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Website Conversion Rate: Assuring Your Company Website Is Increasing Sales

What is your average conversion rate? MarketingSherpa posed this question for their 2014 Ecommerce Benchmark Study. Nearly 3,000 e-commerce sites responded with reports of sales conversion rates ranging from less than one percent to almost 100 percent. The majority fell below five percent. Business size and product type were factors. For example, those that sold in multiple product categories experienced higher conversion rates than those that sold only one product. Sites selling electronics converted views to sales at a higher rate of 24.1 percent, compared to those in the office supply business that reported average sales conversions at 18.3 percent.

What does this mean for your business? You've poured resources into your website, built up your traffic and want it to pay off with new leads and sales. It may not be useful to compare your business to online megastores or businesses outside your industry. The MarketingSherpa data does illustrate that while there isn't a standard conversion rate, there is always room for improvement. When setting your own goals, start with your current conversion rate, and then be sure to work on improving it.

Pick up speed

A slow-loading web page will have prospects clicking away to your competitors. A MarketSherpa study compared load time to conversion rates during Cyber Weeks in 2014 and 2015. Unsurprisingly, faster page loading led to higher conversion rates. Consumers respond best to pages that load within three seconds. If you have a sluggish website, free tools such as Google's PageSpeed Insights can help you root out the problem.

Your CTA should shout out "click on me"

A few tweaks to your call-to-action button (CTA) can make a difference. Use this checklist to optimize its effectiveness:

  • Appropriate placement — Is your CTA in a logical spot? While placing it high on a page will make it noticeable, visitors won't have any reason to click without some introductory content. Conversely, if you bury your CTA in a footer, it may be overlooked. Place the button within the content or in the sidebar for best results.
  • It should look "clickable"Use contrasting colors and a recognizable rectangular shape. You may want to try some A/B testing to determine shapes and colors that produce the best results.
  • Use action words in the CTA text — The CTA must tell visitors what they are doing when they click. Use words such as receive, sign up or download.

Build effective landing pages

Your landing page headline should be concise and immediately make its purpose clear. What are you offering? What are the benefits of your offer? Visitors should be able to answer these questions with a quick scan of your page. Don't make your prospects jump through hoops, fill out surveys or create accounts if the only benefit is a subscription to a newsletter. If your offer has greater value, such as a substantial e-book or package of free templates, you can ask for more information beyond an email address.

Make use of multiple media formats

How-to videos demonstrate your product in use, and offer attractive images and explanatory animations, appealing to a broader range of customers. Be sure to add social media sharing buttons to harness the multiplier effect of these platforms.

Provide testimonials that tell a story

Mini case studies of satisfied customers are far more effective than generic, and often unbelievable generic recommendations such as "We are the best ever!" Your marketing efforts should include creating target market personas or avatars. In these profiles, identify your ideal customers' goals, fears and difficulties. Real life examples of how you can assist strike an emotional note with visitors to your website. If your business has positive reviews on sites such as Yelp, consider adding a widget that will bring these reviews to your website for added endorsements.

Be sure to follow up each conversion with a thank you page and specify what your new lead or customer can expect, perhaps a follow-up phone call within two days or email delivery of a report within the hour. Be specific. Make sure you follow through on all promises and expectations. Leads and sales are good, but to stay in business over the long haul, you must build a base of customers that will happily recommend you to others.


This article was written by Gillian Burdett for CBS Small Business Pulse.

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