In search engine marketing we often speak of “levers” that we push or pull in order optimize campaign performance.
On the buy side, or “in-engine,” we most famously optimize bids in order to move position up or down based on efficiency of return. We also optimize ad copy, keywords (both match types and negatives) as well as various other targeting criteria such geography, extensions, and placements.
On the supply side, or “on-site,” we most commonly look at the landing page and optimize accordingly to deliver maximized relevancy against specified keywords. We often go further and optimize landing pages in order to drive the strongest conversion rates and improve overall results.
However, we should take landing page optimization a few steps further and optimize the full conversion funnel through completion. While optimizing the landing page is a great start, even the most effective landing page may fail if the steps that follow are not user-friendly.
Many people put too much emphasis on the single landing page in terms of “driving successful conversions” when we need to take an all encompassing look at all pages to fully succeed in optimizing for conversions.
Opportunity 1: Limit the Choices
On many e-commerce sites, multiple choices are offered to consumers in order to up-sell and cross sell items (think “multiple colors of shirts” and “users also bought this” type of options).
If we provide too many choices, we may confuse the user, making it difficult for them to find the item they want. This could drive them away instead of toward purchasing.
Think of times you stood and stared at the cereal aisle in the grocery store, couldn’t decide and left! Don’t let this happen to your visitors.
Opportunity 2: Highlight the Path
When designing your pages, have in mind the goal action of each page, and design the page in a way that the goal action is clear and optimized. Do you want the user to add a product to the cart or download a whitepaper?
Maybe you want them to view a list of stores in their area. Whatever the goal of the page is, make the “next step” easy to find and easy to get to. By designing in such a way, you can “guide” the user down the path you want them to take, all the way to the final step of purchasing.
Opportunity 3: Have a Call to Action
Have a call to action, and make sure it’s optimized so that users notice it.
On many e-commerce sites, there is always an offer used to get the buyer to act now. It could be free shipping, a promo code, or a site wide discount. Make sure your offer is visible every step of the way.
Often, an offer appears on the landing page but nowhere else. If the user failed to notice or forgets the offer as they shop and it isn't visible all the way through, this will hurt your chances of closing the conversion.
Opportunity 4: Cut Out Unnecessary Data
Many sites ask a ton of questions during the check-out process, which can make the process long and cumbersome. Only ask for what is really necessary.
Do you really need a phone number? Do you really need to know “how they found you”?
Limit your check out process to only vital questions and make sure your form is limited to just one page to maximize your chances of getting the user to complete it.
The importance of conversion optimization cannot be understated. While optimizing the “demand side” is critical and important, you will only be able to squeeze the juice so much, eventually it runs dry. Optimizing the “supply side” allows your campaigns to continue to grow and succeed.
A 10 percent lift in conversion rate means a 10 percent lift in ROI. That 10 percent lift in ROI may be the difference in being able to “afford” the next 200 clicks which result in 25 orders and pushes you beyond your goals.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!