Increasing your website conversion rates

Businesses spend a lot of money setting up their website and driving traffic to it. However, converting visitors into customers is an important part of a digital marketing strategy that often gets forgotten writes Tanya Hemphill.

Do you have an online conversion strategy? To make your marketing budget go further I suggest you begin by thinking about the following five elements:

1. Optimise your landing page

If you are running an effective online marketing campaign that includes tactics like search engine optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (i.e. Google Adwords) you should never drive all traffic to your home page. I’ve heard that just 5% of all John Lewis’ website traffic comes from their home page. Instead, your digital marketing efforts should drive visitors to the page that’s most relevant to their online search. These ‘landing pages’ should link to the visitor’s online search query.

The next stage is to make sure every landing page is optimised to achieve the highest conversion rate possible. Unfortunately, this is a weak area for most businesses with many driving traffic to a particular page in the hope that the content and design works for them.

To help improve landing page conversion rates, the following elements should be considered:

  • Highlight how you resolve your customer’s problems
  • Explain how you help reduce buying risk – i.e. how do you overcome consumer concerns such as quality, cost, service, etc?
  • Communicate a clear online value proposition (OVP) – i.e. why should they buy from you and not a competitor?
  • Have a clear call-to-action – highlight what you want them to do next, such as go a particular page, sign up for a newsletter, call to make an appointment, etc.
  • Layout – improving the area ‘above the fold’ almost always accounts for increased conversion rates (a traditional publisher’s concept that also works online)

According to conversion expert and author Benji Rabhan (see further reading), most people think about design before lead generation / conversion and this is the wrong way around. He believes that half of conversion rate optimisation is about ‘tweaking’ and testing design / layout and the other half is about the message and words on the page.

Further reading:

The Hubspot Blog:

Recommended book: Rabhan, B., 2013. Convert Every Click: Make More Money Online with Holistic Conversion Rate Optimization.New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

2. Make your website ‘mobile friendly’

More people are now browsing on mobile devices such as mobile phones and iPads, instead of using traditional desktop computers. The majority of websites have not been mobile optimised, which means that navigating around a site on a mobile device is difficult and some content / design disappears from the screen. Even large brands fall into this trap.

To check how your website appears on different screen resolutions, I highly recommend the free testing tool at Before you think about allocating budget either to change your website into one with a responsive design (i.e. it adapts to the device you are viewing it on) or to create a separate mobile site, it’s important to check what your ‘actual’ visitors are using.

This is where the free software tool Google Analytics ( can help – it will tell you what devices your visitors are using to access your website. I’ve found that most consumer orientated sites generally have a 50/50 spilt between mobile and desktop devices.

Tanya Hemphill

Recent research suggests that brands can increase their mobile conversion rate by 19%-100% with responsive design. It can therefore be argued that the ROI against the cost of implementation is potentially high.

If you do have a mobile optimised website, think about using ‘click-to-call’ buttons instead of asking visitors to complete data fields for email addresses, etc. which can be ‘fiddly’ on a small hand-held device. Try to make the user experience as simple and easy as possible.

3. Nurturing your leads via email

Many businesses take a lot of time and effort to build a database of email addresses but once they have it, it’s often under-utilised. According to the digital marketing advice website Smart Insights, 72% of companies rate email as ‘excellent’ in terms of ROI.

There are a lot of inexpensive and easy to use email systems such as and

A more recent development that offers exciting potential for businesses is the growing number of marketing automation systems available. As a former business-owner myself, I know that one of the biggest issues that stops a company from growing (via marketing lead-generation) is time. Most business owners know what they should be doing but never seem to have the time to do it.

A marketing automation system will send emails ‘triggered’ by a certain action and, if an email hasn’t been opened within a certain period, it will automatically send another with a different subject line.

Emails can also be set up to go out at key buying periods, etc. This is ideal for businesses with a product that is usually used within a particular period of time, so that you can remind customers that their product needs replacing soon (and offer them a discount for buying it within a certain time-frame). The possibilities are endless – some systems even link to a customers’ / potential customers’ social media account!

Although time is needed at the beginning to set everything up (i.e. mapping customer journeys/ touch points and compiling emails with the right messages for each stage), the medium to long term benefits of having regular email communications running, however busy you are, are clear.

Critical success factors for this type of conversion tool are: having enough opt-in email addresses to start with, making sure customer journeys are carefully mapped, finding the right software provider with a scalable system and allocating a long-term budget to this tool. Recommended providers include: Act-On, Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo and Eloqua.

4. Using psychology for persuasion

Ratings, reviews and testimonials are not just acquisition tools– they also help increase conversion rates; research from Bazaar Voice showed that for one of its clients the use of reviews achieved 60% higher conversion and 82% more page views per visitor.

This type of content is powerful because of social validation – according Susan Weinschenk (see recommend books) products with recommendations generate 20% more sales than items without them. 

This tool not only helps with the buying decision-making process but can also help with Google pay-per-click advertising conversion rates. Research by Google Inside Adwords in 2011, showed that adverts with ‘seller ratings’ get a 17% higher click through rate (CTR) than the same adverts without ratings. However, a website needs at least 30 reviews from the last 12 months to add Seller Ratings (see

Further Reading:

Weinschenk, S. M.,2009. Neuro Web Design: What Makes them Click?

Nahai, N., 2012. Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion

5. Test, test and test again

Every website is different and to find the most effective approach, tools such as Google Analytics and Crazy Egg (eye tracking/ heat maps) are needed to identify the most important parts of the site and then A/B testing should be used to identify what layout and content generates the most conversions.

A/B testing is when two versions of the same page are designed and 50% of visitors are taken to one page, with the other half visiting the other. Conversion rates can then be analysed to find out which page generates the best conversion. This can be done with the help of Google Analytics Content Experience API (see

Further Reading:

Eisenberg, B., Quarto-vonTivadar, J. and Davis, L., 2008. A/B Always Be Testing. Wiley.

Goward, C., 2012. You Should Test That: Conversion Optimization for More Leads, Sales and Profit or The Art and Science of Optimized Marketing.

If you are interested in digital marketing and PR advice for your business, you can follow Tanya on Twitter at @DigitalTanya







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