Six Steps to Conversion Health ~ Encyclopedia - Online Marketing With Google Yahoo MSN

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Six Steps to Conversion Health

Are you planning a site re-design? Is your landing page not converting well enough? Hopefully you've got the basics covered, and your landing page has a search function, contact information and a strong marketing message. But what else can you do to improve your conversion rate?

Once a visitor lands on your website, the clock starts ticking and you have only a few seconds to convince them to stay there, let alone make a purchase. At first glance, a user should know that they are in the right place and that their transactions will be secure. Sound daunting? With only a few easy changes, you can convert more visitors. Consider these six points as you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current site and plan your re-design.

1. Custom Landing Pages - Add a Personal Touch:

Does your landing page have a navigation bar or feature multiple product lines and promotions? If so, you are committing conversion suicide. You must convince the visitor that the landing page is just for them. Avoid using home pages or all-inclusive multipurpose landing pages. Create specific landing pages for every ad and paid search term. When you land a visitor on your home page, they may stay longer and check out more of your pages, but chances are they won't make a purchase. Instead, consider taking your visitors to a custom landing page. They'll stay on your site a shorter amount of time, but they'll convert about three times more often. And whatever you do, do not include a navigation bar on your landing pages - it's completely unrelated to your sale and can dramatically lower your conversion rate.

Custom landing pages are so important for pay-per-click advertising because you are creating consistency from keyword to ad to landing page. Many campaigns fall short of their goals due to an overly general landing page which does not meet the customer's expectations of relevancy. Just make sure you include some branding elements that will help consumers understand who you are and what you offer.

2. Images - Size Matters:

Product image size is actually one of the most important conversion factors on your landing page. The bigger and more detailed a product image is, the more inclined the consumer is to make a purchase. Make sure the picture is clear and full-color to contribute to the professional appearance of your landing page. In addition to product images, pictures of people can also increase conversion rates.

3. Confidence Messaging - Counter the Fear Factor:

Retailers must gain trust from shoppers. A large percentage of consumers won't buy online because they're absolutely terrified of giving out their credit card information. They've heard stories on the news about identity theft and with increasing spyware and phishing threats, consumers are rightfully concerned. Smart marketers counter customer fears by placing third-party endorsements such as "VeriSign secured" or " customer certified" on their landing pages to give visitors confidence to buy.

5. Registration Forms - Don't Scare Them Away:

More information is not always better. When you scrunch too much copy onto one landing page, you make your visitor's eyes hurt and they are more likely to leave. Keep your font size over 10 point type and try just one column of copy. Few visitors will scroll down, so your marketing message should be short and sweet and above the fold. Your goal is to not confuse your visitors, so place your conversion activity in a clear and prominent location. Overall, the design should be clear, uncluttered and easy to read. Don't try to jazz things up with flashing buttons, overly bright colors or artsy fonts.

6. Newsletter Subscriptions - Keep Them Coming Back for More:

Not only are visitors worried about their privacy, they're also a little "work averse". So keep your registration forms short. Limit your page to six or seven fields and don't require too much personal information like Phone numbers. Include e-mail privacy information so the visitor knows that you won't share their information with other marketers.

It's also important to have the reg form on the landing page above the fold so the user doesn't have to click to convert (remember, they may be concerned that a program will download if they click).

Another tip is to not require registration for free downloads like white papers. Instead, on the thank-you page, offer a sign-up for further updates and offers.

Test it.

Conversions don't always happen right away. Keep your visitors coming back by having an easy e-mail newsletter sign-up on your landing page. You're also more likely to keep your customers converting when you build a relationship with them by sending various offers, news and discounts directly to their in-box.


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