There are many tried and true methods of increasing the conversion and click rates of your ads, social posts and website sales pages. While there are many innovative ways, we’ve curated the most effective ways to improve your conversions and grow your revenue.
Most organizations have adjunct partnerships that keep their respective industries running. Auto body shops and parts stores go together like peas and carrots. Most travel sites will offer you a hotel along with your estimated airfare, based on your destination.
But in the digital realm, searches that are related but not exact can cost you more than just a high Cost Per Click. For example, a user searches for “Dove” but neglects to specify whether they mean soap, chocolate or an animal. Anyone looking for soap and accidentally clicking on the “wedding doves” link will abandon the search and still cost the people selling wedding doves money for the click.
This hurts conversion rates and the Google AdWords Quality Score, which multiply against each other to make for a substantial marketing cost.
An important and often overlooked factor that affects the relevance of what you offer is user intent. Is the user just performing research or are they ready to buy? It’s crucial to understand your visitors by analyzing both your process and their behavioral data to determine where they are falling within the purchase decision.
- Informational or Awareness: Initial research phase, where the user has very little knowledge of the product or service.
- [What is ABC?]
- [how to fix XYZ problem] ▸ (Where the problem something your product solves. Example: [Damp Basement Carpet], where your product is [Foundation Repair])
- Investigation: A more advanced research phase that relates to specific issues about a product or service.
- [ABC vs XYZ]
- [is XYZ cost effective?]
- [How does it work?]
- Transactional: This is the final phase of the purchase cycle.
- [Buy XYZ]
- [ABC near City Name]
Adding to the complexity of the problem is that two nearly identical search phrases can have vastly differing intent. Placing the user on a completely separate section on your sales funnel. For example: [Europe Vacation Ideas] vs [Europe Vacation Packages]. Two very similar phrases, that hint that one user is much closer to final purchase than the other.
If you serve the user a very helpful and informative blog post or sales page, you can educate them on their awareness level topic and bring them closer to making a final decision. Placing you right in front of them when they are ready to buy and with a lower cost entry point.
With display (banner) ads there is no search phrase to help determine the user’s intent, but don’t give up hope of having some control.
- All major display ad networks will give you as much information as possible about the possible ad locations, so you will have some hints of the user’s intent at that moment.
For example, if you sell airline tickets and your ad showed up on a fashion website because of the word [Paris], you can filter out fashion, or make a blog post discussing French fashion that entices the user to travel to Paris to shop there.
- You can change the message in your ads by addressing different audience groupings and running A/B tests.
- Create some ads aimed at addressing users problems to target those that are unaware of how your product or industry can help them.
- Create a different silo of ads to target prospects that are already educated on your industry and are ready to buy. Ideally, these ads will highlight only the features unique to your product or company, not features that are shared with your competitors.
3. Emotional Persuasion
We all like to pretend that when it comes to spending money, irrational, emotion-driven spending behavior is something that only other people do. But the sad reality is, that for everyone on our blue planet, “Our brain is not rational, our brain is rationalizing.” – Bart Schutz. (This is why late-night infomercials work.)
These are the emotions you will most likely want to trigger on your sales page.
- Anxiety / Fear of Loss (FOMO)
- Anger / Frustration
- Aspiration (YOLO)
Frustration: Anger directed at injustice is a powerful motivator to action.
4. Problem ▸ Solution
The most direct route to using Emotional Persuasion in marketing assets is PAS or “Problem▸Agitate▸Solution” (or just “Problem▸Solution” if cramped for space).
First inform the user of the existence of a problem (that can be solved by your product or service), that can activate a powerful emotion. Not necessarily one of the 5 emotions mentioned above, but it likely will be.
Then “Agitate”. The user can’t simply be aware the problem exists, but be informed of how it may affect them personally. This is where emotions should be activated, (if not already from step 1).
To tap emotions you need to paint a convincing picture or story about how they or their loved ones can be affected.
During the final step you must in clear, convincing and relatively brief language, explain how your product or service can be a reliable solution to the problem you started off with.
Today’s internet citizens have an attention span shorter than a squirrel hopped up on caffeine. So, each and every word on your landing pages needs to have a purpose and an important reason to justify the space it takes up.
Therefore, you need to get straight to the point with a flashy “Call to Action” upfront and center, like an “Add to Cart” button or your phone number in bold. Not only does it have to be visually dramatic, the user should not have to scroll down the page to see it, since they may not get that far.
The lightest, most direct pages will be ones that focus on only one problem and one solution, using the PAS format mentioned above. With landing pages for paid ads, it’s much easier to narrow it down to only one PAS each, because you know in advance what problem drove the user to your site.
With pages that are directed at users that came to you by your brand name (and started on the homepage), it’s harder to know precisely and directly how you can help the user. So start with the most common problems, and remember: Brevity is key.
6. Trust Factors
Talk is cheap, so to convince the user you are trustworthy, you have to have an authoritative voice. It is to your benefit then to promote loud and proud any awards received, testimonials from happy customers, ratings and reviews, security badges and press mentions!
The concept of warranties (either from manufacturer or service provider) is not new by any measure. But you build the customer’s trust, by highlighting your warranties and written guarantees with a bold image, front and center, grabbing their attention. It’s incredible what a few credentials will earn you in the marketplace.
Expanding on the concept of images is 3rd party “Trust Badges” as a common strategy to purchase the rights to use them on your site. No one wants to go through the hassle of getting their credit card stolen for a small purchase on the web.
7. Keep it Current
A trust factor that has a more subtle impact is whether or not the style of your website is current and well designed. Failing to update the look and feel of your user’s experience will result in knee-jerk reactions and high bounce rates as users click away from your site. If you let problems linger too long, a stale design will emerge and negatively affect your conversions. On the flip side, cost notwithstanding, constant changes to the UX will confuse your branding, message and potential customers.
While the age of your website style is compared to the larger web overall, it is more powerfully and critically compared against your competitors. This creates a digital “arms race” with the potential for a “keeping up with the Joneses” aspect. Manage your web design update gaps with a careful eye to your direct and local competitors.
8. Need for Speed
As our technology age brings us the information we seek quickly and effortlessly, users grow to expect fast load times and fewer delays in getting to the content they want. If your website pages load too slowly, your potential customers will turn elsewhere for their goods and services. And while the Google search algorithm is rather clandestine, one factor that has always remained relevant to their results is page load times.
Improving site speed is not a DIY project. For the uninitiated, it is a task that is easy on the surface, but surprisingly difficult in the thick of it. The good news is that it requires a fairly routine group of tasks to a seasoned web developer that has optimized dozens or more websites for speed.
Make sure to return to our blog to see our follow up article explaining how to test changes in conversion rates, both to prove the effectiveness of the above suggestions, and how to use this testing to make further, less obvious improvements!