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What Are the Steps of Conversion Optimization?

What are the steps of conversion optimization? I’m so glad you searched for this topic.

Conversion optimization is a huge topic and very easy to get lost in the wilderness. Trust me I’m speaking from experience.

I’ve been working on conversion optimization for the last 14 years. Have worked with hundreds of direct-to-consumer eCom brands and run several hundred marketing experiments on online shoppers.

What are the steps of conversion optimization, you ask? Read on.

What Are the Steps of Conversion Optimization?

As you are reading the opening of this email someone just walked into your site.

This is something that happens several times a day. If you’re lucky, it happens several times a minute. In fact, it’s so common we don’t even pause to marvel at the phenomenon.

The origin

Flash back to when your site was just a crazy idea in your head. No one knew it would work, most of all you. But there was this invisible force, this thing that kept you going even when there was nothing to go on.

Flash forward to this moment, a moment where someone who doesn’t know you, doesn’t understand the hard path you took– is on your site because they have the same problem you set out to solve a long time ago.

This is a special moment. We need to spend a little more time talking about it.

Let’s talk about this visitor

Our visitor is in a vulnerable state, she has a problem she’s looking to solve but is stuck, that’s why she’s taken time away from her busy schedule today to visit us.

She is a responsible shopper– as she should– so she is considering a few options. The biggest of which is the status quo– not doing anything.

There’s nothing wrong with the status quo. Think back on your own shopping behavior and you’ll realize we’re in status quo mode most of the time– even for things that, on the surface, feel important.

When push comes to shove it’s just safer to kick the can 🥫 down the road. It’s our brain’s way of keeping us from experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Let’s return to our hero– our brave visitor. She’s been clicking around the last 4 minutes. Damn, that’s a lot of time. She really is determined to solve this thing.

I know people who hang out for 4 minutes are extra special because Wolfgang Digital analyzed 130 million website sessions, over €330 million in online revenue, and calculated the average session duration (time on site) for all of eCommerce at 2 minutes and 32 seconds (source).

4 minutes is nearly double that global average.

But what is she looking for? What’s holding her back? We’ll cover that in a bit but first let’s discuss one more important detail.

We may never see her again

Statistically speaking, there is a very small chance this shopper will ever see us again. 80% of site visitors don’t return.

And even if you spend a lot on your remarketing campaign (where special ads are shown to people who’ve already visited your site) it’s not the same, it’s never the same after the first visit.

And so, as much as we don’t want to disturb our visitor, we recognize the gravity of the situation.

So, what is holding her back?

If I woke you at 3 am and asked rapid-fire questions about your bestseller you would answer every question without a single awkward pause. Why is that? It’s because you’ve spent 10,000 hours thinking about this topic.

You don’t just *think* your solution is good, you’ve bought every competing model that’s available online.

You’ve made 12 product improvements in the last 5 years.

You’ve spoken to 544 customers in the last 3 years. You’ve taken copious notes. You’ve made dozens of adjustments to how the business is run.

You, my friend, are what we in the business call a subject matter expert.

But this visitor doesn’t know any of this.

If I was advising you, here’s what I’d advice

You have a moral obligation to let your visitors know just how much of a geek you are about this subject. It would be a crime to remain sitting at the cash register when you can clearly see a store visitor struggle with a purchase.

Here’s what I’d do– on every single page (homepage, top landing page, category page, multiple locations on the product page, and even the cart page) add variations of this clickable message: Is this your first time here?

PS: If you have one singular star product page then you need to head right to our sales pitch construction kit article.

At some locations, show it as a link, at other locations show it as a button. Change up the copy, change the design. Get creative.

We don’t want to overwhelm our shopper so set this Is this your first time here? call-to-action as a conditional element. This means when the visitor clicks it once all other mentions magically turn off. We call this a Choreographed Experience and if you want to learn about it reply to this email.

Then what Rishi?

If you are like most eCommerce sites, over 68% of your visitors are NEW. They have literally discovered you today. This Is this your first time here? question is relevant to these shoppers.

The ones who don’t care to learn about you will ignore the link so don’t worry about annoying them.

But think about the people who click it. Why did they click it? What can we guess about them?

I can make a few guesses:

– They are new to your site.
– They probably don’t know how awesome you are.
– They are a little nervous about buying from a site they’ve never bought on before.

When they click the link, show a popup. We don’t want to take the shopper away from the page so it’s easy for them to resume from where they left off.

We want to bring the relevant content to the shopper and not make the shopper travel to it.

In this popup, you need to share your story. Forget everything you’ve learned in marketing books about keeping content short and not making everything about you. This isn’t the time to focus on those details. At this point, I just want to write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t worry about typos. You are singing in the shower. For ideas on what to include in your story read this article: Sales Pitch Construction Kit.

Spend 90 minutes pouring your heart out.

Add a calendar reminder to spend another 30 minutes editing this doc the next day.

It’s important to have a 24-hour break.

Now set the concept as an A/B test so actual shoppers carrying actual credit cards can vote for the best idea.

Analyzing Results

There are two levers here– how many discover our pitch and the conversion impact of the pitch.

When analyzing the test results I’d look at both these numbers. If the click rate leading to the pitch is low I’d adjust the design, placement, and frequency of the call-to-action.

Tracking click rates will require a developer. But you are using the developer for setting the idea so adding click tracking shouldn’t cost more. Plus, this is an important project, right?

We need a decent discovery rate (people who click our call-to-action) because if it’s super-low it’ll be hard to interpret the test results. It’s like running a customer satisfaction survey and implementing changes based on the opinions of three respondents. Their feedback is certainly appreciated, but it can’t be considered representative.

If the test results turn out good it means the new content is solving something that was holding new visitors back from pulling the trigger.

We hope you liked this steps of conversion optimization article.


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