Conversion Optimization Basics – The Big Picture

What is a “Conversion” and Where Do Conversions Happen?

A conversion refers to the process of turning a website visitor or current prospect into a customer via a purchase i.e. converting them from viewer or lead into buyer. Conversion also commonly refers to the process of turning a website visitor or social media follower into an email list subscriber.

Business can and often do mold their own definition along those lines. At CLVboost, we define conversion according to what fits our business model, namely taking a viewer, prospect, or customer through a measurable threshold that takes them farther down the buyer’s journey toward higher customer lifetime value.

Conversion Examples:

  • eCommerce company with great success rate from Facebook to front-end purchases
  • SaaS company increases retention rate when customers join a private LinkedIn group
You can think of a process as a conversion if it tangibly influences the customer lifetime value. For the sake of this presentation, we focus on the conversion that matters for the majority of clients i.e. converting viewers to leads (opt-ins) and converting leads to customers (purchases).

Conversion Optimization in All 4 Quadrants of the CLVmap Customer Lifecycle ClVboost Lifecycle

Collecting – Acquire leads

All businesses should be split-testing (A/B Testing) their landing page or home page variations. It’s relatively easy to move the needle points of change on a website with simple but effective changes:

  • Headline changes
    • Alter the entire format or move the opt-in form (image)
  • Opt-in form changes
    • Placement of opt-in form or sub-headling/button of opt-in form
    • Color changes in headline
Generally, making changes to the main headline will make a big difference. A rule of thumb is that the places on your site getting the majority of traffic should always be split tested to assess which tweaks convert more leads.

Connecting – Segment/Qualify

Common errors in the connection phase again include neglecting major testing on high-traffic pages. Any page that gets lots of viewers should be tracked; this could be a landing, home, or even a content page. Each page should include succinct calls-to-action.

Another common error is ignoring lead-capture pop-ups on the pages, including blog posts. HubSpot (a company I use often as a quality case study) does an excellent job of including pop-ups at the bottom of their blog posts. You might try launching multiple test-in opportunities on the same blog post (segmentation).

Again, the major takeaway is leveraging the capacity to test and finding ways to get more leads on any page that generates high traffic.

Converting – Sales, Appointments

When it comes to converting leads to make more purchases and make more appointments i.e. answering the calls-to-action – it’s all about the split-testing (A/B testing). Tracking conversion rates on order forms, purchase pages, and appointment forms is key to nailing down a methodical and proactive marketing process.   Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 6.29.49 PM

eCommerce companies should split-test the following on their purchase pages (and there are plenty of other factors to test):

  • Product titles and descriptions
  • Format of the page
  • Changes to the order form after a customer clicks a product
Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.31.44 AM   Service-based businesses can have just as much, if not more leverage, to get leads on an appointment form. Some elements to split-test:
  • Call-to-action
  • Button text
  • Format and visual appeal
  • Inclusion of testimonials
Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.32.27 AM With appointment-based businesses, there are all sorts of ways to crank the leverage to sell. Service-level businesses who sell on the phone often don’t see the value of the online market until they see the difference in conversion rate numbers – then they believe. The thank you page is another valuable factor to test. You might include a coupon code or a related product on one to see if you can get additional margin to throw into advertising.   Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.53.42 AM   The goal is to test all areas and conversion check points. In the appointment process, this will also include variables like the appointment request form, the calendar/date selection, etc. A common error is neglecting to split-test the entire purchase process. For example, on an eCommerce page, the order form is often overlooked. Check out CrazyEgg’s order forms and you’ll see testimonials, Q&A’s, etc. You can bet that all these factors were split-tested.

Even 4 percent higher returns on small facets of the conversion process can yield massive returns for the bottom line of a business over time, especially if you’re testing various facets (not just what the appointment request form looks like, for example, but also the rate of completion of the order form).

Circulating – Retention, Engagement

Ongoing communication with leads, prospects, and past customers is so important – and often left on the back-burner.

This is yet another area where businesses should be split-testing ongoing mail and email communications i.e. subject lines, calls to action, etc. Any serious business should be aiming to attain recurring sales, targeted repeat sales, or qualified referrals. Software companies and other similar business models will often have incentives for doing so.

If these sales are not tracked as a conversion point, then companies often find that they are not getting any more sales than they did the month before, if not less. By turning ongoing communication into a calibrated metric, companies can tap into a powerful tool for lifting referrals on the back-end.

The Take-Aways

Split-testing at every phase of the sales process, from the first call-to-action to communicating with ongoing customers, is a necessary part of the successful conversion lifecycle.

 Common Errors to Avoid

  • Boring, blanketed messaging to past customers that doesn’t differ from what prospects receive. Giving calls-to-action that have already been seen is never a good thing; aim for customer-specific newsletters and broadcasts (at a bare minimum).
  • Neglecting to find referral opportunities and incentives for delighted customers. Often, people are happy with a product or service and would refer a business, but there is no structure in place to encourage this process. Find best practices for excellent referral incentivizing.
  • Not having clear SYSTEM in place to encourage repeat business. Existing customers are already in the door – companies should be finding ways to hold onto those customers for the long-term.

Stick to These Principles

  • Test everything related to conversion. Start by testing the highest-trafficked pages, those currently responsible for the most leads and/or most sales, then move on to other areas of your website.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for conversion. Don’t have just one white paper or one email encouraging eCommerce purchase – go for persistence/variety for conversion. ; In an automated email, don’t just have one sections where you ask for an appointment – have multiple calls-to-action in that email (they don’t all have to be hard).
  • Test all ongoing communication post-purchase. Previous customers are a grossly untapped source of revenue for so many of the businesses with which we work. It benefits any business to implement succinct processes and procedures that are testable, in terms of conversion check points (this could be subject lines for emails going out to past purchasing customers, or you might have a series of backend products or upsells that convert higher than others).
Have questions about how to apply for CLVboost services? We do lots of assessment work with small and big companies, and we’re also available to work with you on specific projects – whether that be lifting conversion in certain areas or split-testing ways of getting new leads in your list. Submit your project online and our team will contact you to discuss best fit consulting services. Here’s to a productive week! -Daniel Faggella Founder CLVboost]]>