The primary purpose of websites is to convert visitors into paying customers. Every other thing is a derivative of this goal.

Having a good design alone does not convert visitors for you. Nor is having a high number of visits and page views. You have to turn that traffic into leads through specific predetermined actions. Every other metrics we associate with websites – sessions, pageviews, bounce rate – is secondary to conversion.

Conversion is one of the most important factors you should be obsessed about in your online marketing strategy. It is the ability to convince your website visitors to take an action such as filling out a form, calling your company, registering for a newsletter or making a purchase.

It’s not everyone who visits your website that will buy what you’re selling. But you can increase your chances of convincing them to take an action on your site that will lead further in the sales journey.

The first step is to develop a conversion funnel. The idea is that every sale begins with a large number of prospective customers and ends with a much smaller number of people who actually make a purchase. The metaphor of a funnel is used to describe the decrease in numbers that occurs at each step of the process.

A properly designed website conversion funnel clearly guides your website visitors through the conversion process: from call to action to a confirmation email. Here are some elements of an optimized conversion system.

1. You need to use convincing headlines

Your headlines are the first thing visitors read. If your headline is boring and unconvincing, your visitors will be closing your page within few seconds. The best trick for writing a good headline is to (a) know your customers (b) know what they want and (c) know the words they are using to describe what they want.

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Ideally, you should tell your visitors what your business has to offer within 3 seconds. The key to this is to be succinct (focus on one thing) and try to reflect the expectations of your visitors.

The right headline would dramatically increase your conversion rates. Also, never be afraid to test new headlines frequently.

2. Have a sub-headline for every headline

The job of the sub-headline is very simple. It is to supplement the website. The sub-headline should offer a brief description of what you do or what your business offers.

The trick is to zero in on a common pain point that your product or service solves.

3. Have a strong call to action on every page

Every page of your website should have a convincing call to action. You should clearly and succinctly communicate what you want your web visitors to do on every page. Visitors to your site should be able to “take action” from anywhere while they are on your site.

How to optimise your Call to Action

  • Your CTA should be short, and clear, (no more than 2-5 words).
  • Use urgent, action-oriented language e.g. “Download Your Free Report Today” or “Sign Up Now”.
  • You can introduce the CTA as a pop up that captures visitors’ attention when they try to leave. Or immediately they land on the page.
  • Use colors that are different from your website, to create high contrast and get noticed.
  • Limit each web page to one CTA, so the visitors doesn’t get confused.
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4. Your CTAs should lead to a landing page

Each CTA should lead to its appropriate landing page. Your landing page should

  • Have a clear headline explaining what the offer is
  • Include images or graphics related to your offer
  • Detailed information about the offer. You’re still trying to convince your visitors that the offer is current, relevant, and beneficial to them.
  • List the benefits, clearly

5. Offer resources as lead magnets

People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be educated, informed, entertained, inspired and supported. To win the trust of your audience you need to demonstrate leadership.

Your lead magnet will serve as your personal data capture tool. Without this, your website is a like a nice high street shop without a door.

They are what turns a prospect into a lead. It is the way to capture the basic information required to contact your web visitors. It’s not everyone that will be willing to give you their details. You need to be convincing and clear about the value you are offering in exchange for their contact details.

6. Create a “thank you” page

This page convinces your leads that their submission went through. Optimize this page to upsell and boost referrals. Consider including social media buttons on this page, to empower your leads to share the offer with their social network. A follow-up offer strategically placed on the page wouldn’t hurt either.

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7. Add social proof to your website

Humans are social animals. People tend to follow the lead of their peers. If everyone else appears to be using something, you can be sure others would want to get in on the action.  People are most likely to conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

Social proof is an influential selling tool that can be used to convert your website visitors. Use existing customer success as leverage. Adding social proof, via customer testimonials and/or case studies, to your website almost always increases conversions.

8. Ensure your contact information is visible

A lot of people using the internet still has trust issues. Especially if you are asking them to buy something. Clearly showing your business’ contact information, i.e. phone numbers, physical address and/or live chat options will give your visitors confidence that your company is legit.

9. Get “trust” seals to increase your credibility

Having “trust” seals, such as from Interswitch or MasterCard (for online transactions) can only further your cause and increase visitors confidence, thereby increasing conversions.

10. Give guarantees if you are getting them to try your product/service

Guarantees have a way of persuading customers to (at least) try your product/service. Having a longer guarantee (e.g., 365 days vs 30 days) will also increase conversions even more.

ConversionXL has 53 other ideas on how to boost conversion rates.