During a recent NY Report webinar, “Convert Your Company’s Web Visitors to Customers,” sponsored by Optimum Business, host Jennifer Shaheen of The Technology Therapy Group spoke about how to keep visitors returning to your company’s website, with the intent of turning those visitors into clients.
Before taking a look at the design of your website or analyzing your current data, Shaheen recommends outlining your customers’ buying process, keeping in mind a specific goal. “People get caught up in the pretty,” she says. “At the end of the day, the pretty and the marketing have to drive to a specific goal.”
Next, analyze the data from your current website to find out what your customers are doing when they arrive on your website, and why and how they leave. Shaheen recommends using Google Analytics, specifically In-Page Analytics (which supplies data on how your web visitors use specific pages) and Top Exits (which lists the specific web pages where most visitors leave from). She also recommends using Google Analytics’ goal options, which allows you to name specific goals, assign a monetary value to them, and analyze their effectiveness. Each specific page on your website should have a goal, such as signing up for your newsletter or filling out a form for a price request, which will make the process of conversion—or getting your web visitors to do what you want them to do—much easier.
What affects conversion? Here are four of the biggest influences:
1. Site Performance
Site speed and load time can have a greater effect on conversion than you may think. The longer a site takes to load, the greater the increase in visitors abandoning it. Shaheen also says, according to a recent survey, the majority of web visitors would wait only 6 to 10 seconds for a webpage to load before abandoning it. In terms of mobile tablet load times, Shaheen says that most visitors are more understanding of a longer wait. However, she says, “They’re only going to wait for so long.”
Usability plays a large role in whether your web visitors engage on your website and ultimately convert to clients. The line of sight for most web visitors follows a specific pattern, starting at the top left corner of a site, then extending to the right and down. Determining how people look at your website can help you decide where to place your most important content. Shaheen recommends Crazy Egg Web Analytics, which can map the visual attention of your web visitors.
Keep your design and layout as clear and simple as possible. If your website’s goal is to have customers fill out a form, for instance, have a link to the form or a form they can fill out on every page. Your most important content, such as contact and new product or service information, should appear above the fold (visible on the webpage, without scrolling) as much as possible. “Redundancy is not necessarily a bad thing,” says Shaheen. “Don’t feel you can’t do something on a page twice.” Your customers may miss, or forget, what you want them to do.
Your website’s content should be as clear as possible. Use simply worded headlines, and write in a language that your visitors can understand. “Talk to your clients, and not at them,” says Shaheen. “Try to use their language.” For maximum clarity, Shaheen recommends writing in bullet points, with a to-do action at the bottom of the list. “Content is the big, big reason people are driven to your site,” says Shaheen. Once you get your visitors to read your content, such as blog posts, don’t be afraid to ask for the next step. However, don’t ask directly in the post. Instead, include the next step you want your visitor to take on the right of the content, in a separate panel.
Sometimes b2b websites should take inspiration from b2c websites, says Shaheen. Be interactive, and try to engage your visitors. When you really want someone to take action, use a button, not just a text link. Leverage your text and images to work together so that the images enhance the text, instead of just being an afterthought. To make content stand out, play around with color.
“Video has an unbelievable conversion rate,” says Shaheen. “And you’d be surprised how cost effectively you can do video.” According to Shaheen, 52 percent of people who watch a video will take action. If you’re unsure about what content to include, Shaheen suggests creating videos about your company’s top five products.
Once you are ready to make changes to your company’s website, create A/B test versions of your new design, using a tool such as Google’s Website Optimizer, and analyze the results. Based on those, you can tweak the design until it’s as relevant as possible to potential customers.
Michelle Court is the managing editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at email@example.com.