Part I - Triple Your Customer Conversion Rates with Proper Web Design
While designing a website may seem to be all about aesthetics, small changes can actually have a huge effect on making conversions according to online reputation services president Koz Khosravani of Digital Fusion Business Services. People are accustomed to certain layouts, respond better to particular words, and can be guided exactly how you want them with careful and precise planning.
The first thing to keep in mind when designing a business website is to pick a focus. For most businesses the focus should be on what earns them money, either customers making a purchase order or, say, booking a room at a hotel. All of your designing should aim to draw people to that focus point. This is achieved in a number of ways. You must capture their attention. When people are browsing through sites, they often only spend a few minutes deciding whether the site interests them or not. If your website does not give them an easily identifiable reason to stay, they will move on and you will lose out. Using attractive graphics or bold headers, you can draw the viewer’s eye. Once you have their attention, the header, text, or graphic should spell out quickly and simply exactly what your company offers that no one else can.
Not sure how your company is unique? Think about why you started your company, what compelled you to think it would succeed. You can also research what are major “pain points” for customers interested in your type of product. Ask people you know, put up a very simple survey question on your website, and research other companies on the market. Once you have identified a particular thing that often frustrates customers, address that in your headline. For example, Lynda.com has a prominent headline that states, “New skills. Improved skills. Now.” Below that they have a bold graphic with text and icons listing the categories of teaching they cover – design, photography, video, etc.
Lynda.com is a service that offers a huge library of tutorial videos that cover a number of different skills in the visual arts at various skill levels. Many people looking to learn new techniques become frustrated because they either have to take a class or go through a number of steps to get a complete lesson. This takes time and complicates what could be a simple process. Lynda.com addresses this frustration with their header “New skills. Improved skills. Now.” They emphasize that not only can you learn something new, you can build on existing knowledge, and most importantly you can do it immediately – no waiting, no hassle. Many companies want to give long-winded explanations of the tons of benefits of their products and services. While being proud of your brand is great, people want to know what they can get from you. Now. Catch their attention with a spectacular headline featuring your best asset and then, once they are already hooked, you can on another page enumerate the superiority of your product.
Another clever technique Lynda.com uses involves how they direct viewer attention to their focal point. Lynda.com is an online membership-based website so they need potential customers to sign up for an account. They start with their eye-catching headline, follow-up with their graphic that provides details of the categories of lessons they provide, and then finish with a link to their sign up page.
Their graphic of categories is two rows of ten squares. Nine of the squares highlight categories but the last square has the text “Become a member” with a large, bright yellow button that says “Try it free.” Viewers will start with the eye-catching headline and then move their way to check out the categories. While their focus is there, they end up at that last call to action. Not only is it a call to action to sign up for their services, but it specifies that the service is free to try.
A common hindrance in getting conversions is potential customer’s perceived risk on making a purchase. No one likes to waste their hard-earned money, therefore, anytime someone tries out a new product, there is always an inherent level of risk. Testimonials, good reviews, and fact-based studies are all great ways to help sway a customer, but nothing will reduce the risk in their minds as much as if they can actually use the product themselves and form their own opinion. Offering a free preview of your product lets them make their own assessment, and since their foot is already in the door, your chances of sealing the deal are greatly improved. Asking for an email in exchange for the free sneak-peak at your product, means you have a way to reach people with some interest in your product and they get their own little reward. Even just by offering great customer service after they have signed up for your free trial can be enough to sway a customer into purchasing even if the product does not do it alone.
See Part II (Coming up...)