We recently picked the brain of top-rated content marketing expert, Andy Crestodina, to get his latest tips on website conversion optimization. Andy is listed as one of the Top 50 Marketing Influencers to watch in 2016 by Entrepreneur Magazine and part of Forbes Magazine’s list of Top 10 Online Marketing Experts to Follow in 2015. We asked about website conversation rate optimization, and Andy answered:
When it comes to website conversion optimization, what are the top things you recommend marketers do to drive improvements?
Andy: There are two main ways to trigger conversions: answers and evidence.
1. Answer top questions
Visitors have questions and they’ll only convert if we provide answers. Conversion is a function of clarity, so every question we leave unanswered hurts our conversion rates.
The trick is to find out which questions our specific audience has and to answer them in order, if possible. Every audience is different, so the messages and priority for every website is different.
Here’s an example of the questions that visitors to a college might have:
- Where is this school located?
- Is it expensive?
- What programs are available?
- Can I go part-time?
- Am I eligible to attend?
Notice how the visitor asks quick disqualifying questions first, then they go deeper into details, and finally once they’re interested, they wonder if they can get in. This is common for “high-consideration” decisions.
Now let’s look at a “low-consideration” decision. The sink is leaking. The visitor wants a plumber. Now there are fewer questions:
- Do you fix sinks?
- How soon can you come?
(Roto-Rooters understands how to optimize their site for phone conversions.)
In both cases, the content helps the conversion. The visitor needs an answer and if they don’t find it, they’ll go look somewhere else.
The good news is that you don’t need fancy design or expensive programming to optimize your site for conversions this way. All you need is a deep understanding of your audience.
2. Add powerful testimonials
Next we need to add evidence to support your answers. Again, content is the easiest way to do this. It’s fast and free to jump into your content management system and add a testimonial.
Don’t add them to a testimonials page. Visitors are unlikely to visit that page. It’s more effective to add them to sales pages (services, products, programs) and put them near the answer that they support.
Here are two testimonials that support the examples above:
- “The part time option made the program do-able for me. It fit right into my schedule.”
- “Thanks for coming to fix my leak so fast! You guys were super quick to come by…”
You can imagine how these would be powerful, supportive content for the answers we provided. But it’s not enough just to add text. Whenever possible, build up your testimonials with more content.
If the product or service is B2B and the testimonial was provided by a recognizable company, add the logo. Next add the face, name, title, and company of the person who provided it. This makes it far more credible and powerful.
As a bonus, add testimonials that use the target key phrase whenever possible. This helps to indicate the relevance and can improve the ranking of the page!
For businesses that value phone calls, what are some ways you can optimize your digital marketing for calls?
Andy: Here are three ways to make the phone ring:
1. Put the phone number front and center, on desktop and mobile
Don’t make visitors look for it. Put it right there in front of them. Add the phone number to the top of the header for all visitors, especially mobile visitors. Take out your phone, look at your site and pretend that you’re trying to call:
- Is it easy to find?
- Is it easy to tap?
If no, you have a huge opportunity to get more phone calls.
2. Give them a reason to call
If the word next to the phone number just says “call”…then you haven’t been very compelling with your call to action. Let’s use the examples above to show how a few words next to the phone number can give visitors a better reason to dial…
- Questions about financial aid? Call an advisor today…
- Water problems? Call to schedule a visit ASAP!
In both cases, the site asks a question that aligns with the visitor’s concerns. Then then have a short sentence with the word “call” and an indication that they can connect immediately.
3. Add a face
I don’t mean a stock photo of a lady wearing a headset. I mean the real face of a real person at the company. Seeing a face reduces the psychological uncertainty of picking up the phone. The visitor can imagine the person on the other end.
Faces of real people are a powerful way to increase conversions. When they appear next to a phone number, they increase call conversions.
How has the increased prevalence and usage of smartphones impacted conversions?
Andy: If your site is optimized for mobile conversions, than the conversion rate should have stayed steady as mobile visits increased. If your mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop, then you saw you overall conversion rates drop throughout the mobile revolution.
These are the golden years for mobile conversions. It’s a huge opportunity to beat your competition by triggering more calls than the other guys.
To take advantage, just take out your phone. Search for yourself. Visit yourself. Call yourself. Was everything easy? Was the mobile experience frictionless or painful?
Your visitors are trying to tell you something. They want to talk. Trigger and track those calls!