Do you want to know what great conversion rate optimization looks like? Then pay attention next time you stroll through any big grocery store!

We mean it — it doesn’t get much more sophisticated than that.

In a grocery store, every customer’s journey is meticulously planned, predicted, and guided in a way that compels you to buy. Even if all you need is one potato, you aren’t walking away without something else.

Sure, you will be telling yourself that you’ve been meaning to get that item for a while, and just “remembered” you needed it — but that’s exactly what makes retail marketing so brilliant!

In many ways, a well-optimized website is like that grocery store. If you want a great conversion rate, you need to design everything around that goal.

And we don’t mean silliness like changing the color of your “Add to Cart” button and testing how it goes. Everyone does that, even if they rarely do it properly! We are talking about in-depth, advanced strategies — the kind you can’t implement with a few clicks.

Today, we’re going to look at three of these strategies, and show you how you can implement them in your business. Are they less approachable than simple tweaks and A/B testing? Sure! Are they still worth the effort? You bet!

So let’s dive in.

next-level

1. Prioritize micro-conversions

When it comes to conversion rate optimization, most people inevitably focus on the pages that drive the most revenue: sales pages, product pages, checkout pages, you name it.

At first glance, the logic behind it seems very sensible. If you optimize those pages, you’ll get more sales — right? Right?

Ironically, your “money-making” pages don’t provide the biggest return on investment. Of course, you should still optimize them — we would never suggest that it doesn’t matter!

But sooner or later, after initial quick wins, you will discover that your conversion rate on those pages has stagnated, and your growth has slowed.

You see, when you only focus on the pages that drive revenue, you start to hit the point of diminishing returns pretty fast. By definition, only a fraction of visitors will convert into paying customers — and no amount of obsessive tweaking will help you skyrocket a conversion rate that’s already pretty solid!

So instead of focusing on the final leg of your customer’s journey, you should direct your conversion optimization efforts to the very start of it…

…to micro-conversions.

Micro-conversions are small actions that separate a passive website visitor from an interested prospect. Every time your potential customer makes even the tiniest interaction with your website, they are basically raising their hand and saying, “Hey, I might like what you’re selling!”

Here are some examples of those small actions that can make a big difference:

  • Downloading a free trial of your product or service.
  • Clicking through to see the full product description.
  • Sharing your content.
  • Emailing your customer support — or someone else on your team.
  • Clicking “unimportant” links (e.g. your social media profiles) to get more information.
  • Watching a video about your product or service.
  • Submitting a survey form.
  • Signing up for your email list.

Very often, a successful micro-conversion leads to a bigger conversion down the line. Although you can’t always draw a direct line between those small actions and your future sales, there is a strong correlation.

People who comment on your posts are more likely to become customers. All those who email you or read up on your products make for extremely qualified leads. The more people do that gets them exposed to your message, the better the odds that one day you will count them among your happy customers!

How to implement this

Here are a few action steps you can take to improve micro-conversions on your website:

  • Clean up your design — nothing hurts user experience more than poor design choices. Creating a cleaner, uncluttered look for your website is the single biggest thing you can do to improve conversion rates across the board.
  • Increase loading speeds on relevant pages — slow loading speeds don’t just make Google hate you, they also make potential customers leave and never come back. Making your website faster is great for SEO and for your conversion rates.
  • Bring your calls to action above the fold — chances are, if someone has to scroll to interact with your call to action, they won’t do it. It’s important that any website element that leads to your desired micro-conversion be as prominent as possible. For example, if you want more email subscribers, get a hero image with an opt-in!

2. Embrace personalization

As you know, your target market is not a monolithic group of people who share the same values and need the same things. They belong to different demographics, they believe different things, they are at different places in their lives…

So it stands to reason that marketing to these diverse groups in the same way is not the best thing you could do for your business. After all, isn’t everyone telling us how people are so jaded and over-exposed to marketing messages that they only react to hyper-relevant and super-targeted offers?

Now, if you’re serving two very distinctive target markets at the same time (think Uber, marketing to both drivers and riders separately), you already know this, and we’re preaching to the choir.

But if your target market consists of several subsets of target customers, and until now you’ve been directing a single message at all of them, you might want to change that.

It’s not just about hitting the right pain points, or serving up the offer in the right way, though. It’s about giving your target market a great user experience — by focusing only on the things they will find relevant. That alone will help your conversions!

How to implement this

Here’s how you can cater to different audiences within a single website to increase your conversion rates.

  • Create separate key pages — like your product pages, or your Services page — for each type of customer. For example, if you have a product or service that could be useful for both web developers and graphic designers, you can create tailored messages for each group.
  • Feature specific testimonials and case studies that showcase a particular type of customer. A great rule of thumb is to have one of these for each distinctive customer persona.
  • Finally, you can design a user experience that first asks your potential customers about who they are, and then directs them to the relevant user experience. You can use the same approach for customer development, boosting brand awareness, breaking into a new niche, and more.

3. Monitor your user experience

You and your customers experience your brand’s website in fundamentally different ways. You know where everything is. You could probably navigate it with your eyes closed. You’re like a wolf running through the moonlit forest — everything is familiar, you have zero trouble seeing where to go, and you know exactly what you’re after.

By contrast, your customers are much closer to someone stumbling through the same forest while drunk and blindfolded. They don’t know where anything is, and usually they make progress by feel, using the design and the copy to guide them.

Everything that used to mildly annoy you about your website experience… is downright infuriating  for your customers. When they navigate your website, they don’t have the benefit of the insider’s perspective.

More importantly, your customers have no idea how awesome your product or service is — and so they have zero incentive to tolerate any inconvenience! They say, “Frustrated people don’t buy” — we would go so far as to say that frustrated people don’t even stick around!

So, with all this in mind, what can you do to make sure that your user experience is as smooth as possible? After all, your conversion rate depends on it.

The short answer is: be the Big Brother!

You can track every single interaction people have on your website, and identify where they get tripped up. This enables you to fix any psychological friction that your potential customers might experience, and create the optimal user experience for them.

The beauty of this method is that it doesn’t rely on guesswork: everything you need to know, all the data from thousands of user sessions, will be right there for you — often compiled, pre-analyzed, and visualized for your convenience.

What a great time 2016 is to be doing marketing!

How to implement this

You have a wide variety of tools at hand to monitor user experience — both at the level of thousands of website visits, and even an individual customer. We are talking about tools like:

  • Heat maps and eye-tracking — displaying where people are looking and clicking. You’ll be surprised how many random spots people click on a page, and how much time they spend hung up in seemingly obvious places!
  • Recorded user sessions — you can pay dedicated testers to come in and record their experience with your website or software, exposing any problems along the way. Or you can record visitors as they use your website, and see where exactly they need clarity.
  • Basic analytics — you’d be surprised at how many people neglect even the simplest data. Things like clicks, views, duration of user sessions, as well as your most and least popular pages, can give you a lot of useful, actionable insights into parts of your website that need improving.

Conversion rate optimization seems intimidating at first — but as soon as you realize how much potential it has for boosting your revenue, investing some time and effort into understanding this process will seem like a no-brainer.

It’s not hard to score some early wins when you optimize your website. But many business owners get stuck after that point. We hope that the three strategies we’ve shared with you in today’s post will help you increase your conversion rates beyond those initial quick wins — enjoy!

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