3 ways to improve your on-site conversions

We constantly optimize our own website since it enables us to create a better experience for our visitors as well as gaining first hand experience of what it is like using our products.

In this post, I present three simple ways A/B testing can be used to increase conversions, based on optimization strategies we have undertaken in the last 12 months. 

Changes in copy matters in ways you can't imagine

9 out of 10 times when we test an important piece of copy, such as a title or a call out, it has a direct and measurable impact on conversion rates. Unfortunately, it is not always for the better and testing helps ensure that you get the desired result. While effective copy that clearly lay out the benefits of completing an action can take you a long way, it does not take you all the way. Think about the following example:

Which of the following two call-outs are more likely to result in someone downloading the eBook?

Call out 1:

Call out 2:

There is no obvious answer which one would perform best, but after a couple of weeks a clear pattern emerged for us. It turns out that option 2 has a 55 % higher conversion rate. Given that everything else has been held constant, we can only conclude that the word win somehow conveys a greater value than succeed.

Whatever conversion you are looking for, the problem you try to solve is essentially the same. You need to find a message and tonality that resonates with your audience to such an extent that the benefits of saying yes outweights the negative. 

There are plenty of good articles on how to write persuasive copy, but you still need to get comfortable with the fact, that there will be many surprise outcomes.

Start out by making a habit out of testing tweaks in your copy. They may trigger altogether different behaviors and actions from your visitors.

Social proof is a biggie

As human beings we are interested in what other human beings are doing. This is especially true for for people that we consider resemble us (or that we aspire to be like).

At Episerver, we are fortunate to have many well known and respected organzations download our thought leadership content. At times, when we have a particulary great piece of content, we leverage social proof to entice action.

In a recent A/B test we were displaying the following two call to actions:

Call to action 1:

Call to action 2:

The simple tweak of adding the name of some of the companies who had already downloaded the report, resulted in a 97 % higher conversion rate. We consistently see this phenomena hold true, with signficant spikes in conversions for the version that leverage social proof. 

Keep in mind that the more personal you get, the more effective you will be more. If you want to take social proof a step further, see if you can show your visitors others who have completed a certain action that are in the same geographic region or industry (or better yet) -amongst his or her friends. If you are interested in exploring how social can be exploited further, see our guide Welcome to the-social-mobile-face-mail-web.

Remember that social proof doesnt have to be complicated: simply reinforcing who else have completed an action on your website work remarkably well.

Use data as fertile soil for new ideas

Despite some claims to the contrary, the truth is that there is no one size solution for optimizing your content and assets for conversions. After all, companies and websites are never the same. More importantly customers and the motivations that drive them are different. This means that what works for one audience may not necessarily work for another. As a marketer your job is to get to know your audience sufficently well to find messages that resonate. Testing your assets help you calibrate your message.

Apart from squeezing up your conversion rates, there is another more fundamental reason for a data driven, iterative approach. As test results often are contrary to intuition, you will learn something about your visitors in every single test that you carry out. Aggregate this knowledge and soon you will have a more complete view of what you need to do to create the impact you want. 

So by all means, use the data that you collect to make more informed decision, but also consider it fertile soil for completely new ideas.