Once you have a good idea of where your company stands, what your macro and micro conversions are, and how those impact your business, you can start creating clean paths to conversion. What is a clean path to conversion? It is a simple and effective process that enables users to complete desired actions (goals/conversions) on your website.
What are the components of a good path to conversion?
- It has as few steps as possible
- The user can easily follow each step in the process and there’s a clear chain of actions or steps the user has to take to complete the action
- It mitigates objections along the way and uses familiar, relatable language to sell the product
- It provides support and opportunities for re-engagement if users need time to consider their purchase
Let’s take a look at two examples to show you the difference between an effective and ineffective path to conversion.
You want to find a vacation rental for your next vacation. You’ve already decided on dates with your family, and there are a few things you want: access to a pool, at least 4 bedrooms, and you want to be able to walk to the beach everyday.
You visit beachvacationrentalsandmore.com. (Please Note: This is just an example and not a real website as of the writing of this guide.) When you arrive on the website, you see an image of the beach. You scroll down and see some text about why it’s a good idea to book a vacation rental for a beach vacation. You check the main navigation, and you see an option that says rentals so you click it and end up on a page with a list of vacation rentals. You’re not sure whether any of them have what you need. Frustrated, you start to click through a few of the vacation rentals, but you see that the photos are really small and the descriptions are short and don’t provide much information about the business. Unimpressed, you leave the website to find a better one.
Next you visit vacationsatthebeachwithfamily.com (Please Note: This is just an example and not a real website as of the writing of this guide.) The first thing you see is the option to select your dates to narrow their vacation rental options by availability. Hooray! You’re relieved you won’t have to sift through a list of rentals that are already booked up for your dates. When you get to the page with rentals that are available for your selected dates, you see a legend that indicates featured amenities for each rental and the option to sort by bedroom. You immediately select 4 or more bedrooms, and then review the rest of the available options until you see that there are two with pool access and that are close to the beach. You look at both of these and see nice big images of all of the rooms in the home, which helps you easily select one. When you’re ready to book, you select a prominent “Book Now” button and fill out a short one page checkout process to reserve your vacation rental. You’re all done!
See how the second website, vacationsatthebeachwithfamily.com, smoothly guided you through the conversion process by anticipating your needs and providing exactly what you are looking for in a simple format? In the first example, you didn’t really know what the options were when you first arrived, you didn’t know what to do to find what you need, the process was long and required a lot of work on your end, and ultimately you were frustrated and decided to leave. That’s the sign of a poor conversion funnel.
What conversion optimization seeks to do is take the first website and turn it into the second so that all of the existing traffic to the website is more likely to make a purchase.
How can you create a clean conversion path? First you need to evaluate how your customers use your website, and from there, you can develop the simplest process for them to complete a conversion while also providing them with all of the information they need along the way. (The easiest way to figure out what the users need is to walk through the process on your site yourself, or have a friend do it with you. You can identify areas that need improvement based on how easy it is for you or your friend to complete a task on your website.)
In the case of the ecommerce store owner, here are a few possible conversion funnels.
- A: Landing page → checkout process
- B: Landing page → main product page with all products sorted by flavor → individual product page → checkout process
- C: Landing page → page with information about dog biscuits → page with list of products randomly assigned → individual product page → page to select flavor, box size, etc. → checkout page with multiple forms
As you can see, only conversion funnel B is suitable for the ecommerce store. We can’t use conversion funnel A, as the customers are not acquiring enough information about the product to help them make the decision to purchase. And conversion funnel C takes them on a tour of the website, but doesn’t usher them logically and efficiently through the website.
In the case of our ecommerce store owner selling dog biscuits, how might we apply our clean and simple path to conversion? Let’s say we are running some digital advertising campaigns to drive prospective customers to a landing page. On this landing page, we have a quick form above the fold that captures their email if they want to receive a 10% discount on their first purchase. As they scroll down the landing page, they are able to quickly view all of the available flavors of dog biscuits, and when they click on one, they are taken to the individual product page with a prominent “Add to Cart” button. Once a customer adds a box of dog biscuits to the cart, they are given the option to keep shopping or checkout. Once they begin the checkout process, it is quick, simple, and seamless.
So to recap, what are some good best practices we can use to create clean paths to conversion?
- Create the simplest and shortest path to receive the necessary information to make a buying decision and complete the purchase (or form if acquisition is the goal)
- Clearly and succinctly articulate your company’s value proposition
- Provide all of the information your customers need to make a buying decision (crisp, clear high resolution images; valuable content; live support; etc.)
- Make sure that each page has a prominent call to action that continues to guide users through the conversion funnel