5 ways to optimize your home page conversion rate.
If I were to ask a business what their biggest website challenge is, I would suspect 4 out of 5 of them would say they need more sales.
And if I were to ask them why they weren’t getting any sales, they’d probably say it was because they didn’t have enough traffic.
But while traffic is a key factor, large traffic stats don’t automatically translate to sales and new customers.
When you take a step back, all those page impressions don’t add up to much if you can’t convert that traffic into leads, and eventually customers. Wouldn’t you prefer 100 targeted visitors a month that buy your product or service versus 1000 that don’t?
So while you’re always working to build more targeted traffic, there are things you can do now to your homepage that can help reduce those dreaded bounce rates, and turn more of your current visitors into qualified sales leads.
And you don’t have to be a conversion rate optimization expert to make a real difference.
1. Clearly explain what you do.
It’s amazing how many sites fail communicate the very basics on their homepage.
Remember that the typical visitor will probably give you a quality 5 seconds to scan your page. If they are confused are in the least turned off with what they see, then they will surely hit the back button and explore the other 10,000 search results.
Remember that being clear and concise it critical. Think of your homepage as more billboard than a sales flyer. People are driving by quickly. Stop them in their tracks.
Catch their attention by clearly communicating what your do and reassure them that they are in the right place.
Tell they ‘yes, we are relavent to what you are looking for’. Don’t make them have to think about it!
2. Tell visitors why they should care.
OK. Now that you have clearly communicated what you do, now take these next 10 seconds to tell your visitor why they should care.
In other words, clearly explain to them what the key benefits are of doing business with you. Don’t make them go to the ‘services’ page to find out. Tell them upfront.
Make it clear what these benefits are, and put them in bulleted form, or in some other way that will communicate to your visitor without making them read a long paragraph of copy.
Resist the big rotating slider that has no important information and requires you to scroll down to learn more. And try to keep these important benefits ‘above the fold’.
3. Ask your visitor to do something.
If your an eCommerce website you don’t have this issue. But if you are in a service or consulting business, it is all too common to rely on the ‘contact us’ page as your default call to action.
The ‘Contact Us’ link in your navigation is not a call to action.
In the sales biz the saying is ‘always ask for the sale’. Or in the case of your website, always ask for an action.
You can ask them to do one of two or three things — depending on what part of the buying cycle they are.
If they are still in the ‘awareness stage’ maybe offer them some downloadable content that is tailored to prospects.
If they are ready to buy, maybe create a form for a free consultation or estimate.
But just be careful not to ask them to do too much or you’ll confuse them and reduce the likelyhood of them taking some sort of action.
4. Link your call to action to a landing page.
Now that you’ve spent some time better communicating your companies purpose and benefits, and you’ve requested them to take an action, DON’T send them back to the contact us page. Create a landing page that is specific to that offer.
Be sure that your landing page has the following elements to keep your engaged visitor on task:
Header with no navigation. We want them to finish what they started!
Content that expands on your offer and clearly explains what they are getting
A form field that is short but provides the information you need to qualified the new lead.
If they are going to download a white paper, send them to a dedicated landing page expanding on the content, and a form with a minimum number of fields to encourage completions for the ‘top of the funnel’ prospects.
If a visitor clicks on the free trial button, direct them to a page with some details on the free estimate, and a form tailored to this ‘sales qualified’ lead.
5. Track your progress.
While 9 out of 10 sites don’t currently have any conversion tracking in place, there is a quick and easy stat that shows how well your home page is performing – the ‘bounce rate’. Assuming you have Google Analytics integrated into your website, login to your dashboard and you’ll see the percentage of sites that bounce… or rather sites how never make it past the first page.
GA will breakdown your rate for each page — so this figure is the bounce rate for your entire site. But assuming that most of your visits are coming to you main page, this is a good indicator of how isn’t making it past page one.
The “acceptable bounce rate” is will vary depending on the type of site and visitor. So rather than focusing on the percentage, use it as a benchmark. If your bounce rate is currently is 80% now you have your starting point. Make the changes outlined above, then periodically revisit this stat to track your progress. If in 3 months your bounce rate is 50%, then you must be doing something right.
Once you’ve sharpened your sales message, created those CTA buttons, and are driving visitors to your dedicated landing pages, remember that your work is not done. Keep tracking in Google Analytics or your favorite analytics program. It’s relatively easy to create conversion paths, and then based on those paths, track which visitors completed your form.