This post is by Vinko Grgic. Vinko is a Designer & Entrepreneur who specialises in helping startups develop products that delight customers through awesome UX, and he’s been a Fishburners member since July 2012. This blog explains how one small obvious change to the site visitor flow doubled the conversion rate for the business. Are you a conversion chump, but unaware of it? Stop getting owned by your ignorance of your site’s conversion funnel, and start conversion optimising like a BOSS – double your money and make a stack!
“I’ve heard about conversion tracking once or twice before, but I always felt like I was too busy doing other things to implement anything. Thanks to Vinko it was much simpler than I thought and the results were incredible.” – Daniel
Why I’m Telling You This Stuff
I recently helped out my friend Daniel Battaglia, founder of ParkingMadeEasy, with his site. Daniel is a very honest and direct kind of guy, and I knew that he was living between one subscription sign up and the next. I really wanted to help Daniel sell more subscriptions so he could earn some more cash, so we got together to have a look at his site.We installed some conversion tracking, established a conversion funnel and then made some improvements along it. It didn’t seem like it was brilliant to me, just a regular tweak job. After Daniel announced the other day in front of some Burners that I “helped him double his conversion rate” they got excited and wanted to know more.
“I only wish that I had implemented Google goals, started tracking stats and making improvements earlier.” – Daniel
Daniel explained how we made a small tweak on the page we sent people to after they requested a car space, where instead of taking them to the login page we redirected traffic to the registration page. After all, new visitors want to sign up and have less patience with a product they don’t know yet, whereas existing customers are willing to spend a little extra effort to find the login button and sign into their account. Nonetheless, this little tweak nearly doubled Daniel’s conversion rate on his site! After the guys were shown the results they were surprised and wondered whether they had any such small improvements to make. They thought that I must be some kind of genius, and then it struck me: “What if what I thought was obvious, wasn’t so obvious to others after all?” I realized that sharing this small success story from ParkingMadeEasy could potentially help others achieve greater business outcomes for their own websites. Here is a small sample of the process we followed on those few days working together, and I hope that some of this thinking rubs off on you if you haven’t already thought about optimising your conversion funnel.
Understand Your User Flow
Where are new visitors landing most often on your site?
What’s the user flow? What does that look like?
Here’s what happens on ParkingMadeEasy after a new visitor lands on the Sydney car spaces results page:
Clearly this flow was not ideal. If the goal of the website is to sign up more drivers to a subscription, one cannot make the assumption that the driver already has an account with you and therefore is primarily looking to “login”, rather than “register”.
But before you make any changes, it’s necessary to understand, track and measure the actual outcomes of your tweaks. Before I talk about the optimisations we came up with, let’s cover the important parts first…the numbers.
“Sometimes I’m just so focused on parts of the website, I didn’t realise there were a lot of obvious little improvements that could be made. So it’s always great to have a fresh set of eyes look over things to get some fresh perspective.” – Daniel
Know Your Conversion Funnel
You need to establish a baseline so that you can compare your changes against it. We set up a simple conversion tracking funnel using Google Analytics to understand the numbers. You can do this easily yourself too!
The basic principle of conversion funnels states that any minor improvement on the conversion % at the top of the funnel has a dramatic impact on the # of conversions at the end of the funnel, so this is where you focus first. For this reason it makes sense that most websites try to create killer landing pages, but perhaps don’t spend as much effort deeper into the site.
For ParkingMadeEasy, most of the new traffic volume was landing on either: the homepage, Sydney results page, or a parking space listing page. From understanding the user flow we could see that drivers were ready to sign up once they had found a parking space they were interested in. They could either “book now” if the space was available on the chosen dates, or “enquire” to first get in touch with the owner. Either CTA (call to action) would take people to the login page before they could proceed with their request.
The problem was that the audience we were trying to capture didn’t have existing user accounts and therefore could not simply login. They had to find this button to proceed toward our business objective of selling them a subscription:
You would think that most of your potential customers would work hard to chase down that ideal car space they found on your site, right? Wrong!!! People are lazy, they don’t have time for your bullshit. Sorry, it’s true.
The 12.26% from step 1 in the conversion funnel represents the portion of visitors who were keen enough on a car space, clicked on a CTA button, arrived at the login screen, found the “create a new account” tab, clicked on it and then selected a subscription plan to proceed. The percentage of people who would have signed up but couldn’t be bothered to find out how to register is unknown, and this number represents the potential improvement we can make on the conversion rate with one simple change.
One Simple Change Doubled the Conversion Rate
It makes sense to require a login before you allow your paying customers to receive a service, so I can understand if most of you have done this before. The problem is that they are new customers and they need to register before they are able to login.
The obvious solution was to change the redirection on those CTA’s from pointing to the login page to the registration page. That’s exactly what we did, and here are results:
The biggest impact was made to that first choke point of the funnel, remember “% proceeded to Driver Registration”? Here’s what happened:
A whopping 6.27% more people got to select their subscription plan just because we didn’t ask them to find the “create new account” tab. That’s it. We just landed them on the page they expected to see. This action alone more than doubled the site’s overall conversion rate.
Keep It Simple Stupid
It’s important I mention that just because you have now potentially uncovered a whole bunch of holes on your leaky ship, you should not make more than one change at a time. Why? Because you won’t be able to validate whether the difference was positive, negative, or made no impact to the conversion rate. Be scientific in your work and space out the changes, even the small tweaks, by a week or so (depending on your existing traffic volume). Keep it simple stupid, and know the numbers before and after your optimisation efforts.
“Definitely agree with this point, earlier on I made a few too many changes on the same page and the conversion rate plummeted. I didn’t know why. Since making one change at a time, I know exactly what’s making an impact.” – Daniel
Needless to say there are plenty more improvements and tweaks that could be made to the conversion funnel for a site like ParkingMadeEasy. We made a list of some others:
- single CTA on listing page (confused = NO),
- bigger CTA button on listing page (make it dumb easy),
- remove search bar from listing page (why give people a reason to go somewhere else?),
- car space information at the top of listing page (that’s what they came for right?),
- better UI on subscription page (showing the plan levels more clearly and attractively),
- getting rid of PayPal (the worst UX ever!),
- and, many others.
“I’m really looking forward to implementing more changes to the website and seeing the results. It’s not just for the conversion ratio but also helps to make it easier for people to use the website.” – Daniel
I hope this small example gave you some insight to the opportunities you may be missing in your own business. What have you missed? What are your users looking for? What do they expect?
Perhaps all you need is a fresh pair of eyes to follow the user trail. If so, please get in touch and I will be happy to take a quick look at your site.