Whether you’re looking to convert blog or website visitors to subscribers or prospects to clients, working to increase conversions on your site is never a wasted effort. Here are three easy ways to optimize your site in order to do just that.
1. Make sure your content is targeted
A common mistake is to create content that will appeal to your colleagues (read: competitors) rather than the people you most wish to serve. Not only does this mean that you’ll want to keep your tone accessible to all of your prospects, it could also impact the type of content you choose to create and share.
For example, while your creative process as an artist may be interesting for people who want to buy paintings, a detailed critique of various types of paints may or may not be as riveting. And how-to videos may not convert as well as other types of content, since they’d be viewed by other artists who may not be in the market for your paintings since they are trying to sell their own.
A good rule of thumb is to simply ask yourself if the person who would buy your product or service would be interested in the topic you’re considering for an upcoming blog post or series. Having someone in mind – a typical customer you speak with or may run into – can help you target them more specifically. Many companies create “personas” of the types of customers they are trying to attract and create content that will appeal to them.
2. Be useful
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The key to content marketing is to provide real value. Your posts may lead readers down the conversion funnel, but they should be useful enough to stand on their own. Once you’ve identified your audience, make sure to address their biggest issues. Writing about topics you know well in your industry can help you create good quality content.
This isn’t to say that you need to be 100 percent focused on your industry. An occasional funny article or post you found online (cat videos, anyone?) can add a little personality and help your conversion a bit. It adds a human aspect and can encourage interaction with your readers. If you can tie it into your industry and what you’re trying to sell, all the better.
It’s possible that humor won’t apply for your industry, so make sure to find out for yourself by experimenting on your own site, social networks or blog. This leads us to the next tip.
3. Always remain in testing mode
The web is awash in e-books and templates offering conversion secrets: the most profitable keyword combinations, best times to post, and so forth. But, as our Director of Marketing Communications, Alf Brand points out, this doesn’t negate the need for testing. You could follow these rules verbatim and get the opposite results of those you were expecting because every blog, industry and audience is different. “Everyone’s conversion would be 100 percent if there was a winning recipe that was going to work every time,” he says. “It’s a case-by-case type of thing.”
The only way to know if something will work is to test it.
“You should always be testing,” Brand says. “You should never stop and say, ‘this is it.’”
That’s because trends change, and people react to things differently over time.
Trying to figure out what to test? Here are just a few options:
- The length of your forms or blog posts
- The color of call-to-action buttons
- Various headline options
- Different keywords or phrases
- Human faces versus graphic design on your home page
- Varying language for your call-to-action
Determining which of these leads to higher conversions can help you come up with a conversion optimization strategy that is specific to your website and your readers. This is more valuable than following cookie-cutter solutions without analyzing the results.
Want to get started with split testing? A couple of low-cost options are Optimizely, which starts as low as $17 to $19 a month, and Visual Website Optimizer, which costs $49 or $59 a month with a 30-day trial period.
For a free option, you can set up Content Experiments directly in Google Analytics. (This is a little different than the A/B split test in that you can test as many as 10 versions of a single page, with each one being delivered to users from a different URL).
Although testing conversion rates can at first seem a bit scary, Brand recommends getting past this obstacle. One way to mitigate your fears is to test just a small portion of your traffic. And if a test isn’t going well, ending it prematurely is always an option. Just remember that the benefits of testing outweigh the risks. “Even an incremental gain in conversions is huge over time,” Brand says.
Have any additions of your own? Let us know in the comments!
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