For us as marketers, it’s pretty easy to get hooked up on looking at all the data we have available, making up different scenarios on why people exit the site after a few seconds or the rankings in SERPs that don’t actually grow as we were expecting them to.
The bottom line for any company when looking at Search Engine Marketing campaigns, whether you’re an in-house marketer or you work on them for your clients, is the revenue it will be producing.
One of the quickest and most actionable ways to improve the ROI from search campaigns is to improve conversion rates from the traffic you are already getting.
More conversions without increasing the ad spend? Who wouldn’t want that?
Conversion Rate Optimization can be used to improve any metric on your website and that’s relevant to your business, but it is associated mostly with acquiring new customers, leads, downloads or sales.
More precisely, it increases the percentage of website visitors who enter your website with a goal in mind and turn into a valuable conversion.
Why should you care about CRO?
Well, the most obvious reason would be that the traffic you’re getting on your website is most likely paid for, one way or another(PPC campaigns, partner websites, employees, agencies etc).
A higher conversion rate means a better return on your investment. It’s also more cost-effective for you to convert a higher number of the visitors you already have than to attract more new ones.
Here are the most important ways to improve conversion rates for the traffic you are getting from organic:
1. Increase the copy’s relevancy
Responding to a user’s need right from the ad copy can be tricky. Make sure you design multiple ads and see which one of them is performing better for which keyword groups. Improving this will lead to better CTRs for your ads and, as you’ll see below, with the right landing page copy, will also lead to more conversions.
You can also check out this great study from WordStream and check the average Click Through Rate for your industry. Make sure you write it down and improve your ads until you beat those numbers.
Having a good and attractive ad copy should not be the only thing you improve. Depending on your ad’s copy, your users will have a preset expectation upon arrival.
It is up to you to set expectations in ad copy and then make sure you meet the expectations on the landing page, in order to reduce bounce rates.
Some simple ways to do that are:
- Make sure your H1 closely resembles the key phrase in the ad copy, used to drive traffic
- Use images to reinforce relevance because they are more likely to be the ones that catch the eye in the critical two seconds after the visitors enter your page
- Apply captions on the image that also have a relevant text
2. Use a good USP
You have to make the visitors understand your unique selling proposition in the most efficient way possible. And make that quick as well, while you’re at it.
Focus on these 4 points at first:
- The first text a user sees on the page should focus on framing the product/service as a need that he has, and that it will be solved once he uses it.
- Make sure key features and benefits are easy to understand and as close as possible to the top of the page.
- Use mixed media to deliver your message, text, images and even video. Be flexible enough to offer them the information they are looking for in their preferred method of consumption.
- Understand the key pain points and make sure you address them
Make sure that you don’t bore the users by giving them too much information, as this can have the opposite effect and can make visitors lose interest when interacting with your page and going for the Call to Action.
3. Add trust signs
This is one of the most overlooked factors that can have a dramatic impact on conversion rates.
Users will often search for genuine trust signals to help them judge the credibility of the page they’re currently on and to a certain extent, the product they are looking at.
A website’s ability to quickly gain their visitor’s confidence means more conversions and a shorter buy cycle.
Remember, it is unlikely that you’re the only one offering this product or service and the user has other alternatives. Don’t make them turn to comparison shopping and check out all your competitors’ pages. Try to:
- Include reputable third-party badges, certifications, or awards
- Use trust-inducing language in calls to action, such as “Checkout using secure server” or “Pay Securely” and be sure to include small privacy protection disclosures below information requests.
- Include reputable and verifiable testimonials. Anonymous testimonials will likely trigger alarm bells. Video content containing user testimonials can be surprisingly effective.
- Create a design that has depth and detail. A detail-focused landing page communicates that the brand is strong, reliable, and reputable.
Here’s an example from Unbounce, on including the logos and testimonials of some of their biggest customers.
4. Understand User Intent
A conversion is a two-way communication between your brand and the consumer. For non-branded search traffic, this is typically the first opportunity for a visitor to enter the sales cycle and become a potential client.
Converting this type of traffic will require a firm understanding of your brand’s sales cycle, the user’s confidence level in your offerings and the position a user has in the entire buying cycle.
Keep in mind a general rule: the more expensive/complex your offering is, the longer the sales cycle will be. During one of the last campaigns I ran for a product that was worth between $2,500 – $8,000, the full sales cycle is somewhere between 1 to 2 months.
After testing multiple landing page variations, the shortest sales cycle and the biggest conversion rates were encountered when it started with a longer landing page, describing the product and its benefits clearly and keeping the user engaged all along the way.
- Offer a mix of soft and hard conversion types and measure results, enabling you to connect goal values to conversion rates. This will then allow you to refine landing pages in order give primary weighting to the most profitable conversion types.
- Be creative. A very unique and effective call to action could be “Add this event to your Outlook/Google/iOS Calendar”.
By infiltrating a target audience’s Calendar application, a conference-based company was able to increase the event attendance rates by discouraging potential attendees from booking conflicting events and making sure that they were notified about the event in a non-intrussive way, in their own calendar application.
- Let conversions pop-out from a design perspective. Use colors/sizes that will draw the visitor’s attention, such as the famed BOB (big orange button).
Furthermore, don’t hesitate to test the action language used in CTA buttons.
- Don’t waste the post-conversion “Thank You” page. Use this as an opportunity to further engage the users with additional content and assets. These should help you increase a customer’s lifetime value or progress him through the buyer cycle if at this point he is only a prospect, not a buyer.
5. Remove Distractions
This is one of the, perhaps, most overlooked improvements you could bring to your website or landing page.
Distractions are anything from a design element to some extra content that prevents the user from progressing to the next step of the sales cycle.
Improve them by:
- Removing all global navigation from your landing pages
- Avoiding off-topic content that will break the visitor’s focus and give him unnecessary information
- Avoiding distracting images
- Limiting the amount of information request in conversions. Only ask the prospects for the data required to complete or move the sales forward at that exact step.
- Keep messaging on-point!
I should at this point tell you that there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of ways to design a landing page and still make it convert and just as many ways to test them.
The easiest way to minimize time and resources lost to poor landing pages is to first make a strong effort to understand what your customer’s needs and goals are.
6. Respond to reviews
A study published on Search Engine Land states that having a higher star rating and responding to the reviews you get is another way to improve conversion rates on your campaigns.
This was backed up by 16 months of SEM data from campaigns and here are some of the stats they have discovered:
Conversion rates correlated with star ratings
- Businesses in the lowest grouping had an average 3.31 stars, translating into an average conversion rate of 10.42 percent.
- The best-rated segment had an average of 4.96 stars, translating into a 12.83 percent conversion rate.
Conversion rates correlated with number of responses to reviews
- Businesses with the highest response rate (8.13 percent) saw an average conversion rate of 13.86 percent.
- Businesses with the lowest response rate (5.73 percent) saw an average conversion rate of 10.42 percent.
7. Use negative keywords in your campaigns
For PPC campaigns, this is one of the key actions you should be taking.
If you waste your budget on keywords that are not converting visitors into clients and start to notice certain groups of keywords that are bringing in a lot of traffic but have the lowest conversion rates, start adding them to your negative keyword list.
This will allow your budget to be spent only on quality search terms, and ultimately will lower the cost per conversion and improve conversion rates.
This can be done by going through your search terms report and viewing the keywords that are underperforming.
8. Use Remarketing
One of the great ways to improve your CRO and still be cost-effective is convincing indecisive visitors to get back to your page.
After all, most of the conversions will not happen the first time someone’s visiting your page.
Let’s take the example of electronics or appliances online stores. A person searching for a product for the first time, will more likely search for similar products as well, compare their specifications and even go in-store for testing it. Only after that, the person will decide whether to buy or not a certain product.
Remarketing can bring people back to your website and will increase the odds that they purchase from your instead of the competition. And according to Larry Kim (founder of WordStream and MobileMonkey), conversion rates are usually higher in the case of people who have already visited your website.
I hope that this information helped you get a good idea about how to improve conversion rates from PPC campaigns and what are the key steps you should take in order to do it.
Start analyzing your campaigns and see which of the above steps you can apply in order to get the best results out of them.
If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comments 😁