Do you need conversion optimization? Maybe. I mean, here you are, working your fingers to the bone. You have a great content calendar and you’re scheduled for the next two months. Some of your content has been retweeted, and it looks like your content marketing efforts are starting to take off, just not as much as you’d like. You’re even getting visits and watching your traffic grow.
BUT! You still aren’t at the apex of your online presence. All that work isn’t converting the way you expected it to. What’s going on?
Well, if there’s anything over two decades in this industry has taught me, it’s that marketing conversions need more than just a landing page or email. You should also consider science and psychology.
In fact: Gleanster Research found that only 25% of leads generate buyers and 79% never convert! It’s time to take that as a wake-up call.
5 Things About Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) You Need To Know
Despite the above, there are ways to improve your conversion rate- not only for a single piece of content but for your entire digital presence. Creating high-converting content isn’t hopeless. if it were, there wouldn’t be so much competition, would there?
This is where conversion rate optimization, or CRO, comes in. CRO is the process of optimizing content and design to convert the highest possible number of visitors into customers. Before digging in and changing a lot of things, know there are several common reasons for your content to fall flat.
If your content, website, and work aren’t converting, one of these areas could be the culprit:
1. Conceptualization Of Data
- Have you created a set of benchmarks?
- Are you measuring your website visitors?
- Do you know what their user experience is like?
- Do you know how they’re sharing it?
- Do you know who’s linking to you and bringing referral traffic?
It’s not enough to know you’re getting website traffic. You need to understand who they are and how they got there – what’s their journey look like? What kind of content do they most want to see from you?
What are the most valuable metrics for your site? Establish indicators for success, and then track them. When things go wrong, adjust your content and marketing strategy.
2. Missing The Obvious
Sometimes, the lack of conversions is simple – a “forest for the trees” situation, if you will. An amazing number of companies have hired us that completely missed placing calls to action. They’d have a service page with content, but no “are you interested, contact us now” or “get to know us better, follow us on Twitter”, or any other derivative.
It’s like having a contact page with no contact information.
You are offering tons of goodies to your customers with no way for them to buy or continue the conversation. Now you have to give your readers and potential customers a way to continue to the next step.
You don’t have to ask them to buy right away, but don’t be afraid to tell them what your desired action is! Ask them to contact you; ask them to get more information or give them a reason to click on a “landing” page.
This is where you learn their level of interest. They have clicked through the first CTA; they want to know more or they want to ask questions. GIVE THEM SOMETHING.
3. Targeting The Wrong Audience
“Traffic” may seem like the magic word, but it’s not. The magic word is actually “targeted.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: traffic doesn’t mean anything if they aren’t in your market.
For example, most women aren’t going to be interested in Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Most men aren’t going to be interested in Women’s Health. You won’t find a whole bunch of ads catering to women in GQ, or men’s ads in Women’s Health. It’d be senseless.
If you’re getting search engine traffic, but that traffic isn’t converting, this may be your problem (or one of them).
- Do your keywords, terms, phrases, etc. need to be upgraded?
- Are you using the right language for your area (i.e. “bag” vs “purse”, or “colour” vs “color”)
- Are you targeting the right demographics?
This goes back to your analytics and conceptualizing the data. Do your research!
4. Stopping At Blogging
Blog posts are not enough. Yes, I said it, and I was guilty of this when I first started the business back in the 90s. Granted, there weren’t that many blogs back then, but we had what I called a “journal” and I would write the latest and greatest happenings around the city.
Blogging is a great traffic-targeting tool, but it’s not the only one you should be counting on. It’s going to take more than a blog post or email to bring that converting traffic your way. With time, effort, and understanding, you will see that a mixture of mediums and sources – video, audio, emails, blogging, podcasts, etc. – nurture the buying process.
5. Missing The Context
Context is as important content. Where are you pushing your content, and to whom? Publication, distribution, and promotion define the context. For example, while sending an email to existing customers about your award-winning case may make them happy they have you as a lawyer, you’re already their lawyer.
On the other hand, sending an email to those who have shown interest in your firm but are not currently clients has the potential of bringing new clients in. You could send one of those, “Guess who just won The Best Lawyer Award? Go with the best law firm for your company.”
The long and the short of it is this: no matter how good your content, it will fall flat if you’re not promoting in the right place.
Let’s Talk Conversions
At the end of the day, you have to know who your market is, how your product/service is going to help them, and where they hang their converting hat – whether it’s social media, blog reading or other activity.
Keep talking to those stuck in the middle of your funnel. You know, those caught between their first conversion (clicking on a landing page) and a sales call.
Converting Readers to Buyers
“Generate more traffic” – it sounds so easy, doesn’t it? As you probably know already, it’s not. –And yet, once they’re there, are they going to buy automatically? Of course not. As I mentioned earlier, you can’t get people to buy if you don’t understand how they act.
Human Behavior, Buyer Psychology
Eons ago, a merchant had to show their wares from the back of their wagon. They painted their wagons up, and added wooden signs… sometimes they’d even have a person advertising their wares on the corner of the street.
From the wagon to the storefront, where we saw window dressings and fancy signs. They had hawkers, newspapers, and radio ads.
Today, we have landing pages, and there are whole courses that cover color psychology from a digital perspective. Now, we discuss color, layout, and content from a visual perspective. We talk about the “F” scanning pattern and do split testing to see how single elements might convert differently.
Here are a few consumer psychology facts I found interesting:
- When product availability is limited, consumers can become obsessed with the idea of “having” that product. They’re even willing to pay more for something that – were it more available – they wouldn’t pay even half the price. You can capitalize on this “fear of missing out” psychology snag, or FOMO. As long as you’re careful with it, FOMO can keep your business going strong.
- A bad experience gets passed around to an average 9 – 15 people: approximately twice as many as a good experience. Again, this leads back to customer service. Happy customers might spread the word; unhappy customers absolutely will.
- 70% of the buyer experience is all emotion. Your customers should have an awesome journey. If they aren’t converting, your first stop should be to review your customer journey. A lot of conversion optimization is a matter of walking down your customer journey and making sure you’re there when they are. When they ask a question, you address it immediately, whether with a chatbot, content, or a little info-popup.
-But there’s no catch-all silver bullet. Depending on the industry, location, and target market, there are many paths of action, and it all starts with the same question. You have to ask yourself…
What Will Make My Buyers Buy?
This is the ultimate question. Lucky for you, there’s a whole slew of marketing research available, from case studies to surveys and more. Here are two sites that gather marketing case studies to get you started:
- eConsultancy: Learn from brands like Bayer Consumer Health, McDonald’s Hong Kong, Bailey Nelson, and more.
- Marketing Profs: Case Studies: How does thought-leadership content drive business? How can you build excitement for a new product line? How can business get their landing pages to boost conversions? These case studies provide examples to follow.
Some of the takeaways from the mounds of research include:
Recommendations are a huge plus. But recommendations are more than the number of Likes you get on a Facebook page or retweets on Twitter.
I’m talking about people that actually take the time to write a review, whether negative or positive. I’m talking about people who communicate with you on Facebook (Ooo, hey, I really like your product. It helped me… yadda, yadda, yadda), post tweets on Twitter (@company has excellent customer service! Thanks!), or a review on your Google Business Profile.
In short, recommendations reach the buyer on an emotional level. They give buyers something to connect with that translates into enthusiasm… or not. This is where the gold lies.
These things show your potential customers how strong a business you have. They also give the company the ability to better its products. Finally, it shows your current and future customers how you will interact/solve/react to them. How sweet is that?
Pricing is a sketchy thing. Too high, and prospects won’t buy because they either can’t afford it or don’t believe the value matches the price. On the other hand, too low, and your product or service risks being considered cheap – as in, too cheap to be worth the lower amount.
It really is amazing how the psychology of that $0.99 (1 cent off!) can make or break a sale. Of course, it probably doesn’t work as well as it used to – consumers are getting inundated with .99 and .95, but that doesn’t mean pricing points don’t still work. It may just be a matter of finding the next magic numbers.
Now, granted, sometimes you can’t do a fixed price. Why? Because some things, like SEO and content marketing campaigns, aren’t cookie-cutter actions, because there’s always something semi-unique with a client. Each one is different, and the sooner they realize you see them as individuals, the better you’re going to be at establishing trust.
So here’s the question.
What are you doing in order to have a baseline for your product or services? For example, in a product-based business, you might have a “low” number. In other words, no matter what promotions or coupons you offer, you’ll never go lower than “this”.
Whether you’re selling products or services, you have to have a baseline. In simple terms, your baseline is the answer to the question: What’s the least I can reasonably afford to charge and still make a profit?
How easy is it to buy from your site? Do you know how many steps it will take to go from any landing page to paying? This is a very important answer you must have. Many people abandon a shopping cart because they get frustrated due to a lack of clarity and/or too many steps.
Trust is a tough one.
Whether you have a small company or a large company, your brand should invoke a strong emotional presence. It should speak of professional ethics, strong leadership, and the ability to listen.
All it takes is for you to screw up one time to throw it all away. The best, easiest way to develop trust, therefore, is to be trustworthy.
It’s All On Their Terms
What sounds valuable to you in terms of “worth the price” will not necessarily translate to the consumer. Neither will “usable” or “methods of trust”. All of the above are based on the viewpoints of the consumers. The customer’s viewpoint doesn’t just matter; it’s the whole of the matter.
Their terms – the consumer viewpoint – can be in several directions. Therefore, your content creation, from the words you use to the images you display and how you lay it all out, are all points to consider:
Question: What does “usability” mean to them?
Action: Do usability tests to find out.
Question: How much is your target market willing to pay?
Action: Research your competitor pricing. The median price is often the safest bet.
Question: What language are they most comfortable with?
Action: Research the language, dialect, and idioms of your target location.
Question: What type of content do they most want to consume at each stage of the pipeline?
Action: Use content study platforms like BuzzSumo to research what resonates with your audience.
Throughout the site, we dig deeper into the topic of buyer psychology and discuss different behaviors. We share some pointers on how you can identify those behaviors, and what to do with them once you know what they are.
-But for now, the most important thing to remember is that your clients are not you. Stop thinking you know what they want based on what you’d want. They aren’t the same (read “Repeat After Me: ‘Target. Market.’“).
Take a few hours and practice some conversion optimization with the question in your head: how can I convert my readers to buyers?