Traffic and conversions. That’s what we want. And we usually start at the beginning, with traffic.
I agree. Traffic is great. Have you ever logged into Google Analytics on a Monday morning and found a huge traffic spike waiting for you?
That’s a fantastic feeling.
But unless you’re a 16-year-old YouTuber with a fame complex, you’re not actually interested in traffic. You want conversions.
You want to see increases on your income report, not just your Analytics display.
But hold up. Doesn’t more traffic equal more conversions?
Well technically, yes.
I’m assuming your conversion funnel is good enough that a 30,000 increase in visitors will net you at least a few additional sales. But you don’t want a few additional sales.
If you’ve managed to significantly increase your traffic, you expect to be getting a proportional return on your investment.
So what do you do when the traffic numbers are steadily increasing, but your conversions remain relatively stagnant?
Well, like any other problem, if you have high traffic and low conversions, you root out the source and fix it.
In this article, I review the issues surrounding traffic and conversions — and I’d bet there’s a fantastic chance your problem is listed among them.
1. You don’t know enough about your audience
Making steady sales requires a strong understanding of your audience.
If you’re like most businesses, you already have a few marketing personas sketched out. They likely include 2-3 hypothetical members of your target demographic, based on your existing customers.
They break your target audience down by basic information like age, location, and industry, then describe them in terms of details like needs and budget.
This is a good start.
Still, those personas are based on anecdotes and guesses. This means that they are qualitative.
For your personas to actually help your business, they need to go beyond a few basic generalities.
One way to do this is by conducting extensive market research on specific features of your product or service. This will give you an idea of what, exactly, each segment of your target audience wants to see from your company, and how much they’re willing to pay for it.
Then, your personas can start to look something like this:
So instead of basing your personas on what you think your target audience is like, you’ll be creating them based on real data.
You can start by using internal data collected from your existing customers.
Break down your target audience down by your highest-value customers. After all, earning more of these customers is what will help your business grow.
When you identify your best customers, you can work backward and determine the characteristics that make up each of your best buyers.
Aim to find out as many details as you can about each of these customers, including industry, company size, and your point of contact’s role within the company.
You’ll also want to figure out which features matter most to each of these members of your audience and how much they’re willing to spend.
Then, use this information to divide your audience into 3-5 specific groups of people.
From there, you can start to build qualified buyer personas, which will look something like this:
Your personas should also include quantifiable details like the features each persona values and how much they’re willing to pay. If you track metrics like customer acquisition cost and lifetime value for your company, you should include these, too.
The more details you have on your highest-value customers, the more successful you’ll be in finding similar prospective buyers.
You can also use them throughout your company so that everyone is on the same page about what kinds of customers you’re trying to attract.
Your product team, for example, can use them to add new features that are in line with what your highest-value customers want. Then, your marketing and sales team can focus on highlighting specific features and functions for different segments of your audience.
If you’re not sure about which features or qualities are most important to your ideal customers (or even if you think you are), sending customer surveys is a great way to collect actionable data.
You can start by asking your existing customers for their input on features you’re considering adding.
This will give you an idea of the types of services they value most, and it can also help you make more informed decisions on how you develop your product.
Unfortunately, the type of survey shown in the screenshot above doesn’t always yield the most actionable results. It’s common to get responses that look something like this:
If every customer who takes it rates each feature as a seven or eight, you can gather that your audience is somewhat interested in all of your ideas. But that doesn’t really help you.
You can get clearer results by using a most/least survey format.
With this type of survey, you force your respondents to make a much clearer choice: Interested, or not interested.
You can also use this format to pit different features against one another. When you make your audience decide between two features, instead of ranking their interest in both on a scale from one to ten, you can draw much clearer conclusions.
Of course, these surveys can be a bit simplistic. But if you want to take yours a bit further and collect even more feedback, you have to focus on asking the right questions.
Don’t make the mistake of cramming as many questions as you can into each survey you send.
You might think that this is the best way to collect large amounts of data on your customers. This is not the case at all.
When comparing average survey completion rates against length, there’s a huge drop-off after four minutes.
So if your surveys take longer than four minutes to complete, you could actually wind up gathering less information from your customers.
Unfortunately, in one an analysis of surveys, Profitwell found that the average time it takes to complete a survey is 14.3 minutes.
This does not bode well for most businesses.
And even worse, when they analyzed the quality of the survey responses, they found a significant drop in quality after four minutes.
So even if some of your customers are willing to spend more than four minutes on a survey, won’t be as helpful as if you’d sent one that took less of their time.
It’s also worth mentioning that the shorter your surveys, the more frequently you can send them. Your customers will be much more willing to fill out a survey every other week if they know it will only take 30 seconds to complete.
When you send simple surveys, you should make sure to convey how easy they are to complete in your subject lines. Many customers won’t even bother to open a survey email because they know that filling them out can be tedious.
But if you mention right in your subject line that you’re only asking for 30 seconds of their time, you can boost your open and completion rates.
If you make this kind of promise, though, you’d better deliver on it.
Your surveys need to provide a great user experience if you want your customers to continue filling them out.
There are tons of survey tools available, but one of the best in terms of design and user experience is Typeform.
Their survey builder makes it extremely easy to produce simple, attractive surveys with a variety of question types.
It also comes with pre-set templates you can use to experiment with different formats and response styles.
These templates are all designed to be responsive so that users can take them on any device. You can also customize them to match your brand.
You can switch out the questions to match your needs, but the default options are focused on customer development. If you’re not sure what kind of information you want to collect, they’re a great starting point.
Typeform is also compatible with CRM software, so you can save and sort through your responses all in one place.
As you send these surveys, make sure to track your responses based on personas. If you notice that customers within a specific industry tend to value one feature more than the rest of your customers, this is valuable information to include.
This will help you shape your knowledge of each persona’s core goals.
If you’re familiar with the concept of Jobs to be Done, you know that marketing to a buyer often goes deeper than the features your product offers.
As humans, we all have the desire to evolve and improve. Each improvement we want to make is a Job to be Done.
These jobs are often based on specific tasks we want to accomplish. Each of your customers has specific projects and goals to complete. And many of them know that they could be completing them more efficiently, or with a higher level of quality.
That’s where your products come into play. They don’t just help a customer complete one task — they help that customer accomplish their goals in a better way.
This transforms the way that they’re able to work, and turns their existing situation into a better one.
In this sense, your customers aren’t buying a product at all — they’re buying a better version of themselves.
The real reason that most customers seek out new products isn’t that they can’t already accomplish what they need to. It’s that they know there’s a better way.
But innovation often requires help from someone else. That’s why people buy your product.
Identifying your target audience’s most important Jobs to be Done enables you to provide opportunities for improvement and growth.
Show your prospective buyers how they can evolve to a better version of themselves, and you’ll be much more effective in compelling them to buy.
2. You’re acquiring the wrong type of traffic
Acquiring the wrong traffic is likely the single biggest reason your high traffic website isn’t converting.
Google’s algorithm is pretty good at determining the intent behind a user’s searches and delivering results that are relevant to their needs. But it isn’t perfect.
If your keywords don’t accurately reflect what your products are, or how your target audience searches, you’re likely attracting the wrong people.
For example, let’s say I wanted to purchase a new notebook for jotting down notes during meetings. I’d do a quick search for “best notebook” for work and scan through the results.
Most of the results here are exactly what I’m looking for: Rankings of pen-and-paper notebooks with reviews and purchase links.
If I clicked through to one of those sites, there’s a high chance that I’d end up converting, because they meet my needs.
But the bottom result in that screenshot is for laptops. If I clicked that result, the chances I’d convert are nonexistent.
I’m not looking for a laptop, so this is an irrelevant result.
Of course, I can’t fault Google for ranking the page there. I just won’t click it.
But I’d be willing to bet that the conversion rate for visitors who click that page after performing the search that I just did is abysmally low.
It’s a simple concept, but let’s look at another example to see how easily it can affect your business.
Let’s say you run a financial software company for small businesses. You’ve been reading all about how content is king and a high-quality blog is the best way to increase targeted traffic and generate conversions.
You know that small business owners might need an intro-level education to help them understand how your tools work and why they need them.
So you start a blog, focusing on intro-level financial education and providing high-quality content on the basics. You invest in amazing guides and target relevant keywords, and after a few months, you are generating significant traffic to your blog and website.
But your conversions aren’t increasing. Maybe your email subscriptions are skyrocketing, but none of this activity is turning into sales.
You do some testing and analysis and discover that instead of business owners, all of your traffic is coming from college students. Your keywords are attracting frantic test-takers to your intro guides rather than small business owners in need of financial software tools.
So while your guides are valuable for those readers, they’re extremely unlikely to become customers.
For your traffic to translate into conversions, it needs to be the right type of traffic. Your visitors need to be members of your target audience, with problems or needs your business can answer.
If your traffic and products aren’t lining up, you have two options:
- Acquire different traffic
- Change your product or service to match your traffic
Personally, I’m a big fan of the second one. Demand is often harder to generate than supply, so if you already have a large audience, it could be beneficial to figure out how to sell to them.
But this isn’t an option for many businesses. So in most cases, it means you’ll need to switch your focus to attracting more qualified traffic.
You can do this by selecting better keywords, then structuring your content in a way that lines up with your conversion funnel.
Focus on conversion-based keywords
When you select keywords for your site, you need to consider the intent behind each one.
For example, let’s say your company offers personal budgeting tools and software. You’d want your site to rank for finance-related keywords.
Some keywords, like “personal finance tips,” indicate that a user is looking for information. They want to learn how to accomplish a specific goal more effectively, and you’re qualified to tell them how to do that.
These kinds of keywords are valuable for certain parts of your strategy. They’ll help you attract traffic and generate brand awareness.
But your strategy shouldn’t just generate traffic — it needs to generate traffic that will convert.
And though some of the users who find your site through informational searches may end up becoming customers, this will likely only be a small percentage.
Now, consider a keyword like, “personal finance tool.”
This indicates that the searcher wants to learn about specific software or apps that can help them budget their money. And that’s exactly what you offer.
Visitors who arrive on your site after searching this keyword are much more likely to convert.
So as you do your keyword research, it’s important not to select them based solely on search volume and competition.
In this case, “personal finance tips” has a higher volume and lower competition level.
According to most keyword research guides and tips, this would make it the better option.
That’s not necessarily the case.
Those numbers can tell you how easy it will be for you to rank, and how much traffic a high ranking could attract. But traffic won’t translate to conversions for every keyword you target.
Consider the intent behind each keyword and focus on the ones that have the potential to bring in qualified buyers.
Target keywords at every stage of your conversion funnel
It’s clear that search intent plays a major role in how likely your traffic is to convert from any given keyword.
Visitors that arrive on your site after performing an informational search are typically the least likely to take action. Still, attracting them can help you grow your site and reach your goals.
You just need to be aware of where they are in your conversion funnel.
In general, a conversion funnel looks something like this:
Visitors who arrive after performing informational searches are in the awareness stage.
They recognize an issue, or they want to get better at accomplishing a specific goal, but they aren’t necessarily looking to make a purchase.
If all of your content falls into this stage, your traffic is unlikely to translate into conversions. You might write the best blog posts or publish the most helpful guides in your industry — but if they’re all optimized for awareness keywords, they won’t translate into sales.
This means that to drive conversions, you also need to target keywords in the consideration and decision stages.
Then, you can use your keywords to map out your content in a way that aligns with driving sales. For example, a B2B company’s content strategy might look something like this:
In this example, the company wants to attract awareness-level visitors with content like ebooks and white papers. Then, they help those visitors through the consideration stage with vendor comparisons and case studies.
All of this content serves a different purpose and would target keywords that are appropriate for the target audience’s stage in the conversion funnel.
Though the exact keywords you use depend on your industry and audience, there are a few words and phrases that are consistent across most industries.
You can use these as a starting point when you’re trying to identify keywords that convert.
For example, let’s say you’re an electronics retailer and want to optimize your site for keywords that a user would search while looking for a new TV.
When someone first starts searching, they use more general phrases, like “which tv is best,” or “plasma or lcd.”
These phrases indicate that the user doesn’t yet know what they want and they need to learn more about their options. In most cases, someone who doesn’t yet know the type of product they’re interested in won’t be ready to make a purchase for a while.
Still, creating content around those keywords can attract traffic from users who could eventually become customers.
The key is to guide them to pages targeting your second set of keywords, like, “tvs on sale” or, “best store to buy tvs.” These pages are one step lower in the funnel because they can include content specific to your store and offers.
Users who arrive on these pages from search might not be ready to purchase immediately. But they’ve moved from figuring out what they want to buy, to who they want to buy it from.
Finally, keywords like, “buy 70 inch tv” and, “where to buy [model # tv]” indicate that a searcher knows what they want, and they’re ready to buy.
Pages that rank well for these types of searches have the potential to be extremely valuable for your site.
This approach also works for finding keywords for B2B businesses.
Again, the exact ones you use depend on your industry, but the following chart shows some of the most common terms for each stage.
In this case, awareness keywords are often associated with problems that a user wants to solve. Many of these searches center on users who are looking for ways to “upgrade” or “improve” their current way of doing something.
Consideration keywords, then, are often solution-oriented. They involve users looking for a “service,” “supplier,” or “tool,” to help them accomplish whatever it is that they’re looking to do.
Finally, decision keywords show how potential buyers weigh their options. These buyers want to see “reviews,” and, “comparisons” of the options they’re considering.
All of these types of keywords can serve a valuable purpose in your SEO strategy.
As you determine which to use, make sure to select some at every stage. Then, you can use your internal links to guide visitors from higher-level pages right through the rest of your funnel.
But as you do this, it’s important to make sure that the content on each page matches the intent behind the search.
When a user performs an informational search, it’s because they want to learn. They don’t want to land on a page with nothing but a sales pitch.
Match your keywords up with your content, so that your copy lines up with exactly what a user is trying to accomplish.
Essentially, you want to always provide the right content for the right user at the right stage in the buying process. Your content needs to align with their specific wants and needs.
This means matching your target personas with the keywords that you discover during your research. When you combine the two, you can create a much more effective conversion funnel, because you know what each buyer wants at each stage.
In this example from Hubspot, “Jimmy Gym Owner” is one of the target personas for a company that sells fitness equipment.
He’s a new gym owner that doesn’t have much experience buying this type of product. So at the start of his buying process, he’ll likely be interested in beginner-level guides.
Then, he can use free tools like a budgeting sheet to get closer to being ready to buy.
Finally, he can request a free quote or assessment.
This content is ideal for his specific persona — but it wouldn’t be nearly as effective for a more experienced gym owner, or a hotel manager looking to upgrade a fitness center.
So as you identify keywords, match them up with different segments of your target audience. The more of an understanding you have of who is reading a page, the more effectively you can tailor it to their needs.
3. You have no conversion funnel
Maybe your keywords already line up perfectly with the kind of traffic you want, and you have a steady stream of purchase-primed, solution-needing visitors streaming through your site on the daily.
But what if they’re still not converting?
This is likely because you lack a clear conversion funnel — and it’s time to look into your site’s user flow and usability to see how they guide users through your buying process.
The way your site is built can have a huge impact on how users move through it. In fact, it can be the determining factor in whether they complete a conversion — or not.
Great user flow doesn’t just happen by chance, either. You need to design your pages and navigation in a way that matches what you want your visitors to do and makes it as easy as possible for them to do it
Without defined user flow, some of your visitors won’t even know what it is that you want them to do. If you don’t make it immediately clear, you could be missing out on conversions.
To establish a strong user flow, you first need to know what your objective is for each page. For example, if a visitor lands on one of your blog posts, you might want them to sign up for your email list.
But if they arrive on a PPC landing page, you might want them to make a purchase immediately.
It’s also important to consider the source in this step. A visitor who finds you by clicking an action-oriented PPC ad will move through your site differently from one that interacts with you for the first time on social media.
The first user was actively searching for a service, while the second was simply scrolling through their news feed.
This means you’ll need to design a few different user flows to meet those different users’ needs.
Your site’s ideal user flows depend on your industry and goals, but they might look something like this:
No matter what your different paths look like, your goal for each should be to figure out how to move visitors to the next step.
For some pages, that means providing helpful content and filling information gaps. For others, it means addressing needs, concerns, or hesitations.
In each step, though, you should aim to provide all of the necessary information a user needs to move to the next step. You should also present a clear benefit for moving to the next step — whether that’s additional information, or purchasing a product that will help them reach a goal.
Your site should also make easy for all of your visitors to move through your pages.
The simpler the process of moving down your funnel, the more likely they’ll be to do it.
Micro conversions and macro conversions
As you set your goals for each page, you can think of them in terms of both micro and macro conversions.
You likely already track macro conversions.
These are actions like form submissions and phone calls that represent big steps towards becoming a customer.
They’re the conversions that get clear results for your business. But they’re usually preceded by a string of micro conversions.
Micro conversions are the small actions that get visitors into your sales funnel in the first place. They also drive them towards macro conversions, which only make up a small portion of the activity on your site.
For example, when a user spends time reading your reviews, or clicks to watch a product video, you can consider these micro conversions.
Though they don’t result in immediate sales, each micro conversion shows a potential buyer getting one step closer to making a purchase.
And they’re a lot easier to generate than their macro counterparts — so it’s a good idea to give your visitors lots of opportunities to make them.
Amazon, for example, does a great job of generating micro conversions by giving visitors a variety of options to take on each product page.
They can read reviews, view product photos and videos, and check out special offers.
All of these actions show engagement with the page and are a good sign that the user is in the consideration stage.
So as you design your user flow, make sure that you give your visitors plenty of options to make micro conversions.
Then, you can test these micro conversions to see which lead to macro conversions.
For example, if you notice that users who watch a product video convert at a higher rate than those who don’t you could decide to incorporate more product videos on your site, and feature them more prominently.
Because even though a video view doesn’t translate directly into revenue, the additional conversions they generate do.
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you make it easy for your visitors to convert.
The more roadblocks you have, the fewer sales or conversions you’ll make. Most of these roadblocks come in the form of usability issues.
For example, Bonobos has great branding and aesthetically pleasing site. Shopping on their site is a great experience — right up until a user is ready to check out.
When a visitor adds an item to their cart, their shopping cart reflects the change in the upper right corner with a number on the cart icon.
But when they click the cart to checkout, they’re required to provide an email address.
They can’t even see the contents of their cart without providing this information.
Then, if they do provide an email address, they’re required to create an account before they can proceed. This is a huge barrier for the checkout process and one that can stop the user flow in its tracks.
This is the kind of barrier that all site owners should seek to eliminate but retailers, in particular, should aim to make the checkout process as simple as they can.
This is especially important when you consider that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is just under 70%.
Less than a third of users who show interest in a product actually end up buying it — so making the process difficult for those who want to complete the process is never a good idea.
Of course, users leave sites without converting for many different reasons.
But in one survey, 37% of shoppers who abandon carts said that they’d done so because a site wanted them to create an account.
This isn’t to say that encouraging users to create an account is a bad thing — but place that call to action after a user checks out so that it doesn’t disrupt the flow of your site.
Now, let’s take a look at mattress company Helix’s checkout process.
First, users are encouraged to enter their name and answer a few questions about their mattress preferences.
At the end of the questionnaire, they’re shown the mattress that best suits their needs. And all they need to provide to purchase it is their payment and shipping information.
They can provide additional information and create an account if they’d like. But that’s completely optional. This call to action is primarily for users who want to save their survey results for later — not for those who are ready to checkout immediately.
By only requiring users to do the bare minimum, Helix eliminates unnecessary barriers to sales.
They also provide a user-friendly interface with a progress bar and explanations for each field. All of this comes together to create a great user flow.
4. You’re not nurturing your leads
Let’s say a user arrives on your site from a mid-funnel keyword.
They browse your services, learn about how you could meet their needs, and like what they see. But they never come back and make a purchase.
If you don’t nurture your leads, this is a scenario that’s all too common.
Nurturing your leads, or helping them move through the sales funnel, is essential. Even your most qualified leads likely won’t be ready to convert immediately after finding your company.
In fact, 48% of businesses say their leads require a long sales cycle with many influencing factors.
If you don’t maintain contact with your leads, only a fraction of them will take the initiative to continue engaging with your company.
But when you have a strategy in place for moving them through the sales funnel, you increase the chances that more will ultimately become buyers.
That’s why nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Plus, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads.
If you don’t yet have a strategy in place, there are a few channels you can start using to encourage more of your leads to become buyers.
When most people think of lead nurturing, they think of email.
That’s because it was one of the first channels marketers used to stay in contact with leads, and it’s still one of the most popular.
Drip email campaigns are particularly effective for this purpose. These campaigns are made up of a sequence of pre-written emails that are triggered by time intervals or on-site actions.
They’re designed to regularly re-engage your audience with your product and move them closer to a specific action.
For example, you might launch a “welcome” drip campaign that introduces new email subscribers to your product.
These emails help new leads learn about your company and highlight the value that you can provide.
You can also use drip campaigns to generate conversions.
For example, let’s say a user signs up for a free trial of your software.
Considering that 70% of free trial users do not end up staying to sign up for the paid version, you need to have a strategy in place for encouraging them to engage with the trial.
You can do this by offering tips for making the most of the tool, or highlighting features they may not have tried.
And since these emails can be sent at time-based intervals, you can also remind each user of how much time they have left with their trial, and offer assistance from your customer service team.
For existing users, you can use a similar strategy to make sure that each of your users is satisfied with your product and potentially upsell them on additional features.
As you develop your email lead nurturing campaigns, remember that it can take 13 or more interactions before a user is ready to make a purchase.
So one or two emails likely won’t be enough to achieve the conversion rates you want.
Fortunately, you don’t need to limit yourself to just email. And email campaigns tend to be even more effective when paired with other channels.
In one study, users who saw Facebook ads in combination with an email were 22% more likely to purchase than customers who only saw the email.
So if you already use emails to nurture your leads and you’re looking to make your strategy more effective, incorporating social channels could be the perfect solution.
Which leads us to…
Social media platforms can be extremely effective for lead nurturing because of the advanced targeting options most of them offer.
You can upload your email list to the platform of your choice, then target users with those email addresses with relevant ad campaigns.
For example, if you segment your email list by signup location or funnel stage, you can upload those lists as separate Custom Audiences on Facebook.
Then, you can create different ads for each list, and tailor the ad content to be relevant to each one.
For example, AdEspresso runs ads that encourage users to download free guides on their site.
If a user already visited a pages related to Facebook ads on their site, this is perfectly suited to their needs.
It can also bring that user back to their site to re-engage with their brand and products — getting them one step closer to becoming a customer.
Although most of us don’t often think of PPC ads as a lead nurturing tactic, they can be effective for encouraging previous site visitors to convert.
This is especially true if you use IF functions and AdWords RLSA audiences.
IF functions let you tailor your ads based on certain user characteristics.
For example, if a user is browsing on a mobile device, you could opt to highlight your mobile booking feature in your ad’s headline.
The goal here is that by tailoring your ad copy to their needs, you’ll be more effective in bringing them to your site.
This alone is a great way to boost your CTR.
But beyond that, you can use RLSA, or remarketing lists for search ads, to tailor your ads based on the previous actions a user has taken on your site.
For example, if you wanted to focus on re-engaging visitors who abandoned their carts, you could set up a campaign that looks something like this:
You can use this feature to remind visitors of products they previously showed interest in, then encourage them to return and complete the purchase.
Site visitors who are retargeted are 70% more likely to convert on a retailer’s website. They’re also three times more likely to click on an ad than people who haven’t interacted with your business before.
So if you’re not yet running retargeted campaigns, this could be a great addition to your strategy.
Live chat features let users communicate instantly with customer service representatives while they’re on a company’s website.
These are now a common feature on many sites. In fact, 30% of customers say they expect to see it on the company sites they visit.
Their popularity is likely because of how much consumers seem to like them. In one Econsultancy survey, 73% of customers said they were satisfied with their past live chat experiences.
This feature is most often used for customer service purposes, but you can also use them to nurture your leads.
The best way to do this is to set your chat software to automatically start conversations based on certain visitor actions. For example, many of your visitors likely browse your product pages, leave without converting, and return a day or two later.
When they return, you could prompt them to start a conversation with one of your customer service representatives to discuss their needs.
This way, you give them time to browse your site on their own time — but encourage them to take it a step further on their next visit.
All of the methods I’ve touched on so far take place online.
And while these strategies can (and often do) work on their own, a phone call may be the final step that needs to happen before a prospect converts.
Of course, this depends entirely on your industry and products. If you run an e-commerce store, I’m not recommending that you call each user who abandons their cart to remind them about the shirt they liked.
But if you’re a B2B service provider, many of your potential clients won’t sign a contract before at least speaking with you on the phone.
This is more personal than any form of digital communication and can make prospects more comfortable investing in high-value services.
Fortunately, if you already have a lead nurturing strategy in place, this can prepare you for a call. Use data from your prospect’s interactions with your brand to shape your pitch, and you’ll be much more effective in making the sale.
5. Your offer isn’t compelling to convert
Many businesses struggle to convert traffic because their offer simply isn’t compelling.
The problem typically isn’t their product or service. They do extremely well locally, where the actual value of their offering is better understood.
The problem is that to compete online you need something more compelling than local convenience. You need to identify why your product or service is too good for customers to pass up, then tell them about it in no uncertain terms.
If you’re first to market, you don’t need to explain why your product is better. You are the only one offering that product.
But very few profitable businesses remain unchallenged. If you’re the second, third, or hundredth to offer a similar product, you need to know exactly what makes your offer stand out.
A big part of this is understanding the real reasons a customer buys your product.
Crazy Egg, for example, isn’t selling heatmap software.
We are selling easy-to-use data analysis for non-analysts. There are hundreds of other companies that business owners can go to for in-depth conversion software.
But Crazy Egg isn’t trying to be the most comprehensive, or even the most accurate, conversion software. The goal is to provide easy visual access to business owners who want a better understanding of their customer base without a master’s degree in data analysis.
Nine dollars per month for easy access to a deeper understanding of your customers is a compelling offer.
Now, let’s say your business is a law firm that specializes in personal injury law, and you want to increase your landing page conversion rates.
You might think that you need to add more information about your experience or a more descriptive explanation of the legal processes involved.
But a personal injury victim recovering from a traumatic run-in with a semi truck doesn’t care about the legal process. He also doesn’t care about what constitutes “negligence” in the state of California.
This potential customer cares about one thing: He has medical bills to pay, and he wants to know if you can get him the money he needs to recover and go back to living his life.
If you make this the focus of your landing page, that visitor will be much more likely to convert.
So: What are you actually selling? What do your customers really want?
There are many factors that go into creating your pitch, but if you can’t answer those two questions, you can’t create a compelling offer.
To a lot of your target audience, your product looks extremely similar to your competitors’. This means you need to figure out a way to differentiate yours.
In one study of over $3 billion in ad spend, Wordstream found that the companies who were seeing conversion rates 2-3x their competitors’ had “massively creative and differentiated offers.”
Even if their core products were similar to their competitors’, they found a way to frame them in a more unique way.
And though the options for doing this are virtually limitless, there are a few options that work particularly well.
Show the dollar value of your service
One of the best ways is to come up with a creative way of showing the value of your product.
For example, marketing agency IMPACT created an ROI calculator in which users can enter data like monthly visitors, average leads, and percentage of qualified leads.
Then, they can see how their revenue could be impacted by changes like a 1% increase in conversions or a 30% increase in site traffic.
This lets IMPACT position themselves as an agency that has the power to elevate that company’s revenue by a specific dollar amount.
That’s much more compelling than simply stating that they can increase conversions by one percent — even though this is the claim behind the calculator.
Don’t send your leads the same offer over and over. They’ll get tired of seeing the same product, and many of them will unsubscribe.
If you only sell a few different products, they may sound like impossible advice to follow.
But with price splintering, you can use an existing product to generate quick sales that later lead to larger conversions.
Price splintering is the practice of breaking off a certain component of your core product or service, then selling it at a lower cost to drive sales of the main product.
In one case study, an online publishing company wanted to increase sales of a $47 survival guide.
Instead of running discounts for the entire guide, they decided to sell one chapter out of it for $7. This is a much lower barrier to entry.
As a result, they saw an 8% conversion rate for the offer.
Of course, their goal wasn’t just to make a bunch of $7 sales.
But of the 9,926 users who purchased that chapter, 2,536 ultimately upgraded to the full guide.
This strategy lets your potential customers test a small portion of your product at a negligible cost. Then, once they trust your brand’s quality, they’ll be much more likely to spend money on a more expensive product.
Starting with free
If it doesn’t make sense to offer certain paid features of your product for a low cost, you can opt to create additional resources and offer them for free.
For example, TemplateMonster sells website templates. It wouldn’t make sense for them to offer a free trial, or sell single-page templates at a low cost.
Instead, they offer other free resources, like Photoshop files for holiday banner ads.
This helps their target audience accomplish a task that’s normally time-consuming and expensive, making it easy and free.
In return, the company gains a qualified lead and gets to show that lead the quality of their design work right off the bat.
Much like the product splintering approach, Tripwires involve using a lower-cost offer to drive high-value sales.
This initial offer can be just about anything, like an inexpensive product, low-cost tool, downloadable guide, or paid webinar. The only requirement is that it involves a cost.
The most common example of this is Vistaprint’s initial offer of 250 premium business cards for $10.
Business cards are one of Vistaprint’s most basic services. And at $10 per pack, this offer is likely not one of the biggest contributors to their overall revenue.
But this strategy isn’t designed to drive significant revenue immediately. Instead, it’s based on the idea that people who need business cards are likely to need other, more expensive services down the road.
Plus, the customers who take this offer are willing to pay a bit extra for a quality product. This means they’re likely even better leads than the users who select the free option.
In the future, when these customers need brochures, signs, and other print products, they’ll likely think of Vistaprint before their competitors.
And since they’ve already spent money with the company and seen their quality of work firsthand, there’s a much lower barrier for that purchase.
If you’re having trouble conveying the value of your services, you can use price anchoring to highlight exactly what it is that you offer.
This strategy is popular among publishers, particularly those who offer both print and online subscriptions.
In one study, 100 MIT students were shown three subscription offers for The Economist:
- Online only ($59)
- Print only ($125)
- Online and print ($125)
Of these students, 16 chose the first option and 84 chose the last. None chose the middle.
Next, 100 new students were given only the first and last options.
This time, 68 chose the first and 32 chose the last.
If this were a real subscription model, removing the middle option would result in a huge decrease in revenue, even though none of the students chose it.
That’s because the middle option had served as an anchor to show the value of the last option.
After all, $125 seems like a great deal for online and print when it’s the same cost as print alone. But when compared only to the online option, at half the cost, it didn’t seem like such a great choice.
Removing the anchor made students go with the cheaper option.
Similar studies have been repeated in many industries, all with similar results.
So if you’re having trouble getting your visitors to convert, adding a “decoy” plan or option to your pricing page can help you illustrate the value of the offer you actually want them to take.
6. Your interface is too complex (or it’s malfunctioning)
If users can’t figure out how to make a purchase or operate your product, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll convert.
The way you address this issue depends on whether you’re trying to run a simple site that generates sales, or a service that requires learning to use a new interface.
For sales-focused sites
Intuitive navigation and adequate site maintenance are a must if you want to convert your traffic. The easier it is to click “Buy,” the more often your visitors will do just that.
Every hurdle, on the other hand, drops a few more potential customers out of the conversion funnel.
This includes issues as simple as site speed.
Now, think about the impact that more serious issues, like a broken shopping cart, can have.
For example, let’s say you need to book a flight for a business trip. You know exactly where you need to go and the exact dates you need to depart and return. You’re all set to book.
You go to your preferred airline’s website, add the flight to your itinerary, and entire your payment information.
Then… you get an error message.
What do you do?
If you’re like most people, you won’t waste another second attempting to get in touch with the airline’s customer service team. Instead, you go to another airline’s site and purchase your tickets there instead.
If that first airline’s checkout process was presenting errors for all of their users, that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
So if you have loads of qualified traffic entering your site, but they never seem to buy before they leave, you should double check to make sure that your checkout process is working correctly.
It might be down, or it might just be too complex for most of your users to spend the time dealing with.
Along the same lines, poor navigation will also gut your conversions. If it’s not immediately obvious to users where they’re supposed to go on your site, they probably won’t stick around to figure it out.
Spend some time on your site in the mindset of your target audience.
Click on your homepage and count how many clicks it takes to finish a transaction. Time yourself.
How long did it take? Did you ever have time to twiddle your thumbs between pages? Was everything easy to find?
Simple issues like this are the worst possible reason to lose sales.
If your site is supposed to be simple, test to make sure that it actually is.
Software and other online services
If your product requires users to learn how to navigate a new interface, you need to make sure that you provide all of the resources they need to do so effectively.
Think of the standard startup “pirate” metrics: Acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue.
Once a user purchases your product or signs up for a free trial, they’re in the activation stage. At this point, it’s absolutely essential that they learn how to use the product and see the benefits of doing so.
Helping brand new users start using a product successfully has a major impact on whether they’ll continue being a customer and eventually upgrade to other service tiers.
This is particularly important during free trials. Once a user sees the value, they’ll be much more willing to pay for your product.
That means that the actions they take early on can have a major impact on your business in the future.
In fact, one study found that a 25% increase in activation yielded a 34.3% increase in monthly recurring revenue.
This means that if your new customers aren’t successfully activating, your potential revenue will be lower.
Unfortunately, achieving high activation rates can be difficult.
For example, the following chart shows an acquisition cohort for 10-day retention from event-tracking platform Amplitude.
Of the users who signed up on day one, only 15.9% were still around by day eight.
So if your activation rates look like this, what can you do to improve them?
Identify what actions that 15.9% took that made them stick around.
You need to know what the key action is that makes the core value of your product or service “click” for a new user. If you can figure out what that action was for your existing customers, you can work towards making it happen for new ones.
Study your existing customers to find out what sparks that realization.
These actions might be connecting with other users on your platform, or using unique features that similar tools don’t offer.
These can even be small.
Appcues explains this process with the example of a music app. If a new app wanted to see which actions were causing users to stick around, they could focus on two small actions: Favoriting three or more songs, and joining one community.
They could track these actions and see how many users who did each stuck around after their free trial ended. Then, they could plot their results along a retention curve.
In this hypothetical example, only about 5% of the original users remain by day 30. Of all of the users, the ones who joined a community were much more likely to stick around.
This means that if the app drove more users to join a community with email campaigns or in-app prompts, they could increase overall activation and retention rates.
Of course, in this example, we’re assuming that the app is already intuitive and user-friendly.
But if your product is more complex, you’ll need to spend more time creating a helpful onboarding process.
Your onboarding process also has a huge impact on activation and retention rates.
For example, Autopilot is a SaaS company that helps companies create automated marketing “journeys.”
When they set to increase their activation rate, they defined activation as users publishing one journey in their software. At the start, their metrics looked like this:
Not many users were taking advantage of the feature, even though they were encouraging them to.
So their first step in improving activation rates was to revamp their onboarding process.
After conducting paid user testing, they saw that users often misread steps, or attempted to quickly skip through them and ended up failing to complete the onboarding tutorial.
To address this, they reduced the amount of text in each step and added simple images showing the action required.
They also redesigned the user interface to only give two options on each screen: Complete the step, or exit the walkthrough.
As a result of these changes, their activation rate jumped from 30% to 42%.
And a few weeks after launching the redesigned onboarding process, Autopilot saw that of the users who’d published their first journey, 55% purchased a subscription.
Their strategy was to simplify the process.
But what if your interface isn’t all that complicated, and users still aren’t interacting with certain features?
Here’s what Canva did:
Their users were already using certain tools, but they wanted to improve activation rates for their poster feature.
First, they ran user test to see which features new users engaged with. Then, they sent an email survey to churned users to ask about their goals for the poster feature.
They discovered that the tasks their users were hoping to accomplish varied, and it wasn’t immediately obvious that the feature was equipped to serve all of them.
To address this issue, they launched welcome message with a variety of template options that included several different segments of their target audience.
This addition resulted in a 10% increase in activation.
Then, they doubled down on their results by replacing some of the templates that were seeing lower engagement for different options. This led to even more of an increase.
After seeing these results, they used this insight to roll out similar onboarding for other features, including their paid service, Canva for Work.
As a result, they saw similar activation lifts across the board.
So if you don’t see the activation rates you’d like, reach out to your potential customers and see what your tool is missing.
In some cases, addressing the problem — and improving your activation rates — could be as simple as featuring a specific feature more prominently.
7. You aren’t testing enough
Let’s say you’re a conversion expert.
You know exactly what drives users to convert, and you’ve implemented all the winning features on your site. Or maybe you’ve opted to use a service like GetResponse, and simply use pretested conversion winners for your site’s landing pages.
You might think that you’ve maxed out your conversion rate and have nothing else left to improve.
But what if your site is the 1 out of 100 that actually increases conversions with the inclusion of an image slider?
It’s important to remember that you should use the “rules” of conversion rate optimization as are general guidelines for what works across a large selection of websites.
They may not all hold true for your specific site.
If you aren’t seeing the same conversion bump that another site experienced after adding a video, maybe your audience actually prefers static images.
Or maybe the issue isn’t even visuals, and your audience simply wants more in-depth written content.
You certainly won’t if you aren’t testing.
If creating a specific piece of content will take a large investment of time and resources, you want to be sure that your users will actually like it.
For example, Distilled gauges interest in content by creating “Launching Soon” pages for what they’re planning to create.
Then, they run AdWords campaigns to test the cost per acquisition for that topic.
This shows whether the topic is worth investing in so that the client can make an informed decision on whether it is worth the time.
If you’re not sure whether it’s worth it to spend a few thousand dollars on an in-depth resource like a downloadable guide, this strategy can give you an idea of the kinds of results it could generate for your business.
Getting users to engage with your opt-in forms is extremely important since these forms are often what convert visitors into leads.
If you don’t see a healthy amount of conversions on your opt-in forms, it’s time to run some test.
In some cases, all it takes to boost your opt-ins is a simple change, like moving your form above the fold.
In one study, this resulted in a 30% increase in email signups, with no drop-off in sales.
Of course, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Test for yourself and see which locations on your site result in the most opt-ins, then use this information to make a data-backed decision.
In other cases, the issue may not be the location at all.
For example, BettingExpert left the location and fields for their opt-in form the same, but changed their CTA from “Join BettingExpert” to “Get FREE Betting Tips.”
This resulted in a 31.54% increase in sign-ups.
Be specific about what a user stands to gain by filling out each form on your site.
Present a clear benefit, and your conversion rates will likely reflect the value your visitors see in taking action.
As we mentioned above, your onboarding sequence can have a major impact on how your customers perceive the value of your product.
But this isn’t just true for companies that sell software.
If you want your customers to engage with any part of your business online, you need to show the value of doing so.
For example, Inbound.org runs a forum and wants to encourage each new user that signs up to become an active, engaged member.
That’s why after creating a profile, they’re directed to the homepage, with a “Getting Started” box that walks them through the process of using all of the features the forum offers.
This is a great example of gradual onboarding because it doesn’t prevent the user from doing what they want or accessing full features.
Still, it remains there until the user completes those actions. So even if they don’t want to complete the process immediately, they’re reminded to do it the next time they use the site.
8. You aren’t processing what works
If you don’t process what works, you’re going to repeat what doesn’t.
Track your ideas
As you look for new ways to improve your product and conversion rates, you can work from established growth hacking frameworks.
First, figure out what your customers need help with. Then, generate ideas to address them and score those ideas based on impact and ease.
Make the impactful ideas your focus, and test the easy ones in between.
But be sure that through this entire process, you’re tracking everything.
The method you use could be as simple as a Trello board like this one:
Be willing to take risks, but document each of these tests.
Keeping a log of everything you try will help you avoid wasting time and resources on ideas that don’t work in the future.
Create templates for your campaigns
Using a standard process for each new campaign you launch or strategy you test will help the process go more smoothly for your team, and make it easier to compare results.
Start each campaign by drafting a brief that includes a plan of tasks and publish dates.
Then, set clearly-defined goals and determine how you plan to measure them.
In most cases, you can use Google Analytics to measure your success by setting custom goals.
For example, if you want to earn more email subscribers like in this CoSchedule example, you can set this as a goal in Google Analytics.
This gives you an easy way to measure progress and results at a glance.
Then, when you run other campaigns designed to drive email subscriptions, you can compare them and see which produces better results.
Once you’ve created a workflow that works, you can use tools like Process Street to replicate them and measure your progress.
You can create process templates to cut down on the planning stage for each of your new campaigns. Then, you can run multiple versions of the template as checklists.
This makes for easy collaboration and ensures that everyone gets notifications when a task is completed.
The more efficient you become at measuring progress, the better you’ll get at making informed decisions about your website.
Does your website have traffic but no sales?
Translating traffic into conversions and revenue isn’t as easy as it might seem.
If you don’t see the results you want, there are some issues that could be to blame. Fortunately, with a bit of testing and analysis, you can get to the root of what’s preventing your visitors from making a purchase.
And once you do, you can continue improving your SEO strategy to attract even more traffic — with the confidence that more of those qualified visitors will ultimately become your customers.
What strategies have you used to help your traffic levels translate into conversions?