Across the world, there has been a huge shift towards online interactions across industries. This, in turn, impacted user behavior and activity, forcing companies to change their strategy to respond to increased traffic and meet new user requirements.
The cause of this shift, the pandemic, also gave many companies time and space to launch big brands and redefine their digital strategy.
However, change is not always a good thing, as many of these analytics negatively affect your site’s conversion rates.
Factors to consider with a digital update
At my company, we recommend that brands test new designs first, rather than launching a major redesign on the site. A robust testing program helps meet website goals and improve performance.
New customers, new behavior
The pandemic has created new website users who need a personalized experience to ensure they become loyal customers.
Qualitative research can help you identify unique behaviors in these new users, and it can also help you test concepts and customization possibilities. It can illustrate concepts that companies may not have considered (for example, an element of a webpage that looks clickable and frustrates users who think it isn’t).
A heatmap applied to your website can reveal a variety of user behaviors that were previously unmonitored and reduce unnecessary friction that hinders engagement and conversion rates.
Frankly, most people are “obsolete” COVID. They are eager to return to a normal feeling. This attitude is reflected in what we see in the posts on the sites.
We found a sharp drop in conversion performance from tests that emphasized COVID-19 messages; it’s time to remove or shrink it to lessen the impact.
Consistent wins for conversion
While emerging trends are interesting and informative, it’s important not to ignore perennial tactics that deliver consistent results.
Placing signs of trust on the landing pages of a brand’s website is one of the most consistent ways to improve conversion.
Depending on the type of business, these signals could be social proof, customer reviews, or brand partnerships.
Clear titles with consistent messages can make a big difference in the conversion rate of your application forms.
For example, if a call to action (CTA) says “sign up for a free trial” but in the login form “fill in this form to get a response from our seller”, the user’s language inconsistency takes the next step. It can only help to change the CTA to “Fill in this form to start your free trial”.
A good example of this is the Salesforce website—it uses action-based verbs and benefits to let users know exactly what action they’re taking and what they’ll get at each stage of the journey.
By setting expectations in the funnel, customers can gain confidence in the process. For example, by telling users how long it will take to fill out a form – say “2-5 minutes” – they can make the decision to set aside time now, knowing it won’t be a problem, but rather donating it later.
The same method can be used on high-traffic blogs by adding a “read time” indicator to blog posts. Many improved engagement metrics can result from this simple action.
How to optimize your website’s conversion rate
At my company, we apply testing fees for websites, email marketing, and paid media. For companies that are thinking about investing in testing, it is possible to create a program without major investments. There are inexpensive monthly testing tools available that still have robust statistical algorithms.
Try everything, but start with small changes. Some companies want to test very large initiatives, such as a virtual purchasing consultant, without data to demonstrate potential success. Implementing similar widgets on websites is often distracting and can interrupt conversion.
Instead, look for ways to reduce the initial cost of setting up a test and factor in development time so you can get a quick look. Big changes don’t necessarily pay off, and a big upfront investment can have a negative or positive effect.
Before making an initial investment, use the painted door approach in conjunction with qualitative research to determine what users want. The painted door approach involves setting up a manual solution or testing a very limited group of customers, or making something appear to exist on a site before creating the resource to determine interest. Do this with a small percentage of your audience so that manual support is low and users are not bothered by a lack of resources.
The conversion improvement can come from very simple tests, such as changing a single color or going from a block to a switch. This is the best place to start your conversion rate optimization program.
The last lesson is to carry out as many tests as possible, for example, to have an impact on your organization.
UX best practices are easy to test. It’s hard to predict which test ideas will be most effective and which messages will be most intuitive for users, so test everything and involve your entire organization. Take as many ideas as you can and run them to understand the potential impact of each test.
The pandemic has generated even more interactions with online brands, so conversion optimization is more important than ever. Several industries have noticed a shift to digital, more users visiting their sites, and a difference in user behavior.
It’s common for companies to test their marketing messages before analyzing the site’s user experience. But as most companies understand, website conversion tests can be extremely informative for marketing messages and other areas of business.