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​How to quadruple a conversion rate

Monday, February 01, 2010 2/01/2010 11:06:00 AM

We’re big fans of increasing conversion rates. The bigger the increase, the happier we are. So we were delighted when Conversion Rate Experts, one of our Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants, told us how they recently quadrupled’s conversion rate from under 5% to 22%.

You can read all about how they did it on their website, which I strongly encourage you to do. Come back after you’ve finished reading. We’ll wait.

OK, done reading? You probably got some great ideas on what you can do to improve your site.

Here’s CRE’s summation of key lessons:
  • Find out why customers aren’t converting; don’t just guess. If you don’t know what their objections are, your chances of overcoming them are very slim.

  • Don’t “hide your light under a bushel.” If your company is the best at something—and if you have proof—make certain the proof is prominently placed on your website.

  • Consider segmenting your visitors. How do you know whether to segment visitors? If your most common “visitor intentions” can’t be addressed with the same message, you should segment them. Similarly, if you have more than one type of visitor, and they can’t all be served by the same message, you’ll probably have to segment them. Beware that segmentation can create a lot of extra work, so only do it if you absolutely have to.

  • People don’t buy what they don’t understand. Clearly explain your service, so the prospect is more likely to feel in control and take action.

  • Sometimes video is the best medium for explaining things—and for providing proof. Web video needn’t cost a lot, as we’ll reveal soon (subscribe to our newsletter to receive details). Screen capture videos can easily be carried out using Camtasia (for PC) or Screenflow (which is our preferred option for Mac).
The Big Lesson
For me, the biggest lesson from this story is that quadrupling a conversion rate is hard work. Let’s break this up a bit:

Know your (client’s) customer
CRE has a lot of experience in improving websites, but the first thing they did was work to understand the customer. They ran surveys, they spoke with the CEO, they dug deep into the web analytics, all to find out what customers were thinking when they visited the website.

Time and again, the greatest conversion rate increases I’ve seen have come from a better understanding of the customer. So, take the time to really get inside your customers’ heads.

Avoid the Spaghetti Strategy
If you want to radically increase your conversion rate, you can’t just throw up a test with two new images and three new headlines like pieces of spaghetti and hope that they stick. You need to put thought into how you can improve conversion rate, and you need to know your customer.

Don’t stop at the first test
Conversion Rate Experts didn’t go from 5% to 22% with one test. It wasn’t two, three, or even five tests. The 400% increase is the result of 11 tests. Maybe more importantly, these tests spanned the entire conversion funnel and didn’t just focus on the landing pages. By continuing to learn more about the customer and methodical testing, CRE achieved great results. Testing isn't a one time thing, and it takes a few iterations to get the biggest wins.

It may be hard work, but as's results show, it’s worth the effort.


Bert van Meteren said...

This is cool information. It helps me a lote to inprove my website and convert. Thanks!

Lary Stucker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lary Stucker said...

I just wrote about a similar experience with a free-trial download page where I was able to triple our subscriber rate!

Infoweb said...

This is really useful information but putting this information in practical use is really a tedious job which can take months before we reach any conclusion.

Trevor Claiborne said...

Infoweb, I agree that it can take time to reach a conclusion, but don't you believe such an increase merits the effort?

Screamonei said...

Hey, nice. Good way to make our websites most visited.
I do Liked

Money said...

Increasing conversion rate is all about testing in my opinion. Little things like changing a color can make a difference.

Sam said...

Great article. I read through the CRE article on as well and it's got me brainstorming some new ideas for beta2 of our site. From the looks of most high converting ecomm sites, simplicity seems to be the key.

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