Photo Source: User edkohler on flickr.
Note: The following is a guest post by Tim Harwood, Founder of TreatmentSaver.com.
Whilst page views of your website are important, unless your revenue comes exclusively from advertising, page views alone are not going to make you any money. It is similar to the well-known phrase ‘Turnover is for vanity, profit is for sanity’.
And the same relationship applies between page views and conversion. Getting people to your site is only half the job; converting these ‘leads’ is what is actually going to make you any money.
This is certainly something that we struggled with when first launched our website Treatmentsaver.com. We spent all our resources on increasing our traffic with very little thought on converting any of them. Our call to action was effectively an afterthought which looking back now is quite embarrassing.
Our website is effectively an appointment booking platform and clinics pay us every time an appointment is booked though our site. After finally realising the importance of conversion we set about maximising the potential of our site. Below are five tips that we used to improve our conversion and hopefully they can do the same for you too:
1) Test what works.
Never ever assume that changes you are going to make are guaranteed to improve conversion. We found this out to our detriment as we changed what we thought were guaranteed conversion busters only to see our numbers drop! From that day on we vowed to test everything that we changed using A-B split testing amongst other techniques. It is also important to only test one thing at a time otherwise it is impossible to know the effect that each change had.
2) Get user feedback.
The simplest way to do this is to ask family and friends to give a critique of your website and in particular the conversion element. The problem with this is that you are unlikely to get a truly honest appraisal for fear of offending the website you so love! A much better idea is to pay for some user testing using websites such as usertesting.com.
The great thing about using these services is that you are getting real people using your site who do not know you are your product. You can set questions to ask the users and the one we found the most useful was ‘What are the reasons that would stop you booking an appointment’. Obviously this question will vary depending on what your conversion goal is. Use this feedback to make the appropriate changes to your site.
3) Get some social proof.
This can lead to a massive increase in conversion as you are effectively giving people the confidence to carry out the transaction. Social proof can take many different forms and you should test different ones.
Groupon uses this to great effect simply by clearly stating how many people have already made a purchase. The psychology of this is that if 100 people have already bought the product then it must be good so I will do the same!
4) Make your contact details visible.
Having your contact details clearly visible within your call to action gives potential buyers the confidence to go ahead. It’s your way of showing that you are confident in your product and not afraid to be contacted.
5) Address potential issues.
Within your design you should try to answer any potential barriers that people may have to booking. For our website following a round of user testing we realised that the main reasons that prevented people from booking was wondering if they had to add their credit card details and also being worried that they were committed to having the treatment.
We then brought these two elements into the booking process clearly stating that no credit card details were required and that there was no obligation to go ahead with the treatment. This lead to a significant increase in our conversion.
I hope these tips have been useful and it would be great if people would share their own findings for their website. The reality is however that improving conversion is an on-going process and there are no absolute hard and fast rules.
Just remember testing is everything and it is the only sure way to make improvements. The great thing about increasing conversion is that it will have an instant impact on your bottom line which is bound to put a smile on your face.
About the Author
Tim is the founder of TreatmentSaver.com, a laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery comparison website.