if your website isn't optimized for conversions, it's HEMORRHAGING money.
Your website is getting thousands, maybe even tens or hundreds of thousands of visitors per day. Your organization is growing, and you couldn't be happier with the way things are going. You're spending lots of money increasing top-line revenue by buying ads and hiring marketing specialists to help with a variety of tasks
Everything seems fine because you're profitable, new customers are coming in regularly, and top-line marketing initiatives show that you're adding more value to the company than you're spending...but behind the scenes, your business is quietly bleeding money and customers are slipping away for reasons entirely within your control.
This is the horror story many small business owners find themselves in right now.
Why is this happening and what can you do about it?!
In this short guide, you'll learn...
The only way to stop the bleeding: optimize your website for conversions.
Conversion optimization is the science of analyzing user flow throughout a site and optimizing the design, process and copy to increase the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action (purchase, subscribe, etc).
With conversion optimization, it is possible to instantly increase your revenue by 100, 200 or even 300% (or more) with just a few small changes to your website. Make sure you read this whole piece carefully, because there's some really good real-world examples of this later on...
Here's how conversion optimization works...
In conversion optimization we test small changes to a website to increase the number of visitors that take the desired action (subscribe, purchase, etc). In the example below, the Control Piece (the best performing version of the site, that we test changes against) is tested against the Test Piece.
Each piece received 3 visitors, but the test piece converted 100% of the visitors instead of 33%. This 300% increase in conversion rate results in a 300% increase in sales. If the company was making $10,000,000 per year prior to the change, they're now making $30,000,000 per year.
Going forward, the test piece would become the new control, and the testing would start over again.
We're not ACTUALLY optimizing websites, we're optimizing thought processes...
There's a certain sequence of thoughts that need to occur in the mind of any given website visitor in order for them to make the decision, and finally the action to purchase your product or service.
[IMAGE SHOWING THOUGHT SEQUENCE: I have a problem / need, I am looking for a solution, I found a potential solution, this company understands my needs, they have what I want and I can't get it anywhere else, i trust them, the value I'll get is worth the money I'll spend, PURCHASE.]
Your website should be designed in a way that leads the visitor's attention from one key thought to the next, painlessly and effortlessly leading them through the purchase process on your website.
The less thinking your visitor has to do, the better!
If your site is designed intuitively and your copy conveys the correct thoughts in the correct sequence, your visitors won't have to think at all--the design and copy will do the thinking for them.
Every time your visitor hits a barrier that causes them to think, friction is created, and their progression through the checkout process slows down. Every second that passes is another opportunity for you to lose the sale!
FRICTION is anything that slows down your website sales process, including...
Cost concerns - Every visitor is balancing a mental scale in their head: on one side is the perceived value of your product or service; on the other side is the price of your product or service. You can address cost concerns in your copy by building the value of your product or service up and adding "value add" offers that come for free with your main offer.
Non-Intuitive Navigation - Navigating a website shouldn't just be easy, it should be intuitive. Visitors should know without thinking where to go, as if they're being led by the hand from one step to the next.
Trust Concerns - To get someone to share their private information and credit card details with you over the web, you have to prove to them that you're trustworthy. Showing them that you're an established brand that others already use and approve of will go a long way towards establishing enough trust for the sale to occur.
Weak or Non-Existent USP - Visitors should be able to quickly and easily understand your unique selling proposition, or why they should choose your offering over similar offerings from others. What do you have that no one else does? How can you convey this on every potential entry-point to your site?
Quality concerns - How do you address quality on your site? Offering a money-back guarantee is an effective tactic many online stores use. The guarantee lets customers put aside quality concerns, because they know they'll get their money back (or a replacement) if anything goes wrong.
Slow site speed - Sometimes the only thing adding time to your checkout process is slow site speed. Recent studies showed that 40% of website visitors abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Bad copy - Your web copy should be clear, concise and easy to skim. On top of that, it needs to be highly persuasive and to cover all of your visitor's objections to making the decision to purchase.
Too many steps - Every step between first visit and checkout page is another step that you are guaranteed to lose users. People get tired of navigating from one page to the next; or the time it takes to load the next page might discourage them from continuing. Combining steps where possible eliminates this barrier and should be a top priority.
When friction occurs, it gives visitors to your website time to...
Get distracted - A million things can interrupt visitors who come to your website. Maybe it's time for dinner, or they get a text message that took them away from what they were doing on your site. The attention of your visitors is being pulled this way and that, and rarely do you have anyone's undivided attention.
Decide to check out other options - Visitors may decide to check out your competition before making the final purchase decision.
Have second thoughts - With too much time to think on their hands, visitors may start to wonder if your product will actually give them the end result they're looking for. Is it worth the price? Do they really need it? These are all questions your visitors will subconsciously start to wonder if given enough time.
Decide to come back later - Visitors will often leave a site, intending to come back and finish later, but get sidetracked or completely forget what they were doing in the first place.
Want to know how to eliminate friction and create a slippery slope that leads your visitors painlessly and effortlessly down the path to taking the action you want them to take? Keep reading, because in the next section I'll show you how to do just that.
OUr most effective conversion-boosting techniques for websites...
There are three aspects of an e-commerce or lead generation website that can be optimized through small changes, to increase the number of visitors who convert and engage in the desired action (subscribe to an email list, download a lead magnet, purchase a product or service, etc)...
Process: the steps every website visitor must take in order to convert and engage in the desired action.
Includes things like: the number of steps it takes to finish the desired conversion, the order in which the user completes these steps, the ease in which a user can navigate from one step to the next.
Copy: the written elements on a page that describe the offer, and persuade the reader to take the desired action.
Includes things like: the persuasive elements on the page, the language and subtext of what's written, the call to action (CTA) on a page.
Design: the visual elements on a page that convey qualities and statements about the product or service being offered.
Includes things like: layout of the website, images of customers, colors, etc.
Optimizing your website conversion process
Every potential page on your website should have a clear path from entrance to conversion. That means, whether your visitors come in through your homepage, one of your blog posts, or anywhere else, they should be quickly and easily led through the conversion process.
Answer 3 Questions: Where am I? What can I do here? Why should I do it?
Each page should have a specific goal.
As few steps as possible.
Capture email address early on (for abandon cart emails)
Optimizing your Website copy
Famed marketing copywriter Joseph Sugarman describes copywriting as a series of steps taken down the path of a "slippery slope," with each step acting as the vehicle to the next, guiding the reader through the conversion process. The purpose of your page header is to inspire the reader to start reading the page content. The purpose of your first letter is to get the reader to read the first word. The purpose of the first word is to get the reader to read the first sentence. The purpose of the first sentence is to get the reader to read the first paragraph...and so on, and so on...
In this fashion, the reader is gently led through the copy, and begins slipping down the slippery slope, until enough momentum has been gathered that they are sliding quickly towards the conversion.
Excellent sales copy includes the following elements...
Clearly convey your unique selling proposition.
Include ethos, pathos, logos (emotion, credibility, logic) in sales copy.
Address barriers (cost, quality, etc)
Include social proof (reviews, testimonials, media mentions)
Add incentives, bonuses and value to your offer (walk people through the value you are providing)
Buttons should convey benefit (something like "Finish Your Order" rather than "Pay" or "Submit").
Optimizing your Website Design / Performance
CTA above the fold, eye drawn to CTA.
Social proof (review stars, media outlet logos)
Images that convey the message you want the site to convey. Pictures showing the desired end result.