Driving traffic to your website is important, but if that traffic doesn’t convert into leads and sales, it’s useless.
While larger companies often commit significant resources and dedicate entire teams to conversion rate optimization, most small businesses underestimate what a critical role it can play in their digital marketing strategy.
This article outlines nine proven (and cost-effective) tactics any business can implement to increase its visitor-to-lead conversion rate.
1. Keep your lead capture form short
Most people don’t like filling out lead capture forms, but everyone hates filling out long ones.
Yet, many business owners and marketers still attempt to capture as much information from a prospect as possible to avoid “wasting time” on unqualified leads. While there is no magic formula, shorter is definitely better.
For example, Quicksprout highlights how a company reduced the number of fields on their contact form from 11 to four fields and saw a 120 percent lift in their conversion rate—from 5.4 percent to 11.9 percent. In addition, the data shows that asking for age reduces conversion rate by 3 percent and asking for a street address causes a 4 percent reduction. Eliminating just one field can make a difference: Expedia eliminated the “Company Name” field and the result was $12 million profit.
Instead of relying only on your initial form, use follow-up emails (or a sales rep) to qualify potential leads post submission. You’ll not only increase your conversion rate but also provide a better experience for your prospects.
2. Ditch “submit”
The text on your form’s call-to-action (CTA) button should convey what will happen when the button is clicked.
The default CTA button text on a CTA button for most forms is the dreaded “submit.” This tells the prospect basically nothing.
Ditch the word “Submit” in favor of descriptive action words and/or phrases. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes: You would want to know exactly what outcome to expect after sharing your personal information.
For example, if your conversion goal is to capture lead details so you can follow up to schedule a free consultation, your CTA button could say “Book Free Consultation.” When your prospects are filling in their details to download a white paper, use “Read the White Paper” or “Get Your Free Copy.” Even more generic phrases like “Get Started”, “Subscribe Now,” “Get a Quote” are more effective than the bland and boring “Submit.”
As always, you’ll want to test a few different options to find the best phrasing for your lead capture forms.
3. Say hello with chat
While chat or messaging has traditionally been used for customer support, it is quickly becoming one of the most effective channels for lead generation. According to a recent report from Twilio, nine out of 10 consumers globally want to use messaging to connect with businesses.
Adding live chat and/or a chatbot to your website can help turn your cold web traffic into warm leads. It allows your visitors to engage right away, as opposed to waiting for a callback. Chat can be especially effective for complex purchases or service business where prospects typically have questions before making a buying decision.
Before implementing chat on your website, it’s important to determine who will be responsible for responding to incoming messages. Small businesses typically do not have the resources to staff chat themselves 24/7, but you can hire an outsourced service or leverage a chatbot to help capture and qualify leads for you.
Based on results from 197 small businesses, we found that adding chat increases visitor-to-lead conversion rate by 42 percent on average. Results, of course, vary by industry type, so we created a handy ROI calculator here.
4. Fix your headline
If your website were a concert, your headline would be the opening act.
The best headlines capture attention but remain clear and concise. Sharing your value proposition in as few words as possible is a good place to start: “Save Time & Money” is captivating and provides a reason for the prospect to learn more.
CrazyEgg asks a question, followed by a value prop to drive action:
Make sure your headline is large (we recommended 30px or higher) and tells the visitor exactly why they are spending time looking at your page.
5. Don’t be afraid to show off
At a cocktail party, modesty is becoming; on your website, however, social proof drives action.
If you have customers who love you, share this fan mail on your website to build trust among new prospects. Trusted product reviews turned Amazon into an e-commerce giant, and mattress startup Casper includes “Reviews” on their top-level navigation. We prominently display a link to our Case Studies on our homepage.
If possible, avoid putting all your testimonials on one page. Instead, sprinkle them throughout your website. This can be especially helpful lower down the sales funnel. For example, we added a customer testimonial next to our credit card payment form and saw a 16 percent increase in trial starts:
Your customers can be your biggest advocates, and you shouldn’t be shy about highlighting their (and your) success.
6. Give to get
Reciprocity is a powerful social concept that you can use to boost your conversion rate. People hate being sold to, but everyone enjoys a freebie.
Giving away content, such as an e-book, is a proven way to provide value first in exchange for content details (i.e. “gated content”). If you’re a service business, offering a free consultation is another straightforward way to engage hesitant prospects.
Sunrise Senior Living created a free Care Questionnaire to help families understand what type of care they needed. According to Delphic Digital, the tool helped skyrocket Sunrise’s conversion rate compared to its standard request for information form.
Think about what your business can give away to prospects before starting the sales process. It can be as simple as offering a free phone consultation. Just make sure that you are actually giving without expecting something in return. Your prospects will not appreciate signing up for a free consultation only to receive a sales pitch.
7. Segment your homepage visitors
While landing pages are a great way to achieve single conversion goals based on specific campaigns, your primary website homepage likely attracts different types of prospects. As such, it’s important to make it easy for your visitors to follow the proper path based on what he or she is looking for.
For example, Davis Staffing has job seekers as well as employers visiting their homepage. They present two clear boxes that make it obvious which direction each visitor type should take to learn more.
You can also do this with a live or automated chat widget. For example, Assisting Hands Home Care uses ChatPath to guide prospective home care clients, job seekers, as well as potential franchise owners to the appropriate department.
Proactively directing homepage visitors based on their needs increase the likelihood of conversion.
8. Ensure your phone number is clickable
Mobile devices drive 56 percent of traffic to top websites. Make it easy for your mobile website visitors to call you simply by tapping your phone number.
Fortunately, making your phone number “clickable” is as straightforward as creating a hyperlink. To mark your phone number as a link, just use the tel: scheme (e.g. (805) 979-4629).
You can check out a How To article from Google here.
9. Speed up your page
Face it, website visitors do not have the patience to wait for the page to load.
In fact, KissMetrics highlights that nearly half of web users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. You may have a great headline and a compelling CTA, but if the visitor leaves before it can load, what’s the point?
You can check your page load speed using tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Increasing page speed can get pretty technical, but the images on your site are one of the most common bandwidth hogs. Make sure your images are compressed and, if they’re not, use free tools like TinyPNG to reduce the size.
Optimizing your conversion rate is one of the best ways to boost your lead volume without increasing your digital marketing budget. Experiment with the tactics above to achieve quick wins and a meaningful return on the limited investment.
Jeff Cole is the co-founder of ChatPath, a smart messaging platform that combines artificial and human intelligence to help businesses generate more qualified leads and accelerate sales.