- 5 Optimization Changes That Will Turn Visitors into Loyal Customers - December 12, 2014
Optimization Changes Can Turn Visitors into Loyal Customers
Startups are positioned well when it comes to optimizing websites. Though their budgets may be small, they can implement changes quickly and allow data to guide their decisions. These two factors can help them make highly successful customer experience upgrades.
As a precursor to any optimization effort, you must first understand your target audience and have a firm grasp of what they’re looking for. Once you’ve stepped into their virtual shoes and seen things from their perspective, giving them the optimization they need becomes easy.
Also, before making any changes, test every aspect of what you plan to change. No matter how seemingly obvious, every element should be A/B tested; this way, the data guides your decisions and you are assured that you only make positive changes to your site.
Five Customer Experience Optimizations for Startups
While your company may not (yet) be at ‘top-of-mind-awareness’ status in your industry, there are five optimization changes you can make right now that will turn more visitors into leads – and turn more leads into loyal customers!
Clean and Simple Design
Keeping things simple, clean, de-cluttered, and organized will keep website visitors engaged, interested, and help them navigate your site to find what they want. It will also help them become repeat customers.
1. Elements to consider when cleaning up your design and customer experience include:
- Minimize (or eliminate) the use of flash or other required add-ons.
- Make page layouts consistent so that users have a uniform experience navigating through different sections of your site.
- Identify the information that is most important to conversions and place it above the fold.
Studies show that visitors respond best to clean and simple design. Avoid the urge to clutter your page – whether it’s with images or content. Start with a bared down version and test every element you add to see if it improves your conversions or engagement. If not, it’s probably unnecessary.
2. Call to Action Buttons
Not all Call to Action buttons should be the same. While it would make life much simpler to say that all CTAs should have less text, a red background, and be positioned at the top of the page; in reality, it’s simply not the case. In fact, different companies have proven opposite theories. Where one does well with a red button; another sees decreased sales with red. The idea here is to try new concepts and test what works best with your target audience.
Elements you should test include:
- Button sizes: will bigger, more noticeable CTA buttons promote bigger, more noticeable conversions?
- Messaging: should you be action oriented or informative? More detail or ambiguous? Is there a significant difference between “Join Now” and “Join Us Now” or between “Download Your E-book” and “Download My E-book”?
- Colors: should your CTA buttons maintain the color palette of your site or be purposely contrasting?
- Placement: where is the optimal place on the page for your CTA? Top or bottom? Left or right?
We have performed millions of customer experience optimization tests for startups in virtually every industry and the only consistent rule is that there is no consistent rule. What works for one organization doesn’t always work for another. Test these elements to find the best solution for you.
Also, keep in mind that things change over time and as markets and even your offering evolve. If a red button was once effective for your audience, you may want to test a yellow button now. Do not become complacent.
3. Trust and Credibility
If your startup is new on the scene (and even if it isn’t), it would be wise to invest in optimization efforts that build trust and credibility. Users will subconsciously seek reassurance that they can trust you. Some elements to test include:
- Contact Information: be available to your audience. Include contact information (test phone number, live help app, physical location, contact form, etc.) either on the ”contact us” page or in the header or footer of every page. Test which information and which placement works best for your site design and audience.
- Showcase Customers: displaying logos (for B2B) or photos (for B2C) of your customers also builds trust. Select the customers that most typically represent your target audience so that your visitors can identify and relate to them.
- Social Proof: people like to do what their peers are doing. So including testimonials, reviews, and case studies to build trust and brand loyalty.
- Trust Seals: you may find it helpful to add SSL and (EV)SSL badges like those from Comodo, Symantec/Verisign, McAfee, Thawte, and others. Also, your industry may have specific badges or “As Seen On” seals that can help build your security credibility and trustworthiness.
4. A Unified Cross-Platform Experience
Almost 70% of tablet users shop on their devices. So make sure your website is responsive to different browsers, screen sizes, and systems. Your site should never require a horizontal scroll and the customer experience should always be optimized for mobile devices.
In a recent optimization test, when the O’Neill Clothing Company adopted responsive design, mobile conversions increased by a staggering 65.71% for iPhone/iPad and by an even more impressive 407.32% for Android!
5. Ease of Conversions
In this webinar, we covered monetization best practices for form submission and validation, load time, search predictions, and how these can generate significant improvements to site conversion.
Make it easy for visitors to journey through your site and convert to leads and sales. Minimize the steps required in the conversion funnel and shorten your forms.
In a case study we published on the Clicktale blog, a startup for SEO tested going from a conversion form that was long and cumbersome:
to a shorter form with a benefits section:
The conversion improvements included these measurable results:
- Abandonment decreased from 51.4% to 40.7%.
- Time to complete the form went down from 5.09 minutes to 4.23 minutes.
- The refill rate dropped from 2.7% to 0%.
How Startups Can Benefit
By following these five tips, tracking results, and implementing changes, you can quickly improve the conversion rate of your website, collect new leads, sell to more customers and keep them coming back for more! Creating enjoyable experiences for visitors will increase the probability of them coming back to your site instead of going to your competitors. A bad experience will most likely cause them to never come back.
In summary, make sure to:
- Create a clean and simple site-wide user experience
- Test every element (color, size, messaging, placement) of your CTA buttons
- Build trust and credibility and display it
- Customize your site so that it’s responsive to mobile devices & optimized for mobile experience