SKYROCKET YOUR CONVERSION RATEWith Conversion Focused Design
Today you're going to turn up the dial on your website conversion rate.
First, I'll show you how to craft your customer persona and why it is so important in your marketing efforts.
I'll also cover the most valuable elements on your website to keep, and the unnecessary ones you can remove.
Then I'll teach you how to personalise your site to speak to the needs & desires of your prospects.
Next, I'll cover some other low hanging fruit you can tweak to make your website a better experience for your visitors.
Sound good? Let's dive right in....
Since the focus of this article is to be as actionable as possible, each point has an action step that you can put in place today that will make your site a better experience for your visitor (and increase conversions as a result).
So what is conversion focused design anyway?
Put simply, Its a design mentality that uses elements of persuasive design, psychology, and communication to create a high performing, high converting design.
It’s design that drives visitors towards one singular action.
It could be to sign up to your email list, to buy your product, or if you provide services, it could be to fill out your contact form so you can jump onto a call with them.
Your site should be your best sales person and your hardest working employee.
Why should you bother with changing the design of your site?
You may like it how it is, you like the look of it, how it represents your brand and your company.
But is it working for you as effectively as it could be?
Sometimes it can be hard to be objective about something you have invested so much energy and money into already.
Maybe you haven't quite gotten the results from it that you expected.
And if you are happy with how your site converts, maybe its time to think a little bigger?
As a small business owner, I work hard in and on my business, and I have no doubt that you do too.
You want to get the most return on your time and effort as possible. I feel your pain, and I want that for you too.
I have a family that I want to spend more time with and maximising what I get out of my business is key to that.
Working efficiently is a must. And having tools in place to streamline and simplify the day to day aspects is a must.
So ask yourself, why do you have a website?
Why invest the time, effort and money into having an online presence if your not getting a return from that investment?
When people visit your site, they are trying to accomplish a goal.
Visitors come to your website because they have a pain or need they want solved.
How are you going to fill their need or solve their problem for them?
How Can You Implement Conversion Focused Design?
Now we are getting down to the meat and potatoes of this article.
Below are the elements that you need to include and focus on when designing or redesigning your site to maximise your conversions.
1. Personalise It To Your Customer Persona
Before we jump into all the elements or designs you think you need, or what pages you want on the site, you need a solid goal and purpose to base everything else on.
You need to ask yourself 2 questions:
A). What do my visitors want?
B). How can I best give them what they want?
The best way to find that out and give them what they want is to create a customer persona.
If you are unsure about what your customer persona is, then lets break it down as this is by far the most important step because if your site isn’t speaking to the needs of your ideal customer then they are going to click that dreaded back button and move onto the next site.
Customer Personas are also sometimes refered to as Buyer Personas or simply Personas.
Personas are semifictional, generalised characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behaviour patterns among your real and potential customers.
Simply put, Personas help you understand your customers better.
Everything we do will be based around your customer persona.
When deciding whether to put a video on the page or write out a 5 paragraph sales pitch, you refer to your customer persona.
A millennial might want a video. A baby boomer might want long form written copy. While this is a generalisation I'm hoping you can see the point I'm trying to make.
Different people respond to different things so you need to find out who your customers are and what they respond to.
When creating our persona, we try and understand the individual we want to do business with. Who are they, and why are they interested in us?
The easiest way to get your head around what Personas are and how they benefit your business is with an example.
So, let's say you run a website in the health niche, and you have 1 product that helps you lose weight through healthy eating and takes you through a structured exercise program helps you to bulk up and build muscle.
Now, think of 2 different prospects browsing your website. Jenny wants to eat healthy and lose some weight. Steve already eats healthy meals but is abit scrawny and wants to build up some muscle.
Your product can help both Jenny AND Steve, but their desires are totally different.
And since their desires are different from each other you need to tailor your marketing to their desires and target them differently.
If Steve is browsing Facebook and sees an ad for bulking up and building muscle, he most likely will click on it as that's what he is interested in doing.
But if he sees an ad for a healthy meal plan for losing weight, he will just scroll right past it as he doesn't care about that in his life right now.
So, in this case, we would create 2 Personas, 1 for Jenny and 1 for Steve.
Then when we are creating ads, we can focus only on what each Personas desires are individually, to create a targeted, personalised message that speaks directly to their desires.
We would target Jennys Persona with weight loss ads and messaging, and we can target Steves Persona with messaging around building muscle.
How can we use our Customer Persona in our website design?
Well the most powerful way to target your Personas on your website is through Personalisation.
Personalisation is showing targeted experiences to specific segments of your visitors in real-time.
It’s about giving a unique experience to a segment of your visitors, so that not all visitors see the same thing.
It's changing the narrative of what you offer, to speak directly to the needs of the prospect.
We can personalise our website based on the signals prospects have given us, whether its behaviour based signals (pages viewed or content downloaded) or context signals (referral source, subscriber vs non-subscriber)
So, let's jump back to our previous example of Jenny and Steve.
Your product can help both of them. But you have a far better chance of speaking directly to their needs and desires then if you prompted your product as an "all-in-one" solution.
If Jenny is looking at your product page and the headline reads "Eat healthier, lose weight & build muscle" she might be thinking that she will only make use of half of your product.
If Steve is reading your product page, he will skip all the parts about eating healthier and losing weight, and wonder if your product is the right one for him.
In this scenario, your not speaking directly to the desires of the prospect. But lets see how personalising our sales page, even just a little bit, can change this.
Given what we know about Jenny, and her desire to eat healthier, we can change the heading to read "The last healthy eating guide you'll ever need" and proceed to have the sales copy on the rest of the page focus on all the benefits of healthy eating, all the recipes you have in your product and swap out the images on the page for photos of delicious healthy meals.
Are we lying, or deceiving Jenny. Not at all. All your doing is changing the FOCUS of your marketing, and how your speaking to Jenny.
Your product stays the same. But how you display the benefits and whats inside your product changes.
How about Steve? Well, Steve was wanting to bulk up and build up his muscles, so we can change the headline to be something like "From Boney To Bulky- The Definitive Muscle Building Guide" and we can swap out all the images to be weight lifting or muscle building images. This is speaking directly to the desire Steve has for building up his muscle mass.
Again, the product stays the same, you're just changing how you present the product to different people.
This is the power of knowing your Customer Persona and pairing that with website personalisation.
2. Use Whitespace to draw attention to the different elements on your site
Whitespace is simply blank space. When you to google.com you can see it all around the search box.
It isn't necessarily white, it can be any colour, but in the design world we call it whitespace.
It's the space a designer places between elements on the page.
But wait, isn't that just wasted space?
Not at all. Webpages can scroll infinitely and we are actually accustomed to scrolling a lot when viewing websites on our devices like our phones.
It makes viewing certain elements easier and you can use it to draw attention to different elements on your page.
Apple are fantastic at using whitespace to focus the visitor on their products. You can see in the above image that they are using whitespace to draw your eye to their iPhone X product image and headline.
When should I use whitespace?
Whitespace, like a lot of design, is an incredibly subjective concept but when it isimplemented correctly, it performs two key tasks:
A). The design "breathes", making it easier to view and visually digest
B). The user's eye is drawn to important elements (like an "Add to cart" button)
Get Rid Of The Stuff Your Users Don’t Need To Know
We often get into the habit of throwing as much information as we can all over our website because we think, the more info I have, the better chance of a sale, right?
And this is very rarely true. Its not the amount of info we have on our site that gets the sale.
Sales are won by having targeted and personalised information for the visitor.
Clarity is important for your visitors. Your site needs to be able to quickly and effectively communicate what is special about you to your visitors.
Refer to your Persona as to which elements you can remove from your site. When you get to an element, whether it be a block of text, an image or a form, ask yourself if this element is getting in the way or distracting my visitor from what they need to see, or if this is helping my visitor on their buyer journey.
So go through your website now and start to delete elements that don't really need to be there. If you don't manage your website yourself, make a note of all the elements you want removed that you can send to your developer or the person managing your site.
Replace Your Images (No Cheesy Stock Photos)
Nothing says "Im an Amateur" like cheesy stock photos, you know the ones with a person in a suit smiling at you with perfectly white teeth.
It seems fake and cheesy and lowers the perception of the quality of your brand.
If you use the free photos from Unsplash just remember that since it is free a lot of other people could be using those same photos.
3. Make Your Site Load Fast
You know that feeling you get when you visit a site and it loads really slowly, that feeling of annoyance?
Do you want people to feel that when they visit your site?
Didn't think so. People like things fast. If something takes too long to load then we move on.
The general thought floating around the web is that if it takes more then 3 seconds to load then people will leave.
In reality we know we are a little more patient then that but if a page takes more then about 6 seconds then most people will click back and go somewhere else.
Google will penalise a slow site, if two sites are ranked for the same position in Google search, Google will serve the faster site because they know it provides a better user experience.
We need to consider performance as part of design when we create anything for the web.
The reason for this is simple. The faster our page loads the happier the users will be.
Happier users results in more conversions.
Here are three methods you can try:
A). Reduce Page Size
The most direct way to reduce file size is to reduce the page size by stripping out content on the page that you really don't need.
When I say page size I'm not talking about the length of the page, I'm talking about the page size in MB/s or KB/s when its loaded into your browser.
You can find this out using a tool like GTMetrix, and see an example of the results in the image below.
Think about your Customer Persona when doing this and ask your self, "Do they really need this element on this page to find what they were looking for?"
It could be an image or icons or text. Be liberal with what you remove from the page.
B). Lazy Load Images
For any images left on your page, try Lazy loading them.
Lazy loading is the process of deferring the loading of an element until it is needed, so in this case, it won't load an image until it gets close to the viewport (which is simply your devices screen).
This is great as the initial page load is faster.
More on how to implement this in the next point.
C). Reduce The Number Of Requests
You can see in the image above that there are 33 requests being made to the server to load a page.
Using the same page from above, I've gone through and implemented these 3 things and you can see the result in the below image.
We have almost halved the total page size and reduced the requests from 33 to 20 which gave us a 20% boost in page load time. Not too shabby!
The simplest way to set all this up is to use a good caching plugin.
Compress Your Images
Speaking of images, they are generally the largest assets on your page and compressing them can significantly reduce your load times.
Or, you can compress them before even uploading them to Wordpress using TinyPNG, a free site that you just drag and drop your images into and it spits out the compressed versions.
You can see me doing it with an image in the video below.
4. Customise Your Call To Action
Your call to action (or CTA) is the most important aspect of a conversion focused designed site.
A CTA is the action you want the visitor to take next, to move them further along your sales funnel.
It could be to buy your product, sign up for your email list or to fill out your contact form.
Some people may tell you to put a CTA for everything the visitor could to do on your site.
So have a button to take them to your latest blog post, and another one to sign them up for your email list, and another to take them to your newest product.
If you have too many CTA’s on a page, you're pulling the visitor in too many directions, and they won’t know what do do next.
How will this help the visitor? How will this help you?
You use CTA's to create a clear visual path for your visitor to take.
Focus your visitor on one or two important tasks.
I’m a big fan of treating a page with the least amount of CTA’s as possible.
You decide on what the most important next step is for your visitor and you make that, and only that step available.
Try to keep it to 1 or 2 per page.
Don’t distract your visitors with things they don’t need yet.
Focus, Focus, Focus.
The best strategy is ask yourself, “Whats the first step in my sales funnel?”
The answer to that question is what you want your CTA to be.
For example, my goal is to get visitors converted into subscribers, so I can give them valuable advice and educate them and help them to improve their website, business and their bottom line.
Your CTA might be to jump onto a free consultation call with you, or sign up for your email list.
Focus On The Benefits They Get, Not The Features You Provide.
Remember, people pay for outcomes, not information.
When your crafting your copy for your CTA or anywhere on your site, focus on the benefits the user will get, not the features of your product or service.
Using a weight loss program as an example, you would craft your copy: “Get a chiseled body” (outcome) not “learn how to be healthy” (information).
Or another example, “Get paid what you deserve” (outcome) not “Tips for getting a raise at work” (information).
Include a Call To Action on Every Page
You need to have a clear call to action on every page.
You don't want the user to have to figure out where they should go next (or they might decide to hit the back button), you want to guide them to where you know they need to go.
Go through your pages now and make sure there is a clear call to action on each page.
You should try and limit the amount on each page to 1 or 2.
It's better if they are all leading the user to the same action, like sending them to a customer testimonial page or a landing page.
The exception to this rule is you can have multiple links and CTAs if they have the same goal, for example, having 3 "Let's Talk" buttons in various positions on the same page, as they all lead to the same goal or action.
So if you have a long sales or landing page you can repeat the same CTA throughout the page.
Anything that makes your site easier to use or more trustworthy is going to boost conversions or satisfaction.
Use Explicit and Descriptive Copy On Your CTA's
Highly relevant to your CTA buttons is your use of the button text.
"Submit", "Signup" or "Click here" are boring and dull and are death for conversion rates.
Make sure its relevant to the action you want them to take, like "Send me your free course" or "Let's Talk".