How to Double Your Online Success

Act NowConversions matter most.

I’m not talking about spiritual conversions, but converting website visitors to take a specific action on your site that you define, maybe it’s buying a product, requesting a consultation, subscribing to your blog, or following you on Facebook or Twitter.

People talk a lot about social media engagement and website traffic, but ultimately what matters most is conversions.

Dustin Curtis posted an excellent article in which he explains how he more than doubled conversions on his site. Wow! Wouldn’t you like to double conversions on your site?

So, here’s the story…

Dustin wanted to see if he could convert more of his website visitors into Twitter followers. Now, if you’re not into Twitter, don’t worry; this lesson is not really about Twitter. It’s about conversions of any kind.

He originally had “I’m on Twitter” on his site, which got a 4.70% click-through rate. 4.7% of people who viewed the page, clicked the link to his Twitter profile.

He began experimenting with different phrasing.

Switching to “Follow me on twitter.” increased his click-through rate to 7.31 %

“You should follow me on twitter.” increased the click-through rate to 10.09%

“You should follow me on twitter here.” increased the click-through rate to 12.81%

The end result was a mind-blowing 173% increase in conversion rate!

You can read the full story on Dustin’s blog.

Before you run off to add “You should follow me on twitter here” to your blog or website, let’s look at the bigger picture.

1) Use strong calls to action

It’s essential that you explicitly tell people what to do. Dustin started with “I’m on Twitter.” We all know that statement implies that he wanted people to click and follow him on Twitter. But on the web, implying is for losers.

That sounds harsh, but research backs it up. If you don’t tell people exactly what you want them to do, they are dramatically less likely to do it.

What is the ONE thing you most want visitors to your site to do? Visit your church? Complete a form requesting a tour of your school? Buy your product, service, or book online?

Now look at your site. Do you explicitly tell website visitors to do that?

2) Experiment with Variations

It’s pretty amazing that just rewording one sentence can more than double conversions. Because of that, it’s important to try different variations of your calls to action.

You could simply use one call to action on your site for a week or two and note the conversion rate, and then change the call to action and note the new conversion rate. However, there are so many other variables that could taint the results.

A much better option is to test two or more calls to action simultaneously using Google Website Optimizer.

Website Optimizer will randomly display one of several variations of a call to action on your website and track the conversion rate of each variation. It’s very easy to use. We’ve used it to test variations on OurChurch.Com in the past. And we’re currently running a test in the web hosting section of our site which is showing some very good preliminary results. But that’s for another post.

Do you have strong calls to action on your site? Have you ever done any experiments with Google Website Optimizer? Do you plan to?

Oh, and… You should follow us on twitter here.

[image by oxfam]

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

4 Responses to “How to Double Your Online Success”

  1. Winning a visitor over into your real time streams – twitter and facebook, is a double win cos of the way those streams are used to further market yourself. It is like self replicating success.

    Personally, I need to make some changes to win people over to twitter and facebook from my blog. On top of winning their comments :)
    I like the idea of Google Website Optimizer, something I still need to make use of.
    So I'll be keen to read more about that.
    @phillipgibb – I enjoy twitter :)

  2. Thanks Paul for the reminder about using strong calls to action. I think sometimes we feel they're presumptious or pushy, but the metrics are very convincing.

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