Boost Your Conversion Rates on Your Own Without Spending a Year Learning CRO

by Neil Patel

Last updated on July 25th, 2017

If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your site but struggling with converting that traffic into a lead or customer, don’t get frustrated.

According to Bryan Eisenberg, every website has a problem with conversions.

Don’t get locked into seeing conversion rates as a “problem.”

Instead, look at your conversion rates as an opportunity, and treat conversion rate optimization as an ongoing process that you’re constantly improving.

It’s not a process that you need invest a lot of money in; hiring an agency isn’t always necessary. You also don’t have to study for months (or years) on end to master CRO.

Keep in mind that conversion optimization tips like the ones I’ll share here only have limited value. There’s no guarantee they’ll work and anything you do should be tested in the situation to which it’s being applied.

These are more ideas than recommendations, but each of them is actionable. You can implement them immediately so you can start improving your conversion rates today.

Here’s a year, maybe even years, of CRO experience packed into a single post.

Start with the copywriting

  1. Copy holds sway over your audience, and even changing a single word of a headline or call to action can have significant impact. Focus on using powerful words that convert.
  1. Refrain from talking about what you do, instead talk to the customer about why they need the solution you offer.
  1. Position your copy around the benefits and solutions of your product/service. Leverage the value proposition.
  1. People don’t read in detail. Most people on the web skim content, so format your content in a way that makes it easily scannable.
  1. Be concise. If you can’t say it in 150 words, don’t make it 300.

one night stand furniture

  1. More content is better than less content, but only when there is perceived value. More content does not necessarily mean more words.
  1. Ad copy that is presented with punctuation gets higher click through rates.
  1. Tell a story, no matter how brief. A funny story improves the engagement with your audience and forms an emotional connection.
  1. Don’t use “we” in your copy. Write for your audience. Use “you.” Tell them how they benefit, not the benefits you offer.
  1. Write for results. Make sure every word in your copy serves a purpose.
  1. Curiosity drives ridiculous conversions, which is one of the reasons click-bait titles are so effective. Leave them on the edge of a cliff and require an action to learn whatever they need to satisfy their curiosity.
  1. Use multimedia in your content. It will increase engagement that ultimately leads to conversions.
  1. Write value-oriented long form content to improve conversions. Make a really great 1500-word piece instead of a 500-word piece.
  1. A detailed product description is better than a short one.

product overview

  1. Benefit from congruency by using the same sales copy at multiple touch points with your customer.
  1. Black text on a white background beats any other kind of color combination. People are used to black and white.
  1. Match your headlines to the message on your content as well as your ads.
  1. Make sure the purpose of your landing page can be made clear in under 10 seconds.
  1. Position your copy so that it has the same clarity of a 30 second elevator pitch.
  1. Make sure you stand apart from competitors by making a creative, compelling and engaging About page. Tell a story.
  1. Don’t use exclamation marks. People won’t take action because you’re trying to shout at them through the web. Imagine you can only use 5 exclamation marks in your life. If you’ve already used them, then you’re done.

Optimizing your funnel (navigation, products, page and more)

  1. Your audience is made up of different people from different demographics. Create different landing pages for each segment of your audience.
  1. Make sure you segment your audience and understand them before creating landing pages.
  1. Don’t focus too heavily on user experience and creating “attractive” sites. Your UX can hurt your conversions.
  1. At each phase of your sales funnel, only provide one call to action. Place emphasis on the one thing you want your audience to do.
  1. Make sure your contact information is visible above the fold. It builds trust. Trust builds conversions.
  1. Use elements that build trust including awards, certifications, testimonials and testimonials. I mentioned testimonials right?

customer testimonials

  1. Don’t just use written testimonials. Improve the trust factor with video testimonials from your biggest brand ambassadors.
  1. Make sure your call to action stands out from the rest of your content. Big, bold, and prominent.
  1. Experiment with call to action placement. Try it on the left, the right, at the top, at the bottom, and in multiple places at once. Find out which gets the most clicks.
  1. A rotator or slider at the top of your site is nothing but wasted real estate. It’s bad for SEO, usability and conversions. Sliders and carousels create banner blinders and are typically ignored by visitors.
  1. Use CrazyEgg to create focused category navigation.
  1. Don’t make random categories. Base your categories on what people are searching for.
  1. Don’t write vague “unique selling points”.
  1. Sort your category structure based on what is popular, not alphabetically.
  1. Only use quality product images.

photo of someone taking a photo

  1. Use a lot of product images and show off the product from multiple angles.
  1. Don’t just rely on images for your products and page – work in video whenever possible and relevant.
  1. Offer a guarantee. Test bigger and bolder guarantees to see the conversions lift.
  1. Color has meaning to the subconscious mind, don’t ignore color. Check out how one color change affected click-through rates by 21%.
  1. Don’t make a change just because a case study said it worked for someone else.
  1. Don’t assume users know what they’re doing. Don’t leave them in a position where they have to think. Use buttons instead of form fields – the Obama administration boosted conversions by 5% with this tactic.

oballer

  1. Eliminate navigation from any landing page where you want the user to focus on taking a single action.
  1. Provide more than one mode of contact. Make sure you are sharing your email, phone, contact form and live chat if you have it.
  1. Make sure the design of your landing page, categories and product/service pages matches the design of your ad creative.
  1. Every fact or claim you make within your funnel, to your customers, should be 100% verifiable. Cite your sources if need be. Never hype with false claims.
  1. Use visual cues such as eye direction or strategically placed arrows to direct the attention of your audience to the call to action.
  1. Design every call to action in your funnel so that it’s clear enough to be seen standing 6’ away from the screen.
  1. Don’t just make a different landing page for each of your audiences, make one for each inbound source (email, social, even print) and see which gets you the most conversions.
  1. If you’re leveraging videos in your funnel, end every video with a compelling call to action that propels the user deeper into your funnel.
  1. Instead of using a long form to gather information, break it down into multiple steps and give them a progress indicator.

Measuring performance and split testing

  1. Run comparison (A/B) tests to see how different versions convert your visitors.
  1. Before you run an A/B test, run an A/A test. This compares the same versions to make sure whatever split testing software you’re using is actually working.
  1. Try using different image sizes and testing conversions against each for ecommerce pages.
  1. Check how conversions change with credit card vs. no credit card.
  1. Watch the change in conversions by offering a free trial alongside a purchase button.

treehouse start for free

  1. Test your site search field for accuracy.
  1. Play with the word “free” in your ads to measure performance.
  1. Have your call to action or sign up button scroll with the visitor. This change increased conversions by 138% for TreeHouse.
  1. Split test the length of your free trial. I found that 102% more people used KISSmetrics during a 14-day trial vs. a 30-day trial.

get started with kissmetrics

  1. Present a value on any free offers then test with and without.
  1. Test every single change you make, no matter how minor it is. Even if you’re only changing a single word, test and track your conversions. VWO increased click through rates by 161% with a single word change.
  1. Never let your opinion influence your tests. Run tests based off what your visitors say they like or dislike. Trust the data.
  1. Sometimes the best increases come from dramatic changes to your site. After a while, small tweaks may not move the needle. Don’t be afraid to get creative and do something radical – just make sure you test it and be prepared to revert.
  1. The people who visit you on Monday are different from the people who visit you on Saturday. Run your tests for 7 day stretches to account for changes in visitor behavior.
  1. Ignore vanity metrics like bounce rates when you’re testing changes. They may not actually affect your revenue.
  1. I don’t trust multivariate tests and you should be wary of them as well. I’ve found A/B tests to be far more accurate.
  1. Don’t limit your A/B tests to your site. Apply it to your ad design, ad copy and even how you engage fans on social media.

Conclusion

No matter where your traffic is coming from, there are ways to make small (and large) changes that will have an impact on the way they convert. Instead of focusing on just building traffic, make sure you spend time focusing on getting that traffic to convert as well.

Have you used any of these recommendations? Let me know what kind of results you saw.

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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