You know how important your conversion rate is. With a consistent rate of traffic and all other factors being equal, a bigger conversion rate means more revenue, and because most “conversion optimization” techniques are the result of single efforts, it’s easy to optimize your conversion rate without much ongoing investment.
There’s one limiting factor holding back conversion rates from being infinitely inflatable, however: there’s a finite number of onsite changes you can make before you start running out of ideas or grasping at straws. Making your call-to-action (CTA) more prominent and making the conversion process easier will greatly increase your conversion rate, but once you’ve burned up all the standard best practices, all you’re left with are experimental changes like button colors and wording tweaks, which can only increase your conversion rate by small degrees.
My solution to this is to look outward, rather than inward. Instead of hunting down every last onsite strategy useful for increasing conversion rates, start looking offsite. In particular, there are three offsite strategies I’ve known to be useful in maximizing your onsite conversion rate:
The first strategy might be the most obvious, but it’s one that often goes neglected by busy business owners focusing on bottom-line revenues. Your brand’s online reputation is hard to accurately or objectively measure; you might use your number of social followers or your search ranking to get an indirect idea of how well you’re faring against the competition, but brand recognition and brand trust are more subjective factors, not tied to any one metric.
The more users recognize and trust your brand, the more likely they’ll be to convert. Whether you’re selling a funny T-shirt or enticing email subscribers with a free eBook, if a user encounters your CTA and thinks “oh, I know these guys!,” he/she will be far more likely to pull the trigger. The way to build this trust and name recognition is through ongoing relationship management offsite.
There are a few ways to do this. First, work on making your social media profiles more prominent and more active, and don’t be afraid to reach out to new people (especially influencers). The more active you are on social media, the more people will learn to recognize you. Second, get your material published in higher circles. If you’re already published in local news outlets or niche industry forums, strive for something more national and visible to the average consumer. The more publication outlets you have under your belt, the more your name will come up (and the more trustworthy your brand will seem when it comes time to make a purchasing decision).
Next, work on pre-qualifying your leads. This is the process of filtering out any inbound traffic that doesn’t have any chance of buying from you in favor of traffic that does. As you might suspect, there are a number of ways to do this, and most of them start offsite. One caveat to this: as you start filtering out irrelevant traffic, you’ll notice your traffic figures start to decline. As long as your conversion rates correspondingly increase, it shouldn’t concern you.
One of the easiest ways to pre-qualify leads is through highly targeted content. Whether you’re distributing your material through multiple external publishers or just syndicating your stuff on social media, put an extra emphasis on content that can only appeal to people late in the buying cycle, or those actually willing to buy from you. For example, if you sell bike tires, articles like “What’s the best bike tire for mountain bikes?” is much more targeted to interested buyers than articles like “How to prepare a mountain bike for spring.”
You can also pre-qualify leads by segmenting your audiences on social media. On LinkedIn, this could mean getting involved with specific Groups more than others. On Twitter, this could mean creating custom lists based on your follower demographics. On Facebook, this could mean utilizing geo-targeting. How you pre-qualify your leads is up to you; what’s important is the increased relevance of your inbound traffic.
This is a strategy related to point two, since it involves increasing the relevance of your inbound audience. But rather than filtering out uninterested segments of your target audience, this strategy is all about increasing the trust and interest level of your existing followers.
Post a diversity of different calls for traffic, including discount offers, different types of content, sales, and links to internal pages, then analyze the behavior patterns of traffic coming to your site from each type of post. Think of this as an AB test that occurs before your users are ever exposed to a CTA, with your CTA being consistent in both rounds. Eventually, you should notice a pattern of more users converting after coming to your site from specific types of posted content. Increase the prevalence of this type of content on your social circuits, and you should see a correspondingly higher conversion rate.
These offsite strategies, when working in conjunction with proper onsite conversion optimization, can take your conversion rate to new heights. As with any conversion optimization strategy, data is your best friend here, so try out these strategies independently against a control group before you make a final determination of what’s effective and what’s not. Eventually, you’ll find the right combination of tactics for your business to maximize its lead and sales pipeline.