By Phil Van Treuren
A website that consistently delivers qualified leads and revenue to your local business is the aggregation of many important elements: engaging content, good search engine optimization and relevant link building. These are just a few of the things that make up a successful digital strategy.
Conversion rate optimization (or CRO for short) is one of the most important of those factors, and is also among the most ignored by business owners.
CRO is the process of optimizing the aesthetics and layout of your website in a way that maximizes the percentage of visitors who “convert,” or take a desired action on your site. Those desired actions could be filling out a lead form, calling your business, downloading a guide, making a purchase, or signing up for an email list.
If thousands of potential customers visit your website but only a few of them convert, then the traffic is wasted. Good conversion rate optimization can help you capture more leads from your existing visitors . . . but it’s both an art and a science that often takes a lot of research and experimenting to get right.
There are digital agencies that specialize in CRO, but the cost for their services is often prohibitive for local businesses. Luckily, there’s a way that businesses with a smaller digital marketing budget can immediately come up with ideas for improving their websites’ conversion rates: by copying the strategies of larger entities in your niche.
The author T.S. Elliot once said “mediocre writers borrow; great writers steal.” He didn’t mean that authors should practice plagiarism, though; instead, he was suggesting that they should look at the techniques and topics that other, successful writers use for inspiration.
Similarly, you shouldn’t be afraid to closely analyze the layout and aesthetics of other websites for inspiration on how to improve your site’s CRO. Large, national brands with huge marketing budgets are almost certainly paying digital agencies to improve their website conversion rates; that probably includes A/B testing, calls to action, website copy and more.
Look at these types of highly-optimized sites for inspiration on how you could apply similar strategies on your own web properties. Where do they place their main calls to action? How many navigational choices do they give visitors in the top and bottom menus? Are their conversion pages full of content and distractions, or more focused on capturing vital information from prospective customers?
Don’t be afraid to emulate the website of a successful company in your niche to see if their strategies increase your site’s conversion rates.
Does that mean you should blatantly copy every element of a competitor’s website, right down to the color schemes and site layout? No, of course not. But there’s nothing wrong with testing the effectiveness of a sticky header with a call to action because you saw the same tactic used on another site.
By looking to other successful sites in your niche for CRO inspiration, you’ll be able to test techniques that could increase your own conversion rate . . . and bring you the kind of revenue you need to hire one of those digital agencies for your own business.
Just remember: you should never be satisfied with “good enough” when it comes to your site’s conversion rate optimization! Consistently test new ideas and be on the lookout for ways to tweak your site’s layout to improve conversions by a percentage point or two. Optimizing your web presence should be a continual process, and you should always keep your eye open for new techniques that other sites are using.
About the Author
Phil Van Treuren is an account executive at ChoiceLocal, and he has worked in digital marketing for more than a decade. He is also the owner of SaddleBox, an ecommerce business that caters to equestrians and and co-owner of MeetAmerica.com.