As the saying goes, you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The horses are your potential customers and using search engine optimisation you can get a whole herd of them to your waterhole but if the water doesn’t seem delicious and refreshing most won’t deign to try it.
Worst case scenario: the river is poison. AKA your core product or service is flawed, in which case all the marketing in the world will be of little help in the long run. Luckily most businesses and websites have a rather decent product or service on offer. And once we attract our target market to our website via SEO, social media or PPC it is up to our website to convert these curious browsers into customers.
There are three overlapping disciplines involved into maximising sales from your website’s traffic and getting those stubborn horses to drink your amazing water:
- web design
- web analytics
- conversion rate optimisation
The cliche is true – first impressions do matter. Would you meet you’re customers in a crusty old singlet and ripped shorts? Probably not. Then why would you let your website do so?
Web design is constantly evolving (our website has gone through numeorus redesigns already) as styles and trends evolve. A website will not last forever. Just like those funky bell bottoms you bought back in the 80s won’t cut it today, neither will your 5+ year old website. As consumer psychology and behaviour evolves, so must your business and that starts with how you represent yourself online – a key element to building your brand.
Web design is about more than just looking stylish – it is about interaction and user experience. A good website will be simple, intuitive, and a pleasure to use. Your website should seemlessly usher users through its core function, whether that be uploading a photo, filling in a contact form or buying a TV.
A website without a solid analytics system is like playing darts in the dark. It is absolutely vital to track KPIs and your progress towards your business goals. If you’re analytics process begins and ends with counting hits, then you’re missing out on a ton of information. The purpose of web analytics is to learn how users interact with your website so you can improve not only your website but your methods of targeting new traffic sources.
At the very least you should be doing the following:
- segmenting your traffic into meaningful groups
- using goals that are mapped to your business objectives
- be tracking your sales funnels
- measuring user engagement for your key pages
- track user interaction within and between key pages
If you’re not doing these things then you are dancing in the dark, so don’t complain when you fall and break your leg!
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversions Rate Optimisation (CRO) is all about turning traffic into conversions. A ‘conversion’ for an e-commerce store may be the purchase of an item, a conversion for a blog may be a new subscriber, a conversion for a non-profit may be someone watching a video. There are heaps of ways to define conversions and most smart business use a whole range of different conversion events to measure their KPIs.
Unfortunately there are no ‘best practices’ when it comes to conversion optimisation – what works for one website may be useless for the next. That being said increasing your conversion rates is not an art – its a science. the only way to improve your conversion rates is to analyse, gather data, test, and repeat (over and over and over).
Conversion optimisation can involve a huge range of variables, from testing various colour options to testing page layout and sales copy. Conversion optimisation is the goal of good web design and sophisticated web analytics. Without the right data from web analytics you won’t know where to start and if you are unwilling or unable to adjust the design of your website you will never be able to test page or design variations.
- create different versions of landing pages to split test which is more effective
- adjust and test one variable at a time, like sales copy, call-to-actions, layout, or colour scheme
- measure the performance of each using proper web analytics
Bringing in quality traffic from SEO and PPC is essential… but you are wasting opportunities and money if your website cannot convert those visits into leads. If you are serious about growing your business then you need to get serious about your web design, analytics and conversion optimisation process… otherwise you may as well not even bother with marketing or a website.