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Doubling Your Conversion Rate
looking for new ideas

 2:43 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

I get good quality targeted traffic that converts.
Now I wish to double my conversion rate.
I'm looking for NEW ideas.

I'm thinking that I need to present the surfer with one to three sentences that will immediately build TRUST. Not try to sell any STUFF but just build a TRUST in the site / company. Then allow the surfer to click through and give him/her the benefits and begin the selling process. My STUFF is not that different than other sites STUFF in my industry.

Any ideas?



 3:13 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

I was thinking about doing the same thing Mike.

We are considering placing a text ad on a website which many competitors also advertise. I was looking through their self-written ads, noticing all of the multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought to myself; Self, these all look like less-than-professional companies. Maybe there are customers that would appreciate a down-to-earth, professional ad.

So that is my strategy. Look professional, look reputable, and maybe I will draw some quality customers.


 3:41 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

"So that is my strategy. Look professional, look reputable, and maybe I will draw some quality customers. "

Travoli these are noble and common sense aims but offer a more cynical meaning.

Can I suggest a small change please?

"Be professional in all your actions, build a good reputation, do good work for quality customers."

The word "Look" implies appearance is everything, it is something but how about actual performance, do your existing customers refer you more business, they will if you are good, do you ask them to? Do they stay with you? etc etc .....
(no offence intended)



 4:25 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

>build a TRUST in the site / company

I spent last weekend reworking the pages that make my sales pitch (in this instance, sponsorships). I've always had some references to being a successful site "since 1995" on the page, but I now open with three very short paragraphs -7 sentences, total- that try to build trust in short order.

I'd like to distill it even further, but I manage to squeeze in focused references to

  • longevity/stability in the business
  • successful business model (again, more stability)
  • traffic volume
  • demographics
  • citations by other sites
  • history of the site
If anything, the dotcom crash has caused a great deal of public skepticism regarding viability and profitability, so I'm trying to leverage that. Obviously, I can't go into much detail in 7 sentences, but I think it does go a long way in establishing trust.

 4:40 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

One of my clients just increased their conversion rate with a simple change to their website (well, on some pages not so simple) -- it was one that I resisted for a while, for aesthetic reasons.

They increased the font size. To an artist's eye, the larger font is much less elegant. But the proof came in the conversion rate. The old font size was -1, and we went to default size. The conversion rate immediately went up more than 20%.

Sometimes other very simple changes work wonders:
1) Simplify the ordering instructions
2) Use a "cut to the chase" style in all copy
3) Eliminate just one click in the ordering process
4) Rename a navigation choice
5) Increase the size of the site's search box
6) Create a more prominent and appealing "Risk Reversal" statement

I've been able to generate increased conversion rates with each of these steps for one or another client.


 4:49 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Mark, since I don't believe I've had the chnce yet, welcome to WMW!

I totally agree with your philosophy. Where there is a relationship and on-going work between customer and service provider, being honest and reputable will reward you with great future opportunities.

The particular service I spoke of is a simple, one-shot, impulse buy, inexpensive purchase. Also, customers rarely refer other customers. ( I bet you have a million ideas of the service I am selling, but I promise it is totally innocent)

Competitors are being very "attention getting" in their ads, and the target market is not necessairily looking for obnoxious claims of superiority.

Well, thats what I am banking on :) Two very different situations. Which brings up a good point.

Got any broad generalizations about your industry that might help us answer you Mike?


 8:01 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

>present the surfer with one to three sentences that will immediately build TRUST

I go a slightly different way, hit them with a "look" of trust first, the text just confirms it. If the site "looks" the part just lead them straight to the products, the obsessive compulsives will still find the "about us" page etc and then move on to the checkout, the others will head straight for it.


 9:12 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Travoli thanks for the welcome, interesting place in ere.

your thing a "simple, one-shot, impulse buy, inexpensive purchase"

I did spend some minutes wondering what that could be ... and was tempted to argue that we are all in the relationship business ... but since I often get proven wrong I will refrain .. is there really no potential for a resale or any brand building / loyalty / recognition building etc ?



 10:11 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Simple question – Mike, you really mean double conversion? That’s a tough call. In our business the key is in the back-end, after a prospect has taken the bait...trick 1 you ask is “what is the ultimate bait”?

We target high spend clients with lots of personalised “service” in the process but also serve a lot of good clients who don't have loads of money. One of the real tricks is to filter “wannabees” from legitimate clients up front – the focus is on maximising the quality of the enquiries and then establishing “dialogue” (get them talking so they forget about the competitors... That’s trick 2 – the really hard bit.)

On site -
1) Faces of the people they’re most likely to “meet” on the front and contact pages (if you use eye candy, make it count)
2) Lots or “personalised” reference in the main content to focus on knowledge, familiarity and absolute authority. As NFFC says, “the text just confirms it” – not exactly in your face, a bit of a soft sell approach.
3) Demographics – if you are “abc” then we are the ones – if you are “xyz” then here’s the info (thanks for stopping by)...
4) Deliberate exclusion – part of the filtering process (you must fill in the form, sign up and you may get “abc” info etc.)

> one to three sentences that will immediately build TRUST
Trust comes with authority, longevity, security and reputation ... rare commodities in one bundle on the web.


 10:46 pm on Nov 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

"3) Demographics" ?

FreeBee Do you not mean
ABC in your case = Buyers which is
1. Spending power = yes
2. With Real Enquiry = yes
3. looking to buy / for solution = yes
Need to get these people hooked and talking

your XYZ might be "Windowshoppers" .. not really looking or perhaps able to give any quality business .. so you need them to be happy to come back later if they become ABCs.

AB C1 C2 confuses me in your post because it is usually applied (in UK anyhow) to socio economic issues, profession, ecomomic circumstances etc rather than demography which I take to indicate population issues

Mike - you say "My STUFF is not that different than other sites STUFF in my industry" OK so your stuff may not have any visible USP but what about what you do with it or how you work?

Why should people buy from you rather than others??

Can you not develop a better relationship with your window shoppers to better convert them to customers sometime in the future...

I am sure I am doing much simpler things than you but the customer that is just signing up with me today I started a dialog with in February 2001 which eventually lead to him forgetting his current supplier and not even inviting him to quote.


 7:05 am on Nov 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Your interpretation is correct, better than the classic text book definitions of demographics (either side of the Atlantic, north or south). Not sure if "psychographics" is a recognised term in the north (I was schooled south). It addes definition to the "mindset" of the target market.

Typically we try and target a specific type of person - they're very often either wealthy and mature or young-ish and pretty broke. The latter group potentially become good clients because they're likely to turn out wealthy like their parents. Both groups share common interests.

So back to the topic, building trust in 1 to 3 sentences? Understanding your target market is a pretty important step.


 10:51 pm on Nov 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

>building trust in 1 to 3 sentences?

It's really combined with what NFFC said, the 'look' that meets their expectations has to be there. I've seen some of NF's stuff... it just oozes high-$$ website design and immediately dispels any idea that this is the proverbial two guys in a basement. (I think it's 3 guys in a loft, but who can be sure.?)

>Use a "cut to the chase" style in all copy

Absolutely! The money page should be the 'path of least resistance.' People are lazy... they really don't want to surf your site, they just want to be quickly convinced that this is the right place to do business.

>Rename a navigation choice

I'll add to that... give several different descriptions for the same link to your money page and use them in pairs or even triples. You never know what's going to catch their interest, and sometimes it takes more than a single nudge to motivate them to click.


 1:07 am on Nov 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

>They increased the font size.
>The conversion rate immediately went up more than 20%.

This is *so* important- with the aging of the online population, and the near certainty that the older group has more money and assumably poorern <but not necessarily poor> eyesight, this is the way to go.

Besides, I like the concept of giving the user control of their text.


 9:36 am on Nov 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

From the inbox:

Congratulations on your web site, which is an example of how e-shopping should be: elegant, fast and no-nonsense

I think the use of the word "elegant" speaks volumes, sometimes first impressions count a lot.


 9:53 am on Nov 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

NFFC "sometimes first impressions count a lot"

Indeed <cliche> you only get one chance to make a first impression.</cliche>

Any chance of the url so I can take a look at your site?

PS: bigjohnt mentions larger font sizes to which I agree. I watch people using their computers as much as possible (an eye openner), last one.. my doctor was having trouble with his PC and his "mouse to hand to eye" coordination was such that he could not get near the buttons or even the background of the dialog box to login to his system.... painfully slow to watch .. I went straight back and started rethinking settings and page layouts!!

I see loads of websites using fonts fixed at trendy small sizes ... which allow only skilled users to override them ... it creates just another group of potential customers who will find a site hard to use.



 10:17 am on Nov 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

Mike_Mackin, just wondering, what is your current conversion rate? And others?

I would like to know how bad my site is...


 10:23 am on Nov 27, 2001 (gmt 0)


You can't compare conversion rates for the STUFF we sell with the STUFF you sell.

But assume ours is 1% and we aren't greedy - we just want 2%

[mileage will vary]


 11:00 am on Nov 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

I would never dare to compare your STUFF and my STUFF:)

All I am interested in is to know how high can a conversion rate gets. For any stuff.


 11:07 am on Nov 27, 2001 (gmt 0)


If said 10% or 25% what would that mean to anyone?
You need to make friends with a direct competitor and compare notes.
It is done all the time.


 11:49 am on Dec 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

We increased conversion rates by including such statements from time to time including:

In Stock - Same Day Shipping

We Inventory What We Sell

All Genuine Brand Names - No Knockoffs or Imitations

We Ship Direct - No Drop Ships


 6:01 pm on Dec 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Two big winners for my clients:

1. "Free Shipping"
2. Sales stated in $$$$ saved, not %%%% off

When I worked in retail, we tested two coupons. One was $10 off any purchase over $100. The second was 10% off any purchase over $100. You may not believe this, but the $10 coupon had almost twice the redemption rate! -- Math trauma afflicts many people when you start talking percentages.


 6:21 pm on Dec 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

The old font size was -1, and we went to default size. The conversion rate immediately went up more than 20%.

Speaking from in front of a Mac, default font size is almost always best (or a CSS pixel size that comes close to the norma default)... I've seen more sites than I can count with teeny, garbled fuzzy gibberish instead of text, because the designer uses a stylish tiny font for Windows, and Mac will show the font *even smaller*

I don't think -1 is that severe, but it's about at the threshold where I start changing my display sizes.


 11:10 am on Dec 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

[snip - no URL drops please]

(edited by: Travoli at 2:00 pm (gmt) on Dec. 10, 2001)

Black Knight

 12:29 pm on Dec 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

re: conversion rates.

From last year I remember these statistics being published...

Most ecommerce sites (over 70%) have a lower than 2% conversion rate. Around 50% have less than 1% conversion rate. Industry leader for conversions is Amazon.com and even they don't come close to breaking the 10% barrier.

Ammon Johns


 7:58 am on Dec 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

I return again and again to PC Connection to order computer equipment. Why? Because they ship overnight. Not just overnight, but if you order up to 3 a.m. Eastern Time, it arrives the next day. Their trick is that their warehouse is at the Airborne hub. They just get a forklift and drop it on a plane. It frequently arrives before I'm up in the morning, and I tend to order at 10 or 11 p.m. Their shipping charges are cheap, too.

You give me that kind of service, and I become a repeat customer. So your STUFF might be the same as the other guy's but you can ship it better.


 2:54 pm on Dec 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

There are lots of great suggestions to build customer confidence and encourage an action, but don't overlook ease of navigation as a key component of high conversion rates. It's pretty common for half of the visits to a site to be one-page visits. If a portion of these one-page visitors can be induced to click to the next page, exposure to products/services will go up and so will conversions. I like prominent, easily understandable links. If I can get the visitor to start surfing around the site, I know I'll get more business.


 11:14 pm on Dec 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

When I am looking to buy on the net I am looking to find product specs and prices - preferably together. This means I can decide whether the site has what I want at a price that I am willing to pay.

If I am looking for information I like to be able to find the information fast. Thus structured information (like WMW) is likely to be what will case me to return to a site. (P.S. I am never likely to buy from a site I use for information and also extremely unlikely to click ad links)


 1:25 am on Dec 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

One method of increasing conversion rates that I have thought a lot about recently is to include - and draw attention to - those products that are brand names (assuming you sell branded items). Because by being associated with the big names, it is assumed that those brands trust your business. Again, getting away from the two guys in a basement.

Well, that would be the case in my line of business.

Any essential elements suggested for the aboutus section?

The clients you are most likely to NOT convert would more often than not fit into the category of punters inclined to actually read the aboutus.

What are the killer phrases used to gain trust here?

I have to admit, this thread has caused me to suddenly worry about our aboutus - I think we have wasted a good aid to increasing conversion.

Going to have to think about this a while.


 2:07 am on Dec 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

From a non-statistical perspective (my own point of view), there are 2 types of purchases. There are niche items like Planet Ocean's newsletter or Joe Bob's Ice Cream and Fudge Maker Combination(Ok, I couldn't come up with a second example). There are also items that I can find in lots of places like more RAM for my computer or a palm m105.

For the sites with niche items, I am more inclined to buy if they've sold me on the product even if the site isn't really professional looking. But I also click away when I encounter simple hype. For the less niche products, I find myself going for the lowest price OUT of the stores which lend themselves to credibility and are easy to buy from(usability).


 1:10 am on Feb 8, 2002 (gmt 0)


It is nice to hear the 1% average being talked about as I used to believe that maybe other sites were doing amazing conversion rates. It is great when you know that you have a x amount of visitors per day and most days it is 1% but then you get those 2% or even 3% days

Anyway I would like to add two things

1)I have always avoided slagging off other/competitors sites. It is amazing how many sites do this and I know the impression I get when I read this sort of thing

2)Communication - When people order from the web they know are dealing with machines. When the autoresponder or mailer turns into a human being and a dialogue is started you are half the way to making your next sale already


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