When it comes to conversion rate optimization (CRO), we know the drill: change the button color, make the CTA bold and red, add an arrow, and cross your fingers. While making tweaks like this might lead to a slightly higher conversion rate, they’re not going to solve your conversion-rate problems in the long term. You need to look beyond the text color or button size and find out why your online customers aren’t converting.

Now, this isn’t a comprehensive list of every possible reason your conversion rate may be low—that’s probably an infinite list—but we did compile some of the most common conversion barriers you may be overlooking.

1. Trust Issues

As marketers, we may already be at a disadvantage. According to a HubSpot Research Study, only 3% of us trust salespeople and marketers. And on top of that, people are wary of anything they read online. So first thing’s first—you need your customers to trust you. Since your initial customer interactions are not in-person, you need to take action to build trust online. Here are some suggestions:

  • Images: Use authentic images, not stock images. People will trust you more if your site looks genuine.
  • Testimonials: Include customer testimonials. Online users trust other customers more than they trust you.
  • Content: Provide useful content. Show your users you’re about educating, not just selling.
  • Trust symbols: Display client and partner logos as social proof. And it never hurts to have a TRUSTe or BBB logo in your footer.

2. Long Conversion Process

If your conversion goal is a form fill, it’s important to remember your abandon rate increases with the number of steps you include in your form. For example, one study found that an 11-field version of a form was replaced with a 4-field version and resulted in a 160% increase in form submissions and a 120% conversion increase while the quality of submissions stayed the same. So keep your forms as short as possible.

If you absolutely have to have more fields or more steps in the conversion process, make sure it’s as streamlined as possible. Use conversion rate optimization tools to see where in the process people are dropping off and then test and adjust. You may find that people aren’t abandoning the funnel because there are too many steps, but that the steps are confusing or make people feel uncomfortable.

3. No Human Conversion Option

No matter how streamlined your conversion process is, or how clear your copy is, chances are you’re losing people because they have a question, they don’t want to input their information, they’re having technical difficulty, and the list of reasons goes on. This is why it is so important to let them get in touch with an actual human representative. Adding an option to call or live chat to get immediate assistance will ensure you’re not losing conversions just because a prospect had a simple question or didn’t want to use fat thumbs to fill out a form.

In fact with the rise of mobile, consumers are choosing to convert via a phone call more than ever. If you’re not giving them the option to call, you’re losing those conversions. And if you do offer the option to call, make sure you’re tracking those conversions. Vivint Smart Home found that after A/B testing between two landing pages, landing page A generated slightly more form fills but landing page B drove 38% more call conversions, which translated into many more total sales from landing page B. The bottom line: Don’t forget to drive, track and optimize for call conversions. If you don’t, you could be making harmful decisions.

4. Slow Website

When it comes to website loading times, every millisecond counts. According to Kissmetrics, slower page response time results in an increase in page abandonment. For example, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% would abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Mobile consumers are a little more patient and would wait 6-10 seconds before abandoning a mobile web page. If your website speed is on the slow side, you may be able to increase conversions by simply decreasing your page loading time.

5. Confusing Copy

Your copy should be clear, concise, and honest. Your online users should know exactly what action you want them to take without having to read your entire site. If you’ve been getting by with copy you wrote yourself—or made the intern write—it may be time to hire a copywriter. They’ll be able to clean up your copy and make sure your messaging is on point.

6. Bad Design

You may have the best, boldest CTA on the Internet, but if it’s obscured with unnecessary images, links, and copy, you’re still in trouble. Customers appreciate simplicity, so don’t fill your website and landing pages with elements that don’t enhance the customer experience. Again, hire a designer with conversion experience and start testing out designs. For design inspiration, check out these landing pages.

7. Misleading Tags and Keywords

We all want traffic to our landing pages, but you need to be careful about how you get that traffic. Using tags and ad keywords that get you tons of traffic isn’t very helpful if the tags/keywords aren’t relevant. You want to create a consistent, cohesive shopping experience for your customers from the first ad they see to their confirmation page. Make sure your keywords are specific and directly related to your product/service so the right people click on your ads. High-volume keywords may make your traffic skyrocket, but your conversions and sales will plummet.

Before you start implementing solutions based on what you’ve read here, be sure to do a little more research. Dig into your website and landing pages, run some tests, and try to look at the conversion process from your customers’ perspectives. And yes, you need to do this before you change your CTA’s text color to blue. Trust us, there are better optimizations.

Omnichannel Marketing Lookbook
Cari Thompson

Posted by Cari Thompson

Cari Thompson is a copywriter, online marketer, and blogger. She studied marketing and advertising and - drum roll, please - music at Brigham Young University. Cari started in traditional advertising as a media buyer then transitioned into the online world through buzz marketing, blogging, and copywriting. Her three greatest accomplishments include beating Super Mario 3 in one night without a whistle, drumming for tens of people, and licking an ice sculpture at the Versace Mansion.

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