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

Having a good design does not make your website functional. Nor is having a high number of visits and page views. You have to turn that traffic into specific predetermined actions. Every other metrics we associate with websites – sessions, pageviews, bounce rate – is secondary to conversion.

Conversion is the most important factor you should be obsessed about in your online marketing strategy. It is the ability to convince visitors to your website to take an action such as filling out a form, calling your company, register 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.

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1. Convincing headlines

Your headlines are the first thing visitors read. If your headline is boring and unconvincing, your visitors will be closing your page with 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.  The right headline would dramatically increase your conversion rates. Also, never be afraid to test new headlines frequently.

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

2. Call to action

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 visitor doesn’t get confused.
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3. 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, in bullet points

4. A form

Your form is your personal data capture tool. Without this, your website is a like a nice high street shop without a door.

Form is 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. The less amount of fields in your form, the better chances you have of visitors filling it and becoming leads.

5. 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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6. Social proof

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.

7. Contact information

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.

8. 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.

9. Guarantees

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.