Any website that isn’t converting needs to figure out where the problem lies if they are ever going to effectively boost their conversions. Before you dive into the endless information on conversion rate optimization strategies and tools that is out there, it’s crucial to understand where the problems lie. You can’t fix something without knowing what isn't working, after all.
The most critical step to conversion optimization is identifying the problems or causes of low conversion rates. Only once all of the problems and potential issues have been identified will improvements be able to be made. Keep reading to find out how to identify the causes of low conversion rates and whether the website even has the potential for conversion optimization.
Can Your Website Be Optimized?
In theory, every single website out there can stand to be optimized in one way or another. Nothing is perfect, after all, and even the highest converting sites and brands are continuously looking for ways to do better. With that said, it’s important to think about the intentions of optimizing the site. What are the goals of this process? Have trouble spots or glitches in the conversion funnel been identified and isolated?
It’s less about whether a site can be optimized at all and more about where optimization needs to take place. In order to determine that, you must first determine where things are going wrong. It could be something as simple as a bad headline or poor font choice. It could be something that requires a full redesign of a landing page. Either way, no one will know the answer until they start diagnosing and identifying the problems.
For anyone who still isn’t sure, here’s one simple question:
Is the page converting at 100%?
If the answer to this question is “no”, as it will be for most, then there is definitely room for conversion rate optimization. Now, it’s just a matter of figuring out where the optimization strategies can be best implemented to generate the strongest results.
Identifying Potential Problems or Areas of Improvement
There are as many possible causes of lost conversions as there are ways to improve conversion rates, so it may take some time to figure out where things aren’t working. In a lot of cases, especially when professional marketing teams aren’t used, the biggest issue may be simple: there is no conversion funnel in place.
Visitors need a clear flow, as well as multiple points of conversion along the buying journey, and a site that makes the conversion process easy. Without that, any conversions that are obtained are likely the product of sheer luck. Consumers don’t want to work hard to get what they need. The conversion funnel is like a roadmap, and without one, visitors will quickly be lost.
Below are some other common reasons that conversions aren’t happening on a particular website or landing page.
The Wrong Impression
Often, conversions are lacking simply due to a poor first impression on a website or landing page. If someone is trying to promote their webshop, they wouldn’t use a neon arrow and loud, flashing banners to get visitors’ attention. It doesn’t fit. A landing page that is going to convert needs to make the right impression with every visitor that arrives.
That impression should be something along the lines of a sense of comfort and relief at finding not just an effective solution, but the solution, for the problem or issue at hand. If the value proposition is used effectively in building websites, this should come as a natural part of the process.
The Wrong Audience
Many brands fail because they are marketing to the wrong audience or they haven’t even defined an audience to begin with. There is no way that the audience will be convinced to convert if their needs are not met and their questions are not answered. One critical part of improving conversions is knowing what people want and need. If the focus is on the wrong people, it’s likely that the end result will be incorrect or ineffective.
Those who aren’t utilizing online reviews and customer service interaction information to get to know their audience better are missing out on a huge opportunity to potentially improve a number of conversions (and micro conversions) along the funnel. The internet does not take kindly to a “one-size” approach. Those who aren’t targeting the appropriate audience will see low conversion rates as a result.
Too Focused on Traffic
Traffic is important, but in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn’t be at the top of the priority list. It does a brand far better to attract 100 definitely-interested visitors than 1,000 visitors that may or may not be interested. When the focus is too heavily geared toward traffic generation, companies will miss big opportunities for conversions in every step of the journey. Traffic will come if the right audience is targeted.
Conversion can happen with just one visitor. As long as basic strategies are in place for search engine optimization and online marketing, traffic will come. Therefore, the focus of any brand that wants to succeed needs to be on conversion. Rather than worrying about how many people get to the site, focus on how many people convert once they arrive. Make the efforts of every marketing plan geared towards getting every visitor to do something that moves them forward in the conversion funnel, even if that’s only a simple email newsletter signup.
No Mobile Optimization
Despite the fact that it’s well into the 21st century, there are still an astonishing number of websites and companies that have not yet optimized their resources for mobile users. As many as 85% of website visits are from some kind of mobile device, whether it be a tablet, smartphone, or portable netbook-style laptop. Therefore, websites that don’t offer mobile compatibility will suffer in numerous ways, including through low conversion rates.
If a visitor can’t properly access the site, or if they have to deal with an ill-formatted layout as a result of their device choice, they aren’t going to stick around long. There are thousands of sites out there that ARE optimized for mobile, including many that even have their own apps to make things all the more effective. If a brand doesn’t have mobile optimization practices in place, conversion rates may be the least of its worries.
Poor (Or No) SEO
Search engine optimization is an integral part of content creation. From headlines and calls-to-action to in-depth blog posts that are tailored around specific keywords, it is important to use related keywords and common search phrases in all website content, landing pages, and other online material. Those who aren't using an optimized site aren’t generating the search engine results rankings that they deserve, which is resulting in lower conversion rates.
What's worse is using the wrong keywords and related search terms to generate traffic and conversions. After all, if a visitor arrives at your site and finds something different than what they anticipated, they will navigate back to the search page. This could also cost the offending site some credibility as it looks bad to today’s savvy consumer.
The Point is Lost
People today are busier than ever. They don’t have a lot of spare time and the time they do have, they don’t want to spend finding all the answers themselves. When people come to the internet for a solution to a problem, they expect to find it from someone who offers a clear point of view and value proposition. This may be the cause of conversion issues if any part of the website or landing page is not clear about:
What is being offered
Why it is necessary
What makes it the solution
How it benefits the visitor
The sites that don’t convert are the ones with poor explanations and value propositions. They are the ones that offer a product or service but don’t provide real insight as to the value of that solution. Everyone knows that businesses sell things. If you aren’t telling people why you sell, and more importantly, why it matters to them, they aren’t going to see the reason to convert.
Even if conversions are only about e-mail signups or other non-sales related actions, people need to know why they are going to do what they are being asked/advised to do. It’s human nature to be curious and the less that is appeased, the less likely a visitor is to stick around. They'll find their answers somewhere else.
People will never be able to convert if they can’t successfully navigate the website, landing page, or other elements of the conversion funnel. A poorly designed website, broken links, and other usability issues can drive conversion rates through the floor in the most severe cases. Today’s Internet users expect usability to come standard. If it doesn’t, they’ll go somewhere that it does.
Usability could involve anything from the toolbar or navigation features of the site to the visitor’s enjoyment of the overall site function. Ultimately, sites that are difficult to navigate, that don’t have a clear path for visitors to follow, and that are slow to load are the ones that see the lowest conversion rates.
Lack of Trust
If a brand has not taken the time to build a reputation and develop a sense of authority within their industry, they are not going to garner the trust of their audience. It is impossible to get people to convert if they can’t trust. A lot of landing pages lack testimonials in order to be brief, but these could make or break conversions. Sometimes, there are bad reviews that won’t go away, or there are other issues that make users uncomfortable.
A site that is not trustworthy, in today’s world, is never going to see the conversion rates it desires. In most businesses, there are hundreds of people offering the same product or service, including plenty of trustworthy resources. Those who aren’t quick to build trust will be left in the dust.
No Free Shipping
If you run an eCommerce store, there’s a fair chance that conversions are being lost because people have to pay for shipping. Believe it or not, even if the price of the product being purchased is slightly increased, a buyer is automatically far more likely to convert to a sale if shipping is free.
Get Back to Basics
One great strategy to identify where problems are that result in low conversion rates is to go back to the original intentions of the site or page. When it comes to conversions, tunnel vision can become an issue and many will lose sight of their original goals, which results in the exact opposite problem. If you aren’t willing to take a step back and assess where things went wrong so that you can move forward in making necessary improvements, you aren’t going to see success in any areas of conversion optimization.
Sometimes, the issues that are preventing conversions are so simple that they are overlooked. This is where customer reviews, visitor surveys, and other input can come in handy. If a brand isn’t utilizing its resources to gather information about its own usability and conversion strategies, including how effective they are and where the problems are occurring, it isn’t living up to its potential. You may need to re-focus and realign your goals to get out of the low conversion rut.
The Bottom Line
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons and causes for low conversion rates on a website or landing page. While some people assume that finding the solution is more important, the reality is quite different. Conversion rate optimization cannot succeed without proper analysis and resolution of the cause of low conversion rates. Now that you know more about finding the problem, it should be easier for you to start making improvements and developing your own conversion optimization strategy.