You’ve heard of conversion rate optimization. Now it’s time to get into it and make it a reality. It’s not just a buzzword that marketers, designers, and strategists throw around. It’s real, and there are actual processes you can follow to optimize your eCommerce website to increase your conversion rate.
Whether the conversion goal you’re targeting is getting leads to sign up for a newsletter or the ultimate conversion of concluding a sale, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is just what it sounds like. It’s the collective practice of optimizing your platform and your practices to generate the maximum amount of conversions possible. While it can be argued what that maximum might be, there’s no arguing that getting more conversions is something you’d like to achieve.
There are a whole host of ways you can positively affect your conversion rate, and we’re going to focus on three main areas that go hand in hand and can be leveraged to afford you higher conversions: pay per click advertising, search engine optimization, and site design. Each of these three components is intertwined with the others and will have a profound effect on the way customers perceive the value of your products and services, which, you guessed it, will influence conversions.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay per click advertising is one of the quickest ways to generate an increase in traffic to your online store. While it doesn’t necessarily have the staying power of SEO, with the right keyword research, strategy, and ad design and placement, it can definitely have a positive impact on traffic to your site, as well as on your conversion rate.
Invest in Keyword Research
In a lot of ways, PPC (and SEO) all begin with market and keyword research. In order to develop effective PPC ads that will bring traffic to your website, you need to know what keywords customers are looking for in their searches. If you start your PPC campaign off on the wrong foot (i.e., the wrong keywords) you’ll end up throwing money into a black hole, but we’ll touch more on this shortly.
It can be tough to develop a keyword strategy, but with the help of some expert insight, that job becomes a little easier. Considering the fact that most of the rest of your PPC campaign rests on the relevance of the keywords you use, it’s the first and most important place to invest a significant effort.
Create Relevant, Targeted Ads
This is something else that’s really critical to consider that will significantly affect the success of your PPC campaign, and while it can be easy to tell which ads had higher click through rates and resulted in a conversion, the reasons why can be harder to quantify. This is where a deep intimacy with your target market comes into the picture.
Consider this following ad that appears on BigCommerce’s blog:
This ad is actually expertly crafted when you take into account when and why it appears. It pops up when you stop scrolling through the page or move to exit, calling you to action to launch a store with BigCommerce, and it even prompts you with an offer of a free trial. Though most ads would contain brand logos and other product images, you are, as part of their market, already on their blog and thus have a potential need for their services.
You’ll want to make sure that your ads not only use the right keywords – but that your landing pages are optimized for conversion as well. If your customers click through an ad and don’t convert, it’s possible there was a miscommunication between the keyword, the value proposition of the ad and the landing page. That’s poor targeting and can hurt conversions. As for the specifics of optimizing landing pages, we’ll touch on that when we get to design – for now just know that the success of your PPC campaigns and your site design are inextricably linked.
Track The Success Of The Campaign!
Remember when we said if you didn’t build your PPC campaigns around the use of the right keywords you’d be throwing money into a black hole? On average, only 2% of AdWords ads are successful, but the good news is you can track exactly how traffic gets to your site.
Pay attention to which ads are performing well, both in terms of the design and the keywords that are targeted through them. A pay per click campaign can be a dynamic process, and there’s no reason you should be throwing money at the wall. Track everything you can – click-through rate, which keywords are performing, and the success of ads with respect to where they appear. You can even engage in split testing to see which version of an ad is more effective in converting visitors.
The point is, quit what doesn’t work and focus on what does. You can always make adjustments to a campaign to alter the keyword you’re using or how you want customers to come across it, and the fact that you can track those movements so closely at least puts a little advantage back in your camp.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are a lot of best practices for search engine optimization that can positively affect your conversion rate as well. It’s not all about one component like PPC – these elements all work together to bring potential customers to the right place and complete the desired actions that your organization has set as goals. An SEO campaign, like a PPC campaign, all starts with keyword research and a strategy, so the efficacy of that research will color both sets of efforts.
SEO Builds Organic Traffic Over Time
While a PPC campaign can be a great way to drive traffic to your site in the short run if you’re looking out for the fastest results you can get, an SEO campaign is the other side of the coin in building traffic. An SEO campaign won’t serve up immediate results most of the time, and you need to be patient.
Oftentimes, it takes months for your SEO efforts to gain traction and start driving more traffic to your site. Through a combination of incorporating valuable keywords into areas of your site’s design and in meta titles and meta descriptions, along with publishing keyword-rich content, SEO efforts come together to gain the interest of search engines and convince them to direct traffic to your site.
While it takes more time to gain a foothold with SEO initiatives than it does with PPC, the results you get from an SEO campaign are yours to keep. What we mean is that some evergreen SEO practices will continue to push traffic to your site long after you may have concluded the campaign. In addition, the extra visibility that SEO practices can afford you will remain with your online store and continue to drive traffic there long into the future. The effects of an SEO campaign are much longer-lasting than a PPC campaign.
An SEO Campaign Can Direct More Targeted Traffic to Your Site
Much like how PPC can be affected by the design of the landing pages to which ads direct customers, customers will be affected in much the same way if they’ve gotten there on their own. We have mentioned keywords quite a few times, but allow us to mention them again, because they’re about to become very important.
We mentioned that you need to start with the right keywords. Well, customers will only be driven to your website if they’re searching for the words and phrases you use in your campaign. If you start with the good base of a solid keyword strategy, an SEO campaign as a result of eCommerce SEO services will be driving customers to your online store that are already looking for what you can offer, but just haven’t found it yet. Just having more targeted viewers on your website will boost your conversions.
One thing to remember though is that just as your landing pages linked to your PPC ads need to be thoughtfully designed and relevant, make sure that the keywords you use with your SEO initiatives are relevant too. If they aren’t, customers will get to your site and bounce – if they ever get there at all.
Site Development & Design
Just as eCommerce SEO services and PPC are linked to your conversion rate optimization, so are your site’s design and development tied up into the mix. That’s because that’s really what this all comes down to – how users experience and interact with your website.
The layout and interface of your website will affect everything from micro-conversions centered around lead capturing all the way through macro conversions like concluding sales or attaining repeat customers. Consider the following aspects during the development of your website to ensure that it offers exactly what your customers are looking for to channel them down the conversion funnel rather than letting them slip out the back door and bounce.
Your Site Should Be Engaging and Attractive
This really should go without saying, because your site’s design is going to affect every aspect of the manner in which customers interact with it, and isn’t limited to specific conversions. There are plenty of reasons your site should offer an engaging and valuable experience, and conversion rate optimization is only one.
But since the topic at hand is conversion rate optimization, consider that, as we said, your landing pages have to appeal to the visitors that see them. You’re an expert in your products, so try to see this from a user’s perspective. Think to yourself, if I followed my ad or searched for these keywords, would I find the solution I’m looking for in these products? If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board. Your site design is a prime way to capitalize on the image of your brand – make sure they are aligned and express the value that your target customers are seeking.
In addition, elements of your site design and layout, like your checkout process, can either help or harm conversions. Customers are looking for speed and convenience during the process. Your site should be easy to navigate and your checkout should be smooth as well.
Have a Clear Value Proposition
Make sure you offer a clear, concise, and targeted value proposition that is easily reachable by and accessible to visitors on your site. Keep in mind while developing your value proposition that, by nature, it will be targeted and will not be appealing to all customers.
The trick is to appeal precisely to your intended targets. Your product meets a need that consumers have – identify it. Communicate it concisely. Avoid generic terms. Use humor or blunt frankness if you think that will appeal to your potential customers. Key in on unique elements of your product. Find out what makes your customers tick and strike. A clear value proposition is an extension of your brand experience and can have a real impact on pushing visitors to conversion.
Develop a Responsive Design
It’s absolutely imperative that your website is optimized for mobile users. As mobile shoppers increasingly dominate the online marketplace, in order to retain a competitive edge, your website will have to be easily navigable and accessible from a mobile device.
Consider the way mobile shoppers will interact with your website. Is the text properly sized? Are the images overwhelming or low quality? Does the site require an excess of typed inputs or can users easily scroll or click through to what they want?
What might otherwise be an excellent design can experience an excessively high bounce rate from mobile shoppers if it becomes burdensome to navigate. In fact, a poor mobile design alone can ruin some of your PPC and SEO efforts along with other features that would make a site design effective.
Create Calls to Action
Calls to action are another feature you can build into your site design, can build off of your customer value statement or value proposition, and can be a creative way to goad conversions. A call to action may only result in a micro-conversion, but they can be successful lead generation, which, utilized effectively, can give you leads on which to focus for future sales.
A specific call to action you might want to include in your online store is a type of urgency play. Urgency plays are a tactic whereby visitors to your site are encouraged to make a purchase based on a limited amount of stock. You might recognize them in the form of messages “Order soon – only 5 left!” or “Stock low, order now.” While many visitors to your site might otherwise be viewers, giving the impression that their window of opportunity is limited is a great way to increase conversions from on the fence shoppers.
Here you have just a couple tips for designing ad and SEO campaigns that are optimized for conversion or otherwise help to boost your sites conversion rate. If you want to see some of them in action, call us up and tell us about your goals. Whether you want to increase revenue, sales, traffic or conversions (or all of them) we can help you with expert eCommerce SEO services or a custom made PPC campaign. Contact us at info@1DigitalAgency.com or call us at 888-982-8269 to learn more and get started today.
- Michael Esposito
- April 22, 2020