3 Ways to Improve Conversions on Your Website

The days of using your website as a brochure for your business are long gone. Now your website has to do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to connecting with your visitors and moving them into action towards becoming a client or customer. But this isn’t easy.

As a copywriter who specializes in website and sales copy for entrepreneurs and startups, I’ve noticed too many websites simply don’t deliver what they need to convert visitors into customers.

The breakdown typically comes from a lack of understanding. Every element of your site – from the copy to the design – should be intentional and help you reach your business goals but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

When looking at your site, you need to have clear goals, like making sales, building your email list or getting people to sign up for a trial or free demo. If you get someone to your website, you can’t leave the next step to chance: getting them to take action.

Without that goal at the forefront, you’re killing conversions on your website.

Determining your conversion rates
A conversion is defined as the completion of an action such as a sale or a sign up for a free demo. Each time someone completes the desired action, you can consider that a conversion.
To establish a baseline conversion rate, you can do some quick and easy math: Divide your total number of visitors by the number of sales made. So if you have 10,000 visitors a month and make 200 sales, you have a conversion rate of 2 percent.

If you’re wondering how well your site is converting, figuring out your conversion rate is easy. You can get started by setting up simple conversion goals in Google Analytics, or if you want to track more sophisticated metrics, you can use your CRM or email service provider.

When it comes to improving your business results, making small changes to improve your conversion rate can make a significant impact on the bottom line. Instead of focusing on trying to get more traffic to your site, you may find that focusing on a higher conversion rate is much more effective and efficient.

To help you increase your website’s conversions, here are three proven ways to get started:

1. Deliver clear website copy

When it comes to writing copy for any website, it’s common for the curse of knowledge to set in. We assume that our visitors speak our language, so we use a lot of jargon or insider lingo. Instead of speaking the industry language, we need to select words that connect with their needs and address their challenges while being clear.

If you’re not sure how you stack up, start by doing a quick check on your website copy. Is it easily understood? Can the average person read the copy and understand it? If not, you may need a copy refresh.

2. Outline the next step with strong calls to action

Every time you make an ask on your website, that’s your call to action. The action is what you want them to do next. Do you want them to buy? Subscribe? Request more information? When your call to action is unclear or hidden, it makes it hard for people to take the next step.

Take a look at your calls to action to see if they are easy to read and whether they pop on the page. Ideally, the language should be engaging, so avoid using button copy like “submit” or “buy now.” Instead, create a stronger connection with more powerful phrases like “sign me up” or “ I’m in.”. And make sure to use high-contrasting colors on your call-to-action buttons, so they’re very obvious to visitors.

3. Create trust with social proof

The fastest way to build trust is by using what’s called social proof. As the name suggests, you need to use third-party proof to demonstrate that you or your organization can be trusted. Some examples of social proof include press or customer logos, case studies, counts of subscribers, customers or social followers and professional designations. Careful placement of social proof throughout your site helps to reduce friction for visitors, so they’ll become more comfortable with taking the next step with you.

Small changes to your website can make a major impact when it comes to your overall business performance. By putting your customer’s needs and viewpoint first with your copy, calls to action and social proof, you can work to improve your site’s conversion rate and create a stronger visitor experience.

Making Gratitude Part of Your Company Culture

Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to reflect on all that we’re grateful for, but for some companies, gratitude is not a once-a-year occasion, but is a value embedded in their company culture.

Bristol Mountain, a ski resort in upper New York State, began its “Snow Angel” program last year. Guests and staff who are witnessed performing an act of kindness – such as brushing the snow off their neighbor’s car windshield in the parking lot, helping a new skier up off the ground, giving up their spot in line or picking up a lost pole – are rewarded with a translucent card containing an image of a Snow Angel as a token of thanks.

“[Both staff and guests] love the idea of getting the card,” says Drew Broderick, Bristol’s director of sales and marketing. “It’s almost like a medal.”

The snow angel program not only gives reason for guests and staff to be kind to one another, but is good for business, she says. “It instils this warm feeling throughout the entire organization,” says Broderick.

Steve Butcher, CEO of Seattle-based fair-trade ticketing company Brown Paper Tickets, encourages his 85 employees to give back to the community through “paid time on.” Each year, employees are given 40 volunteer hours at normal salary. Last year, more than 250 hours were cashed in. Butcher says instilling a culture of volunteerism helps employees become more fulfilled as individuals, and in turn, perform better.

“They’re better to work with,” he says. “They’re more cooperative. [They] make better decisions on the job, and they’re more empathetic to our customers.”

Creating an organizational culture of generosity is healthy for business, says Patricia Thompson, an Atlanta-based corporate psychologist and president of Silver Lining Psychology. Here, she offers the top three reasons to create a culture of generosity in your business:

1. Enhances mood. “Research shows that engaging in acts of kindness is associated with greater happiness,” says Thompson. While being stressed and in a negative mood puts our bodies into fight-or-flight mode and limits our range of thoughts, making us less effective as problem solvers, positive emotions can improve productivity and inspire innovation. “Having positive emotion broadens your perspective and allows you to be more creative and curious,” says Thompson.

2. Encourages teamwork. A culture of generosity encourages employees to work collaboratively. In the case of Brown Paper Tickets, Butcher says employees often corral others to participate in their volunteer projects, creating bonding opportunities that translate into creating a more cooperative environment in the workplace.

3. Employee retention. Thompson says more and more the newest generation of employees are looking for more meaning from their work. A 2010 study by the Pew Research Center found 21 percent of millenials place a higher priority on helping people in need while only 15 percent placed priority on having a high-paying career. “Having opportunities to feel they’re getting fulfilment through their work and not just a paycheck is increasingly important,” says Thompson. Fulfilled employees are more loyal and committed to the company, giving businesses that embrace a culture of generosity a competitive advantage.

Author: Lisa Evans
Article first seen on: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230067

Creating and Keeping a Positive Company Culture

When first starting out, most entrepreneurs are so obsessed with perfecting their product or service, they don’t have much time to think about company culture. Big mistake. Many founders don’t realize the importance of a shared vision or values until much further down the line – sometimes when it is too late.

As an entrepreneur, it is important to instill values and ideals earlier in the game, so as your business grows, these ingrained standards stay with the company.

Here is how to begin to develop a positive culture right off the bat.

The leader’s role in growing culture.

Founders make decisions based on their values but these ideals may not always be apparent. Once you’ve established core values, you need to communicate what’s most important to you and keep everyone on the same page. Talk about the culture consistently so people know you are committed to living those ideals.

As your company grows, don’t make the mistake of assuming your culture will naturally spread with it. Eventually, your culture will need to shift from something you actively teach and enforce to something your whole team takes part in.

Here are a few tips on creating a collaborative atmosphere:  

Be vulnerable. Don’t act like you have all the answers.

Determine your values as a group. Talk to your first few hires and give them input on your values as a company. These people are going to make a huge impact in shaping the future direction of your company.  

Identify culture champions. These are team members who embody the company’s values and are enthusiastic about spreading your mission. Empower them to keep the culture alive from within your company.

Institutionalize the culture. Put systems in place to make sure your culture is scalable and can grow with the employee count. In your hiring process, strive to give multiple people an opportunity to provide input on whether or not a candidate is the right fit.

Keep traditions. Don’t take away things that matter most to employees, including rewards, professional development and quirky social events.

While many founders try to create a positive culture, things don’t always go as planned.

Protecting the culture.

Startups are full of ups and downs, and occasionally, you may be tempted to hire an individual because of his or her potential to positively disrupt your culture. A word of warning: Never hire someone with the hope that he or she will be able to “fix” your culture. If you don’t have the strength to get your company back on track as a team, the disruption will only make things worse.

On the flip side, sometimes, your culture can be threatened by one of your own. Here are some red flags and what you can do:

  • Someone who has negative influence. Communicate that the company won’t tolerate people who don’t support its values.
  • Someone the company has outgrown. Admit you don’t have the tools to get them to the next level, so it’s time to move on.
  • The bad manager. First, determine if poor management is the result of a lack of training or communication. If it’s not, trust your team enough to say goodbye to the problem person.
  • The good producer with a terrible attitude. Contribution alone is a bad reason to keep someone on. There are people who can do the job and contribute to the culture.

While no one enjoys letting employees go, leaders must consider the health of their company above all else. As the founder, it’s your job to communicate and live the company’s vision and ensure everyone is positively contributing to it. If you are committed to your company’s values, your team will be, too.

Article first seen on : http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230907