You can improve your online sales by focusing on two key factors: increasing your website traffic and boosting your conversion rate. While many marketers prioritize website visitors (through social media or email marketing campaigns), the most effective way to drive sales is to grow the percentage of visitors that convert—your average conversion rate.
Boosting your conversion rate can generate more sales from the same amount of traffic and lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) and a better user experience for your visitors. Just like a more fuel-efficient car can travel farther on the same amount of fuel, a website with higher conversion rates can generate more sales with the same amount of traffic.
There are various tactics you can use to achieve this. Here’s how to make it happen.
What are conversions?
A conversion is a specific action a website visitor takes that fulfills the website owner’s predetermined goal. It represents an exchange of value between the visitor and the website.
Conversions can be divided into two categories:
- Macro conversions. A website typically has a macro conversion, the desired action most valuable to them. For ecommerce sites, this primary conversion is usually a purchase.
- Micro conversions. A website can also have several micro-conversions, which are essential in moving visitors toward the primary conversion. Secondary conversions for ecommerce stores include signing up for a free trial or newsletter or even just clicking on a specific link.
Marketers often refer to their conversion rate as an important key performance indicator (KPI). Your conversion rate is the percentage of visits to your site that result in a conversion. If your site gets 100 visits, and two of them result in a purchase, your conversion rate is 2% (2 ÷ 100). This practice of increasing your conversion rate is called conversion rate optimization (CRO).
How to boost conversions
- Talk to your customers
- Analyze your website data
- Review your site’s friction points
- Test and enhance your value proposition
- Audit your technical setup
Think of the entire process of boosting conversions as blending the scientific and creative sides of marketing. The first step is to gather data—the scientific part. The second step is to use this information to generate ideas for improvement—the creative part. The goal is to create a seamless experience for your potential customers.
Here are five ways to gather information about your site experience and some of the ideas this data can generate:
1. Talk to your customers
Many marketers assume that increasing conversions starts with quantitative data. However, most often, especially for businesses without hundreds of daily visitors, the best insight comes from speaking directly with your customers.
You can conduct formal customer interviews by asking your customers questions such as, “Why did you buy this product?,” “What was the most important feature?,” and “Did you have any hesitations or issues when buying?” However, you can obtain some of this insight more naturally—from customers and non-customers—by implementing and reviewing on-site surveys or chat tools.
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This type of information tends to provide two kinds of insight:
- Questions about your product that your site may not answer. For example, if you sell a food product, visitors may wonder if they need to refrigerate it, which your product or FAQ page should clarify.
- Insight about your value proposition. You might learn, for example, that while your website focuses on your product’s health benefits, your customers are buying it because it’s cheaper than your competitor’s, which can inform your copywriting.
2. Analyze your website data
Concrete data can provide user behavior insights and allows you to make data-driven decisions without selection or memory bias. A customer might say they like Product Page A’s design the best, but if the data says that Product B drove 20% more conversions, you can confirm that Product B is the higher-performing page.
The most important data is your conversion rate (i.e., the percentage of visitors who convert). The best way to gain insight from your conversion rate is to segment and compare by page and by traffic channel. Many analytics tools can produce this data, but the most popular is Google Analytics. Here’s how to review it:
- Segment and compare by page. Segmenting data by page helps inform which are performing best, helping you formulate theories about why they perform better. Analyzing user behavior can help you create an ideal user journey. By examining factors such as whether users are more likely to convert after visiting a collection or a product page, you can gain insights that inform how you structure your site’s navigation to guide them.
- Segment and compare by traffic channel. Traffic channels help you understand what traffic is most qualified. For example, you might find that your Google Ads convert more than your Instagram Ads. Although you may have to dig deeper to see if the ad platforms are sending visitors to the same landing pages, this data can inform your overall traffic strategy, boosting conversions by sending you more high-quality traffic.
3. Review your site’s friction points
Every website has key friction points—parts of the experience that aren’t as smooth as they could be for visitors. While a smooth, seamless experience may seem subjective, it’s actually quite measurable. Here are a few ways to quantify it:
- Measure which FAQs are viewed most on your website. FAQs are an essential component of many websites, mainly for research-oriented visitors. However, they can sometimes be overwhelming and dense, making them less effective in supporting an ideal conversion journey. A frequently accessed question is an opportunity to integrate it into the core site experience. You can track FAQ interaction with apps like Helphub.
- Review scroll depth and heat map reports. Scroll depth and heat map reports tell you exactly where users are dropping off on the page. If you find that the heat (the relative number of people viewing a part) of your homepage falls off at a specific section, it likely has high friction. Heatmap.com provides a free ecommerce-focused option for both these reports.
- Review purchase funnel dropoffs. Most purchase funnels follow pretty standard steps: product, cart, shipping info, payment info, and the purchase completed. By comparing your funnel’s stage-by-stage drop-off performance to benchmarks like those provided by Littledata, you can see where your conversion funnel may have extra friction. One of the most common friction points is the payment info page, where visitors tend to ask themselves if it’s worth it. This is an excellent opportunity to add social proof, such as a testimonial or a money-back guarantee.
4. Test and enhance your value proposition
A website’s value proposition is one of its most important drivers of conversions. If your audience is genuinely interested in your product, they may be more tolerant of technical issues or friction.
Conducting an A/B test is the best way to understand if you can improve your value proposition. If you’re running digital advertising campaigns, you can test different versions of your taglines in your ad copy, then use the winning version on your site. You can also use tools like Google Optimize to test different taglines directly on your site, seeing which version drives better conversions.
5. Audit your technical setup
Many sites’ conversion rates are held back by elements of their technical setup. The most common issues are slow page loading times (also known as site speed), poor mobile optimization, and broken links.
The good news is that these elements are easily testable using various tools. GTMetrix provides an actionable page speed review for ecommerce sites, Google provides a free compatibility test for your mobile site, and Screaming Frog can check your pages for broken links.
By actioning the ideas you generate from these types of analyses, you can increase your conversions. To take it further, you can A/B test your ideas to prove they worked.