The Quattro Blog

Why Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is Essential

21 October 2015

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4 minute read

So your online marketing is working and website visits are on the increase, but you’ve still not had an enquiry, what’s gone wrong?

This week I got chatting to a potential client who was experiencing this exact problem. They had discovered that much of their engagement and traffic had originated from Facebook. They created a great Facebook advertising campaign to take advantage of this to really drive traffic to a specific offer. The Facebook campaign itself was a success and delivered thousands of new visitors to their online shop.  But after all this activity there was no noticeable change in sales?

Unfortunately this client is not alone in this situation. Many businesses put a huge amount of effort and focus into attracting visitors, but often overlook what happens to those visitors when they arrive on their site.

Why websites don’t convert

In order for us to understand how to convert website visitors into enquiries we firstly need to appreciate why they don't. Typically there are two reasons why websites fail to convert visitors into inquiries.

These are 2 Tactics To Translate T'internet Traffic To Transactions

Tactic #1 – You’re targeting the wrong kind of visitors

The traffic that’s being generated isn’t the right kind of traffic for your business. By this I mean that the visitors you’re attracting aren’t the kind of visitors that will ever become potential customers.

Let’s say for example that you sell hard water softening devices, it would be quite plausible that you’d attract customers looking for a kettle descaler. But customers looking for a kettle descaler are unlikely to purchase a hard-water softener as the two items although similar are not the same. A conversion rate optimisation (CRO) problem in this case would be down to incorrect targeting.

If you’re using adwords or social advertising like Facebook, revisit your target audience and find out if your targeting is correct. Maybe you need to look at other social channels, forums etc.

If the traffic originates from organic search (which is less likely) you need to revisit the search terms you’re targeting and reevaluate whether those terms are the ones your potential customers use to find products or services like yours. 

How can you tell if you’re targeting is wrong?

Symptoms of this kind of traffic are high bounce rates (a high bounce rate is a high proportion of visitors looking at your homepage and leaving without navigating further), low session times (session duration is the total amount of time spent by a user in one session – a session is measured from the point a user arrives to the point at which they leave) and little or no inquiries.

If you have Google analytics installed, log into your account and follow the steps below to check your websites bounce rate and session times.

  • For accurate data analysis select a large sample period. Click on the date range in the top right hand corner and set the start date to exactly one year ago and the end date to today, then click apply.

  • Next scroll down the page and you will see key stats for your website as a whole. These are average figures for bounce rate, session duration, pages per session and so on.

  • The stats you’re most interested in are bounce rate (this needs to be as low as possible) and session duration which needs to be as long as possible)

TIP: Put a benchmark in place in 'Analytics' before you make a change to your audience targeting, then you have a point of reference to compare your marketing efforts to.

Tactic #2 – Visitors don’t know where to go

Signposts: if visitors can't find their way they're less likely to convertHigh bounce rates and low sessions times don’t just mean that your targeting is wrong, they could be just because your website doesn’t offer your visitors any clear direction. Your website may be failing to offer visitors any kind of clear direction on what you want them to do. As a general rule of thumb, if a website visitor has to think about their next click, conversion is less likely to take place. 

There is an unwritten list of expectations that all website users subscribe to, whether they know it or not. This governs how they interact with your website and all the other websites they visit. Fortunately because we’re all consumers at some point in our day, it’s easy to tap into this list of expectations. Put yourself in your visitors shoes and visit your website as your potential customers would. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • In 5 seconds is it clear what product or service you offer?

  • Get someone not familiar with your site to find the ‘Buy now’ or ‘Contact us’ buttons in less than 3 seconds. If it’s longer than 3 seconds it’s too hard

  • Are internal links clearly marked? (Blue and underlined is the unwritten expectation) If you deviate from this is it still obvious. Use an arrow or an arrow icon.

  • Is your text easy to read? It sounds obvious but large slabs of text in a sans font like 'Arial' are harder to read than those in 'Times'.

  • Is it obvious to users what they should do next e.g. click, phone, complete a form?

  • If you’re selling something are the prices clear? Including VAT or excluding VAT, including shipping or excluding shipping?

  • Does your website work on a mobile device? Mobile device usage in constantly increasing, so it’s important that your website is easy to use on the smallest screens.

  • Are there any dead ends in your visitors journey? Nothing is more frustrating to a website visitor than a broken link or a page that doesn’t deliver on the promise of the previous link.

If you obey the unwritten rules of the web, you’re already on your way to improving conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and increasing enquiries.

Once you've determined which tactic applies to your site (it may be both) you can start implementing changes to address the problem. 

Next steps

Read our blog 'What Makes You Click' which explains the psychology behind your buyers decision making process and how subtle changes to design can influence your buyers behaviour. We've also created a FREE guide to website conversion rate optimisation (CRO) which details the key elements your website must have for conversion to take place. Download your copy and implement the tips in it alongside the advice given here and you’ll soon start to see a measurable difference in the amount of enquiries you receive.

Final Thought

Once you’ve ruled out these two key factors that are preventing your visitors turning into customers, grab your FREE eGuide with more detail and website tips on how to convert web visitors into enquiries.

Free eGuide - how to convert web visitors into enquiries

Topics: Website Design

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