E-Commerce Link: Better Conversion
Are you testing landing pages like a primate on steroids? Are you spinning wheels trying to unearth your next conversion rate boost? Here are four Web site areas that often are overlooked and misunderstood, and some suggestions on how you can improve them for better site conversion.
1. Create a Better Perception of Site Speed
Load time is not the only element that affects a visitor’s impression of how quickly your site and each subsequent page appear on-screen. While a site loads with an absolute speed, it’s possible to give the impression it’s loading faster by prioritizing your information and loading critical details first.
Actual speed and the perception of that speed often are inversely related. The real influences are the user’s experiences and his ability to complete the tasks he came to accomplish. For example, forms that appear long—even though they may not request a good deal of information—often are perceived as requiring a long time to complete. If all the text-entry boxes on your forms are the same size, one simple thing you can do to create the perception of speed is reduce the box sizes to better reflect the data they’re collecting. For instance, your ZIP code box should be significantly shorter than your address box.
In general, the longer the visitor perceives it will take her to accomplish her task, the more frustrated and disinterested she will become.
2. Create “Contact Us” Pages that Work for Your Visitors
Many companies do a great job of listing all of their various contact names, numbers and corresponding departments, but offer very little guidance on which contact option is the best, or even correct, choice.
If you have several departments, be sure to put the information in the context of what the visitor needs. For example, instead of listing the finance department with its contact details underneath, lead with a header like “Questions about your application or financing? Call our finance department at (555) 555-5555.”
And please don’t hide your contact information. This information should be listed above the fold. Controlling call center costs is an important metric for many large companies, but the answer isn’t to hide contact information. While doing so may eliminate many knucklehead calls, it also leaves you vulnerable to frustrated and angry customers. This can waste even more time when they do hunt you down. It also robs you of an opportunity to win over customers by being more approachable. It’s hard to trust a company that doesn’t seem to want to talk to you. Remember, conversion-rate optimization is not simply for transactions or leads; it also can be used post-sale in customer relationship situations in which a conversion can be measured as a success.
That said, if you’re still pressed to reduce your customer service call volume, clearly post on your site a frequently-asked question page that provides answers to the majority of customer questions. Most call centers record and log calls and visitor chats; use that information to determine the most common questions.
3. Ramp Up the Power of Your “About Us” Page
Most companies provide “About Us” pages because everyone else has them, but many overlook their importance to customers.
Many relational visitors want to know a little bit about your company. Who started your company? Why? What are the company’s values? This information allows the relational shopper to feel as if he or she is building a relationship with you rather than just buying a product or service.
Transactional buyers are looking for credibility so they can feel confident in making a purchase from you. How long have you been in business? Why are you qualified to sell me this? What companies are you affiliated with? A company history timeline is a great way to highlight achievements without braggadocio.
What you shouldn’t do is simply copy and paste your mission statement, or use it as an excuse for another push-type sell. Your “About Us” page should reflect your company’s personality. If you’re struggling to find customer-centric content to put on this page, consider the following examples of visitor questions you can answer:
• Why do you do what you do?
• Who are the people behind the company?
• What kind of people will I be working with/buying from?
• What does your company stand for?
• What does your company stand against?
4. Evolve Your Site’s Copy
I shouldn’t have to reiterate that great copy is worth its weight in diamonds. Until recently, the great copy challenge was mostly about providing relevance. Now, it’s about providing the same relevance in fewer words.
“Power equals work divided by time. Your copy’s persuasive power equals its emotional credibility divided by the time required to read it,” says our copywriting trainer Jeff Sexton. “The trick isn’t just to say more with fewer words, it’s to say it more credibly with [fewer] words. That’s much harder to do, but anything less usually fails. Unread copy is infinitely unpersuasive.”
To write great copy, you must adhere to three principles:
• It must be relevant.
• It must be credible.
• It must be as short as possible (not just short).
Notice how the word “creative” is absent. People don’t have time for you to be cute, play tricks or gimmick them. They know how to weed out the bull dung. They want the facts, and they want what they’re looking for now. They don’t have the time or patience for anything else.
For example, the following copy meets the third principle but not the first two:
Free Apple iPhone
Be the first to get the iPhone.
Shipping included. Act now!
A better ad would be:
Earn an Apple iPhone
No money out of your pocket.
Must complete advertiser offers.
Just because I listed copy last doesn’t mean it’s the least important. In fact, the opposite is true.
People still do two things more than anything else online: They read, and they click on links. What visitors read on your site can make all the difference in how many of them click your “Buy now” link.
Jeffrey Eisenberg is co-founder and CEO of Future Now Inc., a New York-based consultancy that specializes in online conversion strategies. He can be reached at email@example.com