This blog is part two of our web optimisation series. Check out part one if you haven’t already, to find out how to maximise your brand’s exposure on search engines to attract more visitors to your website.
Now you’ve started your website optimisation journey, you’ll no doubt be enjoying the uplift in visitors. But that’s only part of the picture. How do you encourage this new traffic to graduate from spectators to loyal customers?
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of making every element of your website more efficient at converting interest into action. It’s a series of small improvements that, when combined, make a substantial positive impact on your marketing and sales.
In just a few weeks, CRO can help you secure a double-digit uplift in the percentage of website visitors converting to customers – something which can take more ‘traditional’ forms of advertising months to achieve. Plus, it can often make use of tools you already have, potentially saving you thousands.
Understanding your visitors and their needs
The first step to optimising your conversion rate is understanding all the routes people might take to becoming a customer. This will enable you to identify where and when you can influence their journeys, and tailor the experience.
It’s important to understand these journeys in as much depth as possible. The more detail you can collect on people’s behaviour, and their motivations for being on your site in the first place, the better your website optimisation activity will be.
Concentrate on pain or ‘pinch’ points. These are the points at which you see people dropping out of your sales funnel, or leaving your website. Understanding why, and finding ways to negate their impact, will help to improve your conversion rates.
As tempting as it may be to focus on those pain points closest to the bottom of the sales funnel, it’s important to identify and tackle each and every one throughout the entire customer journey. Improvements to even the smallest of pain points can have positive knock-on impacts on the rest of the journey.
To identify and understand more about customer journey pain points there are a range of tools you can use. Heatmapping, click-tracking,attention and engagement monitoring are all hugely insightful, as well as the full funnel analytics available in Google Analytics. Hubspot also has a great list of useful tools.
Optimising your website
There’s no ‘silver bullet’ here. Instead, a better approach is to establish a detailed testing process to help you tweak identified pain points.
By taking into account everything the user sees, does, and experiences, you can find ways for each of these things to be improved.
Not sure where to start? Broadly speaking, these tests fall into three categories:
Design testing. The design of your webpages will affect how a visitor reads and interacts with your content. In fact, user experience testing in the mid-noughties identified a pattern in the way people read content online. This ‘F pattern’ is named after the journey a readers’ eye takes across and down the page: an initial horizontal reading – perhaps the title and subhead – followed by a vertical scan of the page down the left-hand side, and a second horizontal reading before one final vertical scan.
So, titles, subtitles and breaks in content can help users decide whether to read a page’s content in more detail. And the correct placement of images, CTAs and forms will help boost overall page engagement.
Content testing. Amending existing content, as well as creating new content for your website can enhance its overall effectivenesss and efficiency. Is your copy as clear as it can be? Would a particular section of text be better conveyed as an infographic or a video?
Structural testing. While design considers the physical layout of a page, structure refers to the architecture of your website, and how pages link to each other. Could you make changes to the website structure to make your content easier to find or your sales funnel easier to follow? Different structures can have drastic effects on both user behaviour, and on SEO, so although you’ll want to test it, be careful to monitor the results closely to avoid any negative outcomes.
We applied all three of these tests when working with Saudi Arabian Airlines – one of the largest, most technically advanced airlines in the world. They had ambitious targets for optimising their website, and maximising their online conversions.
To achieve their goals, we developed customer journey maps, and assessed how these were impacted by every element of the site: from design and content, to usability and performance. After evaluating their analytics data, we revisited the look and feel of the website, to reflect a more premium, internationally focused brand. We also redesigned its booking engine to maximise the ease of use, accessibility and overall intuitiveness of the site.
From multilingual testing, to internet architecture, booking flows and visual design, there wasn’t an element we didn’t assess and tweak. And as a result, we delivered a year-on-year increase of 46.81% in web sales, boosted revenue per head by 11.46% and more than doubled website visits over the same period. As for the conversion rate? We secured a year-on-year boost of 10.91%.
Test, learn, refine, succeed
You’re guaranteed success in upping your conversions when you treat optimisation as an ongoing process, not a singular action. Remaining agile and responsive to changes in the market – or even trends – enhances your overall profitability, and reassures customers of your expertise.
At P+S, we’ve been taking the test, learn, refine approach to improving clients’ marketing for over 40 years. When it comes to digital, our in-house team takes care of everything: from back-end development, to front-end and digital design, SEO, AdWords, automation, information architecture and content optimisiation. And they’re led by our expert strategists, who’ll work with you to ensure we meet – and exceed – your expectations.
If you have any queries about the content above, or your own marketing activity, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation discussion - we would be happy to help!