In the past few years, Conversion Rate Optimization has become as essential to a business as SEO. If you’re not optimizing – and your competitors are – you’re missing opportunities to gain new customers.
While A/B testing is one piece of CRO, simply testing different variates of your site against each other is only one way for you to increase conversion rate. For most businesses, split testing will get you an initial lift but won’t go the extra mile to get a higher conversion increase.
Here are 5 more advanced methods for you to personalize your site. To make things easy, I’ve included real-life examples of each along with the software you can use – enjoy!
There is absolutely no question that personalizing your site will lead to higher, sustained conversion rates. Giving each customer exactly what they want at exactly the right moment is one of the most reliable ways for you to generate more sales.
Here’s an excellent example from Gardener’s Supply Company:
The company noticed that it’s conversion rate was low from Pinterest users as compared to other sources of traffic. So, they worked with the team at Evergage to show a personalized banner to each visitor who came to their page from Pinterest and giving them a special offer.
This simple banner saw a 3x increase in conversion!
Generating 10% – 50% conversion increases is not uncommon for personalizing a site. And not only is the conversion lift significant, it’s often sustainable, lasting for years (a lesser talked about fact in CRO is that A/B splits can have a shelf-life and stop converting as highly – that’s a topic for another article).
If you’re interested in personalizing your site, here’s a few resources for you to try:
- Evergage: Generally the easiest to use, with a point and click editor that makes it easy for you to segment audiences.
- Optimizely: Makes it easy for you to create pages based on traffic sources – similar to Evergage but in my opinion not as robust in personalization
- Personyze: Focused on e-commerce. Makes it easy for you to offer different products to different users. different creative, etc. The software is not as easy to use as Evergage or Optimizely but it does have some advanced features for e-commerce.
2. Dynamic Pricing
For any e-commerce business to succeed, pricing must be competitive – I cannot find a clear study on this, but anecdotally I can tell you that your pricing strategy can easily affect your revenue and profit by 10% – 20%. Especially if you are selling a product in a competitive environment, you need to have a handle on your pricing strategy.
Let’s say that you type into Google “laptop case”:
Then, you decide that you want the pelican 1085 hardback case:
Which one are you going to get? This is a heavily researched question, but I’m going to bet that you’ll go with the retailer with (1) the lowest price + shipping, (2) the best return policy, and (3) the best overall brand experience.
Even this simple example raises a number of interesting points:
- How do you price on intent and product? Clearly a commoditized sale (like this case, where the product is the same everywhere) has a far different pricing strategy than an intent-driven sale, where a customer comes directly to your website
- What do you optimize for? Conversion, profit, revenue, etc? Most people will simply say “profit” but this turns out not to be an easy question to answer – simply acquiring a customer will often have benefits (like long term customer value)
For most e-commerce merchants between $500K and $10M in revenue, simply optimizing price for conversion is going to be your best bet. There are a few platforms we recommend for doing this:
- Wiser: Software is easy to use. Unfortunately they do not offer plans for smaller size businesses but they are a great fit for clients with $1M+ in revenue.
- AppEagle: This is a great product for an Amazon-focused retailer. They are not as strong though for retailers who sell across multiple channels.
3. Dynamic Landing Pages
Simply adjusting the headlines of your landing page to match – or closely match – the search query text can boost conversion rate by 10%.
Here’s an example:
Personalizing your landing pages to PPC traffic is a general best practice, and fortunately it’s extremely easy to do this. The best tool for you to use for this is:
- Unbounce: Probably the easiest landing page builder. You can easily create different versions of your landing page and then customize the headlines or background images for different traffic sources.
You could also simply create duplicate versions of the landing page and use dedicated landing pages – many DIYers do this and it’s a perfectly good practice.
Just a one-second decrease in page load time can decrease conversions by 7% or more.
Here’s an excellent graph from Web Performance Today showing how page speed affected conversion rate at Walmart:
I often find when optimizing conversion rate of clients’ websites that page speed is overlooked – not because people don’t realize it’s important, but because people often don’t realize that their page speed could be improved.
Here are a few excellent resources for you to check your website’s speed:
- Pingdom: This may be the single best spot for you to check your website for performance issues.
- GTMetrix: Also a great resource; results will be similar to Pingdom
- Google Page Speed: For developers, Google offers a page speed API that will let you build speed testing into any single one of your apps.
Generally, the best tip for you to optimize page speed is to reduce the amount of code that you’re using on your site or to upgrade to a faster platform (for example, Angular.js, if implemented correctly, can be extremely, extremely fast). This is easier said than done, however, and is a topic for another article.
5. Response Time
For any advertisers who are in the lead-generation business – or even customer support – response time is one of the biggest variables that affects whether your leads become paying customers (or whether your customer support customers end up referring you or not).
Lead Response Management did an impressive study showing the best time to follow up with leads and how your speed affects response.:
- If you call a lead 5 minutes after they email or call you, your chances of reaching them are 100 times better than if you call them 30 minutes later.
- If you call a lead in the first hour, your chances are 10 times better than afterwards.
Of course this can be difficult for international-based lead generation businesses, but for businesses in a real need – say for example, an auto accident lawyer, where there is urgency – being the first person to respond to a lead can often seal the deal.
Here are a few resources for you to try in order to improve your speed management:
- Infusion Soft: One of my favorite CRMs and has an excellent marketing automation solution that will let you auto-respond to leads immediately. If you choose to automate your response emails, be sure to personalize them.
- Aweber / Mailchimp / etc: Any decent email marketing software will have auto-responder features built in.
For higher value sales, I would recommend trying to respond to as many leads as you can yourself, but for high volume lead-gen, an automation solution might be best.
About The Author
Andy Hunt is the founder of UpliftROI.com. He’s got years of solid experience in conversion rate optimization and digital marketing in general.
Are you depending on Google to keep sending you traffic? What if you stop ranking so well? Or your site gets a penalty? Maybe you are paying for traffic over and over. Why would you want to do that? You could be capturing each visitor to your list and keeping them there. That is what auto-responders do.
By offering a series of useful email messages to your visitors you can get them to give you their email address and keep them coming back. The best way to grow your list is to offer something of value. At one time most people used eBooks. The problem with that is the high percentage of subscribers who download what you offer and then immediately unsubscribe. If you send the same information as an autoresponder series, your subscribers have to stay on your list.
This works – but many are not doing this as well as they could. Think about the emails you receive. Personally, I read the short ones as soon as I open them. But the long ones I often save for “later” – but that “later” never comes. I bet many other people do that, too.
Goal: Get Your Emails Opened
The goal is to get your emails opened. By sending really short emails your subscribers will be more likely to open them. They may not do this consciously, but subconsciously they’ll associate your emails with “short and painless”. That is what you want. Their goal is to get information in easily digested bites.
Your goal is to keep them opening or at least wanting to receive your emails so when they are ready to buy what you offer they remember you. Search traffic converts because people use it when they’re ready to buy. If they remember you they won’t need to search – they can just click on your link in your emails.
Remember to ALWAYS include a link back to your site!
Simplify the Process
What is easy gets done more often. The best way to create your autoresponder series is to use a template you can edit each time. That way your header, logo, slogan, social sharing buttons, and links to your social networking accounts are already in place. You just edit the text.
Email solutions providers are making templates easier to use. There is a video about autoresponders that explains the many features that are now built into templates. If you make your messages flow in a sequence, your subscribers will be more likely to be happy to receive them. Here’s also a quick and sweet intro to autoresponders by ProBlogger.
One way to do that is to write a how-to and then break it up into small sections. Or you can make a list of priorities in order and write each one separately. Do whatever works best for you. Remember to always focus on what your potential buyers want – NOT what you want.
Give your subscribers what they want to receive and you can keep them on your list reminding them to choose your company. Over time you build trust that increases conversions. Do this consistently and your profits will grow.
Studies continue to show increases in the percentage of email being opened on smartphones. Make sure you have updated all your email templates and landing pages to work on mobile devices.
Do not assume they work. You need to actually test them on as many devices as possible. Verify that the header, images, and videos resize correctly. If they don’t you will need to update your site with new code, a new theme, or plugins.
Click on the social media accounts and verify they take your readers to each specific social account. Test every social sharing button – or at least the major platforms – and ensure that it works as expected. Configure shared tweets to include your Twitter username and make sure images share properly on Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Repeat Visitors Are More Likely to Buy
Building your list, setting up autoresponders, and creating actual relationships with your visitors can turn missed opportunities into leads and sales. You must keep them coming back to buy.
There are a number of factors that are important to consider when trying to solidify your branding recognition and overall PR. But when it comes to your presence on the internet, nothing is quite as important as managing your online reputation. It is more crucial than visibility, social media engagement, or even online sales.
Your image online and how people perceive and so speak about your brand can make or break your brand. If you have a positive online reputation, you will find things like social media campaigning, direct B2C advertising and even overall visibility to be significantly more positive.
How You Maintain Your Online Reputation
A number of avenues exist for managing your reputation on the web. For the most part, the process is straight forward. You can have an active reputation management campaign running within a few hours. A few easy methods include:
- Use a wide variety of tracking tools. The most basic you should be using is Google Alerts. You can sign up to have reports regularly sent to your email every time your brand is mentioned. Other helpful trackers include Brandseye, Rankur, and SocialMention.
- Have a dedicated social media team. If you have an established business, you want to keep up with social media as much as possible. Not just to post regular updates, but to monitor what people are saying about you. If there is a problem you will want to have it taken care of as quickly as possible. But you want to react to praise, as well. If you don’t have employees you can put on this, you might want to hire a freelancer or two that can take care of your profiles.
- Buy your domain name (and similar domains). It is worth it to buy up your closest domain matches to your brand. This is important for reputation management because others can use a similar domain for unsavory things. Even if they use it for legitimate business reasons, you will not have any control over the actions of their company, and it takes away from visibility for your real brand.
- Start better targeting your social media interactions. Not all social media platforms are going to be the right ones for you. Track your data and how much use you have gotten from each. Then narrow down a more specific strategy for not just monitoring, but also find tuning your online presence. Your main beats to choose from will be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. Each provides something different, and knowing which work best for you will help solidify a more impressive strategy.
- Start working that PR. Is there an event going on in your industry that is taking sponsors? A charity that you especially believe in? A scholarship program your community is taking donations for? These are all opportunities. The adage that all publicity is good publicity isn’t true on the web. You want to seek out chances for good PR that you can share socially.
Taking It To a Higher Level (Tools!)
The above tactics are the more basic methods that should start you off. But once you get those underway, you should be turning to more advanced tools and tips for your online reputation management.
- Website security verification is something to start with. It’s not a one-time task, since you need to keep an eye on user security ratings as well.
- Make sure your brand is registered as trusted. People should be able to check you out quickly, and know you are trustworthy and legitimate. There are lots of sites that provide that service (example). A database like LicenseDirect will let you register your company, so people can search out details like verifying credentials, seeing that your professionals are properly licensed, and see a full profile for you or your company that is more official than LinkedIn.
- Social media verification is another step towards higher-quality trust signals.
Do you have any tips for managing your online reputation? Let us know in the comments.
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