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4 Questions to Improve Your Conversion Rate
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A chef at a fancy restaurant, providing a metaphor for improving conversion rate

Do you remember the last time you went to a new restaurant? I’m talking about a really good one, the kind that’s recommended by friends and magazines, with a waiting list and a queue running out into the street… 

You might be wondering what this has to do with users’’ online behaviour but, trust me, thinking about the last great restaurant you went to can teach you a lot about building a website. It can even improve your conversion rate.

Conversion Rate: The number of people who enter your ‘sales funnel’ compared to the number of successful transactions. In a world where competition for traffic is fierce, Conversion is key.

Every time someone goes to a restaurant, they ask themselves 4 Fundamental Questions. They ask the exact same things when they go online. The answers to these questions decide whether customers leave immediately or order the special.

4 Questions to Improve Your Conversion Rate

A restaurant has to put its customers at ease and make them feel at home.  It has to show what’’s on the menu, explain the specials, take their order and serve them quickly. 

The same is true of great web design. We have identified 3 questions that will enable you to think like a hungry client. Getting the answers right will solve 80% of the issues your customers encounter when visiting your sight.

  1. Where am I?
  2. Why am I here?
  3. What do I do?
  4. Why should I stay?

Before I go into detail, go to the landing page of your site, the one you use for acquisition campaigns. Ask yourself: does it answer these 4 questions? If it doesn’t, this post can help you to improve your Conversion Rate.

‘You arrive at the restaurant you’ve heard so much about, but it doesn’t look how you imagined…

On your website, visitors need to be reminded who you are. They will look for your logo or brand name on your top bar, so make sure your snazzy graphics are clearly visible and easy to find.

The idea here is to trigger a sense of familiarity. Visitors saw your banners or emails, clicked on your link, and arrived on your landing page. It is essential that this page matches their expectations, with the same visuals as your ads.

Familiarity triggers a state of Cognitive Ease. Not only this, but your users are already experiencing the first stage of the “Mere-exposure Effect”. Both phenomena allow them to relax and enjoy your site.

““You heard great things, but the menu is confusing…

In 2015, Microsoft Canada conducted an infamous experiment monitoring online behaviour. The results suggested that ‘the average attention span whilst online had decreased from 12 seconds (in 2000) to only 8 seconds (in 2015).

What this shows is that a user will see your landing page and make a number of assumptions and choices within seconds.

Countless studies (such as Daniel Kahneman’s 1973 Attention and Effort) highlight the negative effect of Cognitive Friction on an individual’s mood and responses. That’s why it is so important that a visitor immediately understands what you are offering and how to proceed. You have to be clear and specific.

Here are some simple techniques to remember:

  • Make your selling proposition in 3 easy points

3 points are enough to explain why someone should pick you over your competitors and won’t overwhelm them with information.

  • Avoid the ‘curse of knowledge’

It is very difficult to think about decisions from the perspective of a less-informed person. 

A few months ago, I was on my way to a digital marketing conference in Germany. Prior to going, I looked at the exhibitors’ websites, all 891 of them.

Only 18 had clearly stated what they did and why I would want to work with them. The others either had used impossibly technical language or given too little information. If a customer can’t understand your offer, they won’t take you up on it.

So use terms anyone can understand, get straight to the point and don’t write just to fill up your website.

  • Adjectives transmit emotions. Verbs inspire action.

Would you rather ‘start saving 50% off your monthly bill’ or see ‘cheap options for your monthly spending’?

Verbs help to invigorate content. It is also wise to avoid excessive use of ‘”is”, “‘are”’ and so on.

Order and collection sign avoiding cognitive friction to improve conversion rate

“You’’re sitting down now, but you’re not sure whether to wait for table service or order at the bar…

Now you need to tell your visitors what you want them to do. And don’t be shy, say it loud:

  • You want their details? ASK them to fill in a form
  • Want to be called? ASK them to call you, or book a call with you
  • Want to show off your product? ASK them to watch a demo

The purpose of Question 3 is simple; you need to reduce the time a user spends thinking. Doing this will minimise Cognitive Strain, make your site more usable, and improve your conversion rate.

The waiter arrives and reads the specials. They all “sound so good…

It’’s likely that you’re not the only business offering your products or services.

How many websites do you think users have visited before landing on yours? Let’s look at hotel booking, for instance: On average, travellers visit 38 different websites before booking a holiday. The same is true for all kinds of E-commerce: 81% of online buyers spend more time doing research than actually buying.

So the objective is: Make sure your customers don’t leave, and give them a reason to stay. 

On one hand, it is important to explain to your customers why they should pick your product. On the other, it is important to be aware of Single-option Aversion. People often avoid an option, even one they really like, if it feels like they have no choice. Price-comparison features or price-matching policies provide a way of overcoming this Cognitive Bias

I don’t have to tell you how to sell your product; you’re the expert! However, our library of Neuromarketing Principles can help you structure your pitch to make the biggest possible impact on your customers. 

One of the most consistent aspects of consumer psychology is Loss Aversion. In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely shows how the fear of losing something is usually more motivating than the hope of gaining something. 

Offering your customers a free trial turns your product from a potential gain to a potential loss, and is proven to increase sales. Scarcity and Urgency turn your offer itself into something customers cannot bear to lose. 

Once you start to use Neuromarketing to enhance your menu, more and more customers will choose to place an order. Answering Question 3 effectively will dramatically improve your conversion rate.

Conclusion – Make Reviews Work for You

It’ is important to understand what made your customers convert. There are tons of great tools for this, like Qualaroo, MixPanel, HotJar and many others.

However, if you want to give your ‘restaurant’ a make-over (I’m talking about everything; kitchens, interior, menus) then ‘split-panel’ or ‘A/B’ testing is a good way to go. That way, you can test the performance of every aspect of your website and optimise it to improve your conversion rate. Variable testing is the most efficient way to achieve statistically significant results. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me (philippe@convertize.com), I’m always happy to help.

Philippe Aimé

by Philippe Aimé

Philippe is the CEO of Convertize. He is based in London. Philippe created his first website in 1998, and has worked many years as a Cost Optimisation Consultant for several important groups. He now heads a team of Conversions Optimisation consultants.