Our family, all avid gameplayers, recently tried a game that was new to us, Torres. It’s a complex game, with a lengthy back story, complicated rules, and lots of options.
When we first began, we played fairly randomly, concentrating on following the rules and getting pieces on the board. As we saw the consequences of those initial decisions, though, we began to develop strategies.
It’s that way with conversions at your website, too. You can make a plan based on the rules of the game (SEO best practices, marketing experience, your knowledge of your customers) and put it into practice, and you’re likely to get your pieces on the board.
To get the King’s Bonus, though (increased conversions, and I’m going to abandon this metaphor now before things get even more convoluted), you have to watch your results and fine-tune the strategy in response to them.
The basic steps for increasing conversions at your website:
- Define conversions: filling out a response form? calling the company? buying something? downloading a sample?
- Set up goals in analytics that measure those actions. You can measure how many times someone reaches the “thank you” page after sending in a request for information, whether people stayed on your sales page long enough to read it, or how many people send in an order.
- Develop some plans for increasing those actions in your visitors: fine tune your content, add calls to action, entice people to those pages from social media, buy ads — whatever you think will work best, based on the information you have.
- Watch for increases in those metrics as you implement your plans.
- Do more of what works.
Setting up goals at Analytics has the advantage of allowing you to get a better handle on what works by comparing conversion rates according to other variables. You can see, perhaps, that visitors who come to you via search have a conversion rate which is 13% higher than the average for the whole site, or that people entering by searching for a particular keyword have a better conversion rate than those using another keyword.
Then you increase the traffic that converts by putting more effort and energy into that.
For example, I used to pay attention to social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg. Clients would see nice spikes in their web traffic and feel happy.
Then we saw, with one website after another, that the traffic from those sites simply never turned into sales. There’d be a spike, then traffic would settle back to normal and life would go on. The same amount of effort invested in an email newsletter would give a smaller spike in traffic that lasted longer, generated more sales, and paid for itself.
That’s a general observation, but your particular website, business, offering, clientele, and competitive landscape will make your particular results different from someone else’s. That’s why you have to watch.
A final note: watch, see what works, and do more of that. However, don’t be too quick to stop with things that don’t work immediately. Use that information to inform your decisions, but know that some things take longer than others. Trying one thing after another briefly and changing it randomly isn’t a strategy, and it won’t give you good results.