What We Talk About When We Talk About Conversion Rate? And How To Improve It.
A few years ago, I just joined a company. And during the all-hands meeting, the CEO of the company was talking about the conversion rate for our product. Our conversion rate is X. We need it to be Y. He said.
The only little problem was… I had no idea what the heck he is talking about. And what is the conversion rate in the first place? So I asked my product managers colleagues and did a little research to get a rough idea about what it is.
Conversion Rate Is
“The conversion rate is the proportion of visitors to a website who take action to go beyond a casual content views or website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.” Wikipedia
In other words. It's about measuring how many users decide to take action towards a specific goal, for example, buy a product or subscribe to a newsletter.
The other problem is ‘How’ to get better in conversion rate is much harder and less clear than the definition. Every product manager has his own ideas on how to do it. So It’s a mix of art and science. And If you are developing a website/app you actually are tackling the topic one way or another.
So here I will list some ideas on how to improve the conversion rate for your product from what I observed at the products I worked on.
What Is The Benefit For Your Users?
“These things might generate revenue in the short to medium run, but if you prioritize this at the expense of actually delivering on the product benefits, then that’s a bad optimization in the long term.” - Andrew Chen
Improving conversion rates and similar metrics at the end is for self-interest gain for your product and company. But before focusing on the self-interest gain, you have to think first about the value you are creating for your customers.
Before everything else. Test different product prices and extra costs (shipping, tax, fees). Accordion to Baymard Institute research that 53% of users decide not to buy products because of extra costs is too high. Think with financial and legal departments in your company of ways on how to reduce it.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” - Steve Jobs
Make design simple, minimal, and clean. Easy to say, but hard to do. Because it starts in mind, you have to clear your thinking first. Getting ideas for many new features is not that hard. But to know which feature to develop and which not. To know which feature to remove because it doesn’t serve the purpose of the product story. This is the real deal.
Part of the success of any product is depending on how easy the user can navigate towards specific actions. And any distraction from these actions is a failure for product goals. For example, in some e-commerce websites, they are making a mistake to show the users multiple calls to action on the same page. Like add to cart button, Add to wishlist button, Subscribe to a newsletter, and Chat button. Click on ad promotion. All are big shiny buttons. They are leaving the user confused about what to do next. In the end, you have to decide which action you want to focus on and design the page accordingly.
The best is to have one primary action to focus on for every page. For example, the goal of the product page on e-commerce websites is to inform the user about a product to help him decide if he is going to buy this product or not. Any additions to that page should be less important in terms of page sections sizes, font sizes, colors, etc.
Take extra care of image quality and the writing style for product description. Don’t make the user wonder after reading half a page full of long sentences of a product description. You know the best about your product. Make sure you communicate this well to your website visitors. Some companies hire UX copywriters to make sure the message they want to deliver is clear and informative. If you don’t have this talent in house, hire someone to do it.
If you are making a content-based website like an online magazine or a blog. You have to think through how to structure categories and subcategories in a way to make it easy for the user to find related content to his interest. Also, think about different paths based on user type. For example, if someone new is visiting the website. Maybe we can redirect him to a landing page that shows the most popular blog posts instead of the usual home page that appears to rest of the users.
Limited time offers
There is a debate around this direction on whether companies should do it or not. But no one can deny the numbers. For example, show how many product items are left in inventory if they are less than 10. Or time-limited newsletter subscriptions. Or give a limited time discount. All these are ways to give a little push for the user to decide soon if he is going to take action.
“To set your expectations, teams competent in modern discovery techniques can generally test on the order of 10–20 iterations per week.” Inspired - Marty Cagan
In the end, there is no right answer. You need to experiment and test with many ideas. Test different content, different styles, different layout, and different functionality. Discover what is working for your product and your customers.