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When it comes to business on the Web, conversion is truly king. Whether it’s email subscribers, new accounts or good ole-fashioned purchases, conversion makes or breaks businesses online. Thousands of articles, hundreds of papers and dozens of books have been written on the subject. In fact, a whole discipline, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), has been born out of the intense need to transform traffic into transactions.

1)            Testing – Start testing before you even start spending. Then, once you’ve found a direction you’re comfortable with, put it to the test immediately. Start with A/B testing to try larger variations of design and copy, and fine-tune with multivariate testing of discreet elements.

2)            Epic headlines – Most people abandon your landing page within 8 seconds, so your headline is often your one and only shot at convincing them to stick around. So be clear and concrete in what you’re offering and what they’ll get out of the deal. If you can’t summarize what the user will get from you in five words or less, keep iterating until you can. In most cases, cute or clever wording doesn’t convert.

3)            Write Killer Copy – If you’ve hooked them with the headline, you’ll need to land them with awesome copy. Having a content strategy for your landing pages ensures you tell a compelling story in a way that resonates with your users. You need to communicate the essentials while weaving in the brand narrative, all while maintaining crystalline clarity. Great copy is explicit, bold and direct.

4)            Eliminate Options – Don’t create analysis paralysis for your visitors. Give users one choice, not three, not five. Multiple choices lead to confusion and confusion leads to … well, no where good. Eliminate choice and you make the conversion option easier to understand and easier to take action on. And less friction means more conversions.

5)            Keep it above the fold – As designers, we hate the notion of boxing ourselves into the top 600 pixels of the design. But the fact is, people don’t scroll on a landing page unless they’re really, really intrigued. Don’t bury the good stuff, particularly main benefits and the call to action. Keep it up top and easy to digest in that initial eight-second look. If you go long, repeat the call to action near the bottom of your page to save the user the scroll back up.

6)            Try a Video – Need to do some product ‘splanin? Try a video that shows off the benefits of the product in action. Pay attention to the video thumbnail, too. That’s what users will see when they first hit the page. Yobongo saw a 70.9% increase in conversions when they changed their video thumbnail.

7)            Use Social Proof – Logos, Likes, Pins – whatever it is, show the visitor that other people love your stuff. When visitors lack information they’ll turn to what others have done to help guide their decision. Reinforce the conversion with respected logos, testimonials and other points of social proof that help a visitor on the fence make the decision you want them to make.

8)            Design for Context – Different inbound traffic sources have different needs and expectations. Someone coming from an article or lengthy blog post needs less information than someone coming from a Tweet. Each user has different needs based on their inbound source.

9)            Craft your Buttons Carefully – Buttons count, big time. In many cases they’re the primary call to action. So pay attention to the look, feel, shape, color, size and placement of your buttons. And be sure to test. Simple changes can have a big impact.

10)          Keep it Sexy – Design wins. Great looking pages convey expertise and professionalism. They create trust and security simply by being better than the other options out there. So pay attention to design. The quality of design transfers to the quality of the product or service the visitor is considering. A bad design can hurt conversion for an amazing product or company. A great design can super-charge your conversions.

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