It’s an odd statement from the owner of a company that pays its bills by generating web traffic for local businesses, but give me a few minutes to explain…
First, I’m not saying ‘SEO is dead’ or anything crazy like that. That’s nowhere near true. What I am saying is that building traffic to your website can have a diminishing return on investment, or maybe even no return at all!
Traffic has to convert.
If you’re a local business, that means your web traffic usually has to call or email the business before you can convert them to a customer. That’s where Conversion Rate Optimization comes into play because…
Traffic is EXPENSIVE.
Paid traffic can cost anywhere from $2 to $20 per click, depending on your industry. SEO? That can take months to build up and it’s always going to come with a high price tag if you want real results. Let’s say you’re already getting 100 visitors a month and converting 5 of those to sales. Would you be okay with spending double your current budget each month to boost traffic to 200 and convert 10 customers instead of 5? Or would it be better to spend next to nothing on CRO and increase your conversions to 15 per month?
It’s possible, and that’s why traffic isn’t (always) the answer.
What is CRO?
It’s simply the process of understanding how people behave when they first visit your website and making sure you’re not missing opportunities to make simple changes that improve your sales numbers. If someone lands on your website and it’s not immediately apparent how they can reach out to your business, you need to focus on CRO before you build more traffic. A picture’s worth 1,000 words though, so let’s take a look at a few website banners to learn more:
THE GOOD – Fulmer, May and Stuckey: Notice the big red Schedule Consultation button that stands out against the background? This site has a video banner, but you can clearly see in this still image that the site visitor’s eyes are drawn to the color contrast. From there they see the Call to Action (CTA) asking them to schedule their initial consultation with an attorney:
THE BAD: Okay so it’s not really ‘bad’ and I’m not going to name the business since we’re keeping the title as ‘bad’
What’s actually bad here? To be honest, not a lot…it’s just a missed opportunity. All the text on the left really doesn’t catch my eye for more than a second and then I’m drawn to the two attorneys wondering what they’re looking at? Is the guy on the right holding an invisible phone I can’t see? Or is there something outside the frame that I’m missing? Either way, my eyes automatically go to the spot they are both looking at when I land on the page…
The CTA button should be moved to be right where they are looking. Of course, I would split test this against the original to see if it actually works, but we’ll get into split testing later on in the article. For now, let’s take a look at what this strategy would look like on a similar site. Then we’ll take a look at the ‘ugly’. 🤣
How this Could Work…
Here’s another case where my eyes are drawn to a certain area on the banner. First I’m looking at the copy on the left and then my eyes are drawn to the conversation and the person on the right chatting with the attorney. In this case though, there’s a Call to Action (CTA) immediately to the right of the person that’s catching my attention when I first visit the page. The CTA is asking me to fill out a form for a free consultation. If that’s not enough, there’s a set of floating icons to the right of that asking me to immediately call or message the business owner. Those icons will stay with you as you scroll down the page past the form in the banner. This is GOOD conversion rate optimization in practice!
THE UGLY: So, this one isn’t ‘ugly’ so much as it’s in need of an update. That’s normal though, and we’re sure the firm in question does outstanding work for their clients. We hid their branding anyway because we don’t want this critique to reflect negatively on the good work that we’re sure they do.
Having said that though, there’s so many opportunities to get more leads from this homepage with a little CRO. For starters, there’s no real banner image and that’s a missed opportunity to showcase an actual attorney from the firm. The CTA at the top right is good, but it could be better if the page wasn’t so busy with all the text at the top. This is an opportunity to get more out of the traffic you already have with a simple design overhaul.
Next Steps – Getting Started with Conversion Rate Optimization
Okay, class is over and it’s time to do your homework! You don’t have to be some internet marketing guru to get started because I’m going to show you how to do your own basic CRO work.
Go around the office and take a visual survey by asking people to take a fresh look at your website on both mobile and desktop. Watch them closely and follow their eyes when they first open the page and throughout the time they scroll to the bottom.
Even with a small sample of 5-6 coworkers, you should be able to get valuable clues on what people pay attention to when they land on your page. Use these findings to work with your developer and optimize your page for better conversions.
If you want to play it safe, ask them to save a backup copy of the current page layout. That way, you can roll back the changes if it turns out traffic doesn’t convert as well.
Next Level CRO – Split Testing
If you really want to take this all to the next level with split testing, simply create 2 or more versions of your page and setup Google Tag Manager and a Google Ads campaign so that you can track each and every click over time.
Depending on your budget for Google Ads, it may take weeks, or more likely, months to gather enough data. Once you do though, you’ll know which page layout performs best and you can switch all your ad groups to push traffic to the very best page.
So, that’s what I really mean when I say ‘web traffic isn’t the answer’. If you already have a good bit of traffic, it’s almost always a better use of your budget to make a few small changes to your page layout and really test your conversions over time. Taking these steps first can really improve your return on ad spend (revenue), but it’s something often gets overlooked for whatever reason.
Need help optimizing your traffic with Conversion Rate Optimization? The team at Webology provides full service web presence management, so we can handle everything from setting up ads to coding changes on your website.
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