When most marketers and business owners talk about conversion rate optimization, what they really mean is “web design testing”. You know, testing the location of your buttons, the design of your navigation bar, color scheme, mobile optimization, etc.
But, if you’ve ever tried testing your web design, redesigning your site, or switching themes, you’ve probably noticed that these changes often don’t produce the positive results you expect.
There’s a reason for that.
You see, until recently, conversion rate optimization really was all about design testing. We were all still figuring out how to create user-friendly websites. Cracking that code took time, effort…and testing.
A decade or two ago, if your website was better than your competition’s sites, you could win a lot of their business. Today, however, most websites have a fairly solid design. The majority of templates, themes, and platforms all operate on sound web design principles. And, as a result, web design testing doesn’t produce the massive results that it used to.
But if web design testing isn’t the secret weapon that it used to be, does that mean your conversion rate is fixed? How can you get better results from your traffic? Let’s take a look.
Testing Your Design vs Testing Your Content
These days, there aren’t a whole lot of truly broken websites out there. Not every template or theme is right for every site, but there are a lot of basic user experience (UX) truths that apply to almost every site.
All you have to do is pop around the internet for a bit and you’ll quickly discover that most web sites are fairly similar. Why? Because web designers know what works and they create templates and themes based on well-established design principles.
Overall, this is good news for everyone. You don’t have to reinvent the web design wheel, and your customers can easily figure out how to navigate your website.
However, since most sites are fairly easy to use, that puts a lot more pressure on your actual site content. Having a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website isn’t an exception anymore, so your site content has to pick up the slack. Your content needs to, you know, actually make a convincing case for your products or services.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a place for design testing. If you’ve got super compelling content on your site, design testing can be a great way to eliminate any UX problems that might be preventing people from converting.
But, if your website content is less than inspiring, you’ll usually get far better results if you focus first on testing your content. You can only polish a turd so much, after all.
Site Content Testing
So, how do you test your site content? The simple answer is, just think like a marketer. The 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place and promotion) are a great place to start.
If people don’t believe that your product/service can solve their problem, why should they convert? Take a look at your site content and ask yourself the following:
● Am I addressing my customers’ pain points?
● Does my content make a compelling case for my product or service?
● Are there other pain points or selling point I could try?
From there, it should be fairly easy to come up with alternative copy, images, or other content to test. Testing different arguments in favor of your product can be one of the easiest ways to improve your conversion rate!
You might think that pricing is simple and straightforward, but it’s anything but. There are a variety of ways to test your price.
You can try different discount strategies, use compare and contrast techniques, or find ways to increase the perceived value of your product or service. Who knows? You might even be able to increase your prices and conversion rates at the same time!
Conventionally, “place” refers to how you distribute your products. Here again, the testing opportunities aren’t always immediately obvious, but with a little thought, you may uncover a great way to improve your conversion rates.
For ecommerce businesses, you might test baking your shipping costs into the overall cost of the product and then offering free shipping. Or, you could try creating purchase minimums that qualify customers for free shipping.
For non-ecommerce businesses, you can try talking about how your fulfillment process works and what your clients can expect. There are a variety of different trust-building tactics you can use that may very well improve your conversion rates.
Many marketers tend to think of their site content in isolation. They run marketing campaigns to get people to visit their site and then hope that they’ll convert.
Unfortunately, from your potential customer’s perspective, your website is the final step in a journey towards conversion. If your website doesn’t fit the expectations established by the rest of your marketing funnel, it’ll feel off and they won’t be likely to convert.
So, when it comes to testing your site content, one easy way to come up with ideas is to look at your overall funnel. Consider the following:
● Why do most people visit your site?
● How do they get there?
● What are they looking for?
● Are there certain expectations you need to meet?
● What sort of content do they need to get serious about converting?
In the end, your website is just another piece of your overall marketing message. It’s a critical piece, but it needs to fit into the bigger experience your customers are going through. If you can nail that down, your conversion rate will skyrocket!
Bringing It All Together
To get the most out of your website, you need both good user experience and great content. Thankfully, if you picked a good theme for your site, your user experience is probably decent, which frees you up to focus on nailing your site content.
And, ultimately, if you want to improve your conversion rate, that’s the best place to start.