Every now and then, a client will approach us with a big question: “Where do we start in order to improve our website’s revenue stream?” That’s a big question, with infinite answers. It’s always fun when upper management provides you with some specific direction like, “just fix it, and show me results by the end of the quarter.” There are many key elements that could be preventing a purchase path from producing larger revenue numbers.
My advice is to take a deep breath… step back… and look at the numbers!
Start with the Order Form
You may have several pages in your registration path (another potential issue we’ll address later), but start with your actual Order Form first – where your prospects give their billing information like a credit card number, address, phone number, etc. This is the point where the most important decision is made by prospects: “I will or I will not pay you for your product or service.” You will not meet revenue goals unless this page is optimized and the missed opportunity for revenue is minimized. Is the ratio of people completing their orders to people bouncing from this page reasonable? If not, we have some work to do.
Take a look at this page and see if there are some fields you can remove. Are there too many personal fields on the page? For example, including a phone number field as a requirement may scare someone away from your page. It may be viewed as too personal, too much. Can one clearly identify where the final call to action is located? Have we provided clarity and clear expectations? Are there security icons that we can include to reduce anxiety?
After making some changes, create a test cell and split the traffic arriving to this page with the test cell and see what happens.Take another look at the data for this new page. Do you still have a high drop-off rate on this page after testing a control vs. a new test cell? If the new test cell shows improvement, and you are comfortable that the results are statistically significant, you should next look at the pages leading up to the order page.
Tackle the Beginning of the Path
Your first question in evaluating the pages leading up to, or driving traffic to the final step should be, “Are all the pages in the purchase path necessary?”
If someone is interested in purchasing your product, why overwhelm them with too much information after they have decided to buy? You have a warm, if not “hot” sales lead, so let’s get them paid up and on their way by limiting the amount of work necessary to get through the process. They will most likely buy again because of the pleasant purchasing experience! Here are a few proven techniques to consider:
- Make sure each step of the experience is accommodating, necessary, relevant, and fluid.
- Stick to a simple three-step approach. This is a good idea and has tested extremely well for our clients, showing significant performance lifts.
- Stay away from overwhelmingly long pages. Pages that require minimal scrolling perform better.
Base Decisions on Data
When looking at the “squeaky wheel” of a conversion funnel, you should base decisions on data, not appearance. Look to see where people are dropping off. Many well-performing pages have questionable designs, but still work brilliantly. If you are going to tackle these pages, do it in a tactical sense as to not disrupt performance. Key in on specific element changes so that you know what is and is not working. Preparing multiple versions for a solid and structured test plan is definitely the way to go. You can modify your plan accordingly as results come in.
Now that you have tested and established a registration path with minimal drop off, you have a solid bucket to deliver customers and you can focus efforts on the fun stuff – the online sales approaches such as landing pages, emails, banners, and search adwords! This is where you can spread the marketing wings, dig down, and get creative through testing, and establish what works for sending MORE traffic to that solid – leak free – purchase funnel! But this is a topic that will be thoroughly covered in future articles in this blog.