Last week, we wrote about several ways that B2B marketers can improve their overall marketing and selling strategies. Today, I’d like to dive a bit deeper into one of the topics we covered in that article: improving your conversion rates.
I’ve often heard marketers ask, “What would you consider a good conversion rate?” This is a great question, and it’s often followed by, “What steps can I take to improve my own website conversion rates?”
Both of these are tricky questions to answer because your conversion rates depend on both your industry and what you’re measuring (website, pay-per-click, etc.). While financial services companies typically have website conversion rates that would have nonprofits feeling pretty envious, B2B software and SaaS companies are right in the middle of the pack. If you’re looking for a general benchmark, consider that both Capterra and MarketingSherpa agree that the average website conversion rate is around 7%. A successful PPC click-through rate, on the other hand, might fall within the 2-3% range.
The MarketingSherpa graph below includes an overview of average website conversion rates for different industries. While this graph dates back to 2012, it’s still a good example of how conversion rates can vary drastically across industries.
A second graph, pulled from Wordstream and based on a 2014 analysis of thousands of Google AdWords accounts, has found that the spread of advertising conversion rates across industries looks fairly similar to 2012 graph above. Financial services still leads the charge with conversion rates as high as 25%. The interesting thing to note about this graph is the column devoted to B2B, which indicates that the average AdWords conversion rate for B2B companies is only 2.23%, and 11.7% at the high end.
What Can I Do to Reach the Top 10%?
So maybe you’re below the industry average, or maybe you’re above it but you want to obtain conversion rates that will vault you into that top 10%. How do you do it? These initial conversion rates from your website or your pay-per-click landing pages are some of the hardest to optimize. This is because the leads at the very top of your funnel have the least amount of interest compared to leads that are already progressing through your sales cycle. In fact, according to Capterra, the lead to qualified opportunity conversion rate can be as high as 36%!
The key is not to get so bogged down in tweaking every little aspect of your landing page (button colors, headlines, images) that you fail to see the big picture. Are you providing the right offer? Are you even reaching the right audience? While changing the color of your button can bring you small gains in your conversion rates, it’s ultimately your offer and audience that will help you improve your conversion rates by leaps and bounds.
Let’s take a look at a few additional tips for optimizing your conversion rates.
1. Pay attention to your offer. Instead of testing your images and layout, test a few different offers using the same audience. If there’s a clear winner, make this offer the basis for any additional testing that you run. Use these learnings to promote similar offers in the future.
2. Use retargeting to limit your audience. It may sound counterintuitive, but showing your ads to more people doesn’t necessarily guarantee you more conversions. It’s the people who find your offer the most relevant that will be more likely to convert. Use retargeting technologies on the channels you know your audience is engaging on to make sure that you’re serving up your offers to the right people.
3. Add some credibility. Visitors who are not familiar with your company may be hesitant to enter their contact information, even in exchange for something of value. Highlighting customer testimonials or listing notable certifications and awards that your company has won can go a long way toward establishing some credibility with your audience.
4. Personalize the experience with dynamic content. Dynamic content is content on your website, landing pages, or emails that changes based on who is viewing it, making it possible to create rich, personalized experiences for your prospects and customers. For example, you can display content specific to your leads’ industries, making the overall experience more relevant to each user.
5. Make your calls-to-action really easy to find. When you think about it, the call-to-action is really the most important element on your landing page because without it, a landing page has no real purpose. Don’t make your users search to find what’s expected of them. Place call-to-action links and buttons intuitively and obviously on your landing page, and keep in mind that there are special considerations for mobile. (For example, the typical adult finger covers 45 pixels on a mobile device, so you’ll want to design CTA buttons with that in mind.)
6. Be sure that your landing page reflects the offer advertised in your link or ad. If your landing page references an offer that is different than what was advertised, this can create a disconnect in the user experience. Correlate your landing page headline with the link copy or the advertising copy to create the most fluid experience possible.
7. Make sure text is scannable. Readers scan information in an F-shaped pattern, so place greater weight on the information at the top and left side of your page. Break text into bullets and short paragraphs wherever possible. Remember, page visitors are only going to read about a quarter of the words on the page before they bounce to another page or leave your website.
8. Use progressive profiling to smooth out the user experience. Your conversion rates decrease with every additional form field you add, so be sure that you’re only asking for the information you really need. Marketing automation features like progressive profiling can help you minimize form fields by collecting different information from your users each time they come into contact with one of your forms, allowing you to build valuable prospect profiles over time.
What other tips would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments! And if you’d like more information on B2B Conversions, check out our 8 Ways to Double B2B Conversions e-book by clicking on the banner below.