Last week I wrote about how investing in design can be an important part of your website marketing plan. This week I want to focus on one of the measurable ways that design can increase the revenue generated from your website. Today I am talking specifically about conversion rates.
First, let me define what I mean by “conversion.” Good websites should have a primary goal, whether it is making a purchase, generating a lead, building a mailing list, or something specific to your company/product. Increasing your conversion rate means that you are making more sales, generating more leads, gathering more email addresses, etc. Having clear goals for your site seems obvious, but you would be surprised how often this gets overlooked. For example, many sites have a sign up form on their website. It seems obvious that the goal of a sign up form is to get people to sign up, so forms aren’t often given the careful thought needed to make the successful. The result is a form that lacks purpose. Think about the difference between these two statements:
1. Our goal is to have a sign up form on our website.
2. Our goal is to sign up 300 soccer moms by November 15th for our Free December Webinar, “How Soccer Moms Can Save Money On Car Insurance.”
The first statement makes it almost impossible for a designer to impact the conversion rate of the form. I can create a sign up form in 15 minutes, but that doesn’t mean anyone will use it. When the designer is presented with a clear goal, however, he/she can start taking advantage of the problem solving function of design. For example…
1. Knowing that the sign up for is for a specific webinar the designer can create a compelling and specific graphic to accompany the form. Graphics (as opposed to text) increase conversion rates.
2. Knowing that the target audience is soccer moms the designer can use images and text that appeals to this specific audience. Targeted messages have a higher conversion rate than general ones.
3. Having a deadline (even if it is artificial) adds a sense of urgency that will often convert a passive viewer into a conversion.
4. Knowing that the goal is to sign up 300 people is also a key piece of information. Being able to convey that “space is limited” is another way to increase conversion rates.
5. Knowing the incentive for signing up is crucial to increasing conversion rates. If there isn’t an incentive, people won’t sign up. In this case, the fact that the webinar is “free” becomes the incentive.
6. The way that the price of the product is presented will also impact the conversion rate. A price is almost always a critical component of decision making, so it should be handled with care for maximum impact.
Without a clear goal, is it any wonder that design gets written off as a luxury that can be cut from your marketing budget? With clear goals, however, the designer has a target to shoot for. If you simply ask for a sign up form on your site, you are asking for trouble.
I have been using a sign up form as an example is because the results are very measurable but the same thing can be said about any other area of your site where you want to improve conversions. Shopping carts can be dramatically improved by good design. Good design can clarify the message of your site, leading to more targeted lead generation. Good design can increase the amount of time people spend on your site. When you stop and think about it, there aren’t many things that aren’t affected by design on your website. Next Monday I will be talking about how good design can increase the credibility of your company. Stay tuned.