54 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips To Improve Your PPC Campaigns

By Sam Owen | @SamOwenPPC | Associate Director of Paid Search at Hanapin Marketing

For the final installment of our conversion rate optimization and landing page series we’ve tried to bring together as many tips and tricks as we can!

 

This is what people used to say to you, before you implemented all these tips.

Testing Methodology

1. Don’t test for testing’s sake! Always have a hypothesis about what you think will improve your conversion rate and why. There are a million different things you can change – you’ll make the biggest leaps if you focus in on the ones that will make the biggest difference.

2. Analytics Content Experiments are available in Analytics and are free – make use of them to do your landing page split tests.

3. Conduct usability testing! This is the first step to making sure you know what changes will reap the most rewards with your landing pages. Here’s a quick guide to how:

  • Do it yourself – the easiest and quickest way to test your site is to do a test conversion yourself. Note down what you like and don’t like. Make sure to keep track of where you aren’t finding what you are looking for.
  • Get a friend or family member to try it – someone unfamiliar with your site is a much better litmus test for usability issues. I always like to do what I call the ‘mum’ test – if this website is confusing to my mum, it’s probably confusing to a lot of other mums out there too (that’s mom for Americans!)
  • Coworkers – another source that’s readily available for testing. Ask them to pick 3 things they like and 3 things they hate to save time.
  • Click tracking – In-page Analytics should give you a decent feel for this as a free option, but there are some good paid alternatives out there for those of you with bigger budgets – try clicktale or crazyegg as a starting point.
  • Eye tracking – doesn’t have to be expensive! Pay a few people to look at your website and tell you where they are looking and what is catching their eye etc. Try eyetracking.com for a more expensive alternative.

4. Conduct some online surveys – ask people on SurveyMonkey.com what they think about your site.

5. If you have a popular site – read reviews! People are normally pretty vocal about what they don’t like.

6. Make sure you have enough data when you’re testing! Statistical significance is the name of the game – Analytics Content Experiments will do this for you, more manual testing might require the use of an A/B calculator like this.

7. Following from that… don’t leave tests running forever, decide a time frame to get useful data.

 

Landing Pages:

8. Test button wording, it can make a big difference. ‘Buy Now’, ‘More info’ and ‘Go’ will all result in different user behaviors – work out which is best for you.

9. Test button size – too small and you won’t attract their eye, too large and your site risks looking unprofessional – find your sweet spot.

10. Button colors! Consider the impact of different button colors – here’s a good article on the psychology behind it.

11. Button positioning (I’ll shut up about buttons in a second). Make sure you have multiple action buttons if your page is really long so users don’t have to scroll back up. Test the effects of being above the fold, on the side of the page, in line with the rest of your material etc.

12. Lots of content! Don’t worry about too much content as long as it’s readable. Ever seen an Amazon page? They’re longer than the Great Wall of China but still great because they give so many details, reviews and specifications – all things that help people convert.

13. Test direct response landing pages against your existing ones. Pages with little to no navigation that are heavily focused on the deal/product/service you are selling from a keyword.

14.  Ever considered sending traffic to your homepage? Sounds crazy we know, but when the homepage is really strong and informative it can definitely help. We recently had an account that doubled its monthly sign ups from 122 in June, to 243 in July just by switching the old landing page to the homepage.

15. Look at your competitors landing pages for ideas – what do they do well? What do they do badly?

16.  For e-commerce accounts: How are you arranging your products? By price? By best selling? People coming from ‘Cheap Television’ ads might prefer one way and from ‘Top Rated Television’ the other.

17. What deals are you currently offering? Try making a big deal about them – if you like them enough to offer them, like them another to make people aware of them!

18. If you sell a service, try using a page with 3 or 4 different pricing models. Just like the supermarkets sell a value and a high-end line, so should you if you want to capture all users.

19. Continuing the theme from tip 18, try highlighting the one pricing option you think is best. A lot of sites will highlight their ‘silver’ package and include a ‘best selling’ star or something like that. People convert better if they feel like they’re getting the best value deal. Professor Dan Ariely is the master of the psychology here – I implore you to watch this 2-minute video.

20. Add testimonials! For services that require a great deal of trust these can be immensely powerful.

21. Test layout changes!

  • Try getting rid of useless information
  • Arrange your pages in a logical order
  • Use a single column – see Amazon again, people are happier to scroll down than sideways – their eyes tend to get lost less easily.

22. People like large, high quality images. Adding zoom-in functionality and captions doesn’t hurt either. Make sure to test that this isn’t slowing your site speed down too much.

23. Give your customers as much information as you can. Don’t leave them wondering anything about your product, as that uncertainty will cause them to bail.

24. K.I.S.S.! Keep it simple stupid! Test using easy to understand language – don’t frighten users off by confusing them. Just because you know the industry jargon, doesn’t mean they do. You can still give a ton of information though – simple does not equal short.

25. Include videos! It’s pretty simple to set up a YouTube channel and embed videos into your site. If you have a product you like, show it off, explain why it’s worth the money you are charging, and reassure your customers about anything they are unsure of from the text.

26. Test bullet points in your content vs. blocks of text.

27. Landing page background colors can make a big difference – test white, grey, and your site’s main colors.

28. Form on landing page, vs. clicking a button to get to the form – test both if you are a lead generation site.

29. Test your H1s and H2s. Are you losing visitors because your headings are misleading / not telling them what they need to stay on the page?

30. Site navigation – too many options might be confusing, too few and people won’t be able to get where they need to.

31. Increase your site speed! Users begin to bail after 4 seconds – most will never come back if you take over 25. This article by Portent.com is excellent.

32. If you advertise on your pages (through Adsense or wherever) – test your conversion rate with and without ads – you might make more money with a higher C/R than with the extra ad revenue.

33. Is your logo in the top left? Don’t waste too much of the landing page branding all over it.

34. Have your key information above the fold! Some users are bounce-happy and need quick reassurance.

 

Ads:

35. New ads can have as big an impact on conversion rate as new landing pages. Make sure to be continually honing and improving your message.

36. Align ad messaging and landing pages – don’t promise what you can’t deliver. See this post for more details.

37. Give people a reason to buy today – if you have a sale, mention it. If it ends tomorrow, make a big deal of it.

38. Offer additional discount codes in your remarketing ads – give people a reason to come back and convert!

39. Create a feature-benefit matrix when writing your ads – this will help you work out which messages really appeal to you. Seeing them side-by-side makes a comparison much easier. It also helps to refer back to for future testing.

 

Sign Up Process:

40. Test different forms. Sites like formstack.com and unbounce.com will do this for you.

41. Reduce your number of required fields. People begin to bail when they feel they are giving more personal information than they should have to.

42. Make your sign up form buttons appealing. Change buttons from simply ‘submit’ to more of a call to action such as ‘get started today’. The word submit has negative connotations all of its own!

43. Make your form graphically appealing. Simple things like including arrows will help drive users towards where they need to be.

 

Checkout Process:

44. Set up goal paths in Analytics to see which of your pages are failing you.

45. Shipping prices – some people prefer higher cost items with free shipping, other prefer low costs and high shipping expenses. Either way, test test test!

46. Do you have a pay on finance option? If you sell high end electronics this will almost always improve your conversion rates.

47. Include trust symbols! Verified by Visa etc. remind customers that your site is trustworthy.

48. Remove excess navigation. Shopping carts with tons of links out of them distract users. You have your customer where you need them, don’t make them doubt their purchase.

49. Shorten your cart process if you can. People expect 3-4 steps, but any more and it starts to get wearisome.

50. Make your cart process clear! Have a navigation bar above or on the side telling users the exact steps they have to go through.

51. Accept multiple payment types – Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, and Google Checkout are all good starting points. People generally have a preferred method.

52. Have a good order confirmation page – a user who worries if their order went through is less likely to buy from you again.

53. Offer other products on your user confirmation page. If someone just bought car parts from you, you might be able to make some money from advertising car insurance through an affiliate network.

 

Finally… 

54. Don’t get lazy – one bad test shouldn’t get you down, and one improvement shouldn’t convince you that you’ve done all the testing you need to do.

 

As always, let us know if you have any favorite CRO/LP tips you want to share with us.