Why your website might be stopping your customers from converting
Are you struggling to convert traffic you direct to your website? In this blog, we explore why your conversion rate may be low, and what tactics can help turn that around, ultimately boosting your bottom line and maximising the impact of your marketing efforts.
Does your business find itself stuck in an endless cycle of investing in Paid media and Paid Social ads to drive traffic to your website, but then struggling to convert sales or sign ups?
You’re not alone! There are a variety of reasons your conversion rate may be lower than you’d like, whether it be that your site is difficult to use, it lacks quality content and imagery, or it could be down to a long and overly-complicated check out process.
Ultimately, a poor experience will result in the loss of a quality lead, meaning you could be missing out on untold amounts of revenue. But not to worry, there are plenty of ways we can help!
In this blog, our UX experts explore key considerations for Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), looking at tactics you can use to maximise the potential of the traffic coming through to your site.
But first, let’s look at what exactly CRO is, and why it’s important.
What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
CRO is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website – whether that be completing a sale, filling in a form or signing up to a service. The average conversion rate for eCommerce in the UK as of May 2022 is 1.78%.
Digging a little deeper, it’s about understanding your site visitors – what drives them, what puts them off and what convinces them to ultimately complete your Call To Action (CTA) – then optimising your site to best serve their needs and expectations.
How exactly should you do that?
Let’s explore some of the reasons your conversion rate may be low, and the tactics you can use to deliver a quality user experience by removing the barriers to conversion on your site and maximising the impact of your marketing efforts.
Inconsistency and issues with your ads
At times it may appear that your campaign has a high Click Through Rate (CTR) but still only achieves low conversion rates. In these cases, it may be down to your website looking different to and lacking consistency with your ad creative, which may be considered misleading by potential customers.
If your ad brings a visitor to the wrong landing page which has nothing to do with the product or service they were initially interested in, they’ll almost definitely leave the website rather than trying to find it on their own through the navigation system.
As such, it’s vital your landing pages are in line with and expand upon your Paid Media and Social Ad creative. Whether it’s for a specific product, a seasonal sale or to reveal an offer, curate and link to optimised landing pages to avoid losing the conversion.
Your site provides a poor user experience
Ultimately, User Experience (UX) design works to provide a positive experience to everyone who visits your website. This includes looking at elements like your site speed, the ease of navigation, a simple checkout process and keeping the website up to date with the latest offers, product availability and new ranges or services.
Firstly, your website speed should ensure quick and easy access to the relevant landing pages - always. Customers don’t have time for slow loading times or glitchy pages. It should also be optimised for mobile usage, due to the prevalence of mobile web in various stages of today’s path to purchase. Your site should pass the ‘Thumb Test’, ensuring it’s user friendly for those using their phones with either one or both hands to carry out their online searches, as research has found that 75% of mobile interactions are thumb-driven. That means positioning your most commonly clicked links and CTA’s in easy-to-reach zones.
Additionally, if your navigation is confusing, unorganised and illogical, you’ll instantly lose potential customers who don’t have time to sift through your site. As such, your virtual store’s design must be clean, systematic and easy to navigate. Consider incorporating product categories into your search capabilities, while ensuring your brand’s contact details and FAQ pages are easily accessible.
Promotional tactics like pop-ups and overly in-your-face banners can be off-putting to site visitors if used in excess. Avoid bombarding them with a continuous wave of spammy content, which significantly reduces the possibility of a sales conversion. Instead use carefully considered pop-ups or banners that don’t overwhelm the user and add value to their experience. For example, one could include an offer for 10% off their first purchase, or perhaps give early access to a brand event or limited edition product run. They’re a great tool for gathering first party data, just use them in the correct way to maximise their effectiveness and drive conversions.
Lastly, if your checkout process is long and overly-complicated, you’ll have potential customers dropping off just before they convert. It’s important you make the buying process as simple as possible. If it’s not, you risk your customers finding other routes to your products or those of your competitors with indirect platforms like Amazon due to the ease of already having a profile set up and the convenience of next day delivery.
This means avoiding massive amounts of text, confusing information fields, and complex sign up forms, instead opting for clear messaging and simple payment options. If you’re looking to add more value to your customer’s order, you could also offer the addition of a free gift here. You could also give the option for visitors to continue to check out as guests rather than go through the process of setting up a new profile with you. Remember, the key is getting them through the payment process as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can still gather vital information such as email addresses this way, meaning you can continue to build your contact list for future marketing outreach campaigns.
Issues with your website’s overall design
Issues with functionality is one thing, but the overall appearance of your website is another key factor when it comes to CRO.
Your site is the equivalent of a shop window when it comes to showcasing your products and services to potential customers. If your design looks low in quality with inconsistent typography, blurry imagery and unappealing colour schemes, it reflects poorly on your brand and is indicative of the quality of the product or service your customer can expect from you.
When designing your website, first carefully consider your customer’s journey and what information is most important to them. If high quality imagery and product shots best illustrate what you’re offering, focus on pairing them with informative but short descriptions. After all, a picture can be worth a thousand words. If your product has lots of features that need to be listed to educate and inform the user, it’s better to use concise bullet points rather than masses of text, which can be off-putting.
It’s important you follow best practice when it comes to your website’s usability, ensuring your text is large enough to read, and is formatted in a way that’s not overwhelming. Be sure you don’t clutter your pages with masses of copy without headers and little-to-no imagery, as your user may simply lose interest and click off the page.
When it comes to the look and feel of your site, be sure you incorporate a colour scheme that doesn’t take away from the key information while remaining on brand. It’s no good if you’ve got concise product descriptions or informative blog content if your text and background colours clash or aren’t contrasting enough – users need to be able to clearly read what you’re putting in front of them!
Ultimately, understanding your customers, their path to purchase and potential pain points will help you create a site best suited to their wants and needs, improving their overall experience with your brand and driving those all important conversions.
Your site lacks quality content and imagery
Not only does your site have to look good in order to drive conversions, it has to sound good too. Quality content is key when it comes to engaging, informing and persuading potential customers to complete your chosen CTA. Carefully consider what information they want to find, then create insightful and accurate product descriptions, informative blog content and a thorough FAQ page to help guide them along their path to purchase.
Now, it’s important you use language and a tone across all your content that connects with your audiences. Whether your brand’s personality is chatty and humorous, or more formal and professional, be sure all your written copy is aligned with your tone of voice guidelines.
When it comes to imagery, site visitors want to see lots of high quality pictures of the product they’re interested in buying, and prefer to see the products in action so try not to rely too heavily on stock imagery. With visual search growing in popularity – according to Invespcro, more than 36% of online shoppers say they have used visual search and more than half of them claim visual information is more useful to them than text information – imagery is playing an even more pivotal role in consumers finding your products. While search engines can’t see your images, they can match the results to certain queries, and so you should use alt text with relevant keywords to help search engines show your product image as a result.
Lastly, when looking to make a purchase, users want to see trust signals such as customer reviews and product feedback to help cement their decision, so where possible be sure to add these in to help convert visits into sales or sign ups.
There’s no incentive to make a purchase
No one likes missing out on getting a deal on a great product or service, and so it’s important you create a sense of urgency to help drive conversions. Leverage that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) by communicating why your user must perform an action – whether that be when making a purchase or signing up to your newsletter – or risk losing out on a limited time offer. This tactic can be used both on your site with a banner or pop-up, as well across your marketing activity, with a timely social media post, paid ad or email campaign.
Exclusive offers and deals also help to provide an incentive for users to buy directly through your website as opposed to using sites like Amazon. As such, offering benefits associated with the practicality and familiarity of these sites like free shipping or next day delivery can help to convert users, maximising the effort you’ve made to get them to your website in the first place.
You have unclear CTAs
Having a clear Call To Action (CTA) is key to driving conversions, so be sure they’re highly visible on your site. Design them to be bold, using bright or contrasting colours, alongside large text that ensure they stand out from the rest of the page. When it comes to the copy, keep it concise and clear as to what exactly it is the user will achieve by clicking on it to avoid confusion.
The positioning of your CTAs is also important. Place them in a spot where users would expect to find them, ensuring they’re consistent with other sites so your potential customer doesn’t get stuck trying to find where to click, or risk them leaving the site in frustration. For example, it just makes sense to have an ‘add to basket’ button next to the product imagery and description, while your social media profiles can be linked in the footer alongside your contact details.
Additionally, be sure you’re providing plenty of opportunities for users to convert by having multiple CTA’s at different points around the site, though not too many or you risk overwhelming and disengaging them.
You’re promoting out of stock products
Research has found that shopping ads for products with 100% stock availability (in all sizes) generally received the highest conversion rate, which then dropped in correlation with the level of available stock.
As such, be sure the products used in your paid advertising across social media or Google Shopping has sufficient stock to avoid disappointing potential customers and losing the conversion after driving traffic to your site. This will prevent you from jeopardising your ROAS with products that can’t fulfil demand, and also offers an opportunity to consistently position new products in front of your target audiences.
You’re disregarding the data
A key reason for low conversion rates could be incorrectly installed tracking codes, which could have been corrupted when making changes to your site, such as curating new landing pages, or even with the launch of a new promotional campaign.
Google Analytics and Google Tag Assistant are great tools for easily identifying where your tracking issues may lie and checking they’re set up correctly, helping you to avoid gathering data that isn’t accurate and painting a much more realistic picture of where your sales are coming from.
Speaking of gathering data and insights, it’s also important you carry out some A/B testing when finding what best suits your customers. This allows you to trial two different elements in real-time and understand which is more effective before moving forward with the more impactful campaign. While it’s useful to look to your industry for guidance on what appears to perform well, remember that your customer behaviours are unique, so it’s better to follow the data than to follow the crowd. You may also take inspiration from other industries and sectors, but again, remember to always come back to what you know about your customers, as that should fundamentally underpin your decisions. Try looking at heatmaps to understand their behaviours, checking which part of your landing pages people click on and where they may be dropping off. That way you can optimise your site to best suit their needs, and drive your conversion rate up.
Incorporate CRO into your wider marketing strategy
Lastly, try not to hyperfixate on one single element of your marketing mix, it’s all an ecosystem that works together in what we here at Extreme like to call the ‘Messy Hexagon.’
Our updated take on the more traditional sales funnel highlights how each customer will be different; some will go straight from trigger to purchase, while others may take their time to “get to know” your product or service. Some may interact with your brand when they don’t need the products, but remember it when they do and purchase at a later date when the occasion arises.
For this reason, it’s important not to analyse a channel or campaign’s results in silo, or as a direct return for the month your activity took place. Sometimes marketing can be a slow burn, and so ensuring all touchpoints your consumers have with your brand are aligned and optimised is key.
However, you can work to improve the effectiveness of your marketing activity – including your Paid Media and Paid Social ads – by optimising your site to offer the best possible experience for all visitors. This will help to grow your conversion rate, and should ultimately drive sales.
Need an expert eye to review your site and help with your CRO?
Annabel is part of team Extreme's talented UX team. Her job is focused on ensuring our clients' digital platforms look, feel and perform seamlessly — placing usability and a pleasurable experience at the heart of all web projects.