11 Tips For Improving Online Conversions

Struggling to drive conversions?  Well I am going to list 11 easy tips for you to drive better customer experience and conversion on your site.  Remember small changes can often lead to happy customers and higher conversions.

  1. Provide easy to fill forms – How many times have you come across a form field where you don’t remember what the field was about?  Many designers/developers use the default text in the form filed as the field labels. Once you tab into that field, the default text is gone and now you can’t figure out what that field was about and what you are supposed to enter. That's not a good design, it will cause customer frustration and kill conversions.
  2. Remove captcha, if you can - Captchas are a great way to stop the spammers, bots and spiders from filling the forms on your site, but some captchas are so bad that they not only create a undesirable customer experience but also kill the conversions. Make sure you critically evaluate every form on your site that has a captcha and determine if you really do captch on that form. I wrote a blog post on Captcha, you can read it at  Is CAPTACH eating up your conversions 
  3. Remove unnecessary form field formatting and validations - Other than Captcha validation, you are likely using form field validations on your forms to make sure visitors enter the correct data.  You might also use validation to ensure that the format of the data fields such as email, phone, etc. is correct. Many of these validations are absolutely required to ensure data quality. However, some validations put unnecessary burden on your customer/visitor leading them to abandon your forms/checkout process. A lot of data formatting can be done via client side JavaScript or back-end processing without putting the customer through a lot of pain. So go through your own forms, see if all form validations are absolutely required. If not, then remove them, also remove any validation/formatting requirements that you can handle via code in the front end or back-end. Check out my post on Form validation and conversions.
  4. Automatic Promotional Code and Discount Code application - Promotional Codes also known as Promo Codes, Discount Codes, Coupon Codes, Offer codes etc, are supposed to drive conversions and sales, right? However, they can have a reverse action and can actually kill your conversions, if they are not properly used.  In my post “Promotional Codes: Conversion Killers?, I showed one such example where Promo codes can hinder conversions.  If you provide a promotional code on your site, in an ad on Google, Facebook, display ads etc. and if a user arrives to your site by clicking on a link in the ad to arrive to your site then go ahead and automatically apply the relevant promo code to customers shopping cart without making them go back to add to find the promo code. Those back and forth step can kill your conversions. Go even a step further and make it clear to the users that they will get what the ad/promo code promised so that the don't keep wondering if the code will applied or not.  Godaddy is a great example of a site the automatically apply any relevant promo codes.
  5. Design consistent experience across devices - Customers expect consistent experience across browsers and devices so don’t mess with their expectations.  Broken experience can lead to customer dissatisfaction and defection. I wrote about one such example in my post, 2 A/B Testing Lessons Learned from Amazon Video.  Read more: 2 A/B Testing Lessons Learned from Amazon Video
  6. Make is easy for customers to find customer support number  - Yes, phone support is expensive but bad customer experience is even more expensive.  If you do your cost analysis, you might find that phone support is actually profitable. A phone call provide you an opportunity to hear your customer and convert a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied customers. Make it easy for customers to contact you rather than complain on social media.
  7. Connect Channels, Customer Service, Support and Marketing - If I get a marketing material and I call the number listed on that then person picking up the phone on the other end should be able to answer question on that material. I have several experiences where customer support is not in sync with the marketing and customer has to waste his/her time. I talked about one such case of disconnected experience in my blog post titled, Are you Optimizing the Wrong Steps of the Conversion Process?
  8. Make it easy to cancel subscription - Have you ever tried to cancel a paid App subscription on iPhone?  It is pretty bad. I always forget where the link is and have to spend several minutes to look for it. Not a good experience.  It might work for iPhone and Apple but likely won’t work for you. If customer wants to cancel a subscription, then go ahead and make it easy for them to find the cancellation button/links. I am not saying you let them go easily, you should have top notch experience, service, down-sell etc, to make it hard for them cancel but hiding an option to cancel is not the solution.  If they can’t find that cancellation link the they are going to leave you bad reviews about you in social media. Use data to figure out how valuable the customer is, understand why he/she is leaving and provide proper personalized offer/incentive for them to stay.
  9. Make it easy to unsubscribe from emails and other communications – Don’t end up in spam folders because your subscribers can’t find an unsubscribe link in your email. Spam complain will hurt more than the unsubscribes. If your emails do end up in Spam folders then you can kiss goodbye to sales from emails. If you do send then unsubscribe should not be a big issue because people only unsubscribe from irrelevant stuff. Follow email best practices, send relevant messages to reduce unsubscribes.
  10. Conduct continuous A/B Testing - Customer preferences change, their behavior changes and you site has to change to. The best way to change your site is to keep evolving and always trying to find out what works best for your customers. This is where ongoing testing (A/B testing, MVT testing) helps. Before rolling out a feature, page layout etc., test it and see if your customers like it.  If not, then try something else. As Bryan Eisenberg says “Always Be Testing”.
  11. Personalize user experience - Consumers are now more at ease with online purchases, they have moved past initial privacy concerns of online tracking and now expect personalization.  Personalization is no longer optional. Many marketers don't realize that personalization does not have to be complex. You can start simple and build on it.  Take our Website and Landing Page personalization course and get started with personalization in less than a day.

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