21 Things That Best Converting Websites Know That You Don't

Increase Conversion Rates

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Takeaways from Bryan Eisenberg's talk at SES London 2010.

So what do the best converting websites have in common?

  1. Communicate unique value proposition – You have 7 seconds to persuade (or 8-10 seconds if you have really, really good content). Establish credibility on every landing page.
  2. Make persuasive & relevant offers – He suggests free shipping. From experience at Dell, free shipping made most profit and greatest sales. Conversion rate doubled for overstock.com However, if you listen to other advice. Free shipping might just erode existing profits. Make sure you test, test, test.
  3. Reinforce the offer sitewide – Don't let them forget your offer. Message must be persuasive and appear consistently. 
  4. They maintain the scent – Maintain consistent look feel of the campaign. Landing page text should reflect the original offer. The same style and call to action should flow until they have converted.
  5. Make a strong first impression - Everyone knows the cliche - You only get one chance to make a first impression. I would add that you should make your first impression impossible to miss.
  6. They appeal to multiple personas or segments - Talks about the four different personality types and that you need to market to each of them.
  7. They don’t do slice and dice optimisation - You don't have time to test everything. You will also turn off a lot of potential customers if you test too many awful ideas. Look at the different personality types and create a valid hypothesis and then test that. Test for impact and not variation.
  8. Use the voice of the customer – Social Commerce – People are huge followers. They feel much more at ease with a purchase that others have made and had a good experience with. Just think of those telecommercials and why they do so well. People need to hear from people like them. Figleaves improved conversion by 35% by implementing reviews.
  9. They use Social Commerce for navigation – Helps people figure out what product is right for them
  10. They use Social Commerce for promoting – Use reviews everywhere. Not just the product page, but in email campaigns as well.
  11. And for credibility! - Let others do the selling for you.
  12. And for feedback and research – Cheaper than usability labs
  13. Use persuasion principles like scarcity - “Low Stock!” Or add call to actions that automatically end after X number of days from today.
  14. Make your forms engaging – Why make people register pre-checkout. Why not do this on the thank-you page? Or at the same time as checkout?
  15. Provide point of action assurances - “Guaranteed response within 2 hours!”
  16. They keep customers in the process – Hold your hand and guide you through the complete process.
  17. Consider email previews - Look at how your email will look with and without images.
  18. Budget for experience – Keep focusing on continuous improvement
  19. Utilize a system for prioritization – There is never enough time so work out what resources you need or just change little by little
  20. Make data driven decisions! Do web analytics correctly by making a to-do lists regularly!
  21. Know how to execute rapidly – Have contingency to act fast if the opportunity arise

5 Final Action Steps

  1. Identify problems
  2. Create the to-do list
  3. Document the change hypothiseis
  4. Prioritise this to-do list
  5. Start testing and do the same next time.