21 Secrets of Top Converting Websites

Bryan Eisenberg, @TheGrok, says don’t worry about taking notes because MarketMotive will be making the presentation available: http://tr.im/mmsc3. Okay, I’m done. :P

21 secrets

There are always reasons why our sites are going to suck. If you think about it, the average conversion rate is around 2-3 percent. When you’re sending out direct mail, pushing out “junk” then 203 percent is great. But things are different on the Web. People are going to you. We need to get over this idea that 2-3 percent is good enough. You should have a goal to get your conversion rate to 10 percent. Take a few of the following tips (they won’t all apply) and leverage them.

  1. They communicate UVPs and UCPs. Why? They need to remember why they want to do business with you.
  2. They make persuasive and relevant offers. Free shipping is the number one motivator for people to buy.
  3. They reinforce the offer site-wide. The second you erode your customer’s confidence, there’s a 90 percent chance they’re going to bounce.
  4. They maintain scent. For instance, banner ads and landing pages should look interrelated. Colors and offers should carry through. But landing page optimization is not enough. It needs to connect throughout all customers’ journeys and processes.
  5. They make a strong first impression. A good story can help.
  6. They appeal to multiple personas/segments. There are different types of decision making processes and you can’t reach them all the same way. Personas build predictive models. Simple personas include decision making styles, buying stages and some basic segmentation. Robust personas include Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator psychological profiles.
  7. They don’t do slice and dice optimization. If you slice and dice lots of variations of a page, it takes time and resources and there’s an opportunity cost. A better way is to use the Persuasion Architecture ® process. Test for impact, not for variations.
  8. They leverage social commerce and use voice of customer. Amazon was the first to leverage customer content to sell. You’ll find reviews that are poems, romance stories, and jokes. This content sells products because users trust other people like them.
  9. They use it for navigation. Anything you can help people do to sort out products, it’s a good idea. A sort by rating option can drive conversions.
  10. They use it for promotions. Adding user-generated content enhances e-mail conversions.
  11. They use it for credibility. A shoe shopping site put a return-o-meter on each product based on the return rate of the shoe. It gives shoppers a good idea of whether the shoe is true to size or not and that builds credibility.
  12. They use social commerce for feedback and research. Your $100 solution – UserTesting.com. There are a lot of other low cost solutions as well. Usability is great, but it’s not enough. It’s the experience that matters, not just knowing how things work.
  13. They user persuasion principles like scarcity, reciprocation, authority, consistency, consensus, and linking. They focus on making things more persuasive.
  14. They even make forms engaging. Why must a user create an account before you sign up? Try putting it on the thank you page because once they’ve given you money, they’re likely to give you more.
  15. They provide point of action assurances. Make people comfortable so they’re more likely to stick around.
  16. They keep you in the process. Expected shipping time, an explanation of what you’ll do after they fill out the form, etc.
  17. They consider e-mail preview.
  18. They budget for experience. If you’re not budgeting for making your site better, you can’t win in the conversion game. If faced with the choice of build a better experience or advertise more, pick the better experience. Invest in continuous improvement. Align customers and business objectives.
  19. They utilize a system for prioritization. There are probably hundreds of things on your site you may want to fix, so prioritize. This will help the organization buy into it.
  20. They make data driven decisions. To do Web analytics/optimization correctly you have to make a to-do list regularly. What marketing efforts or parts of your site have challenges? What you think needs to be improved and what things you want to test? And what efforts you should do less of or more of?
  21. They know how to execute rapidly. Within two hours of Michael Jackson’s death, Amazon had reconfigured their MP3 landing page. You have to get good making changes everyday, every hour, what it takes to be successful.

5 steps to great conversion rates next week:

  1. Identify the problems – review analytics – check for high exit, high bounce on key landing pages and key pages (checkout, lead forms, etc.) or poor Quality Scores in AdWords.
  2. Create a to-do list of what you’d like to improve.
  3. Document your hypotheses for thinking why this will be an improvement.
  4. Prioritize your to do list by resources, impact.
  5. Start testing, do the same next time.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (9)
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9 Replies to “21 Secrets of Top Converting Websites”

Thanks for the Great Tips Some times you need to step back and take a look at what your doing.

I have book marked your page so I can come bact often.

I didn’t know that Amazon was the first site to do that with customer reviews, but its a great point because I know many people like to read those before committing to a purchase. Anything you can do to increase customer confidence is a great idea.

@Wynne … meaning multivariate testing, and I think he’s right. It will take a lot clicks if you starting getting into 4+ plus pieces of content to swap. So if you don’t have huge traffic and the ability to just let it run for a while … it will take a long time to get a winner before it’s statistically relevant. A/B I think is a good start … or even A, B, C, D. If you have 3 pieces of content to swap out in a multivariate test … that’s 9 different total pages you are testing!

So you can see how it will make for a long test.

Thanks for your notes … or is that the info he said would be online? The link to get the presentation seems to push me to buy courses, but I can’t find the presentation he did yesterday. I was in attendance and specifically skipped the notes when he said not to bother taking them. Very impressive presentation, it was exactly what I was looking for.

I very well might be brain dead, maybe someone has the link to the PPT directly? I did create an account … feeling kinda dumb right now! :P

Virginia Nussey

Hi skattabrain, what you see on this page are my notes from Bryan’s presenttion. It’s always my pleasure to provide session notes in the form of liveblogging. :) I just tried to get to the presentation from the link he provided so I could see if I could figure out how to get there, but I’m also having no luck… Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

Glad to see it’s not jsut me! Thanks Virginia!

Too bad too, I just got an email from SES pointing to all the presentations, but Bryan’s is missing from the list.

I guess that’s a lost conversion. :(


@skattabrain, click the bit.ly short link at the top of the post. It takes to you his video presentation – which is pretty much identical to his SES presentation.

A lot of info there. Point 7 was unclear to me – don’t slice and dice? Do you mean not split testing variations of the same page?


Thanks for the reminder that I need to prioritize. With a never ending and always expanding list prioritize is the perfect solution. And more importantly to prioritize by what is going to have the greatest impact first.

Thanks again for the good write up and pointers.


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