Optimising visitor conversion rates

By Malcolm Duckett

Instead of the traditional ‘purchase funnel’ – in which consumers are led from initial awareness to final purchase and brand loyalty – online shoppers now research, select, compare and review their options in an almost infinite variety of ways. Marketers need to react to site visitors each and every time they arrive whilst bearing in mind those visitors’ individual site histories. If someone has visited a site more than five times, but hasn’t yet registered, then a trick is being missed. The consumer clearly has an interest in the brand – it’s high time the brand gets interested in them.

Once a consumer has it in mind to buy something from a site it’s surprising how hard they will try to complete this purchase, but site owners still need to help them out. Whilst website usability and good design are certainly important, the colour of the purchase button is perhaps not as important as helping someone get to the point that they want to buy. The technology available today enables marketers to target vast amounts of visitors on an individual level, and dramatically improve their conversion rates.

Here are five hot techniques for marketers to optimise conversion rates:

1. Target brand lovers: Spot the people who look at particular branded items multiple times, and use this knowledge to offer them brand-specific communications. These can include newsletters on the brand, offers to keep them informed of new products or even discounts and free postage deals upon registration. This can vastly increase consumer response, as it communicates with them on subjects, topics and products that they are passionate about.

2. Reach out to unregistered visitors: Marketers can bridge the gap between knowing nothing about a new visitor to pulling them into their brand’s orbit by bringing up a simple one-drop-down-form on their website. This could ask, for example, what the visitor is interested in, or whether they are buying for themselves, their children, or their business. This functions not only as a great ice breaker for the relationship between the brand and the consumer, but also enables far more sophisticated and individual-level targeting. On their next visit consumers will receive relevant, targeted content, based on their answers, moving the relationship on to the next stage.

In a recent example using Magiq’s lifecycle marketing tools, marketing and ecommerce community Econsultancy targeted registered users with a simple personalised banner promoting the value of a small business subscription. This technique converted over 9.3 per cent of free users into paid subscribers within a 90 day period, and influenced over £37,000 of sales. Comparatively the untargeted control group had a conversion rate of just 1.4 per cent (a 657 per cent improvement).

3. Personalise the landing page: When someone lands on a page marketers can see if they’re a first timer, where they are in the world, and, if they came searching for something, what it is that they are looking for. All of this information can increase user personalisation, moving the relationship along and improving conversion. It is surprising how well an e-mail can convert when it lands in a potential customer’s inbox and addresses the subject of their recent searches.

4. Capitalise on abandoned baskets: When a shopper has put together a virtual shopping basket and then failed to complete the purchase, marketers can take advantage of a superb opportunity to create conversion by sending them an email about their abandoned basket. It’s important that marketers recognise that an abandoned basket is not a sign of failure. Rather it’s the signature of an opportunity. A visitor who picks up, inspects and drops an item in their basket is demonstrating a level of interest in the item that no business can ignore.

An abandoned basket email acts as a reminder to the visitor, and can persuade them to make a purchase by containing offers and deals to entice the shopper back. Conversion rates in the 40 per cent bracket are not uncommon in such basket abandonment campaigns.

5. Use role specific personalisation: Once site visitors have been profiled and segmented, marketers need to use that insight to personalise web pages, emails or even inform sales calls. Marketers will likely have enough information on visitors to put a killer subject line on the emails sent out and personal messages in the banners displayed. Visitors will then get the feeling that the business cares about them as an individual, bringing them yet another step closer to a conversion.

To effectively enhance conversion rates marketers must measure them. Measurement methodology can account for the difference in conversion between visitors that are targeted and those that aren’t. This provides valuable insight on the relative success of conversion optimisation programs and informs them on how best to improve performance. Marketers need to use segment-specific control groups and monitor other factors leading to conversion such as behaviour and search terms.

When marketers have gained solid data on these factors, they can target to encourage the behaviours which have a strong link to conversion. This includes enhancing search engine optimisation and pay per click, as well as justifying the cost of discount vouchers sent to brand lovers. Such actions can make far more efficient websites and dramatically reduce the amount of conversion opportunities that are lost.

As with everything in marketing, great results don’t come for free, but neither are they blind chance. Modern marketing automation solutions enable businesses of any size to market like megabrands, helping them to emulate big business success in digital terms by dramatically improving and increasing conversion rates.

About the author

Malcolm is CEO and one of the founders of Magiq. Malcolm has spent the last 10 years specialising in developing technologies to better measure and understand user’s interactions with online applications.

About the company

MAGIQ is a real-time lifecycle marketing company dedicated to helping businesses compete like the megabrands, by making it easy and affordable to increase website conversion, sales and cross-channel campaign profitability through web personalisation and lifecycle marketing.


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