How to increase conversion rate? Steps to boost sales
Key points summary
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is one of the most important measures in online marketing. Unlike SEO measures, it’s not about attracting more visitors to your website. Instead, the goal is to get visitors to your website to take an action. Each website has its own objective. For example, an e-commerce site with an online store would want to sell its products to customers.
If you have successfully generated leads through your advertising efforts, but these do not result in sales, the money spent on advertising will have been wasted. Visitors to your store who do not convert into buyers do not generate you revenue. This is where conversion rate optimization comes into play. In the following article, we show you how you can continuously improve your conversion rate by adjusting a few things.
In the following article, you will learn how an identity chart, in combination with a good retargeting strategy, is one of the best ways for successful and sustainable conversion rate optimization.
What is the conversion rate and what does it mean to increase the conversion rate?
Let’s look at the meaning of conversion rate. The conversion rate refers to the proportion of visitors to your site who fulfil the site’s purpose. Each website has a specific goal. The operator of a news blog wants their visitors to subscribe to their newsletter. An information platform or a survey site wants users to leave their personal data. The aim of an e-commerce page is to generate sales.
But before the sale is the lead, that is, the visit from a potential customer. The user who comes to your site must be taken step by step through their customer journey to the point where they finally make the purchase.
On the way to this point, there can be many moments where the user leaves. It is important to find and minimise these points. For this, there are many standard ways and some really unusual approaches that you will not find in every guide at the start.
The conversion rate ultimately refers to the percentage of users who actually perform the desired conversion, for example, buying a product. So, if you have, for example, 1,000 visitors to your site in a day and achieve 35 sales, your conversion rate is 3.5%.
CRO is the process by which you attempt to move the users of your site through various strategies. This can be done in several ways. From site optimization itself to the specific setting of the offer and additional marketing strategies, there are many possibilities.
Why is it so important to increase the conversion rate?
As we mentioned earlier, the conversion rate is an indicator that shows how many users actually make a purchase on your site. Therefore, conversion rate optimization offers a great advantage. This way, you have the opportunity to generate more real customers from the existing visitors to your website or shop.
While expensive advertising measures or SEO optimizations aim to attract more people to your site, CRO is designed to take advantage of the existing flow of potential customers. This, in turn, leads to an increase in sales even if the number of visitors in your store remains constant.
Suppose a customer in your online store spends on average around 50 euros. With a conversion rate of 3.5% and 35 buyers per day, that would give a daily turnover of 1,750 euros. If the conversion rate increases by 1% to 4.5% due to your CRO measures, this would already result in 45 buyers and therefore a daily turnover of 2,250 euros. That would mean an increase in sales of 500 euros per day, without the need to increase the number of regular visitors to your store.
How to improve the conversion rate?
There are different approaches if you want to increase your conversion rate sustainably. One of them is improving your page itself. This includes, for example, the structure of your page. For this, you can ask yourself the following questions:
Another important factor in the conversion rate is the sense of security of potential customers on your page. Do users who find your store trust you?
All these points offer good opportunities to increase your conversion rate. But in addition to these technical and content aspects of your shop, there are also opportunities in direct dealings with the customer to improve the conversion rate.
Seeking the most important areas for optimisation: these types of analysis make sense
For you to succeed in this, you first need to analyse the biggest issues. This can be done in two different ways. One is the analytical variant. Here, you place numbers, data, and facts at the forefront.
For example, check the following points:
Most site owners can evaluate these questions with their page statistics. From this, you will gain valuable insights into the processes in your shop and find the first reference points on where optimization would make sense.
In addition to the analytical variant, there’s also the quality perspective. Here, surveys and rapid tests will primarily provide you with the information you desire. This involves questions like:
Obtaining this information is much more challenging than the simple data and facts from the analytical variant. But precisely this background knowledge significantly eases future conversion rate optimization.
The identity graph is the first major hurdle
The big issue here is the question of whom you are precisely addressing. Of course, you have a certain target group in mind. But you do not know at first glance whether this target group actually finds its way to your page. The data provided by simple statistics modules are usually quite vague. Gender and approximate age, in general, can be inferred from these.
However, only with more information about the people behind the IDs in your store can you take targeted action towards your visitors. Experts refer to this as Identity Resolution. The market has increasingly become a customer-centred market in recent years. While the motto “The customer is king” was often ridiculed before, today it is truer than ever.
A vast online offering in direct competition with retail has led to there being practically no product for which there is not ample competition, where the customer could also make their purchase. This means that you must win over the customer as such and bind them to you and your online store. This only works if you genuinely know your users. Without an identity graph, this is almost impossible.
What is an identity graph?
An identity graph summarises all the data and information you can get about a customer. These must be gathered from numerous databases and different information sources. But with the right solutions, you have the opportunity to speak directly and individually to your users. You get information about interests, purchases already made, regional data and, of course, the approximate age and gender of a person.
This is achieved by establishing a connection between the customer’s devices and the customer’s own data in the identity graph. For example, information can be saved through cookies when someone logs onto a page. Ultimately, there are five different identification methods for an identity graph. When you combine these five different variants, you get a very detailed picture of your customer.
It is important, of course, to always obtain the customer’s consent. Without this consent, the corresponding data cannot be processed, let alone stored. The creation of an identity graph would then not be possible.
What benefits does an identity graph offer?
A significant point in the question about the conversion rate is the user’s real interest. Many consultants forget this factor when it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). However, the reasoning behind this is entirely logical: the more accurate your offer based on the interests of your potential customers, the better the chances that the user will actually become a customer.
An identity graph gives you the opportunity to provide visitors to your store with offers that match their interests. Such individualised offers represent a much greater buying incentive for the user on your site than, for example, the general presentation of your store.
Once such a graph has been created, it offers you a variety of options, also in creating targeted web campaigns. Thus, you can create campaigns that use personalised offers and present them to visitors of your own app for your store or the users of your store in the online version. Also in email marketing or through push notifications, these campaigns can achieve great successes and thus build a certain customer loyalty
How to increase the conversion rate in the long run?
First and foremost, of course, the points mentioned above must be implemented to optimize the user experience in your shop, to enhance the content, and to improve the overall quality of your site as far as possible. Once this has been accomplished, in most cases you’ll already notice a significant improvement in the conversion rate. However, this can still be increased.
The key here is ultimately the personalisation of your offer. Because the more personal and direct an offer is to a user, the higher the likelihood of the user turning into a customer.
When you reach this stage of conversion rate optimization, you should begin to experiment. Because each target group reacts differently to the measures in this area. If, for example, you have users on your site who have very specific interests, you should cater to them directly. If the identity graph data shows, for example, that a customer is mainly interested in cosmetic products and predominantly vegan products, it’s important to offer this customer a suitable vegan product from the cosmetics area.
The more accurately you find the interests and desires of your shop visitors, the greater the chances of a conversion in the form of a purchase.
While for one customer it may be sufficient for you to make personalised offers, the next customer may need an extra push in the right direction.
This can be provided, for example, by additional advertising measures like a personalised coupon or a certain discount on specific products. Targeted retargeting can also be a good method of CRO.
What is retargeting and how does it help increase your conversion rate?
Let’s look at the meaning of retargeting. Retargeting is an online marketing tool that refers to the attempt to convert your shop’s “hot leads” into customers as quickly as possible. This can occur in several ways. For example, one form of retargeting could involve sending an email with a suitable advertising message to individuals who have viewed individual products in your shop shortly after visiting your site.
In combination with Google Ads and adverts on various social media platforms, you can also display targeted advertising messages to these visitors of your shop. This way, you keep the interest in your products alive and stay in their memory. Retargeting as an advertising tool should be used sensibly and targeted. If a user feels stalked by your advertising all over the internet, this can have the opposite effect.
It’s important that the adverts you show in such cases catch the user where they are in their customer journey with respect to you and your brand. For instance, if a user has spent only a few minutes on your page and has just realised your brand exists, brand banners are a good way to stay in the potential customer’s memory.
On the other hand, those who have already visited product pages and had a more detailed look can be targeted more specifically with advertising for these product groups.
Retargeting for shopping cart abandoners: a very special form of customer acquisition
Those who have already found their way to your shop and placed products in the shopping cart have shown clear interest in making a purchase. But it often happens that the purchasing process is interrupted. This can have various reasons. Perhaps the payment options offered didn’t suit the user, the ordering process was too complicated, or the potential customer was simply interrupted and didn’t continue with the purchase.
In such cases, advertising inserts with certain discounts are suitable, or also direct email marketing indicating that the person is XX pounds short of an order with no shipping costs.
Practice has shown that this type of retargeting can be an excellent way to optimize the conversion rate. For example, with one client, we designed the retargeting in such a way that visitors to his online shop who had left products in the shopping cart and then abandoned the purchasing process were reminded one hour after the interrupted purchase process.
We then compared the reaction of customers who received such an email with all other site users. In the individuals that we targeted directly through retargeting marketing, we were able to increase the conversion rate by 50%.
CRO only works with regular testing and direct comparisons
Improving your conversion rate is more of a marathon than a sprint. Of course, there are measures you can take to achieve a short-term increase in your conversion rate. However, you should always push ahead to continuously utilise the potential for improvement and not to fall back into the conversion rate.
It is important that you do not implement all measures at once, but rather introduce things little by little. You should always keep an eye on the development of your conversion rate and also consider incremental sales. This term comes from English and refers to the sales based on a specific advertising measure.
To estimate incremental sales, you always need a comparison group. For example, if you start with retargeting and send emails or advertising messages to those who abandon the purchase, you also need a comparison group that is not subject to this advertising measure.
Only in this way can you directly compare how strong the effects really are. If there is an increase in the conversion rate of the group that is affected by your measures compared to the comparison group in the same period, the measure can be considered a success. After the testing phase and a detailed analysis of the actual success, you should establish such measures as a fixed marketing tool for all your customers.
How to calculate the conversion rate?
Let’s see how to correctly measure the conversion rate. For an e-commerce site, calculating the conversion rate is relatively straightforward. On one hand, you have the number of visitors to your site in a specific time period. On the other hand, you see the number of completed sales. That gives the conversion rate. The conversion rate formula is simply:
Conversions / Site Visitors x 100
The situation becomes trickier if you offer your customers multichannel sales. Here it is important to distinguish by which medium the sale was finally made.
Identity resolution: the optimal basis for increasing your conversion rate
The technical term in marketing is “Customer Identity Resolution”. First and foremost, it is about recognising customers across different channels. This is not referring to names and addresses, but to much more diverse factors such as:
Political, religious, or other inclinations, as far as they are relevant for marketing itself
The more information of this type you can collect with the customer’s consent and relate to each other, the clearer the profile you will obtain of a customer. Only with a well-applied Identity Resolution can you create a meaningful identity graph, which is a powerful tool for optimising your conversion rate.
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About the author:
COO & Co-Founder
Dirk has over 30 years of experience in management positions in IT, telecommunications, consumer goods and consulting, including as CIO of the Paulaner Brewery Group and T-Mobile (UK and Germany).
Since 2012 he has focused on customer data as a strategic asset and basis for omnichannel marketing, data-driven business models, data protection and marketing consent (GDPR).
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