If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your website or a specific landing page, but not getting a lot of leads, don’t rip your hair out. Instead, it means it’s time to get serious about conversion rate optimization (CRO).
We’ve all heard the very good, but all too common advice: test button colors and the number of fields in the forms you are using. The problem with common advice is that everyone’s sharing it and smart marketers are trying to go above and beyond what’s common to gain a competitive advantage.
To take this next step, here are 9 CRO tips that aren’t usually shared.
1. Analyze The Competition’s CRO Strategy
There’s probably a reason why your competitors have built their website in a certain way. They’ve probably been working on a CRO strategy themselves and have done multiple tests. If so, you are seeing the results of those tests. What they have learned is most effective for them.
Or you could be slotted into a running test and be seeing a lesser converting variation. While this may get your hopes up, this is worth further investigation.
Every time you go to your competitors and you notice something different, take a screenshot and store it. Simply by looking at the various versions of our competitor’s site will be your great insight into your competitor’s frame of mind as they improved their own conversion rates.
You can also simply explore what your competition is doing that you are not. Maybe it will give you some ideas that you can test on your site. Better still, it might help you spot a weakness in their product or approach that you can capitalize on.
For example, let’s take a look at Basecamp’s landing page.
If I worked with a competing project management tool like Trello, I might like Basecamp’s strategy of showing how many people have signed up and want to test that out on the Trello site.
You also need to remember that while they may be in the same industry as you, that doesn’t mean you should blindly copy their strategies. You’ll still have to do your own tests for each idea, but it’s a great place to start.
2. Test Multiple Step Forms
You probably think forms on your website should be as short and as sweet as possible. However, that could be very wrong.
Instead of assuming less is better, you should test multiple step forms. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, people may feel compelled to finish the process if your form is broken up into multiple steps.
Take Groupon for example, first they ask you for your email address.
Then they ask you for your zip or postal code.
Then your favorite kinds of deals.
The multiple-step form makes it seem as though there is less work to do because a user only sees one small step at a time. Once they start filling it in and moving to the next step, they figure they might as well just complete the form instead of leaving it undone.
However, it’s important to remember that what works for Groupon might not work for you.
The point here is that you need to test.
Test to see the optimal number of steps for each form and the number of fields in each step. This is how you will learn what works best with your audience.
3. Use A Heat Map
Set up a heat map or mouse tracking tool on your landing pages to see where people’s eyes are moving and adapt accordingly. You might be surprised to find that no one is looking at that button you spent so much time optimizing.
With all this data, you can move things around and test different layouts to maximize conversions.
4. Align Calls-To-Action With Incoming Keywords
Like I said above, CRO is easier when you’re bringing the right people to your site. The first step in bringing the right people is targeting the right keywords. If people are searching for the conversion rate for cash and they land on a page about conversion rate optimization, they’ll be annoyed.
To avoid this, make sure you are using support keywords within your content as well that help Google (and other search engines) be sure of what your content is about.
One way you can do this is by going to Google Keyword Tool and typing in the keyword you are trying to optimize for on the specific page. After filling out the captcha and hitting Submit, Google will show you related terms that people are searching for.
By setting up the right keywords at the top of your funnel, you ensure that the effort you put into optimizing your website once people get there doesn’t go to waste.
5. Instill A Sense Of Urgency
One barrier to high conversion rates is the buyer’s ability to say, “I’ll wait to buy/try this.”
To defeat this tendency that is common in many people, instill a sense of urgency.
Amazon goes a great job of this, too.
Amazon, above, notes that you will get free shipping if you order within 25 minutes.
Time limits and a sense of urgency are important, because they get people to act and go through with a purchase.
6. Test Multiple Ways To Build Trust
People take their privacy seriously. If you’re asking someone to share contact information or other private details, they want to know it won’t be used for anything else apart from what you promise. This is why you need to test multiple ways to build trust because there is no guarantee of what will actually work.
For example, adding, “100% privacy – we will never spam you” resulted in 18.7 percent fewer signups than not including that text in a signup form at all.
I doubt they were able to predict that result.
Different sites use different methods based on what they have found to work best. Tim Ferriss offers a list of reasons why you should join his mailing list.
That works for Ferris, but Neil Patel offers the more traditional, “100% privacy, I will never spam you!”
Surely, Ferris and Patel have their reasons for doing what they do, but those reasons might not work for you. You need to test. Then test again. And then test some more.
7. Uncover Relationships Between Micro And Macro Conversions
You need to test the impact and return of both micro and macro conversions. You need to see which calls-to-action result in greater engagement over time.
In simple terms, macro conversions are the primary conversion goals – buying a product, sign-ups, subscriptions and so on. They are the most direct revenue drivers.
It’s important to distinguish between the two. Getting the two mixed up can be dangerous, so remember to identify the relationship between the two and never lose sight of the actual macro conversions.
8. Make Your Messages More Relevant
You need to populate your site with personalized content. You need to ensure your landing pages, calls-to-action, and the full user experience offer a personalized experience. That’s how you are going to keep bringing people back and engaging them regardless of how far along they are in the customer lifecycle.
The best way to do this is to use behavior-based personalization to ensure that every bit of content your visitors see is relevant.
9. Use New, Innovative Conversion Rate Optimization Tactics
Becoming a market leader means getting ahead of the pack by finding new and innovative ways to boost your conversion rates. If you find new ways to boost conversions, you’ll be more effective at acquiring customers and boosting revenues.
However, if you just read and implement tips from others, you are likely to stay a step behind the market leaders.
While you innovate, you must also test – the two go hand in hand.
Each site is different, so different tactics need to be tested (you’re tired of this word aren’t you?). Think about it, at some point the market leaders had to innovate to come up with new tactics. Why keep waiting for them to get there first?