Five Ways to Absolutely Explode Your Conversion Rate

There’s a shop I love near where I live, one of those mystical-looking shops boasting windows full of gadgets and thingamajigs that could have only been built by Santa himself. It’s a place that’s impossible to walk by without at least peeking your head in to ogle that spinning-contraption you spied from outside. I’m not embarrassed (well, at least not too embarrassed) to say I’ve wasted several unproductive hours there, fiddling with the glow-in-the-dark chess set and the admiring the impressive array of vintage broadswords. (King Arthur would have liked this store).

Unfortunately, there’s one little problem – I’ve never actually bought anything from there. And judging from the curious yet empty-handed shoppers around me, they haven’t either. In web terms, this store would have a pretty low conversion rate. Sorry to disappoint the religious types out there, but this has nothing to do with a change in religion. (Though I do have a feeling the number of people converting to “Mysticism” after entering the store is also fairly low.) Rather, it’s the amount of people “browsing” that actually become paying customers. However, in the case of most websites, (and this shop) the problem isn’t what you’re selling, but how you’re selling it.

If you think of your website’s ads like this shopfront, your customers as me (I realize this would mean that you’d have an unusually good-looking customer pool; try and disregard this for the sake of the metaphor), and your landing pages as this shop, you’ll have a pretty good idea of why there’s more to making money than just drawing people to your webpage. And as much as it might be satisfying to have the average internet trekker admiring your site, I bet it could be even more satisfying to have that wayward traveler doling out some money for your services. Here’s a few strategies to turn website window-shoppers into eagerly paying patrons:

Figure out your current conversion rate. Ahh! Anything but math! Don’t freak out – no matter how many calculator-filled nightmares you’ve had recently (like that particularly scary one where you’re trapped inside the square root symbol), this math should be pretty elementary. All you need to do is divide the amount of people actually buying something from your website by the number of visitors clicking on the ad that led there. So if you’ve got 100 people clicking your ad a day (you popular guy, you) and five paying customers, that’s a conversion rate of 5%. Not too shabby.

Learn why some visitors paid for your services (and others didn’t). Whether you do this from quick little online questionnaires or telepathy (personally, I recommend the first option), gaining some intel on what people like and hate about your site and its landing pages is an important step towards improving your conversion rate. By asking questions like “Do you find us visually appealing?” and “Before you go, could you tell us why you didn’t stick around longer?” you’ll be well on your way towards learning what you can do to improve your webpage (and your marriage, for that matter).

Take a casual stroll past your competitors’ websites. While your gourmet Twizzler business may have once stood alone in the industry, expensive ways to get cavities is a growing fad. And even though no one’s arguing that you make incredible licorice, your competitors might have a landing page or candy-vending strategy that’s attracting all the customers. “Know thy enemy” applies well here.

Make some experimental changes to your website itself. Release your inner mad-scientist – this is your chance to get creative and make some edits to your layout based on the previous steps. (You’ve been following those steps exactly, right? I’ve got my eye on you.) Try for changes that make your website more user-friendly, more modern, and more tasty (assuming we’re still discussing your gourmet Twizzlers).

Observe, analyze, and repeat. After giving it some time (these things don’t happen overnight, you know), compare your current conversion rate to the one you calculated before. Any improvements? By trying out different marketing strategies on separate landing pages you should be able figure out which ones your customers like the most and which ones send them running.

Increasing your conversion rates can be easier than you think – all it requires is taking a look around, making some smart changes, and shaking the virtual hands of all your new customers. Good luck!

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