You spend months building your first digital product and when you finally release it, you’re disappointed by the number of people signing up? For many of us, this is often the story that plays out. The first launch often falls flat and requires multiple iterations to optimise the funnel. I would like to share tips from venture building that I hope will help improve the activation conversion on your website using methods that shouldn’t cost you anything.
Define your conversion goal
Before figuring out how to improve the funnel, first decide on exactly what key performance indicator is your conversion goal, ie. a visitor creating an account or a user making the first booking. Once you know what KPI defines successful activation, “draw a line in the sand” (Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll), which means to have a target KPI, otherwise, you can’t measure success. This could be for example a target of 50 account creations per week.
Landing page tips
Even before you launch your product and gather data to improve your KPI, make sure you have a strong landing page that creates a good first impression.
- Responsive design
This one might sound obvious in 2020, but it’s still common when building a landing page that the focus is on desktop view and only right before launch you checkoff mobile and tablet layout. Make sure your landing page is optimised to different browsers and mobile view, which means concise content, design for the thumb and not a mouse click, strong call to action buttons and make illustrations, cards and tables mobile friendly.
2. Make your above the fold pitch-perfect
This is the first thing a visitor will see on your website so make sure that it immediately grabs the user’s attention and preferably also give them a call to action button that guides them towards your conversion goal. Don’t forget to consider both desktop and mobile here and verify both your content and call to action button can be seen without the need to scroll.
3. Keep your website fast
This is often overlooked by many but it partly decides whether a visitor will explore further or leave your website. Here are some ways to decrease your website loading time.
- Compress images: Cut down on heavy high-resolution images.
- Add lazy loading: Instead of loading the entire web page before showing it to the visitor, only load the section visible to the visitor before showing it.
- Use caching: The first time a visitor visits your website the elements are downloaded and stored, this means only a few components need to be downloaded for subsequent visits.
4. Content, content, content
Surprise the information on your landing page is important! A few things to keep in mind.
- See what ads generate the most visitors and match landing page content around that.
- Keep it simple and concise, especially if most of your visitors are using mobile.
- Make it relatable to your target visitors, use compelling headlines and emotions that play into their needs.
- Use illustrations and images that are complementary.
5. Add trust factors
Adding trust factors to your landing page is especially important if your product is new and the visitors are not familiar with it.
- Include social proof from your users about how your product solved their needs. Try to humanise these testimonials by including a picture and personal details.
- Strong social media presence will strengthen your branding.
- Satisfaction guarantees, like giving visitors a free trial of your product or money-back guarantee if they are unhappy, will prompt them to convert.
- Awards and certifications will show your seriousness and expertise.
- Include media mention especially if the visitors would be familiar with the publication or blog.
Now with Google Analytics, since you know your key KPI, set up your conversion goal and the conversion funnel, so you can understand exactly where visitors are dropping off. Use the “Funnel Visualization” and the “Goal Flow” as this will help you figure out on what pages do you have friction points that stop visitors from converting. What is also useful is that it allows you to see what traffic generates the most conversions. Do Google ads outperform Facebook ads? What specific keywords or ads generate the best traffic? Understanding your growth sources is super vital and also helps you better understand your target market.
A non-exhaustive list of helpful data
- Traffic sources: Direct vs search vs referral visitors.
- Sessions: Number of times a user opened a browser to a page on your site.
- Average session duration: Average amount of time of each session.
- Bounce rate: The rate at which new visitors visit your site and immediately click away without doing anything.
- Cost per conversion: The cost to convert a visitor.
- Exit pages: Which pages are causing people to leave.
- New or return visitor conversion: New vs returning visitors conversion rate.
I’m a big fan of Hotjar and I often spend my Monday mornings looking through the recordings of visitors engaging with our product. Hotjar gives you recordings of visitors, so you can see exactly what they did, where they clicked, their mouse movements or taps. Create a funnel in Hotjar and watch recordings of what visitors did during each page.
Additionally, set up heatmaps to get an overview of where visitors click and their scrolling behaviour on your pages. Overall quite powerful features that will give you a deeper understanding of how visitors engage with your website.
Google Analytics and Hotjar are great for figuring out what and where there are friction points, but if you want to understand more why do usability testing. See below for a simple template.
Define the problems/area you want to focus on
First clarify what you hope to achieve from this test, for example, maybe you want to find patterns that cause the high bounce rate or why the poor conversion of a particular product compared to another.
Who is your target audience? Gender? Age group? Language? etc.
Moderators and setup
If the majority of visitors to your website are using mobile devices you can specify to test for mobile usability. Additionally, you might want to record the interview or have one person guiding the interview and another person taking notes.
What usually works well is that you give scenarios to the tester ie. “You are a pet owner and you think your pet might be sick so you google for symptoms and you come across this website. You decide to explore the website to see if it solves your problem”. You would usually have 3 or 4 scenarios you want to go through, but the order in which you complete them may depend on your participant’s mood and skill level. While the tester is doing your task look for issues encountered, actions taken and comments made (positive vs negative or questions).
Some questions you can ask at the end
- What was your overall impression of the experience?
- What do you like about the product
- What confuses you about it?
- What’s missing from it?
- What would you change?
Organize the data
Structure the results in a way that will generate patterns. I usually have a spreadsheet where I keep a running tally of each issue and how common it was. For each issue, I group them into categories that match the stage of the funnel ie. checkout page. This then allows me to sort the data and see where the biggest problems are in the funnel.
It just wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t at least mention A/B testing. It’s a method of comparing two versions of a webpage against each other to determine which one performs better. For example, we ran a test to compare whether illustrations or images of real people performed better. Once you have collected data about your visitors, it’s time to A/B test solutions that could improve the conversion. There is plenty of great online content about this topic, so I won’t go into the details, but I do want to just mention that try to really focus on big improvements and verify that you generate enough traffic before you make a conclusion.
I hope these tips were helpful to get you started. It takes a lot of hard work and iterations to really optimise and generate the conversions you deserve. It will be a continuous process of implementing changes, measuring and learning and if you don’t see the conversions you target, don’t be afraid to redraw the line in the sand or critically question your value proposition.