How to Increase Conversion Rates

As marketing budgets remain tight and marketers seek to improve the return they achieve from the given budgets, everyone wants to have a better understanding of how to monetize their website and increase conversion rates.  “Conversion rates” mean different things for different companies and websites but the overall concepts are the same.  A conversion rate could mean an online sale or simply collecting the user’s information in order to market products and services to them directly.  This will be an outline of the three very basic concepts behind increasing conversion rates and, as a result, increasing revenue.  The three phases involve increasing targeted traffic through comprehensive Internet marketing strategies, optimizing websites to turn traffic into conversions, and constantly monitoring success and making changes when needed.

Site analysis and conversion optimization: I mentioned increasing targeted traffic as the first point but before any good Internet marketing company or consultant would begin any SEO efforts, they would want to analyze the site first.  After analyzing the site, there could be possible updates that need to be made to prepare the site for optimal conversion rates.

Most marketers understand the basics of using Google Analytics to monitor traffic levels and bounce rates (when and where people leave the site).  Generally, conversion rates for online marketing are about 1% to 2% .  This may not seem that great but there are ways to maximize your site’s potential.  Much of this also has to do with the brand, product, or service and how the offline and online marketing efforts support one another.  Understanding how to monitor these results is only one piece of the puzzle.

During the initial analysis of a website in terms of maximizing conversion rates, an Internet marketing company will assess the effectiveness of the home page, calls to action, site structure, content, ease of navigation, site speed, and other aspects of general user experience.  The most important of these are how and when calls to action are used and how they align with the specific goals of the marketing campaign.

For example, if a company that sells outdoor equipment and clothing is running a PPC campaign for a new line of hiking backpacks, those ads would need to link to an optimized landing page specifically about that product.  That page would need a call to action for the user to make a purchase.  Many times companies will run very expensive PPC campaigns and send very targeted adds to a general home page with a slowly loading flash introduction.  This will almost always ensure that waste money.  The idea is to keep the user focused and engaged in the process.  All of this goes back to the first step: prepare the site for conversion…THEN focus on increasing the traffic and gear marketing efforts towards the calls to action on the site.

Increase targeted site traffic through comprehensive Internet marketing: These strategies will vary based on the company, product, service, season, etc.  One of the best ways to increase long term site traffic is through organic search engine optimization and proper use of social media optimization.  Again, all of the online marketing efforts should support (and be supported by) the offline marketing efforts.  Additionally, the website needs to reflect the marketing campaign and engage the user to ACT.

Continually monitor success and make changes when needed: This process involves montioring both the marketing strategy as well as the conversions on the site (and how well they are working together).  For example, if the marketing strategy is centered around a new condo development in Miami, the keywords chosen need to reflect the product.  Some of those keywords will work better than others.  If the website is receiving traffic from the term “Miami condos” and that traffic is converting into leads and sales, that term would be considered a successful keyword.  If that same campaign uses the term “New Homes Miami” but users bounce off the site once they see that it is a condo development, the marketing team may want to consider removing that term and allocating budget to the stronger keywords.

Additionally, the monitoring process may uncover the fact that some calls to action are not clicked on and that some users leave certain pages immediately.  This usually means that the calls to action need to be adjusted or moved to another location on the page.  This process can be quite detailed, but as long as it is continual the best results will gradually be achieved.  Keep in mind too that marketing campaigns and conversions should adapt to seasons and buying patterns.  There are always unexplainable fluctuations in traffic and conversions but analyzing results month to month will show the overall effectiveness.

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