achieve if they click on the button: Start your Free Course, Get your Free eBook, Join our Newsletter. And if you are promoting a downloadable eBook, Report or White-paper be sure to allow users to downloaded directly if possible. By satisfying the user's need for instant gratification you increase the odds of that user returning to your website for more resources.
Sometimes, people need more time to commit to taking a more complex action such as submitting a multiple-input form. So, you might need to include a less time-consuming action they can take. If your marketing strategy relies heavily on quality content, asking users to subscribe to your newsletter is a great way to start building a relationship through a consistent email marketing strategy.
Next Steps: Start optimizing your website for conversions
Fine-tuning your company's existing website will require a lot of patience and testing, but that's all the more a reason to get started as soon as possible. Luckily, you can find a number of A/B testing tools specifically designed to help businesses discover the best options for improving their conversion rates.
If you don't know where to start, we recommend requesting a website audit from a certified professional. You could also start using usability analysis tools in order to understand how people are using your website and how you could improve their experience. After collecting insights and testing multiple options, implementation can finally begin.
Although it may sound complicated, certain integrated marketing platforms like HubSpot or Salesforce can help you set up effective forms, manage your growing lead database and start nurturing your leads through automatic email campaigns. You don't have to do it all on your own. Technology is here to help.