Seven Ways to Boost Conversion Rates

In a recent column, I discussed relevance and its value as the most critical factor in the conversion mix. Today, I’ll share with you seven practical tips you can use to boost your conversion rates. They happen to be the seven most common relevance problems we uncover for our new clients.

Email

When you compose an email, make your point immediately. The point must be valuable to the reader. After you’ve written the entire email, you can expand on the subject and call for action if necessary. The subject line together with the recipient and sender lines (sometimes the preview pane as well) are your reader’s first impression of you. Their responsibility is to inform the reader about the email’s relevance. If the subject line is not congruent with the opening sentences and the reader’s first impression, hence expectation, she’ll consider the message irrelevant.

You wrote a killer email and your prospects heeded the call to action. What does your landing page look like? Does it address exactly the same issue as the email or is there a disconnect? Pay attention to your landing page. If it’s congruent with your offer, you are much more likely to convert.

Newsletters

I read newsletters, lots of newsletters. Who writes these things? Why should I care about all the things happening at the writer’s company? If you don’t have something to say that will affect your prospects’ and customers’ lives and will provide value, then you’re not thinking hard enough.

Search Engines

In the pay-per-click (PPC) engines, you possess the ability to easily update information in your listings (this feature is underused). In the “free” search engines, it isn’t as easy. If you want to make your listings more relevant so they will get higher CTRs, you may want to focus on and edit your page titles. It’s shocking to see how many Web sites still have a company name, “Insert the page title here,” or even “Homepage” as a title. This important detail is most often neglected when the IT department is responsible for the site.

PPC Search Engines

You can spend hours researching keywords you want to buy in PPC engines. You can find programs, tools, articles, consultants, books, and commentary ad nauseam. It frustrates me to find a PPC listing so generic it’s irrelevant. A home furnishings client bid a significant sum for a keyword, the name of an upscale plumbing fixture manufacturer. But our client’s own listing was generic, mentioning only their Web site. Guess what? When they changed their listing to include the manufacturer’s name (Your Source For [Brand Name’s] Products), click-throughs skyrocketed.

Web Sites

I’m certain all of you have a list of every possible reason someone might want to buy your product or service. I’d like to think all of you have thought out everything a potential buyer might need to know before buying. I hope you have actually spent time to match your prospects’ buying process to your sales process. If you’ve invested your time wisely, you should be in a position to start creating decision trees. Decision trees based on every personality type may be more ambitious than your resources allow. You can still divide the logical and emotional arguments for buying your product or service. Then, you can propel prospects through your site with the reasoning they are most comfortable buying with.

Buttons

I love buttons. They can be a wonderful call to action. All you have to do is to decide where to put them, what color they’ll be, what size and shape, and what they will say. Here’s a tip that will boost click-throughs fairly quickly. Whenever you call for an action with a button, it should say what action you want people to take (e.g., “add to cart,” “subscribe,” “register”). Someone in the IT department probably first slapped the word “go” on a button.

Funny thing about relevance. Once it’s pointed out, it seems so obvious. Simplicity is its own trap. When we regard something as simple, we pay less attention to it. If it seems obvious, pay more attention to it and get it right.

Are you thinking of every hyperlink in your email or on your Web site as an implicit question requiring a relevant answer? If you aren’t, your conversion rate will suffer.

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