In the past, leveraging the right search engine optimization (SEO) tactics helped you rank higher on Google and vastly improve your lead generation efforts. However, as SEO best practices evolve to keep up with Google’s moving target algorithms and updates, more and more businesses are spending time focusing on a different acronym: conversion rate optimization (CRO). SEO focuses on getting traffic to your website. CRO is the art of implementing tactics to encourage visitors to take a specific action once they’ve landed on your site. No longer can you acquire visitors and *hope* they’ll make a purchase or download your latest eBook.
2016 brought new platform and algorithm updates and corresponding unique challenges, but also presented some amazing opportunities for marketers to increase conversions. Here’s what we witnessed in 2016 and how you might consider tweaking your 2017 CRO strategy.
This year, Google announced they’d be rolling out a few updates to help users access content more effectively. As a result, websites that use pop-ups that cover the main content will be penalized. This includes the exit pop-up that so many websites are using to build an email list.
With this update going into effect on January 10, consider your 2017 strategy and how pop-ups fit in. Are you willing to sacrifice your rank? Further, how are users interacting with pop-ups? There’s a good reason Google is making this change: to help deliver content to visitors more efficiently. Removing a conversion opportunity can have a negative impact on your CRO efforts so marketers will need to get creative when it comes to increasing lead generating opportunities throughout their site.
Embracing Mobile (Half-A$$ed)
Doesn’t it seem like everyone’s been claiming: “2015 is the year of mobile”? Then we heard “2016 is the year of mobile”. It’s safe to say that your mobile strategy won’t have a deadline anymore, because without one you’ll be left in the dust. Mobile should be at the core of your digital strategy.
With mobile quickly becoming the go-to device for consuming content, businesses need to fully embrace the mobile-first strategy beyond having a responsive website. To successfully increase your lead generation and conversion efforts in 2017, you need to collect data on how your mobile users are interacting with your site and make changes based on your data. A few examples include:
- Reducing headline and body copy to fit smaller screen sizes
- Using fewer form fields
- Accepting mobile payment methods (Apple Pay or Google Wallet)
- Using larger buttons
Avoiding the Elephant in the Room (Video)
Leading up to 2016, video has been one of the fastest growing marketing strategies. Now it’s here. And it’s an excellent way to engage and convert leads. Research from HubSpot indicates that including video on a landing page can increase submissions by 80%. So when everyone else is using video, what differentiates your business?
Think about it from the user’s perspective: They’ve got two browsers open comparing competitors. One checkout page has a captivating video of how amazing the product is. The other includes the same product image the user has been seeing on every page leading up to the checkout. Which would you choose?
Lacklustre Facebook Page
Over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed more and more Facebook pages appearing in your search results. This is because Google ranks websites based on their domain authority. Obviously a website like Facebook will have better domain authority than most sites, which is why they often appear BEFORE a business’ website. Essentially, your Facebook page is your second website and might actually be the first opportunity you have to establish brand awareness and start converting visitors into leads.
Ensure your Facebook page is optimized by following these quick tips:
- Create a vanity URL
- Fill out all the fields in the About Us section and include relevant keywords
- Create a unique header that promotes a content offer or email sign up. Make sure it’s not getting cut off by using 815px by 315px dimensions
- Leverage the call-to-action in your header
- Use keywords in your posts!
- Upload your email lists to create a custom audience
- Implement a Facebook pixel
Vague Generic Content
Website visitors call the shots. They search for the content to address their specific needs and won’t settle for content that doesn’t. This is why we saw content personalization skyrocket in 2016 (whether you noticed it or not). As more and more content get published every second, personalized content is a must for conversion efforts in 2017. 74% of online consumers get frustrated when digital content has nothing to do with their interests and 73% of companies who leverage personalized content saw lower bounce rates and improved engagement.
It sounds like a complex undertaking but CRO isn’t very difficult. Start collecting data on how your users are interacting with your content across different platforms and devices. Create lists of meaningful data with similar persona characteristics or behaviors. Working with a CRO expert can help you uncover unique opportunities to improve lead generation efforts that you may skim over everyday.
Based on trends that fizzled and new updates that materialized in 2016, how will you change your strategy for 2017?