In the age of social media marketing and SEO, generating traffic is rarely a problem. With a plethora of platforms, inexpensive ad boosts and free analytical tools, even small businesses have the resources needed to drive web traffic.
Not all web traffic is equal though. High traffic but low conversion rates is a common issue for ecommerce sites. There can be a variety of factors causing this, from sourcing the wrong kind of traffic to a poorly optimized website. This is probably why discovery marketing is becoming so popular.
It’s also why we created this guide to the most common reasons conversion rates stay low and how to fix it. First, however, let’s talk about why your conversion rate is one of your business’s most important KPIs.
Why Do Conversion Rates Matter?
When we talk about conversion rates in ecommerce, we mostly mean the ratio of site visitors versus transactions – however, at its most basic, a conversion is when a user completes any desired goal. For example, if one product page gets 10,000 unique views and 100 of those make a purchase, that’s a conversion rate of 100:1 (or 1%).
Think about this in terms of your acquisition costs. If you’re spending $1 to acquire each of those clicks, then that’s $10,000 spent on acquisition. If those 100 sales aren’t returning revenue significantly above that, you’re not justifying the cost with conversions.
Alternatively, let’s say those 100 sales allow you to break even on your spending. If you double your acquisition spend, you’ll likely double sales – but your conversion rate will stay the same. So, profit-wise, you’ll be in the same position.
Focusing on improving conversion rates instead will allow you to get more out of your acquisition costs. If you instead doubled your conversions, you’d be increasing revenue without growing your costs.
Of course, increasing conversion rates isn’t quite that simple. You can’t just increase spending and hope to see it rise. So, how do you reliably increase conversions? Firstly, you need to focus on the quality of traffic you’re bringing to your site.
Does High Traffic Mean High Conversion Rates?
The short answer? No. There’s a lot more to it than that though. We’re not saying high volumes of traffic are bad. Remember, more eyes on your site will translate to a higher actual number of sales. Yet what’s important are the interest and engagement levels of that traffic.
When you attract traffic that has a higher level of interest in your service, it’s easier to convert them to customers. Sometimes, this will mean targeting smaller audience numbers in niche markets.
Before you can effectively target your ideal customers, you need to work out who they are. This will involve building a customer profile. Identify factors like age group, gender, and income bracket. Also look at their preferred platforms, common pain points, and location.
Knowing your ideal customer lets you tailor your marketing toward that demographic, as well as make sure your social marketing strategy is reaching the right groups. Then, it’s all about how you drive this traffic into your sales funnel.
How to Target the Right Traffic
This will require testing and refinement over time. Start with your customer profile and target your content toward that market. Utilize market research data to optimize your content and focus marketing channels on the most relevant groups.
Once you’re targeting the right groups, make use of A/B marketing tests to refine your content. If you’re focusing on multiple user groups or nationalities, you should also carry out usability testing to refine for each audience. User testing app options can make this a simple and easy task.
You’ll also want to make the most of your acquisition costs by using performance marketing. Rather than pay-per-click traffic sources, use pay-per-conversion options. This guarantees you’re only paying for traffic that generates revenue.
Reasons Why Your Traffic is High but Conversion Rates Are Low
Even if you’re targeting the right traffic, there’s no guarantee they’ll convert into buyers. These are the most common reasons that users fail to convert after visiting a site.
An Unoptimized Landing Page
A slow-loading landing page is a major influence on whether a user will bounce from your site. According to data from Google, as load times increase from one to five seconds, bounce rates increase to 90%.
Optimizing for all platforms is an important factor. Google’s stats are for mobile users, but similar trends are seen in desktop customers. Focus on load times when designing pages to avoid users leaving before they even see your content.
Poor Website Navigation
Confusing-to-navigate sites are a big detractor too. If a customer can’t see where to go next from your landing page, they’ll likely go back to Google and look elsewhere. Many users utilize navigation bars to orient themselves on a website.
Around 38% of customers use navigation links and design layout to develop their first impression of your site. Confusing layouts will send this kind of customer running. Avoid too much visual clutter and make sure you have a prominent, easy-to-read navigation bar.
Keyword Targeting Problems
Targeting keywords because they have high associated search volumes is a trap. If your keyword choice is too broad, you’ll attract traffic that has little to no interest in your products. Users will hard bounce from your site and you’ll see high traffic and low conversions again.
Boring or Irrelevant Content and Product Page Issues
Getting customers to your site is only the first part of the job. Once they’re there, you need to have engaging copy, exciting product pages, and clear calls to action to keep them. Content marketing is more than just advertising; it’s matching relevant content with your audience. Irrelevant content is as harmful as poor-quality content.
It’s not just the content that matters. The formatting and structure of the copy on a page make a big impact on aesthetics. Readability is important – if your copy is an unattractive wall of text, the content won’t matter as customers won’t take the time to read it.
Calls to action should always reflect which step of the buyer’s journey a user is at. If they’ve just encountered your product, a CTA of “learn more” or “get started” might be more attractive than “buy now.”
Using CTAs that feel disassociated from the customer’s current experience is offputting. Think of it like getting the hard sell from a sales assistant as soon as you walk into a store. Nobody wants that.
Checkout Process Hurdles
There are several ways businesses introduce unnecessary friction to the checkout process. Adding extra fees at the end, mandatory account signups, and long & complicated checkouts are three big reasons why purchases are abandoned.
Lack of Security & Trust
Another reason for abandoned carts is a lack of trust. If your site’s security certificates aren’t up to date or you aren’t using a reputable intermediary for payments, customers won’t entrust you with their details.
This can extend to consumer trust marks as well. There are many consumer groups with brand verification symbols e.g. TrustPilot, Verisign, etc. Pick the most relevant trust symbols for your business and include them in your footer.
Effective Ways to Boost Ecommerce Conversion Rates
Luckily, all of the above weaknesses can be turned into strengths if you address them. If you’re looking to expand your ecommerce business, this is essential.
Now, let’s look at how you can solve each of these problems and stop turning away potential customers.
Improve Your Homepage
Focus on load times first. Having a near-instant loading page is one of the biggest and most critically important advantages you can give your site. All the attractive, dynamic ads in the world won’t have an impact if it won’t load.
Aesthetics are vital too, and having a clear visual design is paramount. Cluttering your page with multiple images, links, and conflicting CTAs won’t help with conversions.
Use a modern, clean design with collapsible menus in a top or side navigation bar. This will give users a focal point for navigation. Image carousels with thumbnails and individual CTAs are a good option if you want to convey multiple messages from one page.
Target Relevant Keywords
It can be more effective to target search terms with lower overall traffic volumes that are relevant to your niche. For example, if you sell designer handbags, a popular related search term might be “fashion accessories.”
Targeting this phrase might bring in a lot of traffic but much of that traffic will be looking for other accessories. These customers will leave as soon as they realize you don’t have what they’re looking for, and you won’t get the chance to convert them.
Targeting a narrower term like “must-have handbags” will bring in less traffic overall but all of that traffic will be looking for a bag. You’ve overcome the first hurdle of engaging the customer’s interest and then it’s up to how well you can sell your product.
Using software tools is vital to keyword targeting. Popular SEO marketing options like SEMrush and even Google Ads keyword planner will offer keyword analysis tools. Machine learning algorithms can also help refine your strategy over time too, but require more data – just be sure to look for service providers using ML pipeline best practices.
Small businesses with limited budgets can also make use of a variety of other inexpensive or free online tools. Using data insights to guide your choices is key.
Optimize Your Web Navigation
Focusing on the buyer’s journey when designing your site layout can help with this. Make sure each page is focused on the potential user’s desired outcome. For example, if they’re on a product page, make sure there’s a direct link to make a purchase.
When thinking about site navigation, design from the top-level pages down. Your navigation bar should feature these as headers. Any other important pages should be subheaders in relevant collapsible menus.
Create Engaging Content
Referring back to your customer profile, what kind of content does your audience want to see? What topics interest them? When you’re designing content for your website or social media pages, keep this in mind.
For small businesses, outsourcing content creation is often necessary, as keeping a blog relevant and fresh requires a high content output. Make sure you consider this when discussing business growth strategy ideas.
Revitalize Your Product Pages & CTAs
Making sure you’ve optimized your product pages isn’t as simple as it seems. You might have well-written product descriptions and a nice-looking page, but can the customer get everything they need from this? Do they have to navigate away if they have questions, for example?
This is where customer service automation can fill in the gaps. Using AI-based automated assistants on your site means you can offer help directly from a page and overcome barriers in real-time. Instead of a customer having to go to an FAQ or call a customer service rep, they can get their answers on the spot.
Update Your Website Security & Consumer Trust Marks
Make sure your SSL certificates are up to date and you have a secure payment system in place. These are the most basic steps you should be taking to protect your ecommerce business. Then, you need to communicate your commitment to security and consumer trust.
You can do this using trust symbols, but be sure to only use those from reputable providers and well-regarded consumer groups. Make them relevant to your industry and don’t overstuff them. Include these symbols in your footers and on transaction pages.
Optimize Your Checkout Process
Make your checkout process as fast and painless as possible. If you want customers to sign up for an account, give them the option in a post-transaction prompt. Make sure you collect any data they’ve already entered so signups are friction-free.
Including a progress bar for multi-stage checkout processes can help customers complete a purchase. Try to include as few steps as possible. This is another area where the best conversational AI can help unsure customers in real-time.
You can’t convert every customer that visits your site. However, focusing on conversion rates over traffic volumes will help increase the efficiency of your marketing efforts. Optimizing marketing in this way will let you refine your messaging and calls to action across all content.
You might even see secondary effects, like your email open tracking stats going up or your social media interactions increasing, as you better engage with customers across all channels. In turn, you’ll be providing more personalized service and increasing customer satisfaction.
Jessica Day – Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Dialpad
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Diapad, a business instant messaging software that takes every kind of conversation to the next level— opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.