Conversion Optimisation - Are You Closing the Deal?

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Picture the scene: you've opened up a new fashion retail outlet in the trendiest shopping centre in town. You've spent a small fortune on advertising and branding. You've gone to great lengths to ensure that you're stocking all of the prestige brands. Come opening day your store is inundated with visitors and potential customers. And yet, you are hardly making any sales. Could it be because you have one cashier for every hundred customers? Or maybe it's the fact that the smell of your freshly painted walls is chasing customers away before they complete a purchase.

Traffic is Not Enough

Much like a bricks and mortar retailers your website has to be ergonomically designed for your customers. For all the wonders of having high traffic volumes generated by your SEM and Online Advertising campaigns this can prove to be a pointless and costly exercise if your visitors are leaving empty handed. Conversion Optimisation aims to convert as many of your visitors as possible into active consumers.

A conversion doesn't necessarily have to mean a sale. However every website should be designed with clear-cut goals in mind, whether it in fact be a sale or something less direct such as signing up to a newsletter or filling out an online questionnaire. Once you have defined your goals you can then measure the success of your site with a conversion rate - i.e. the percentage of your visitors achieving the end tasks that you set out for them. It is extremely important that business goals be explicitly defined - it is all too easy to get sidetracked with continuously tweaking your site, while all the time you are getting further and further away from your true objectives.

A Two Step Dance

There are many factors that can be chasing visitors away from your site, preventing them from achieving your end goals. Maybe the colour of the background induces apathy in a casual visitor, the text could be difficult to read for users with too high a resolution or perhaps the copy itself is not conducive to closing the deal. The list goes on, and the possible factors are often so glaringly obvious that one tends to miss them, or so small that they are dismissed as trivial.

If you change one factor, this might result in other unforeseen consequences. So, to ensure that no damaging actions are taken or that we jump to the wrong conclusions, Conversion Optimisation is a two step process: analyse, then optimise.

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