Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) describes the process of creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the explicit goal of encouraging them to perform a conversion of sorts, be it signing-up for a newsletter, downloading a report or white paper or making a purchase. This isn’t as easy as it appears (go figure!) and marketers use heaps of tactics to persuade people to part with their closely guarded email addresses and/or hard earned money. Tantalizing copy and eye-catching websites and landing pages form part of their modus operandi.
Just to clear any uncertainty, your conversion rate is worked out at the number of people who perform a desired action divided by the total number of people who landed on your site. Unfortunately, conversion rates are generalised (not targeted at all) and are therefore not always considered an accurate indication of the success of your email campaign. Therefore, many marketers are now focused on the pretesting stage of CRO which helps ensure that all campaigns are highly optimized. With this approach, a lot of time is spent understanding exactly who the audience is and what they want and expect before creating highly targeted messages for each group within their audience.
The pretesting stage might include researching:
• Geographic location
• Awareness of your company (or product/service)
• What the customer is looking for
• What they expect from you
• If they are already repeat buyers or frequent visitors to the site
• How they reached your site (referral, PPC, organic search etc.)
All of this information enables marketers to gain an in depth look at their customers which in turn creates a greater chance of increased conversion rates.
Clearly, conversion rates are a vital metric of any email campaign, so we’ve looked at a few ways that you can help to optimize yours.
1. You really do need to have an awesome landing page
Pay extra special attention to detail here. Your design needs to be crisp, clear, bold and eye catching – but keep it uncluttered and triple check it to make sure it doesn’t have any unnecessary copy or links that might distract the visitor from performing the desired action. Importantly, as with most things email marketing related, what does your call to action say? Does it stand out? Is it easy to find and follow? Make it clear to visitors exactly what you want them to do and keep the process painless.
2. Gently welcome your new subscribers – don’t smother them
Once they have converted, resist the temptation to start sending them promotional emails immediately. A simply welcome email shortly after they have signed up is all that’s necessary for now. In it, remind them exactly what they have signed up for and what they can expect to receive from you in the future. Also mention again that the privilege is completely free and that they can opt-out easily at any time. People don’t like to be backed into corners so it’s important they know they are not obliged to anything. In the beginning, while you are still ‘courting’ your new subscribers so to speak, send them 3 or 4 newsletters before you send any promotional emails. This way they get to know you a little better and should feel more comfortable when it comes to buying from you in the (near) future. High conversion rates are a strong indication of the type of online relationship you have with your customers, by nurturing them from the start, it helps build loyalty in the long run.
3. Quality products that offer value trumps
If you aren’t 100% satisfied and proud of your product and its benefits to your customers, then why should they be comfortable buying it from you? If someone buys something from you that’s substandard or faulty and they have trouble replacing it or making you aware of the problem, then they’ll never buy from you again. On top of this you can rest assured everyone they know will soon hear about your service too, and not in the way you want. If you’re going to do something then do it right from the beginning and don’t compromise on your products or service. Provide the best you can afford and you’ll soon see your list of loyal customers (and your profits) growing.
4. Content needs to be catchy and succinct
The best email newsletter design and product offering in the world won’t do you much good if your content hasn’t been given thought. Short, sharp and snappy is what you want to aim for and yes, by all means include one or two relevant images, but bear in mind that most people have images disabled on their email and especially on mobile devices. Your aim is to get your message across without having to resort to lengthy text, which distracts your readers and leaves them feeling bored and disinterested. If you have a lot you want to say, rather insert a ‘click here for more information’ link in your message that will direct subscribers to your website. People’s attention span is notoriously short when it comes to promotional emails so you need be as quick and clear as possible and try to ensure that this is all done above the fold. No pressure or anything, but the faster you learn to do this effectively the better it is for you in the long run.
5. Give them great reasons to convert
Every now and again it’s a thoughtful gesture to send out gifts to your customers, to let them know that you really do care and appreciate their loyalty. Give them the option of an interesting and useful e-book, a free software download that will make their online lives easier, a coupon they can redeem immediately offline or online, or even a discount voucher for the next time they purchase something from you. If you aim to do this every few months not only will it endear you to your regular customers but also to those who might slowly be losing interest in you, in which case it’s a great way to win them back and remind them of just why they signed up in the first place (because you’re a great company of course!)
Takeaway: If you take the time to find out as much as you can about your audience during the pre-testing stage of CRO, your campaigns are guaranteed to highly targeted and you therefore stand a greater chance of seeing those desired conversion rates.