Conversion, or why people choose your business and how to find out

Conversion, or why people choose your business and how to find out

Kamil Drazkiewicz
Kamil Drazkiewicz16 minAugust 04, 2022

How do you increase your sales results? 

If all you can think about is getting more people to know about your business, we need to talk. Working on your traffic is an important part of your sales, but what happens when visitors just leave your page and don’t come back?

You need to work out your conversion rate.

Basically, the conversion rate shows how many of your visitors perform a certain action on your website, be it subscribing to your newsletter, taking your offer for a free trial or upgrading from a free trial to a paid customer.

Multiple areas will be reflected in your conversion rate, such as your:

  • offer
  • page design
  • user experience
  • value proposition

And all of them can be deciding factors as to why someone chooses your offer or goes to the competition. 

In this article, we’ll focus on an aspect that doesn’t involve redesigning your product or offer or rethinking how it fits on the market. Instead, we’ll give you some tips on how to pick the low-hanging fruits.

How can conversion rate give you the answers to your problems? Let’s find out!

Conversion 101: what is it and how to calculate it?

Let’s start with the basics. Unless you have a well-defined conversion rate for your business case, don’t skip this part. Understanding what is behind that notion, the various ways of measuring conversion, and the most popular uses are crucial to working on it. After all, you don’t want to end up comparing apples and oranges, which is what will happen if you don’t have a benchmark set for measuring your conversion rates.

Since you now know why we should delve into the details, let’s dive in!

What exactly is conversion?

A conversion can be any action that a visitor takes on your website. 

To start, think about the business goals that you want to accomplish with your online presence. Let’s consider the most obvious example: increasing revenue. Your project – creating an ebook, let’s say – should bring you closer to your objective.

But, what has to happen with the ebook so that you accomplish your goal? Well, someone needs to buy it. And that’s what, in this case, we would call conversion – your visitors don’t just view your offer, they make a purchase.

Conversion - A gif showing an elderly lady trying to pay cash online

Source: Giphy

We used the example of buying something, but in your case, a conversion could be anything that brings you closer to your goal. E.g. growing your email signups by collecting email addresses, getting people to attend your webinar or event, or joining your online course. You name it.

You can even have different definitions of conversion within one project: it all depends on the granularity of your measurements.

Some examples of conversions include:

  • signing up for a free trial of a product
  • purchasing a product from an online store
  • opting in to receive emails from your newsletter
  • booking a product demo
  • upgrading from a free to a paid plan in a SaaS application model
  • and many, many others.

Note that you can measure the conversion on various levels: from your product, through one specific page, window, e-mail, or ad, to any buttons or other tiny elements. Similarly, you can focus on a specific type of visitor or even the device they used. It all depends on your needs and your process of optimization.

For example, you can measure your overall website’s conversion rate or just the pages that are opened on mobile devices. Moreover, you can measure the conversion rate on just some of all of your website pages, e.g. those with updated product descriptions. 

How can you measure your conversion rate?

There are two crucial elements when it comes to working out your conversion rate. We already talked about one of them – the need to define what conversion means in your case. The conversion rate is calculated as a fraction, and that part is the denominator. 

There are various options, and depending on your needs, the denominator can be:

  • the total number of visitors
  • the total number of visits
  • the number of users who make it to a certain point in your conversion funnel
  • any other number that suits your business logic

As you can see, there are many possibilities. Each of them can give you different results even though they describe the same situation. Which one to choose, then?

You’ll hate the answer, but it depends. There are several things you should keep in mind, although the crucial one is probably your own convenience. 

If you don’t calculate your conversion rate manually in spreadsheets (and why would you, when there are loads of tools like Google Analytics to choose from?), check how your tool does it. Ensure the calculation follows your business logic – after all, you need to draw insights from and make intelligent and informed decisions based on the data, not just measure conversion for the sake of it.

The last important thing about convenience is the ability to compare your data to others, which leads us straight to…

Benchmarks, or how are your competitors doing?

How can you know if your current conversion rate is fine? Well, there’s no way to compare directly with your competitors unless you agree to share that data. Nevertheless, you can find benchmarks on the Internet that will give you an overview of the average conversion rate for many industries and use cases, so you can compare it with your current e-commerce conversion rate.

Competitor conversion rate benchmarks

Source: Manypixels

Proceed with caution, though, as several factors can influence your benchmarks:

  • method of calculating the conversion rate
  • industry
  • size of the business
  • market
  • time spent gathering the benchmark data
  • how recent the data is
  • how credible the source is

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to fit all those factors into your model. That is why you should use the benchmarks more as a guide than a final indicator of how your business is performing and what drives a purchase decision with your customers.

Why do you need to understand your conversion rate?

So, you crunch your numbers and figure out that your conversion rate is actually pretty great compared to the standards in your industry.

You might think that if your conversion rate is fine, there’s no need to waste your time and effort on figuring out the mechanisms on your site. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Right?

Actually, measuring and analyzing your conversion rate gives you several benefits and delivers a high ROI, even taking into account your time spent on doing so. Let’s check out why you should dig into your website’s conversion rate!

Increase the effectiveness of your sales and marketing

That might be the bottom line of working with your conversion rate. By eliminating various barriers to conversion (such as high shipping costs), you can achieve better business results without pouring more money into driving organic traffic. That’s how you can achieve a greater ROI and, ultimately, revenue.

Improve sales and marketing

Source: Manypixels

Imagine getting double the money from having the same 1,000 visitors instead of spending a truckload of cash to drive 10x more visitors. You can clearly see which approach has more value.

You can also better understand what drives your buyers, which lets you…

Learn more about your real target audience

Analyzing your conversion rate can tell you more about your real target audience than you would think. You’ll be able to see who makes purchases, look for common characteristics among them, and then identify the people that actually spend money with you. That’s an important part of checking your target group hypothesis.

What’s more, if you pay attention to user behavior analytics tools such as LiveSession, you’ll notice how users’ behavior on your site differs from that of those people who don’t convert. These insights will help you more easily spot all of the possible conversions and fine-tune your site accordingly. For example, you may find out that desktop performs well but your mobile experience is lacking.

Polish your UX

Gaining valuable insights from your conversion analysis can help you improve the user experience you provide. After all, your top priority is that your UX design works for your users, and a conversion analysis will give you a lot of hints about this.

Tools such as LiveSession can be a massive help here. By using LiveSession, you can see the exact paths that visitors take on your website and what kind of actions they perform.

You may be surprised to find out that a portion of your website is causing them to bounce and effectively hurting your conversion rate. For example, you may love your product videos but they may turn out to be harmful for conversions.

Convinced? Let’s move on!

How to measure conversion?

The short answer: use your tools.

A longer one: if you haven’t already, implement Google Analytics on your site and observe your numbers. Starting with the official materials prepared by Google, you’ll find tons of how-to articles and courses on how to set up your GA properly and then make sense of the results.

Google Analytics can be useful for tracking many things on your website. However, it isn’t your only source of information about conversions though. Using a complementary tool that’s focused on user behavior, like LiveSession, will help you get a complete picture of your conversion rate.

Conversion rate metric

Source: Manypixels

If you’re just starting out and are counting every cent, don’t worry. Both Google Analytics and the free plan of LiveSession should cover your needs. If you want more data capacity, check out our affordable pricing plans.

Keep in mind that various analytics tools can show your conversion rate in a slightly different way – and that’s normal. Don’t strive for 100% compatibility. What really matters is that they reflect the same trends. If they don’t, you should check if your analytics tools are set up correctly. For example, that you can account for different payment options on your website.

When does your conversion rate need extra attention?

Working on your conversion rate is always a good idea, though in some cases it can be more urgent than others and therefore reach the top of your priority list. 

How to spot those situations? Let’s take a look at three situations that indicate that your conversion rate needs some attention.

Your conversion rate suddenly changed

Every sudden change needs a closer inspection. If you can’t say why your conversions increased so much, you won’t learn but rely on luck. If the conversion rate drops abruptly, you won’t know how to address it and prevent such situations in the future. 

After observing your conversion rate changes over time, you’ll be able to tell which fluctuations are normal and when you should be alarmed.

It’s lower than your target

Another concerning situation is If you notice that your traffic doesn’t translate into more purchases or other important business actions. Looking for explanations is crucial to tackle all issues immediately and improve your conversion rates. 

You plan to optimize your business

If you are focused on ensuring that your business performs at its best, given your situation, optimizing your conversion rate is a must-do. Conversions mean revenue and without revenue, any eCommerce business is doomed.

What affects your conversion rate?

We already know that conversion relates to multiple areas of business. Let’s have a quick look at some factors that can make or break your conversion rate.

Your site’s performance

On Neil Patel’s blog, you’ll find a detailed infographic about how your website’s loading time affects the conversion rate. Just a 1-second delay can cause a 7% reduction in your conversion rate – check out the blog to learn more. The higher the load times, the higher the bounce rate and the lower the conversions.

As you can see, the first barrier to conversion can discourage your potential clients before they even see your page. Remove any elements that take too long to load and optimize the speed of your website before you go digging any deeper.

Value proposition

Or in other words, why should people do business with you? Showing a value proposition that resonates with your audience close to the crucial conversion points helps boost it. In this article on Neil Patel’s blog, you can find the example of Mailchimp and their “easy email newsletters”, which should give you a better idea of how (not) to grow an email list.

Social proof

Have you noticed that you’re more likely to trust services or products that are popular? From choosing crowded restaurants to software your colleagues use, social proof is a powerful argument. What’s interesting is that endorsements don’t have to come from friends or family, though – according to Hubspot, 88% of customers trust customer reviews as much as their own friends’ recommendations.

Social proof - testimonials

Source: Manypixels 

But how does that influence your conversion? Increasing it by 34%, for example – just by including testimonials on your site. For a SaaS business, that means talking to a few of your power users and ask them to share some feedback.

For an eCommerce store, that means having user reviews listed on your product pages and ensuring that each one is authentic and comes from an actual customer.

Make sure you’re present on external sites where users can rate your company. When you have gathered enough positive reviews, add them to your website. For your potential customers, they will be another source of information about your services. 

It’s especially important in the case of business to business services. As this report from DemandGen shows, 77% of businesses now spend more time researching purchases than before the Covid breakout. Providing them with different, relevant and valuable content and social proof can therefore support your online business.

While having great product images and a superb customer experience may speed things up, most people like to compare at the end of the day. So, before they add anything to their shopping cart, rest assured that they’re also checking out the competition and looking for more than the product price.

Another step is to add real-time social proof. If you’ve booked anything with Airbnb or Booking, you will have probably seen an example of that, such as “X people checked this offer today” or “X people are looking for similar accommodation”. With small pop-ups that show persuasive statistics, you can leverage the power of social proof.

You can also set these up to show limited time offers, which may not improve the shopping experience significant but will bump up your conversion rates.

Forms and checkout processes

Don’t overcomplicate your site. The length of your registration forms, checkout process, or other places where users have to fill in information strongly influences the conversion rate. As many as 86% of visitors abandon forms of any type, and the design is strongly connected to that value. If you can recall a never-ending, long form that produced multiple error messages, you’ll understand that number.

Simplifying your forms goes a long way, so make sure to include only the primary buttons and fields, such as credit card field, input field, shipping address and not a lot more than that.

Tiny details of your UX

Optimizing your conversion rate requires a lot of minor changes. Don’t be put off though, as they can produce astonishing results. Take a closer look at your headlines and call-to-action buttons. Causing a 10% increase in conversions by changing the color of one button or 30% by re-wording your headline? A little change can go a long way.

How to figure out what drives your conversion?

Now, it’s time to laser focus on your case. We’ll talk about ways to find out what makes people convert on your site and what prevents them from doing so.

What works for you?

You need to figure out what works for your audience. It takes a lot of testing, observing, and combining your insights in order to see the bigger picture. 

Another challenge is that this process never stops. As you grow and change, so does your audience, so some old tricks and hacks might not work as well as they used to. Changes in your environment, such as competitors or emerging trends, will also have a strong impact on your customers.

Ask your customers

When you sell products that require more thought than choosing a pack of bubble gum from the shelf, talk to your clients. Your (would-be) buyers are a great source of information about what made them (not) choose your business.

Learning about your audience – or creating your buyer personas – is itself an entire topic. If you want to get into details, we can recommend “Buyer Personas” by Adele Revella. In it you’ll learn how to approach the topic, how to talk to your clients, and why ten quick calls can be better than an extended survey.

Don’t stop testing – and analyze user behavior

We’ve already talked about testing various solutions and the role of analytics tools. Let’s now put those ideas into practice and explore how you use your toolbox to its full potential.

🔧 funnels

The starting point to assessing your conversion with LiveSession would be funnels. With them, you can set up a series of events that interest you (e.g. visiting given URLs or clicking on certain buttons) and observe conversion between each step. Look out for moments where it differs from your expectations, which is where your insights can be made. 

Sales funnels can be really efficient for testing. If you want to learn whether or not introducing a given feature or option affects your conversion rate, you can simply create two similar sales funnels: one with this option and another one without it. That’s how you can see if changes to your conversion rate are directly related to the new options or just occur coincidentally.

LiveSession funnels screen

🔧 heat maps

As soon as you spot a page on which something interesting happens, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Here, a heat map will be of use. It’s a visual representation of where your users click, scroll or move their cursor to the most. The hot areas get the most attention, and you might be surprised by how often people skip sections that are crucial to your design.

Heat maps also let you test a lot, but this time focusing on one page at a time. You can move your CTA button, change the wording, or draw more attention to parts of your website that get ignored and visually notice the differences.

LiveSession heatmaps and clickmaps feature screen

🔧 session recordings

If you want to gain a detailed understanding of how your users behave on your site, session recordings can give you plenty of insights. Don’t worry – you won’t have to go through each user and each recording separately. With tools like LiveSession, you’ll get straight to the essential points.

With session recordings, you can identify key differences between your converting users and those who leave your site. Maybe there is a pattern? Look out for hints that indicate a high probability of conversion: those leads might be worth some additional attention and care. Your average session duration is just a tip of the iceberg. 

LiveSession session replay feature screen

🔧 event analysis

 When you spot some interesting behavior in your session recordings, you can easily check if someone else has acted the same way before. Creating a custom event lets you look it up automatically in other recordings and analyze its impact on conversion. 

LiveSession custom event feature screen

Key learning points

Conversion is a complex topic, but you need to go through it in order to manage your marketing and sales efforts effectively. Let’s summarise the crucial points:

  • connect conversion to your business goals
  • only compare conversion rates that are calculated in the same way
  • try to understand why it changes and what factors are crucial in your case
  • don’t underestimate the power of small changes

Good luck with working on your conversion! And if you really want to skyrocket your eCommerce conversion rates, try out LiveSession! With our wide array of features, we can help you uncover why conversion rates are low so you can improve your website and your bank account. Sign up for a free trial today!

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