How to increase conversion rates

If you are like myself and most people today, you go to Google to find the answers to every question. Well, when I started learning how to increase conversion rates on websites that I work on I found a ton of blog posts and articles that all pretty much said the same thing.

how to increase conversion rates

And now after years of actually working on it I’m here to offer my version. But I have to warn you now, there is no formula that you can plug in to any site to make it work. The only way to increase conversion rates is to intensely understand your markets needs and effectively communicate solutions while offering a clear path to the answer.

You can test all the landing page designs you want, use captivating images and videos, make the call-to-action button bigger etc etc. But if you are not saying the right thing it’s all for not, or another way to say it is “it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing”.

  1. Talk to your market. If you think you know your market, think again. Really, I don’t care how smart you are, as interesting as your opinion might be, it’s irrelevant. I’m not saying you aren’t 100% correct but you just don’t know until you’ve spoken to hundreds of representatives of your target market segment. Ask them what their problems are and just keep on digging.
  2. Measure the intensity of the problems you discover. You don’t want to offer solutions to something that doesn’t feel like it’s a hair-on-fire issue. For example, if someone’s hair is on fire and you offer them a bucket of water, they are going to take it. And if you are brazen enough to ask for cash in exchange you will get it and quickly.  Use the chart at the top of the post as a way to measure the depth of pain being experienced as a result of these problems.
  3. Group the problems together. After digging for long enough you will inevitably create a long list of real problems but you will also find that many of them seem to be similar. Now you group them into categories and start thinking about features that will solve the whole group. The best example of this is “bumper-to-bumper warrantee”. There are many real painful issues solved by that one feature but when you are communicating it you don’t want to get specific. You want your features to sell your product like “bumper-to-bumper” sells new car leases. And sell them it does.

Once you have complete these steps you are ready to market your new product. For a stellar example of this check out this feature page for Evernote Business.  Each feature title is not specific, rather they effectively describe a set of features that solve a set of problems.  When the right person views them they automatically start to salivate.  I know because I’m one of them.

This form of communication is called marketecture which is a combination of market and architecture.  The link takes you to a wikipedia page offering a more detailed definition but if you want to learn how to make them like a champ I suggest attending a Pragmatic Marketing training session.

I sincerely hope this helps you understand how to increase conversions on your website and sorry for not offering a how-to on ux design.  I do believe in the power of good web design when it comes to conversions… It’s just not the place to start.

What is SEO

What is SEO? and why is it important to my business?

what is seo

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and to put it simply it is the process of making improvements on and off your website to gain better search engine results.  This will lead to more visitors finding your website and for the right reasons.

Let me take a step back and explain what a search engine is.  Have you ever wondered how Google works?  Search engines are simply trying to find and understand all the information on the entire internet and then deliver search results based on relevance and authority according to what a user is looking for.

They do this by using very smart, and very proprietary algorythms that determine how your content is written and implemented in code and how other sites on the internet are linking to you.  This is incredibly complex and even still within a fraction of a second they will serve you results you are looking for.

Relevance: search engines are actually quite good at ranking results by relevance.  Let’s take the keyword phrase “Dog Crates”.  Search engines will be able to tell that a site that sell dog crates is of high relevance.  They will also know that a site that sells animal carriers is also of interest, and what more impressive is that they know that website promoting pet food or dog toys are also may be of interest but are of less relevance.

Authority: Search engines also compare you to other sites by analyzing how other sites think of you.  This is done mainly by links that are pointing to you by other site.  You can think of links as a vote of trust on the internet.  The bigger and more relevant the site that is linking to you the more authority the search engine attribute to your site and will rank you in kind.

But don’t get too caught in putting too much energy into getting links.  It’s not a popularity contest and search engines are smart enough to understand when it’s being used as a tactic rather than links being based on actual content.

Now this is crucially important: There are folks that try to replace quality and relevant content on their site with SEO tricks.  No single, or set of SEO tricks will ever help get your website infront of the eyeballs of the right people as well as quality content that is relevant to your target market.

I hope this helped answer the question, “What is SEO” and will be writing more specific tactics in later post so please stay tuned.

If you have any questions on this or other internet marketing topics please put them in the comments below.




How Do You Go Viral?

How do you go viral? Or perhaps a better question is why do some things go viral and others don’t?

In this blog post I try to answer the question, how do you go viral?

Here are a couple points I learned recently from taking a course call Networked Life on coursera.  I’ll also draw from my experience building viral marketing campaigns and launching a couple social networks.

The ability of a virus to spread depends on the average degree of connections between nodes, or people in a population.  If you have a population where the average amount of connections per person is 1 then the virus won’t spread very far as it will just keep halting after reaching the second person.

If you have an average degree of 2 between people in the population then right away the viral reach of a contagion is much strong, much more than 2 times actually.  Then it doesn’t take much more to reach the tipping point at 3 or 4 which is a threshold where the contagion of the viral spread is complete in reaching the entire population.

Another element of the tipping point is the strength of the virus, or in a youtube video’s case, how entertaining the video is.  Meaning, if the video is really good and people like it will take a lower average degree of connections in the population to spread as would a weaker video.  Much like a bad flu that hangs around for a long time.  If you are in a more rural area with a weak flu it will die out quickly but if the virus is much stronger and makes someone sick longer there is a greater chance for that person to encounter more people while still being contagious.

On the flip side, if someone is living in a densely populated slum in India where people are basically living on top of one another, even a weak flu will make it’s way around a large percentage of the population due to the incredibly high degree of connections everyone shares.

So what the heck does all this mean?  Basically, if you want your content marketing strategy to go viral make sure you focus on these three points.

  1. Make the content awesome so that people keep on enjoying it and sharing it with their connections.   You can’t skimp on the investment here.  If it sucks, it won’t go anywhere.
  2. Make sure you’re spreading it in the networks where your target market has the highest average degree of connections.  A great example would be if you are trying to reach mommy bloggers.  You’re going to want to make twitter your priority over facebook because they are all there and they love to share good stuff.
  3. Focus on getting as many influencers sharing your viral content because they will boost the average degree of connections by having more connections than the average person.  Additionally, they can actually make your content stronger by adding their approval to it.  It’s like when a virus strain mutates into something more powerful and harder to kill.

Please share your thoughts on creating viral reach in the comment section below.  I’m always happy to learn something from my readers.  🙂