Build Websites That Sell: 16 Ways To Increase Your Conversion Rate

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Effective web design is driven by empirical research. You can use that research to increase the number of people who buy from your website.

Increasing your conversion rates is crucial to high sales volume.

Eye-catching and efficient website design is essential in driving your customers from your home page to making a purchase. There have been studies regarding both what attracts and deters consumers from a site that proves to be a useful lesson for business owners. 

Following is a list of 16 ways to increase your conversion rate based on empirical research we’ve acquired from our extensive experience.

Related Article: Design It Yourself: Website Platforms To Make You Shine

1. Create a Compelling and Clear Value Proposition

The first step should be to strengthen your value proposition.

A value proposition is the primary reason a prospect should buy from you. It states: “what’s in it for me?” and “why buy from you instead of the competition?” in 30 words or less.

Your value proposition must be the most obvious message on your home page.

Example of a good value proposition:

Campaign Monitor landing page

Why this works: It’s clear about what this product is and who the target audience is.

Example of a bad value proposition:

Cloudflare landing page

Why this doesn’t work: It relies only on the video to do the job. Your value proposition should also be in words that people can read.

2. Set Up a Sales Funnel

Asking for the sale too fast is a sure-fire way to kill your conversion rate. You need to take the time to build a sales funnel aimed at developing trust and a relationship, and proving your expertise.

Let's say your product is business truck/car finance.

An effective sales funnel might be to:

  • Offer a free “How To Be an Owner Driver Complete Guide”
  • Drip feed visitors with free content. For example, a series of videos via email
  • Send them to your sales web page and ask for the sale

Here are some sales funnel tools that you can use;

  • Active Campaign (basic $9 USD /month)
  • Infusionsoft (essentials $199 USD/month)
  • Click Funnel (starter $37 USD/month)
  • Zoho (standard $12 USD/month)

3. Pay Careful Attention to Your Headline

After your value statement, your headline is the next most important element of your landing page.

An example of a good headline is:

4. Keep Conversion Elements Above the Fold

Opt-in boxes and other conversion elements should be above the fold for optimal results.

As you can see on the landing page below for the AdWords campaign, Harley Finance placed its best selling points about its “Bad Credit Car Loans” above the fold with a strong call to action “Apply Now” (No Finance For You – No Fees For Us).

Harley Finance Landing page

5. Use Video to Humanize Your Brand 

Include a simple video on landing pages to show there’s a real person behind your brand. Something like this video is an example of an “About Me” video can be created for less than $2,000.

When it comes to more complex products or services, which have a high trust requirement, such as a builder or medical service provider, a video is a great way to demonstrate or personalise your brand.

I noticed on one of my client websites—Gordon Vet Hospital—the virtual tour video had the most views. For this reason we advised Gordon Vet to update its video.

Gordon Vet hospital

6. Create Dedicated Landing Pages for Pay-per-Click Ads

If you’re using AdWords or other PPC ads, send these visitors to a dedicated landing page (not your home page!)

Remove all the distractions on your landing page. Give it a single focus with a strong call to action.

As you can see in the example below, Harley Finance uses two different pages for two different purposes for one of its main products.

The first landing page is designed for pay per click advertising campaigns and it focuses on showcasing the best features of its priority service and getting people to apply for this service.

Harley Finance

The second web page, which is a normal webpage on their website, features detailed information about “How to get bad credit car loans in Australia”. This is for users wanting to read about how to get finance and the conditions for each audience group.

Harley Finance

Related Article: CRO101: Defining Conversion Rate Optimization & Its Importance

7. Remove Jargon

Clarity trumps persuasion, always.

I recently came upon a site with the following value proposition: "Revenue-focused marketing automation & sales effectiveness solutions unleash collaboration throughout the revenue cycle."

You have to question whether there is a simpler way of saying this that actually mentions what this company does or offers.

8. Address Objections

People generally have reasons to hesitate, when reading your offer.

During face-to-face sales we can uncover those hesitations with questions and address their concerns. This is more difficult online. The solution is to prevent those objections in the first place by addressing all the possible issues in your sales copy right away.

Step one—create a list of all the possible objections your potential customers might have.

Step two—add information to your website to eliminate these concerns. The list can contain things like:

  • You don't understand my problem (Explain the problem and how your product solves it.)
  • Why should I believe you? (Use your credentials, experience, awards etc.)
  • What if it doesn't work for me? (Have testimonials.)
  • It's not worth the money. (Compare with the competition.)

9. Increase Trust

Adding trust elements to your website encourages an increase in conversions.

Ensure your website fulfils the following:

  • Easy to verify the accuracy of the information
  • It’s obvious there’s a real organization behind your site. (List a physical address or post a photo of your offices and your team.)
  • It highlights the solid experience in your organisation and the services you offer.
  • It demonstrates that trustworthy people stand behind your site.
  • It eliminates any risk with an unconditional money back guarantee.
  • It makes it easy to contact you
  • It’s easy to use and useful
  • It looks professional
  • Site content is often updated
  • It uses promotional content (e.g., ads, offers) with restraint.
  • There are no errors

10.  Make It Easy to Buy From You

Doing business with you should be as easy as possible. Your website has to be intuitive and self-evident—as few clicks as possible.

Do not offer too many options. The Paradox of Choice (a great book, by the way) states that the more choice you give your users, the easier it is to choose nothing.

Ask to fill as few fields as possible.

Do not force users to sign up before they can buy.

Offer free shipping. Free shipping was the most popular motivation for 82 percent of UK and 80 percent of US consumers in a study conducted by eConsultancy, and gives retailers that offer this option a clear advantage over competitors.

11. Communicate Value

Up to 50 percent of potential sales are lost due to inadequate information, says IDC, a global research company.

Don’t just list a bunch of bullet points with features along with the price.

Add as much information—text, specifications and videos—as possible. It's true that 79 percent of people won't read it all, but 16 percent read everything! That 16 percent is your main target group.

First communicate the value, then list the price. Otherwise, people might make a snap judgement based on the price without reading the value it offers.

12.  Offer Proof

Whatever you claim, you need to back it up with proof. People are sceptical and they want to see the evidence.

Testimonials pages surprisingly have more attention and views from website visitors than we might think. We’ve found out that pages such as ‘About Us’, ‘Contact Us’ and ‘Testimonials’ have the most views.

Heat Map Harley Finance

Consider using testimonials from customers that who have a worse case scenario.

Before and after case studies are very effective. As are the results of scientific tests and studies.

Seek to have your products reviewed by a third party such as a trade magazine or a well-known blogger, then link to their praise.

If you have thousands of customers, announce it.

Use videos that showcase your product in action.

13. Remove Distraction

This is important. You want your website visitors to focus on a single action and not be distracted. Have you included anything on your page that could divert them away from your main goal? This is a critical landing page design requirement for your pay-per-click advertising campaign.

  • Delete or shrink the menu
  • Delete sidebars and big headers
  • Delete blinking elements and automatic sliders
  • Delete irrelevant (stock) images

14. Compare With the Competition Before They Do

Research shows clearly that people do their homework and compare products before purchasing.

The trick is to compare your product to its competitors, before users do.

Investment Moats

15. Reduce or Remove Risk

Whenever there's a purchase, there's risk. Offer guarantees to eliminate or reduce any risks. See here some examples of great guarantees:

  • Hyundai and America’s Best Warranty. Hyundai struggled for many years with a reputation for making cars that don’t last. So it initiated a 10-year warranty. Now Hyundai is considered the new Lexus.  
  • Punctual Tradesman. Tradesmen are renowned for being late. To combat this prejudice, one group branded themselves as 'The Punctual Tradesmen' and will pay you for every minute they're late. Guarantee removes risk.
  • Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free. If you're ordering pizza, you want it to arrive hot. With a guarantee like that, the fear of cold pizza is eliminated.

Related Article: 3 Ways Video Can Acquire Leads, Drive Conversion and Increase Sales

16. Add Incentives to Take Action Right Away

Is there an indication that the action needs to be taken now? Nothing creates urgency like scarcity. There are two kinds of scarcity you can create:

  • quantity-related scarcity (2 seats left at this price)
  • time-related scarcity (last day to buy)
Web Jet

If the supply of your product is endless, you can give out time-sensitive bonuses, a free gift to first X amount of buyers or a discount if they complete the purchase within a certain time frame.

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