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The following guest post is courtesy of broker marketing, conversion and retention specialist TradeSocio.
Sending traffic to a poorly optimized website is like pouring water into a leaking bucket.
Yet instead of fixing the holes in their buckets, most marketing teams focus on pouring in more water. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if your goal is to double your number of clients, you effectively have two options:
● Double the number of people visiting your site.
● Double the conversion rate of visitors to clients.
Both achieve the same outcome, yet the first option will probably require a sizeable increase in budget, a lot of creating and skill, and even then the outcome is hard to attain.
The latter is relatively simple with the right tools and knowledge.
Understanding conversion optimization
When optimizing a website’s conversion rate it can be tempting to start A/B testing your headlines, landing pages, and call to actions.
While this may result in some short-term wins, it’s a flawed approach. It’s tactics without strategy, which as the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said ‘is the noise before defeat’.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat – Sun Tzu
Smart marketers start their strategy by understanding why their website visitors are not converting. It’s the online equivalent to asking a customer why they walked out of your store without purchasing.
Let’s take BrokerNotes as an example. After months of tweaking the headlines and changing the designs we increased the conversion rate by 3% (a ~30% increase in conversions). Not a bad improvement for tactics without a strategy.
But after spending over two months crunching Google Analytics data, recording videos of people using the site in Hotjar, and gathering qualitative survey data from traders, we came up with a list of questions, concerns, and problems people were having with the site that we had no idea about.
With these insights to hand, we created a radical new re-design which was A/B tested against the existing site. It increased the conversion rate by a staggering 31%.
When you hear stories about Google split testing 41 different shades of blue to find out which one converts the best, or Amazon making millions of extra dollars by changing their buttons, it’s easy to see why many people want to skip the research phase of conversion optimization and start testing any random hypotheses.
In my opinion, though, conversion optimization isn’t about testing. It’s about understanding the people using your site, what they want, what they don’t want, and then improving how you communicate your offering based on those three pieces of information.
Now that we’ve covered the strategic side of conversion optimization, let’s explore five powerful tactics for boosting your conversions.
#1 Focus on your onboarding forms
The biggest opportunity to boost your conversions is almost certainly going to be found in optimizing your onboarding forms.
In fact, if you look at your signup funnels you might be shocked at just how many potential clients are lost due to not completing the signup process. For some sites I’ve worked on it’s been as high as 2 in 3 people dropping off.
If you don’t already, I’d recommend setting up form analytics using a service like Formismo or Hotjar to understand where your visitors are getting stuck, and how long it takes them to complete your forms. From there you can identify the pain points and begin to rectify them.
#2 Reduce page loading times
In 2006, Amazon reported that for every 100 milliseconds that they speed up their servers, they notice a 1% increase in revenue.
Improving page speed not only increases conversions, it also has positive effects on your SEO rankings, and the general user experience. So how do you improve page speed?
One of the best places to start is by investing in a good web hosting service, as this typically improves a large number of page speed related factors. If your web hosting server is already fast, then there are lots of practical ways to reduce page loading times which you can read more about here.
#3 Add Live Chat
Live chat is a great lead generation tool, but it can also be used for increasing conversions. By chatting with visitors, you not only show that there are real people behind the company (building trust), but you’re also able to tackle objections and answer questions preventing them from signing up.
Intercom is one of my favorite tools for this as they go beyond live chat to allow you to trigger conversations when certain ‘conditions’ are met e.g. when a trader spends more than a certain amount of time on a page on your site, you can popup a live chat box.
#4 Reduce distractions
According to WiderFunnel’s LIFT model there are six ways to boost your conversion rate, as illustrated by the diagram below.
One of the best places to start with your current website is by reducing the number of distractions. Each page on your site should have one primary purpose – once you know the purpose of each page you can then reduce the prominence of everything that doesn’t contribute towards it.
As you can see with the BrokerNotes example above, the improved version had no distractions (not even a navigation menu). By minimizing the number of things the visitor could do down to the single (desired) action, it made it both easier and more likely that they would do it.
#5 Envoke trust with social proof
The biggest barrier stopping a trader from signing up is the fear of making the wrong decision in choosing a broker.
Given the number of horror stories in FX, your visitors are likely worried about whether or not they’ll be able to withdraw funds, whether your brokerage will survive the next SNB-style crisis, or whether they’ll be charged hidden fees. In other words, can they rely on you?
While directly addressing these issues is a good strategy, an even better approach is to use social proof (e.g. testimonials, accreditations, and videos of clients) to emphasize the fact that many traders were previously in their shoes – and they made the decision to trust you.