Conversion, Not Traffic, is Key

By Kishen Hawkins
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Many business owners believe that increasing the number of visitors to their website is key to selling more product or service. Indeed, many will invest heavily in expensive online marketing programmes, including SEO and PPC advertising just to get more eyeballs on their website. Although this is not a bad thing per se, it does not guarantee sales – it just guarantees spend on online marketing.

Conversion

What many people fail to recognise is that conversion rates are more important than overall visitor numbers. “Conversion” is where a passive website viewer takes some positive action, e.g. subscribing to a newsletter, purchasing an item from an eCommerce store or picking up the phone and making an enquiry.

Consider, for example, a retail store on a street with high footfall. Lots of people come in to have a look around, but they don’t necessarily buy anything. There are many factors that affect whether someone will buy; switch from “just browsing” to “I’m buying”. Only one of those factors is the quality of the retailer’s product.

Similarly, increasing the number of visits to a website is not enough. A website owner must think about what they want the visitor to do once they’re at the website, and how they can make that happen. How can you convert more of those website visitors in to active purchasers?

Many experienced online marketers will tell you that there is a formula to increasing conversion rates. In some cases this is true, but I think that as with much in business – some of it is science and some of it is art.

Using Web Design To Improve Conversion Rate Optimisation

An effective web design can draw a visitor towards a particular conclusion by leading their attention through specific actions. Do you want a user to subscribe to your newsletter? How are you going to focus their attention to the relevant part of the page and how are you going to convince them to type in their email address? Do you want them to purchase the items in their basket? Where are you hiding the checkout button?

There are many techniques for increasing conversion. Depending on your circumstances, some of them might include:

  • Eliminate barriers. For example, remove the forced registration-stage before allowing a user to checkout with their purchases.
  • Visually focus attention.Clear everything irrelevant to the desired action from the page, showing only that which leads the user to perform an action.
  • Set up “landing pages”. For example, as part of an online advertising campaign, have users click through to a page dedicated to the product that made them click on your advert, rather than sending them to the normal homepage. See our Case Study: LostMy.Name: Campaign Focused Landing Pages
  • Craft your content towards a specific action. Does your copy “sell” or simply describe? Are you listing features or advertising benefits? Are you selling a service or selling an outcome?

Having a valuable product or service is very rarely enough to guarantee “conversion”. Few of us are lucky enough to have a product which “sells itself”. For most website owners, the challenge is to make every visit to their website count; reducing the number of visitors that “bounce” without buying, or enquiring, or signing up.

How are you converting your website visitors?

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