How to Optimize for Conversion (on your website as well as in your email campaign!)
Although the words ‘optimize for conversion’ may seem a little intimidating to the average person, the method for understanding how to enhance your website and email campaigns so that a reader will be moved to take an action (i.e.: buy your product or service) is something that can benefit any business who is trying to dive into the world of digital marketing.
Once you’ve got your email list segmented into meaningful groups, it’s time to think about the importance of the copy within your email; the copy is what holds the power to turn that prospect into a paying customer. The secret to understanding conversion in terms of digital marketing (or what turns a passive reader into a buyer) is really more about understanding the behavioral psychology behind sales. A salesperson can’t make a sale without customers, just like a great website page can’t drive a customer to purchase if there are no customers visiting the page. Digital marketing is about advertising your business online and getting traffic to your website. As you’ve seen, there are a variety of strategies that can be used to drive traffic to your website, but if your website isn’t set up in a way that actually persuades the website visitor to purchase something, then what is the point of all that traffic? I mean, you’re not spending all this time and money on a beautiful website for the hell of it right? So lets get down to business.
1. Landing Page Focus
Now that you have groups of email addresses that are segmented into meaningful categories (if you don’t have your email segmented into groups yet, start by reading this) you can focus on creating a targeted email campaign with the goal of turning that passive reader into a buyer. A campaign that speaks directly to your intended audience in a way that moves them to take the exact action you want them to take is the goal for this strategy. Each landing page should focus on one product only, the opportunity to ‘upsell’ comes later. You’ve got to entice the reader to make a purchase before you can even think about the upsell. Make sure you showcase exactly what your product or service is and how it benefits your customer in a way that is crystal clear. Use the landing page to present your product or service in a way that is efficient, effective, and concise. Google and the search engines love websites that provide concise and consistent answers to questions. It’s incredibly tempting to plan out your landing page to speak to a ‘broad audience’ but unfortunately this creates a user experience that just isn’t going to work in your favor. When you zero in on your focus, you can then carry that laser focus across the entire architecture of your website; you’ll increase your chances of success with generating revenue tenfold if your focus is strong. Make it clear for people what your product or service is and what you want them to do. In the past, people used to have a list of “helpful links” in the sidebar or even within the copy of their blog posts, thinking they would look more credible if they offered more information. Unfortunately this just confuses people, it makes them likely to click somewhere else and leave your site without purchasing anything. There is a delicate balance between a few helpful links to expand upon the information you are presenting and too many links that just confuse people and cause them to x out of their browser. Keep in mind a landing page is very different from a blog post. Your blog posts should have a single call-to-action too, but think of a landing page as the sales page and think of the blog post as the education page.
2. Site Architecture
Sometimes referred to as UI/UX, website architecture is the practice of organizing the information on your website in a way that intuitively makes sense, starting with the main navigation. How you organize your pages directly impacts how people find the information they need, as well as how the search engines index your site, so give a lot of thought to the organization. Having organized menus and organized pages can also positively impact the organic search results (SEO). I once redesigned a website for a large organization that had a variety of drop down menus with no apparent meaning. One of them simply said “Helpful Links”. Google is not going to recognize what these links are going to help with unless you are much more clear. As you can see a title such as “helpful links” gives your webpage no opportunity to rank or attract the right kind of traffic.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Paying close attention to the words and phrases on your landing page and how those links are interconnected to the rest of the information on your website is a great way to ensue that your “meta-data” is working hard to bring you traffic. Meta data is a fancy word that refers to the code behind the headings, photos, and website copy. It is customary for a consultant or agency to help you understand the importance of using competitive keywords and phrases that increase your chances of ranking in the search results. It’s no secret that the most of us don’t bother to scroll past the first few recommendations on Google. Today more than ever before we expect Google to deliver the most relevant results for whatever topic we are searching. In order for the search engines to be able to deliver your website when a user searches, you’ve got to make sure your meta-data is relevant and concise when you topic is input. There is sophisticated software available that uses algorithms similar to the search engines and can rank words and phrases based on their competitiveness. Armed with information such as this gives you a distinct advantage when using both paid advertising strategies as well as organic strategies to generate traffic.
4. Content with a Strong Call-to-Action
In terms of what you offer on your website, consider the difference that using the exact right words or phrases can do for your audience:
Shoes vs Discount Running Shoes
Being crystal clear about what you offer is no joke in terms of conversion. If there isn’t an easy to find and clear Call-to-Action such as a “Buy Now” or “Learn More” button, how will the reader know what you want them to do next? This is true for both a website’s landing page as well as within your email campaign. It’s not enough anymore to include a link. You need to optimize that link by making a large button, perhaps even in a contrasting color so that you can get the reader’s attention and persuade them to do exactly what you want them to do. Offer only one or two options, as too many options will lead a reader to inaction.
Even with all of the above strategies in place, it would be impossible to improve your conversion rate without setting some type of benchmark for yourself. Once you have your landing pages in place, your CTAs and text optimized to persuade your buyer to make a purchase, and your email campaigns are ready to send, think through the sequence of events for the person on the other end of the email. What choices do you give them? What page do they come to first when they click on the link in your email? What is the next step that logically should flow from there based on what you have set up your landing page to do? You can use this information in a variety of ways to test both the email campaign as well as the landing page to see what converts better. For example, suppose you have 4,000 people on your list. You may choose to send 2,000 of them the email campaign with one photo in the email, and the other 2,000 the exact same email campaign with a different photo. Use the sequence of page URLs to set up goals inside your Google Analytics to track the metrics. These goals can measure where people enter and exit your website, and provide valuable feedback on both your email campaign and your landing page optimization.
Tying it all together: Optimize for Conversions
Your website is the cornerstone of your digital image. It’s kind of like your business card, its the first thing people see when they “Google” you, so it’s important to make sure that all your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted. Optimizing your landing pages is the first step to moving people to take action on your website. Once your website is optimized, then you can begin to develop and enhance your email campaigns with the goal of driving the right traffic to your website at the exact right time with information that is relevant and meaningful to your audience.