If you have a website, you want people to see it.
If it’s a blog, you want people to read it, and if it’s a product, you want people to buy it.
The first step is getting your page to pop during a search. Next, you need your target audience to click the link. At this point, the battle is not over. You need that customer to convert – to buy, follow, sign up, etc.
There are a number of methods you can try and quite a few common mistakes that can lead to failure. Look at things you should absolutely avoid when working on your conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Don’t Think Short Term
If website traffic, and therefore sales, are tanking, it is tempting to opt for a quick fix. People frequently wind up implementing CRO strategies that will hurt them in the long run. A big one is using discounts to attract customers. This can absolutely have the effect of boosting conversion rates same day. However, it is untenable beyond the sale period.
By shifting your focus to discounted rates rather than quality, you are setting a difficult precedent. People who are bargain hunting and don’t care about brand loyalty will quickly respond. You have inadvertently set the price expectation too low on your product. Once prices return to normal, people will vanish. Customers who are looking for great quality may skip past because the price focus was unappealing. So you get the short-term fix but a long-term problem.
Don't Make This Huge Social Media Mishap
Another fix that is detrimental in the long run is buying followers. “Social proofing” – the phenomenon of the actions of many influencing others – is one factor involved in conversion rates. Within this are several categories, followers being one of them. If you can demonstrate that your business has a great many followers, people are more likely to buy in. It is the same as choosing a hair stylist, because you know several people who go to it. The social consensus is the more users, the more reliable something is.
The trouble with the tactic is that the fake users are not active. If you generate posts that nobody responds to, ranking systems decide the material is not good. This means that dummy users can actually hurt you at the end of the day. There may be a temporary spike, but this method is not a solution to retain clients.
In an effort to reach real customers, some companies employ e-mail chains. Email marketing is perfectly acceptable and can bolster customer conversion. However, employing click-bait headline is unnecessary and troublesome. Consistently using over-the-top subject lines quickly annoys people.
Sometimes, companies take this small-scale false advertising even further. Many companies chose to utilize timers or countdown clocks to add a sense of urgency to a sale. When a potential client is on the fence, knowing they only have 10 more minutes before the sale is up can make a difference. Used properly and fairly, it is a reasonable method. However, it cannot be leveraged all the time. Spread out timer tactics so that customers do not feel deceived. If the consumer makes a purchase and then sees the same counter a week later, they may not think of you as trustworthy vendor.
Much of this boils down to trust. There are a number of ways to trick people or systems in the short term. These can boost your conversion rates for the moment. However, nothing compares to the level you can reach by investing in the trust of your client base.
Don’t Rush the Process
Along your CRO journey, keep in mind that a beautiful site is not necessarily an optimized site. It is worth the time to make sure you are making the right architectural choices for your clients. Remember the “funnel” concept. Something may grab a person’s attention, but it must then inspire them to consideration, followed by action.
If you invest in long-term CRO strategies, you are much more likely to succeed. As discussed above, the short-term bandwagon can be dangerous. This means patience. Recognize from the start that you may or may not have a marked change at the beginning. Optimizing is a powerful tool, but it does not necessarily make it predictive. There are a lot of factors that lead to customer conversation. It may take time and tides shifting for your numbers to jump.
In an effort to sort out exactly which mechanisms work for your business, run tests. Elements that you believe in may not have the desired effect. For this reason, it is not advisable to overhaul everything all at once before testing. By implementing one change at a time, you can monitor what impact it has. Altering many factors at once does not provide you with useful information for the future. Always seek to learn along the way.
Begin with midrange alterations. It is not worthwhile to nitpick until you know that the overall structure is effective. Once you have implemented a change, give it time. You may see an immediate bump and then things even out. Alternatively, it could take days for there to be a noticeable change at all. Making a call too soon can undermine an operation and a budget.
Once you have drawn a conclusion about your first test, explore it more deeply. Do not be satisfied with a broad correlation. Narrow it down and test again. Only when you think you’ve accumulated sufficient information about one aspect of your site should you move to another. Proceeding a step at a time with patience will provide much better data for your investment.
Don’t Ignore the Details
CRO and CRO testing are all about data analytics. It is therefore imperative to have an eye on the details. From the very beginning, make sure you have established baseline information. This is everything from a clear mission and sense of customer base to the impact of your initial design on customer conversation to what your peek sales seasons are. Without a baseline, any variations you explore will have no comprehensive comparison.
Prior to launching any testing cycles, know exactly what you are testing and why. Simply swapping out elements until something hits is not efficient. Look at your customer base and develop a hypothesis regarding what could increase your conversion rate. Be very specific about the audience you are addressing and what would appeal to them. The clearer your starting hypothesis, the better information you can extract from testing.
While formulating your hypothesis, make sure the information is coming from your site, your customers, and your experience. While research can be helpful, changing your approach to match someone else’s is not advisable. Even if a particular tactic works well for another company, it does not mean it is right for you. CRO is not a mold to fill; you can tailor this flexible system to your needs.
Time, Energy, Patience
Conversion rate optimization is a growing science. Although it can be daunting, most companies find it worth the investment. The chart below demonstrates the difficulty versus benefit of optimizing.
As you search for your perfect formula, remember these don’ts and their corresponding dos. Think in the long-term, and invest in a loyal customer base. Be patient with the process, as it may take some time. Going through the steps in the best possible way will lead toward much greater return down the line. Keep your eye on all of the details as you move forward with testing. This ensures you collect good information, and use it to your best ability. With solid and forward-thinking processes, you’ll quickly be on your way to optimization.