Increasing conversion rate is not an art, it is a science. It’s based entirely on making data driven changes to your site that provide desirable results. Often it’s time consuming and not all that fun. Well, if you’re looking for fun, perhaps internet marketing is not your thing.
In Part 1 of our series, we discussed the essential basics required for conversion optimisation.
If you missed it, I’d suggest going back to read Part 1, because what I plan on introducing today will be built on those same exact principles.
Enough chit chat, let’s get started…
Proof, Proof, and Even More Proof
When a potential consumer visits your website, they want verifiable proof that your product or service does what it claims.
Over the years, I’m sure you’ve come across countless websites that make some VERY bold claims (especially in the make money online niche). You’ll also notice that the shadiest ones do not show proof to back up their hype.
It’s important to understand that people have a built in BS-metre and are naturally skeptical when it comes to online purchases. The more extravagant the claim, the more the BS-metre chirps. If you were to enter a brick and mortar business, you could inspect an item before you make a purchase. It’s tangible.
They can make the claim to have the “world’s most comfortable pillow” or the “highest resolution television” on the market today, and you can clearly feel that pillow or watch that TV before making a final decision.
When buying online, all the consumer has to go on is what you and others tell them (and they will believe what others tell them 10 times out of 10 over what you have to say).
Plus, it doesn’t take much to sell online, and it can be done completely anonymous, which makes consumers additionally weary of fraud.
This is why it’s YOUR job as the marketer to ease the tension and dismiss the potential objections of the consumer by providing undeniable PROOF that your product / service is legitimate. People want to know that they’re getting what they pay for.
Every year, Bright Local provides a survey to discover how people perceive reviews prior to making an online purchase.
Key statistics found in the 2015 Review;
- 92% of consumers now read reviews prior to buying online (up from 88% in 2014)
- 40% of consumers formed an opinion after reading only 1-3 reviews
Strong numbers, right?
Types of Proof
There are 4 types of social proof that you can add to your website in order to optimise conversions. Each one triggers a psychological response within the “inner consumer”, a response that causes people to act.
Expert proof is when a product or service is supported by an influencer within that industry. This is known as the halo effect, which is a fancy psychological term that means we judge someone’s opinion by how we view them.
If we view someone as being knowledgeable in a certain area, we are more likely to accept their opinion in that area as a fact.
This is incredibly powerful. I’m sure you’ve visited a website and seen a positive review from an expert and said “Oh, so and so endorses this, so it MUST be good.” Expert reviews are highly sought after for this reason and can instantly lend credibility to an otherwise unknown brand.
So, if you have a product or service, contact some influencers within your niche to see what they think (Heck, if they don’t like it, at least you’ll get some constructive criticism, right?)
This is when you receive approval from a well-known person. This can be tricky, as the image the celebrity gives out is important to how people will perceive your brand. If they are seen in a good light and are a proper match for your brand, then it can do wonders for sales. However, if there is an obvious mismatch or their image fades, then it can hurt your brand as well.
An example of social proof in action is the partnership between Priceline.com and actor, William Shatner. This unlikely duo began working together in 1997 and was one of the first web start-ups to receive a celebrity endorsement.
Shatner is not a travel expert, but people seem to like him and often associate him with the brand. The relationship seems to have worked out as Priceline’s market cap has exceeded $60 billion and Shatner has a reported $600 million in Priceline shares.
User social proof
User social proof is when someone who has used the product or service has given their approval. This can come in the form of online reviews, case studies, (and the most common) testimonials.
When reading user reviews, we tend to read it like a story and put ourselves in their shoes. The more detailed a review the better. Individual experiences tend to resonate more for consumers than statistics.
If Debra said she made $100,000 from product “xyz”, we envision ourselves having earned that money. When Debra says she took her new earnings and went on a fancy vacation to a tropical island, we see ourselves sipping mai tais on the beach.
The wisdom of crowds
Ever heard of FOMO (fear of missing out)?
Well it’s REAL.
It’s a compulsive concern than one will miss out on an opportunity if they don’t act. This occurs A LOT on social media as we tend to compare ourselves to others.
However, marketers use this to their advantage all the time…and you should to.
Here’s an example.
This is the email opt in box for the Content Marketing Institute. They drive email subscribers by explicitly telling you that 150,000 other have taken advantage of this opportunity and signed up.
The mind registers, “Woah, 150,000”, I don’t want to be left out! People want to be a part of the action.
Optimize for Revenue, Not Sales
Remember, the purpose of increasing conversions is to earn more money. More sales does NOT always equate to more money.
Let me explain…
When running your tests, there may come a point when your conversion rate stagnates or even drops, but your gross revenue actually increases.
This will occur in two instances:
Reason #1 – You increased the price of your product or service.
Let’s pretend you have a website that sells “widgets” for $20. This month, you received 10,000 visitors and 5% of them converted to a sale. That comes to $10,000, which isn’t too shabby for a months’ worth of work.
The next month, you decide to test an increase in your price point to $40 per widget. Traffic remains the same at 10,000 visitors for the month. This time, only 3% convert to sales.
If we were solely focused on conversions, this test would look like a massive failure. However, if we do the math, we find out that you actually earned $12,000 ($2,000 more than last month). Although the conversion rate dropped, revenue increased (which we like).
Reason #2 – You provided more options.
We’ve all seen this before, whether we are aware of it or not. Businesses will often offer multiple options and put an additional emphasis on their more expensive products / services.
Take a look at Hub Spot’s pricing structure.
Notice anything in particular?
What are your eyes drawn to?
The $800 option receives the most attention as it’s in the middle, colourised, and stated to be their “most popular option”.
Is it their “most popular option?” Maybe… but by focusing their efforts to sell a more expensive option, instead of their lowest priced, Hub Spot likely saw a reduction in conversions.
However, there’s a good chance that they purposely did this to sell more of their “Pro” service. In turn, earning more money.
Colour Psychology WORKS
Marketers have been using colour schemes to help product sales for decades.
Studies have shown that colours can evoke emotional responses and even influence certain behaviors.
In the online world, sight is the primary sense used by potential consumers, making proper colour choice absolutely crucial.
Let’s take a look at some recognizable brands:
Whether it’s an evolutionary trait or some sort of a sociological “priming” people tend to associate certain colours with emotions.
Interestingly enough, women respond to colour schemes differently than males.
Here are the key differences between how genders perceive colour…
Be wary of the colour usage on your site. Take a look at some of the more established competitors within your niche and take a mental note of what colours they use.
This brings a close to our series on conversion optimization. There’s more to increasing the revenue of your website than most would ever imagine. However, it’s those that take the time to do it right that are inevitably successful. Every small tweak or change to your website (no matter how small it may seem) could have a profound impact on your business. It’s important to continue testing all aspects of your website. Hopefully you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. Be sure to keep an eye out for more content, because I have a lot more to share.
I love to hear from my readers, so feel free to leave something in the comment section below!