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How to Increase Conversion Rate in 18 Steps

October 26, 2023

31 minread

As a business owner, you might notice that your average conversion rate is staying the same, yet the volume of website visitors continues to grow. You might be wondering if your audience is interested in what you’re selling or if they have lingering questions that are preventing them from taking action. Our sales advisors for small businesses at Cultivate Advisors are happy to share our expertise with you to increase your conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate and How to Calculate It

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If you haven’t considered the conversion rates across your landing pages, marketing campaigns, website, and other customer interactions, you’re missing out on key data. A conversion rate is the percentage of potential customers who are taking the action that you want them to on a particular page. Some examples of conversion rates include making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, downloading a piece of content, or upgrading their plan. For example, your website’s conversion rate can unveil how many converting leads you have depending on how your conversion funnel is set up.

To calculate your conversion rate, take the total number of conversions divided by your total visitors and multiply that by 100. For example, let’s say that you’re an eCommerce business that sells t-shirts. During March, you fulfilled 500 orders and your website data shows that 55,000 unique visitors engaged with your website. This means that your conversion rate was 0.90%.

What Is a Good Sales Conversion Rate?

Generally speaking, a good sales conversion rate ranges anywhere from 2-5%, but the specifics depend on your particular industry. Some companies can achieve website conversion rates as high as 10% but keep in mind that website conversions can be calculated in different approaches. Some companies determine their conversion rate by factoring in segments such as qualified leads, total leads, contacted leads, or opportunities.

In the case that you need to increase conversions after calculating your rate, this is often a sign that there’s room for improvement in areas of your business such as your marketing efforts.

18 Steps to Improve Your Sales Conversion Rate

Rest assured that if your sales conversion rates are not where you want them to be, you can take advantage of various tactics to increase your conversion rate. Our team at Cultivate Advisors has outlined step-by-step instructions.

Step 1. Identify the Metrics You Can Impact

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The first step is to identify and affect conversions that you know are in your control. Start by looking at the sales process from every angle to see how your sales team is creating its sales funnel. Every customer has a slightly different journey, but you should still be able to identify with how they may be feeling at every point in their journey. Before loyal customers are made, they go through a unique user journey that often consists of stages such as awareness, education, selection, onboarding, use, and expansion. This purchasing process is long and gives your potential customers many opportunities to leave and look to your competitors.

It’s essential to outline the potential objection points to help drive your strategy on where you can have the most impact. For example, what is the current rate at which you turn a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) into a sales-qualified lead (SQL)? This could take place in a contact form that appears as a pop-up or a pre-trial download. Breaking down the sales process and identifying these key performance indicators can outline where a potential customer gains or loses interest. Don’t forget to factor in the volume of activities to see how it impacts the conversion rate.

Step 2. Identify and Prioritize Where You Can Make the Maximum Impact

As soon as you’ve evaluated the entire process and you have a solid understanding of these metrics, you’ll want to prioritize what areas have the most impact. For example, many sales teams heavily focus on the leads that are at the bottom of the funnel or those who are nearing their decision. Keep in mind that in sales, time is always your most important commodity and those leads that are farther down in the funnel will take up more of your time than those leads who are just starting the buyer journey.

For example, as soon as you have an MQL, it could take as little as 10 minutes to convert them into a sales-qualified lead. However, you’ll likely need to schedule an additional discovery call that could take 30 minutes or longer. Add this time on top of an hour-long demonstration in addition to putting together a unique proposal; this could take days! Make sure that when you’re looking at how you can boost conversions, you pinpoint where you can have the biggest impact and reduce pain points. It forces you to prioritize your time and where you can achieve value without using too much of your valuable time.

Step 3. Build a Sales Funnel

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Another essential step to increase conversions is to have a well-established sales funnel. This is an incredibly necessary step as you work to map out a path that your qualified leads will follow before they end up becoming a loyal customer. This is a visual approach to where your leads are in their process of making a decision. Similar to a funnel, it will be the widest at the top and as you go deeper, there are more defined stages and actions that you and your sales team can take. Typically, the funnel starts with awareness and is followed by discovery, evaluation, intent, and purchase, and ends with loyalty. With a well-thought-out funnel, it becomes much easier to stay one step ahead of user behavior and helps your sales team better drive home the value proposition of your product or service.

But how can you use the conversion funnel to increase your sales conversion rate? It’s estimated that as many as 68% of organizations haven’t identified or attempted to measure a sales funnel. The same survey noted that 79% of leads never ended up converting into existing customers.

In the awareness stage, aim to attract your target audience who might be unfamiliar with your brand or a particular feature. You’ll then need to engage with them to understand their needs and educate them properly. You’ll then negotiate with them and make a final offer before you close the deal.

Step 4. Provide Descriptive Information About Your Products and Services

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As more visitors become interested in your offerings, you’ll need help from a marketing perspective. Make sure that your web pages and product pages contain the needed information that your leads need at this point in the journey, as it will help improve conversions. In addition to quick tips, you’ll also want detailed and well-written information about how to use your product. This requires that you have an understanding of the pain points of your customers and your descriptions should be based on how to overcome them. Use a combination of text, images, and videos to prompt your audience to take the desired action and make sure that all of your content is mobile-friendly. Having a positive mobile experience and a functional mobile site is key to getting more leads.

Step 5. Do A/B testing

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When it comes to conversion rate optimization, there’s no such thing as too much testing. The more that you experiment, the more that you can mitigate risk as you’re able to better understand how to capitalize on new opportunities. For example, one version of a landing page might perform better than others, but how do you know what your audience will prefer? A/B testing is also referred to as split testing and it can help determine which version of a creative asset your audience prefers. This entails making two different versions of the same asset, each with different headlines, designs, calls to action, etc. After the piece has had enough time to collect a sufficient amount of data, you’re able to determine the winner by seeing which one had more conversions.

Ideally, you’ll have several A/B tests running at any given time to help you better understand what your audience prefers. Over time, you’ll be able to determine what your leads prefer and capitalize on it through tactics such as email marketing, landing pages, pop-ups, and other creative assets.

Step 6. Address Objections Proactively

Capitalize on your website traffic by proactively addressing objections. As soon as people are aware of your offer, they will undoubtedly have internal objections that create friction. Sometimes, these objections are conscious but other times, they might be subconscious. Either way, these hesitations can kill their desire to become a customer. While overcoming these objections during an in-person sale might be easier to do, doing so online is significantly more difficult.

Start by listing out the potential objections that customers might have when they are interacting with your brand. It’s essential to come up with a list as long as possible so you can think about these friction points from every angle. Some examples of this might be:

  • A lack of trust that leads people to question why they should believe you;
  • Questioning why to believe anything that you’re saying;
  • Doubting whether your product or service will work for them;
  • Financial objections.

To combat this, you can take advantage of adding information to overcome these objections in your sales copy. For example, you might offer money-back guarantees, online reviews and social proof, competitive evaluations, etc. As a bonus, you can use on-site surveys to better understand frustrations so you can get real-time feedback to ultimately increase your conversion rate.

Step 7. Increase Trust

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The next step to increase your sales conversion rate is to build trust with your leads. Trust is one of the most important aspects of increasing your conversion rate and your average order value. Let’s say you’re walking down the street and someone approaches you with a laptop and asks you if you want to purchase it for $250. Even though the product is a good deal, you’ll have hesitations.

According to sales guru Zig Ziglar, there are four main reasons that people will not buy from you:

  • There’s no need;
  • They don’t have enough money;
  • They aren’t in a hurry to purchase;
  • They don’t have any trust.

The last bullet point presents an opportunity for your company to improve. Consider your own site and what would make a potential customer willing or unwilling to trust the information. We’ve outlined some essential facets that your site should have:

  • Make it simple to verify the accuracy of the information on your site: Building website credibility often includes tactics such as providing third-party support through published articles in well-known publications, customer testimonials, citations, and more. Taking this even further, you can link directly to the source of the evidence. Even if your audience doesn’t engage with the links, it shows them that you are confident in your material;
  • Show that behind your site, there is a real organization: One of the simplest ways to do so is by including a physical address at which your company is located. You can also consider posting photos of your offices and your employees or listing a membership with the chamber of commerce;
  • Prove that trustworthy and honest people stand behind your site: Use images or text to show that you have a human team working on the site. You can also include biographies that show various hobbies or bios for your visitors to learn more;
  • Exemplify your expertise in the particular services or products that you provide: In the case that you have experts on your team or if you’re affiliated with a well-known and respected organization, make sure that your site has this information. On the other hand, avoid linking to outside sites that might not be seen as credible, as your site will become less credible by association;
  • Make contacting you easy: Although you don’t want to have unnecessary form fields on your site, you should also be sure that it’s as easy and straightforward as possible to get in touch with your team. List your phone number, email address, and physical address;
  • Ensure your site has a professional design: The visual design of your site alone can attract or detract people from engaging with your brand. Consider the overall site layout, images, typography, colors, consistency, etc. If your site is full of broken links and is overall at an amateur level, you’ll want to invest in a quality graphic designer who can help;
  • Keep your content updated: Customers and leads alike will want to go to your site to see updated information. Make sure that you have a news or blog section that’s updated consistently. The last thing you want is a blog that was updated years ago;
  • Keep promotional content to a minimum: Constant pop-ups, blinking banners, or other tactics are often associated with spam. Keep your site easy to navigate and free from overly sponsored content;
  • Avoid errors: From spelling errors to links that no longer work, nothing will decrease trust faster than an error. Don’t forget to factor in page speed to ensure functionality.

Step 8. Personalize

It’s always a good idea to add a human touch when it comes to interacting with your leads. There are many ways that you can do so:

  • Keep sales calls personal: Even though you might follow a general sales script, make sure to add touches of personalization throughout the call. Simply following up with a lead after they’ve filled out a contact form within two days can lead to a huge increase in conversions;
  • Personalize email campaigns: Tailor the email messaging that you’re using to the unique qualifications of your leads. This shows that you have done sufficient research on how your product or service can help them.

Step 9. See What Your Competition Is Doing

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Although you might feel confident in your value proposition, take this even further by knowing how it compares to your competitors. No matter your industry, you’ll have both direct and indirect competition. If you show your leads that you have already done your homework and that you’ve beaten your leads to the punch regarding comparison, it can help build trust and increase your sales conversions.

In reality, when leads are looking at various options, they’ll stick to the surface-level facts. For example, they might only be considering the price and main features. As an expert in your field, you’ll want to be sure that you know more than this simple information to ultimately close more details. During your conversations, make sure to point out the biggest advantages that you have over your alternatives without shying away from the potential downsides. For example, if your product is more expensive, you can address why during these conversations.

You can even consider adding product comparison pages directly onto your website or on a separate landing page to address these various features. Even though it might seem counterintuitive, it can help your leads spend more time interacting with your content. Your leads will undoubtedly do these comparisons anyway, so by doing it for them, you present the information in a way that wins them over. Other tactics for comparison include tables or videos that outline the major points of difference between you and your competition.

Step 10. Tweak or Change Your Call to Action (CTA)

conversion rate optimization

Each landing page on your site as well as your posts on social media should have a strong CTA or call to action. Once the audience is finished interacting with the content, what do you want them to do? This decision is often established by your marketing team and can help drive traffic to the right locations to increase conversion rates. Each CTA is based on a cause-effect relationship. For example, on your blogs, you should include CTAs about subscribing to the blog. This helps to bridge the gap between your engaged audience and the products or services that you’re offering. In return, you’ll get information such as their name and their email address that your sales team can use to drive further conversations.

A study shows that 90% of visitors who read your headline will also come across your CTA. Make sure that your CTA isn’t left unnoticed, as it could be associated with drawbacks to your site design or other technical factors that lead to a bad experience.

As a pro tip, consider using unique CTAs that are different from generic messages that don’t add a ton of value to your site. One way to boost conversions is to use psychologically operational CTAs.

Step 11. Remove Distractions

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Before you flood each page with differing CTAs, consider that you want people to focus on one action. Too many distractions within a page can divert your audience’s attention and detract from the goal. For example, if you have many visual inputs and action items sprinkled throughout the page, it can lessen the chance that they decide on the spot. Whenever possible, minimize distractions such as links, unnecessary product options, and excess information to help increase conversions.

Look at your current landing pages and product pages to see what can be stripped away without the overall message being lost. You can remove irrelevant stock images, remove big headers and sidebars, or shrink the menu.

Step 12. Make It Easy to Buy from You

Ultimately, conversion rate optimization means making it as easy as possible to do business with you. It shouldn’t be difficult for your audience to figure out how to go about purchasing your product or service, and your site should be intuitive and straightforward. Leads should be able to accomplish their goals in only a few clicks. Consider whether your audience could figure out how to become a customer in as little as 1-2 minutes.

  • Always outline for your users what they should do next: Each page on your site should guide the lead toward the next action that you want them to take. This step should be easy to find and not blend in with other items;
  • Give fewer options than you think: It’s tempting to overload your users with options, but this could lead to them choosing nothing. Make it clear what the options are and only present relevant ones to your audience so that they don’t overthink;
  • Only ask for the necessary fields: You’ll use forms to collect information from your audience, and the more fields you have, the more overwhelming it is to your audience. Only ask for the essential information to fulfill the order;
  • Don’t force leads to sign up to make a purchase: Make sure that you don’t force people to become users to make a purchase. This means they should be able to check out as a guest, as it’s one less hurdle for them to overcome in the buying process;
  • If possible, offer free shipping: This is an enticing offer to your audience and can help close more deals.

Step 13. Improve Support with Live Chat

sales team

You can increase your average conversion rate by implementing live chat on your site. Having a live chat feature is incredibly beneficial as it allows customers to learn more about your product or service by interacting with your brand. If they have questions or need more information, they can use the chat feature to do so. Make sure to pick a quality chat tool that has good online reviews.

Step 14. Offer a Live Demo

You can increase your conversion rate by offering a live demo. Some businesses find that live demos can even increase conversion rates by 2-3x. One easy way to make it clear that you offer demos is to add a “request a demo” button to the main navigation menu on your website. This helps those who are interacting with your product have direct access to demos that can show off your product.

Step 15. Add incentives to take action right away

As leads are browsing through your site or your content, is there any indication that action needs to take place immediately? Although you might not think that establishing a sense of urgency will work with your audience, it works very well. Scarcity, in particular, is a tactic that you can utilize. There are two types: 

  • time-related scarcity (sale ends today);
  • quantity-related scarcity (only 4 seats left at this price). 

However, be sure that the scarcity is authentic.

Step 16. Add Exit-Intent Popups

If you’ve browsed the internet, you’ve seen popups that appear when you try to exit or click the back button to return to the search engine. Oftentimes, the messaging on these popups is to convince you to spend more time on the site or to display an urgent message that prompts you to take action. These are referred to as exit-intent popups, and they can be beneficial when implemented properly. Some companies even try to increase their conversion rate by offering a special discount for those who are about to leave to try to entice them to make a purchase.

Step 17. Set Up a Follow-up campaign

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Your sales conversion rate can improve if you’re willing to follow up with them, even if you do so through an automated process. For example, you can create retargeting ads and email campaigns that automatically send messages to your leads. Display ads, YouTube ads, and Facebook ads with testimonials, educational points, and exclusive offers are other tactics to follow up with your audience to boost your sales conversion.

Step 18. Integrate with a CRM System

It can be overwhelming to keep up with your leads, so using a sales CRM helps make sure that no lead slips through the cracks. For example, if there’s an influx of leads over the weekend, your sales CRM can help organize and keep track of which leads have been contacted. A CRM also helps map out the various stages that each lead is in until the deal is considered to be won or lost.

Increasing Sales Conversion Rates: The Final Thoughts

Closing a deal can be difficult if you don’t have the right conversion rate optimization tactics implemented into your workflows. Sales process consulting can greatly assist your business and help you boost your sales conversion rate. See how our team at Cultivate Advisors can assist you during every step of this process so you ultimately close more deals.

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