How to increase your conversion levels

When you have people visit your website, click on your emails or make an enquiry, it’s essential that you can convert as many of them as possible into customers. But it can be tricky to know how to do this and you can spend a lot of time chasing people who ultimately don’t buy.

We offer some tips on how to increase your conversion levels and your sales.

Understand your customers
The first step is to ensure you know why your prospective customers would buy from you and how you can address their pain points. Take a look at our advice about how to understand your customers to get information about how to do this.

Know how to qualify a lead
It can be exciting when people approach you about your products or service but, before you invest too much time, check if they are actually likely to buy from you. One way to do this is to use a method IBM developed – the BANT approach. This stands for:

• Budget: can they afford what you’re selling?
• Authority: can they approve the spend?
• Need: do they have a requirement that you can fulfil?
• Timeline: can you both get what you want in a suitable time?

If your business has sales teams or it takes a lot of time and effort to convert a prospect into a paying customer, BANT can save you time and money by allowing you to focus on the people who are most likely to buy. And that will increase your conversion level too.

Know how long it takes people to buy
Some purchases, like a pint of milk, are almost instant. Others, like buying a house, are something that takes time and consideration. Think about how long it typically takes from the first point of contact to the actual sale to see how long this takes in your business. This might be based on your knowledge or you could look at any figures you might have in CRM or finance software.

Knowing your lead time offers a number of advantages:
• You can provide the right information at each step of the way to help the customer make a decision and (hopefully) to buy from you
• You will understand the timescales involved, so you can budget more accurately
• You will know when is the best time to make any offers to convert the customer and close the sale
• You should be better placed to know when a lead has gone cold, so you don’t spend time chasing people who ultimately won’t convert

Make sure your marketing is working
Marketing takes time, effort and investment, so you’ll want get the best return. Spending time optimising your website, direct mail or emails can have a big impact on your bottom line. Improving the following areas can help your conversion levels:

• Headlines and subject lines: you only have a couple of seconds to grab people’s attention. Make sure your introduction is relevant and makes them want to continue.
• Content: knowing what your customers’ concerns allows you to address these upfront.
• Calls to action: let people know what they can do next – and the benefits of doing it. On websites and emails, make sure the buttons stand out clearly and are well-labelled so people want to click on them.
• Website forms: if your forms are difficult to use, especially in a checkout or sign-up page, you can lose a lot of sales. Make sure your forms simple, are clear about the information that’s needed and don’t have too many restrictions on the format in which the information is entered.
• Social proof: we’re social animals and we like to feel part of a gang. And when we’re spending money we like to be assured that we’re making the right choice. Social proof could include information about how many other people are customers (“Join 27,687 other people who are part of our wine club”) or share figures for people who have bought or added things to a wishlist (“13 people recently bought or want this.”)

Whichever route you choose, do some testing to see what works for you. Companies like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimiser make it easy to test changes before you commit to them, so you can try things out and keep improving your conversion levels.

Keep a record of your online and offline conversion levels and keep making changes to see how you can positively affect it. Monitor what’s working, so you can continue making incremental changes and keep improving your conversion levels.