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A massive shift towards online interactions across industries has taken place globally. This, in turn, affected user behavior and activity, so companies had to change their strategy to meet increased traffic and new user demands.
The cause of this change, the pandemic, has also given many companies the time and space to initiate big brand changes and to reset their digital strategy.
Change is not always for the best, however, as many such revisions tend to negatively impact website conversion rates.
Factors to consider when doing a digital update
In my company, we recommend that brands test redesigns first rather than launching a big site redesign. A robust testing program will help meet site goals and improve performance.
New customers, new behaviors
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 among these new users and also help test concepts and opportunities for personalization. This can shed light on concepts that businesses may not have considered (for example, a web page element that appears clickable and frustrates users who find it isn’t).
A heat map applied to your website can reveal a variety of previously unrealized user behaviors and reduce unnecessary friction that deters engagement and conversion rate.
Fatigue due to COVID
Frankly, most people are “on” COVID. They can’t wait to get back to a sense of normalcy. This attitude is reflected in what we have observed in the posts on the websites.
We have noted a sharp decrease in conversion performance from tests that highlight COVID-19 messaging; it’s time to remove it or minimize it to reduce its impact.
Consistent gains for conversion
While emerging trends are interesting and informative, it’s important not to overlook tactics still in place that deliver consistent results.
Placing trust signals on key pages of a brand’s website is one of the most consistent ways to improve conversion.
These signals can be social proof, customer reviews, or brand partnerships, depending on the type of business.
It is a classic piece of the brand’s housekeeping.
Clear titles with consistent messages can make a huge difference in the conversion rate of signup forms.
For example, if a call to action (CTA) says “register for a free trial” but the registration form says “complete this form to receive a response from our sales representative”, the inconsistency of language decreases the likelihood that the user will take the next step. Simply changing the CTA to “Fill out this form to start your free trial today” can help.
Simple, minimal, and action-based CTAs with a clear value proposition take users to the next step.
The Salesforce website is a great example of this – it uses action verbs and perk props so users know exactly what action they’re taking and what they’ll gain each step of the way.
Setting expectations throughout the funnel helps customers feel confident to start the process. For example, letting users know how long it will take to fill out a form – for example, “2 to 5 minutes” – allows them to make the decision to spend that time now, knowing that it won’t be a huge commitment, at the end of the day. instead of putting it off until later.
Another beneficial tactic for conversions is the use of progress bars and “response remaining” indicators. This type of transparency creates a clear path that gives users more autonomy, which benefits trust.
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 the conversion rate of a website
In my company, we apply conversion rate testing to websites, email marketing, and paid media. For companies that are considering investing in testing, you can build a program without a huge investment. Low monthly cost testing tools that still have robust statistical algorithms are available.
Test everything, but start with smaller opportunities. Some companies want to test very large initiatives, like a virtual shopping consultant, without data to show potential success. Implementing similar widgets on sites tends to be distracting and can hurt conversion.
Instead, look for ways to minimize the upfront cost of creating a test, and factor in development time so that information can be obtained quickly. Big changes won’t necessarily pay off, and a big upfront investment can create more of a negative impact than a positive one.
Before making an initial investment, use the painted door approach coupled with qualitative research to gauge what users really want. The painted door approach is either to set up a manual workaround and test a very limited group of customers, or to make it look like something exists on a website before developing this feature to measure it. ‘interest. Do this with a small percentage of your audience so that manual labor support is light and users aren’t put off by the lack of features.
Improved conversion can come from very simple tests, such as changing a single color or switching from a checkbox to a toggle. This is the best place to start your conversion rate optimization program.
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Finally, running as many tests as possible is the way to make an impact on your organization.
UX best practices are handy fruits for testing. It’s hard to predict which testing ideas will be the most effective and which messaging will be the most intuitive for users, so test everything and include the entire organization. Take as many ideas as you can and run them all so you understand the potential impact of each test.
It doesn’t necessarily mean having an inconsistent brand. Many Fortune 500 companies are constantly evaluating their user experience and making incremental changes to their websites. But the changes are subtle and don’t distract from the overall brand experience.
The pandemic has caused even more interactions with brands online, so optimizing conversion is more important than ever. Several industries have noticed a digital switchover, more users visiting their websites and a difference in user behavior.
It is common for companies to test their marketing messages before studying their website’s UX. But as larger companies have realized, website conversion testing can be extremely informative for marketing messages, as well as other areas of the business.
More website conversion testing resources
Five Website Conversion Principles That Will Increase Your Lead Volume
How to Create High Converting Descriptions for Your Product Pages
How readability and word choice impact eCommerce landing page conversion rates