4 Simple Tips That Doubled Our Conversion Rate

Today, content marketing expert Steven Macdonald shares four quick fixes that sent his company’s conversions through the roof. Enjoy!

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Conversion rate optimization is the number one priority to digital marketers. SEOs, PPC experts, and email marketers — everyone and their mother is now optimizing websites in an attempt to turn more visitors into customers. And if you’re reading this post, I’ll bet that you are too!

Conversion optimization best practices will tell you to test headlines, optimize CTAs, write compelling copy and so on – and that’s great. You may see a lift in conversion rate of 10% here and there, but how many times can you really test changing “Buy Now” to “Buy Today,” “Order Here,” or “Get This Awesome Product Immediately” before you start hitting your head against the wall?

Or even worse than that, you read all these great posts about A/B testing, yet due to low traffic you have to wait months before you can get statistically significant data.

Our team here at SuperOffice took a different approach: we mapped the entire web form journey and tested/optimized it. We didn’t wait until each test was 95%+ statistically relevant. We implemented like hell!

Our approach wasn’t rocket science. A lot of it was common sense and making sure the user experience was improved at each stage of the conversion path. Here are four simple tips that helped us double global conversion rates.

1. Add goals to the footer of your website

Your website will have both business and customer goals. A goal for your business might be to generate a lead or sale, whereas a goal for your customer might be to contact customer service. Your website should make it as easy as possible for both types of goals to be completed.

If you publish a white paper that a web visitor can download by providing contact information, and the visitor is researching the topic of your white paper, then the goals will be aligned.

In January 2013, we ran three usability tests with UserTesting, which led to some great feedback. Each test participant would quickly scan the page content and then scroll to the bottom of each page. No matter how big or bright the call-to-action buttons were, they were being missed, and the task would not be completed.

To fix this problem, we simply added the call-to-action to the website footer. We then re-ran the usability tests using the same scenarios and tasks and they were all completed.

We added all of our aligned goals in the footer of our page.

We added all of our aligned goals to the footer of our site.

During the next two weeks, we saw a 50% increase in conversion rate for the goals that were added to the footer!

Action point: Write down all business and customer goals that are a match and then add them to your website footer.

2. Launch a pop-up banner on your top pages

A continuing trend in 2013 was the pop-up banner. Whether you exited a website, you were idle for more than 10 seconds, or you simply visited more than three pages, you were most likely greeted with a pop-up banner.

A common opinion I hear is, “They’re annoying!” Well, you know what they say about opinions, right?

We launched a pop-up banner in July 2013 using screenpopper.com. I’m no graphic designer, and we put together an ugly-looking pop-up. Here’s the proof:

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It’s not the prettiest pop-up banner, but it worked!

Guess what? It converted. And it converted really well.

It’s not the traditional pop-banner you see. Most ask for information directly within the pop-up such as name and an email address. We simply send visitors to our resources page that includes free white papers and eBooks.

Although the design is poor, it has quickly become the third biggest lead generator on the site, and 1 in 4 people who click the banner become a lead.

If people see the banner and fill out contact information, how annoying is it really?

Action point: Implement a pop-up banner on your top 10 most visited pages in order to increase your highest-valued website goal.

3. A/B test your most visited web forms

Now that you have an increase in traffic to your web forms by adding the goals to your footer (#1) and the pop-up banner (#2), you should begin A/B testing the forms.

To begin with, it doesn’t matter if you have a proven methodology for testing or you go with your gut – just test the form and get started. You will learn more by doing than by creating an A/B testing discipline (this comes much later on).

Our original web form looked like any other form on the web. It was boring and asked for contact information, so our first test was to include social proofing to gain added trust. This meant using brand logos and testimonials on the web form page.

We also included an additional variation in the test. It was a page that removed any intro text, banners, logos or testimonials – a “naked” version that only included the form itself.

Here is a screenshot of the tests we ran. Which form do you think performed better?

Here is a screenshot of the tests we ran. Which form do you think performed better?

The results were fascinating. The social proofed web form saw an increase of 48% compared to the original, whereas the “naked” form saw a staggering 197% increase.

The "naked" form (Variation 2) showed a huge improvement over the control.

The “naked” form (Variation 2) showed a huge improvement over the control.

Action point: Wildly A/B test your website’s most visited web forms with two to three variations in order to collect valuable data.

4. Use thank you pages to get more conversions

You’re well on your way to increasing conversion rates and you’re using techniques that conversion rate experts use. It’s not all scientific, and the final improvement we made had the biggest impact.

When is the best time to sell? Immediately after the initial sale!

Prime real estate. If ever there was a page that the term “prime real estate” was coined for, it’s the thank you page. Whether your website is e-commerce or lead generation, you most likely have a thank you page. Most (read: “99%”) thank you pages include basic (read: “boring”) thank you information, but are actually a great source to cross/up-sell.

We used to be in the 99% of basic thank you pages. A basic thank you page is better than no thank you page at all, but ours was pretty blank.

Here's what our thank you page used to look like.

Here’s what our thank you page used to look like.

Using the same approach as in the first point of this post (adding goals to your footer), we included links to our most downloaded white papers.

Here's the new version for comparison.

Here’s the new version for comparison.

These changes had an immediate impact on the number of visitors that downloaded a white paper, with conversion rate increasing by 90% and the number of goal completions increasing by 105%.

Action point: Identify your top 5 high-value goals and link to them from the thank you pages across your entire website.

The results

We’ve piled on a lot more traffic in 2013 compared to 2012, with total web visits up by 89%, but the result for these four simple changes was a record 155% increase in conversion rate and a 246% increase in the number of leads!

You don't have to be a math whiz to see the difference these four changes made.

You don’t have to be a math whiz to see the difference these four changes made.

We have also implemented these changes across seven languages, and the global conversion rate for 2013 increased from 1.1% to 2.2%.

To re-cap the changes made:

  • Make it easy for visitors to complete their goals

  • Send more people to your goal/ form pages

  • Test your web forms and gain valuable insight

  • All pages can be used to convert more visitors

If the goal of your website is to grow more leads, then your goal is to optimize funnels and conversion paths. With four simple changes, we experienced a huge increase in conversion rate. It’s easier to get management on board when you can prove that investing in conversion rate optimization pays off.

UserTesting is a low-cost way of seeing how visitors use your website, and A/B testing software lets you test changes before rolling it out live. Use January to implement the changes above and watch your conversion rates increase in 2014!

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About Steven Macdonald

Steven Macdonald has been working in online marketing since 2005. He currently works with SuperOffice CRM and contributes to the online marketing blog Tribes.

  • http://workado.com/ Justin McGill @ Workado

    Maximizing thank you pages seems to be the trend of 2014. I LOVE your first idea though. I had heard of adding a call to action button towards the bottom above the footer, but this is a unique one and I see total value in it. Thanks for sharing the “Learn CRM” example graphic as that really hammers home the point.

    • Steven Macdonald

      Thanks for the comment Justin. I hope the changes to your footer boost conversions as much as they did for us.

    • Steven Macdonald

      Thanks for the comment Justin. I hope the changes to your footer boost conversions as much as they did for us.

  • Jesse Quist

    great information here Steven, I will be placing goals in the footer of my websites from now on

    • Steven Macdonald

      Hope it works out well for you Jesse. Thanks

  • Sachin Bisaani

    Great CRO tips Steve but would like to add one more tip to that list which i implemented and noticed increase in conversion.

    We implemented hanging banner in right navigation and on clicking, it send user to lead generation form and it really converted well.

    • Steven Macdonald

      Thanks for sharing that great tip Sachin. I’ll have to try that one myself.

  • http://www.socialsinergy.com/ Adam Dukes

    Excellent post! I read this this morning and already applied tip #1 and am working on tip #4.

    • Steven Macdonald

      Awesome! Have you been able to see an immediate impact, Adam?

      • http://www.socialsinergy.com/ Adam Dukes

        Actually, I had it done in an unpublished post (that’s how I write html :)), but didn’t add it to my footer until this morning. I was in the process of adding some new landing pages. I don’t have surges of traffic on my site, so it might take a bit more time to see results. Will keep a close eye on it though.

        • Steven Macdonald

          OK great! Keep me posted. Would love to hear the difference it makes.

          • http://www.socialsinergy.com/ Adam Dukes

            Will do!

  • http://www.titanium-jewelry.com/ J.R. YATES

    Great tips. But would love to see some that would apply more to ecommerce sites selling physical products.

  • Megan Bush

    Definitely some fantastic ideas, although I’m not sure I can jump on board with not waiting for statistical confidence! It seemed to work so well for you, yet I wonder if the results are long lasting. Thanks for sharing – definitely something to think about!