Optimizing Conversion For Your Online Business SuccessAfaq Khan
Last time, we discussed TRAFFIC which is one of the four key areas within Online Business Mastery framework. If you’ve been following this video or blog series, you may recall that Online Business Mastery framework consists of four key areas. Offer, Traffic, Conversion and Support Systems. Online Business Mastery framework covers everything you need to know to get started, grow and scale your online businesses. If you have not watched the introductory video, I strongly suggest you do so before this one to build some context.
In this video, I want to discuss CONVERSION. CONVERSION is the process of turning your visitors into leads or paid customers. Now, that means having traffic is a precondition before you can even consider conversion. Let me give you a reality check. As we speak, there are hundreds of millions of blogs and trillions of individual web pages out there. Likewise, there are billions of users who have access to the internet today which makes internet a very noisy place with enormous amount of content production and consumption. At the end of the day, there is so much new traffic you can generate. What am I talking about? While spiking traffic is a worthy goal, without healthy conversion into leads or sales, that extra traffic is totally meaningless.
Your conversion efforts must start with your offer, i.e. product or service. You can’t expect to gain traffic let alone convert without a compelling product. You have to target to deliver MASSIVE value to your market place, more than anyone else out there. If you do that, it would make tackling conversion a nice problem to have. Anyhow, Conversion is measured in terms of conversion ratio which means number of sales or orders divided by the number of web sessions. If you have 2 sales for every 100 sessions, your conversion ratio would be 2%. If your website has subscriptions or recurring payments, like mine do, you should consider measuring your conversion ration with number of unique visitors as opposed to sessions. Average conversion rate for an ecommerce website is about 2-3%, while at the same time unicorns, the top 10%, are able to get to double digit with 10-15% conversion. Remember Dollar Shave Club, it is claimed that it was converting at about 20%.
Optimizing your website for conversion is NOT just about paid customers though. Ultimately, it is about having your visitors take some desired action. The process of Conversion Rate Optimization (or CRO) consists of deeply understanding how those visitors are moving through your website, what actions they are taking and more importantly what’s keeping them from taking your most desired action or completing your goals. Real conversion takes place, i.e. someone becomes your paid customer, after that someone has already taken number of other small actions and has converted into someone we call a Lead. Optimizing for conversion is NOT just tweaking your landing page or website. In order to optimize for conversion, you have to figure out where and what to optimize, and who to optimize for (i.e. customer segments). What am I talking about? You have to collect data based insights and not go with your gut feeling. Guts are awesome but they were not given to us for CRO purpose. You can use Google Analytics which is free and can provide you with all the data you need.
Now, you may ask, OK so what are the keys to successful optimization? Number one. You need to be absolutely sure that your product is compelling and there is a market for it. If you feel otherwise, this is your time to sort it out. If you are not sure you’re making things that people want or have not achieved what I referred to as product-market fit in earlier videos, then you are not ready for optimization. Number two. To get started, you need to go through the data or analytics that you already have about your visitors, Google Analytics can provide you with those insights. As a business owner, you must also use your instincts as you go through this data. Ultimately, you need to come out with some insights on what’s not working, why it’s not working and who your ideal customer is. Number three. You need to validate those insights with real people. You can do on-site surveys and user testing. Your goal here is to figure out the pages that are to be optimized for maximum engagement with your target customer segments. Number four. You need to implement those validated insights on your website or Amazon product listing what have you. You can choose to modify those pages altogether or perform testing using a method known as split testing. It is just a fancy name of dividing your visitors into two halves and serving them with optimized and un-optimized pages and compare your results. You can keep learning and tweaking until you have achieved your conversion goal. Now, if you are curious, bad ways of optimization include using hunches or going by the gut feelings or because someone said so. Now, let me summarize. Conversion optimization requires a structured approach to learning what’s happening on your website and then implementing those changes in the form of split testing until you achieve your desired results.
Now, you may ask, how do I know if my optimization is working? Well, you can measure your optimization results in the form of cost per conversion, reduced cart abandonment rate, higher average order value, and finally customer Life Time Value or LTV. Conversion optimization and SEO are complementary approaches. Conversion optimization will help you maximize your return on SEO spend by bringing down your cost per conversion.
Now, no discussion about conversion optimization and advertising will be completed without some mention of human psychology. Why? Because your visitors are humans and not only they visit your website but hundreds if not thousands of others on a regular basis. Why does that matter? Cognitive Fluency. In plain English, cognitive fluency means that human brain prefers to think about things that are easy to think about. Now, you may ask, what does that have anything to do with conversion optimization? Well, because of cognitive fluency, your users prefer visiting websites where they instinctively know where everything is and also know what actions they are supposed to take. Cognitive fluency is NOT just limited to online shopping. It affects human decision making. It is also related to another concept known as mere-exposure effect, which means the more familiar we are with something, the more we like it. By introducing these concepts, I am sure I haven’t told you something that you didn’t already know. The key takeaway here is that cognitive fluency affects your customer’s willingness to make a decision to convert which turns website design choices into a key area since you are not just building and optimizing for the eye but for the brain too. Now, I want to be clear that by introducing the concepts of cognitive fluency and mere-effect, I am NOT advocating that you do what everyone else is doing, that would-be recipe for the disaster. I advocate that you provide massive value with your product to your target niche target AND then optimize for conversion.
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