Conversion Rate Optimization

In April 14, 2015
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Conversion is a key element in your paid search strategy; after all, if you’re not actually turning lookers into buyers at a high rate, what are you advertising for? Conversion rate optimization enables you to maximize every cent of your PPC spend by finding that sweet spot that convinces the maximum percentage of your prospects to take action.

But what is a good conversion rate?

If you’re already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you’re going to go?

Some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry?

Believe it or not, there isn’t much standing between you and conversion rates double or triple what you’re seeing today. But the way you’re going to get there is totally counter to typical conversion rate optimization wisdom.

It’s Time to Stop Moving the Chairs Around

When it comes to landing page optimization, you can stay really busy doing small things that have little impact. It’s like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to move past this mentality to the big tactics and optimizations that will dramatically change your performance and fortune.

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

Hint: it’s a lot higher than you may think.

Conventional wisdom says that a good conversion rate is somewhere around 2% to 5%. If you’re sitting at 2%, an improvement to 4% seems like a massive jump. You doubled your conversion rate! Well, congratulations, but you’re still stuck in the average performance bucket.

So what is a good conversion rate? About 1/4 of all accounts have less than 1% conversion rates. The median was 2.35%, but the top 25% of accounts have twice that – 5.31% – or greater.

Remember, this isn’t for individual landing pages – these advertisers are accomplishing 11.45% conversion and higher across their entire account.

Clearly, this isn’t some anomaly; this is perfectly attainable. If you’re currently getting 5% conversion rates, you’re outperforming 75% of advertisers … but you still have a ton of room to grow!

You should be shooting for 10%, 20%, or even higher, putting your conversion rates 3x to 5x higher than the average conversion rate. Aspire to have these landing page conversion rate unicorns in your account.

But Conversion Rates Are Lower in My Industry…

That’s entirely possible.

E-commerce has a far lower average conversion rate, especially compared to finance. However, check out the Top 10% Conversion Rates. They’re 3 to 5 times higher than the average for each industry, so we can see that the rule holds across the board, regardless of industry.

The flip side, of course, is that if you’re in a high-performer industry like finance, 5% really isn’t a fantastic conversion rate. If you’re comparing yourself to the average across all industries, you’re really deluding yourself into thinking you’re doing better than you are. In truth, the top 10% are doing almost five times better.

Even if the average conversion rates are lower in your industry, the top advertisers are outperforming you by 3-5x or more.

The Top 10% of Landing Pages: What Makes Them Tick?

What do these top 10% of landing page unicorns look like and how are they killing the competition the way they are? We went through 1,000 landing pages and performed a qualitative analysis, in order to find the common traits among the best performing advertiser landing pages in the market.

Here are my top five tips to help you reach landing page unicorn status:

1. Change the Offer

Across all of the high-performing landing pages, we saw massively creative and differentiated offers. Companies often have a default offer, their go-to, which may be the same or very similar to what all of their competitors are doing. Lawyers, for example, will offer a free consultation. Software companies will offer a free trial. They’re unimaginative and not very creative.

How can you get creative with your offer? Think outside the box (don’t you love that phrase?) and come up with something different and unique; something more tangible and compelling than just sending them to a software trial to find their way around.

So how do you know if your offer stinks? If your conversion rate is stuck at 2% or lower, you’re not there yet. But the real way we figured out how our offer stunk was by asking our customers. I suggest you to add one form field on your landing page form to ask people what they wanted help with for example.

Brainstorm, ask your customers, and come up with more unique offers to test. You’ll never know which one is the winner until you try some new offers out.

2. Change the Flow

Sometimes, you’re putting up barriers to conversion without even realizing it.

Changing the flow will help boost conversions, but also manage lead quality in a far more effective way.

Here’s one great example, where the advertiser realized their landing page offer didn’t necessarily speak to the person who would be performing a search. In their case, a loved one or friend might be seeking help.

This advertiser decided they would let the visitor choose their own flow. This was incredibly effective not only for conversion, but also in segmentation for their remarketing and lead nurturing efforts.

So what’s the takeaway here? Find the flow that works best for your prospects and use it to boost conversion rate and qualify your leads.

3. Use Remarketing as a CRO Tool

On average, 96% of the people who visit a website will leave without ever converting to a lead or sale. Remarketing helps you get in front of these people with targeted, relevant messaging as they take part in other activities around the web, like email, watching YouTube videos, using social networks or searching for information.

4. Try Out 10 Landing Pages to Find 1 Unicorn

Let’s talk about effort for a minute. What do you need to put into CRO to find your own unicorn landing pages? To understand this, let’s look at the relative abundance of these top performers:

Sometimes you get lucky, but if you want to achieve these top 10% landing pages across your account, you need to replicate the above steps multiple times and perform testing on an ongoing basis.

On average, you should be testing four unique landing pages – with varying offers, flow and messaging – to find that one awesome landing page. If you want to find a unicorn landing page – that top 10% page that sees your conversions reaching 3-5x the average – you need to test at least ten landing pages.

You don’t need to make thousands and thousands of landing pages. You need to find the top performers you already have and focus your efforts there. How can you improve their performance? Cut the fat, stop wasting time on the low performers – in fact, just get rid of them. If you have just one great landing page, it’s smarter to focus your efforts there.

If you’re after the top performers, quantity does not necessarily equal quality.

5. Forget about conversion rates

Higher conversion rates seem awesome. However, if you’re converting less qualified leads, you’re actually throwing MORE money away, because those leads cost you money.

Rather focus on landing page optimizations like the above that move you in the direction of higher quality, more qualified lead generation, not just more conversions.

Key Takeaways

So what have you taken away from this? I hope you can get the following to stick and use these tips to guide a more holistic, effective conversion rate optimization strategy – the kind that will boost your conversions, but bring better lead quality, as well.

  1. Most landing page optimizations are like moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic. Small changes = small gains.
  2. Insanely focused and strategic landing page optimization brings 3-5x the conversions and improves lead quality.
  3. In some industries, even 5% conversion rates inst that impressive. If you’re stuck in the 2-5% conversion rate bucket, you have a room to grow.
  4. Get creative with your offers and test multiple different offers to find the one that resonates best with your audience. If you want to get really crazy, find different offers that can help you qualify leads in the process.
  5. Identify the obstacles keeping prospects from converting and get those roadblocks out of the way by changing the flow. Test different variations to find out exactly which path to conversion works best for your audience.
  6. Use remarketing to recapture people who showed intent but didn’t convert.
  7. Test smarter, not more often. You need to test 10 unique landing page variations to find 1 top performer, but this goes far beyond changing a font color and calling it a landing page variation.
  8. Trim the fat in your account and ditch your lowest performers. Focus your energies on the top 10% of landing pages that earn 80% of traffic.
  9. Always, always keep your eye on the prize, which is making more sales or generating leads most likely to convert to sales. Don’t let high conversion rates take precedence over lead quality or you’re going to spend more qualifying leads. You need to find the sweet spot where everything works like a well-oiled machine.

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