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Does Conversion Rate Optimisation Really Work?

Posted by in Conversion Optimisation

Conversion Rate Optimisation – you change the colour of a button, reword a phrase and jiggle around a few elements on your website. That can’t possibly work, can it? It must be a load of bollocks, those changes are so simple, small and downright BASIC that they can’t possibly make a difference on your bottom line. Right? RIGHT?!?!!

Err, no.

You see, I too was once a sceptic. But then I started to pay attention, and the more I researched and thought about it, the more plausible it seemed that you can make people do what you want by making subtle changes that short-circuit their conscious thoughts. And after seeing what Derren Brown does with simple NLP techniques, my mind was open to the possibilities.

The In-Pudding Proof

OK so that spiel is nice, but it’s nothing without some solid backup. We’re talking real-life examples, testimonials. If you want to see just how simple changes can make a big difference, have a look at the following examples from http://www.abtests.com.

  • WikiJob experienced a 34% increase in the number of clicks through to the PayPal checkout from their product page – just by adding a testimonial to the Paypal checkout section.
  • Performable had 112.5% more clicks on “Free Trial” button by using a well-known image of The Beatles instead of a generic.
  • The Corkscrew Wine Merchants had 148% more people adding a product to the shopping cart just by adding a red sticker advertising the special, adding the discount before the product name on the page title and capitalising their free delivery offer.
  • CityCliq had almost 90% more people clicking through to see pricing plans by changing their headline from “Businesses grow faster online!” to “Create a webpage for your business”.

What Matters?

Admittedly, these are bright spots. There are many cases where the changes have had small or no change in user behaviour, even on http://www.abtests.com. That doesn’t take away from its benefits and potential. It’s not an exact science (yet), but it can help. So what are the factors that can help swing the odds in your favour?

  1. Make the changes based on proven case studies, principles or professional advice.
  2. Make the design of any changes clean and visually appealing.
  3. Measure twice and cut once – put thorough thought into things like the wording for your headlines and calls to action.
  4. Don’t look to change everything at once – measure, change, test, measure and then do it all again.

The Takeaway

Sales Conversion Optimisation may look like child’s play, but it’s serious business. If you’re not sure about its benefits, it’s at least worth the measured business risk. So if you have a vested interest in the success of your business online (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog then you do), then ask yourself one simple question:

Are you making  the most of your precious site visitors?

About

Dan is an slightly mad and wildly offensive online marketing consultant. He manages campaigns for E-Web Marketing with an irreverent style that inexplicably nets fantastic results. He is obsessed with all things online and can frequently be found blogging about Conversion Rate Optimisation, SEO and whatever random ruminations go through his questionable head.

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