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6 advanced conversion techniques to grow your business fast

It’s the modern online business owner’s dream: scores of qualified leads landing on your website and clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button. 

But it’s seldom that easy. Site visitors can get distracted by a phone call, frustrated by a pop-up, or confused by copy—and bolt before they ever hit that call-to-action (CTA) button.

Today, marketers and business owners need conversion techniques in their back pockets to engage users and eliminate the friction that causes customer churn.

CRO

Last updated

6 Jan 2023

This article looks at six customer-centric conversion optimization techniques to help you ease the customer journey and accelerate business growth. You’ll walk away with actionable steps you can take today to improve your website and increase conversions.

Use conversion techniques to boost business

With Hotjar’s product experience (PX) insights, create a smooth customer journey and increase conversions.

6 conversion optimization techniques to elevate the customer experience (CX) 

We often equate ‘conversion’ with ‘sale,’ but really, a conversion is that moment when the customer takes the next step in their journey, like signing up for your newsletter or opting to give your free trial a go. 

Hillary Bush, former product manager at MasterClass and founder and CEO of Pollen, a company providing playbooks to freelancers looking to grow their businesses, puts it this way: 

When you think about it from the user's perspective (as good product builders do), conversion optimization is about the overall user experience of discovering, learning, and, ultimately, purchasing a product.

Let’s look at six conversion techniques you can use to improve the user experience (UX) and guide shoppers toward a purchase:

1. Identify bottlenecks

With so many elements on a standard site, it’s all too easy for a visitor to get tripped up by a single misplaced CTA, confusing pricing table, or incomplete product description. 

The goal, then, is to look for website bottlenecks that may cause users to drop off too early. 

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) agency The Good found that identifying bottlenecks for their client Swiss Gear increased conversions by 132%.

After using Google Analytics to access data like where and when users exited the site, The Good used Hotjar’s behavior analytics tools—like Heatmaps and Recordings—to paint a fuller picture of what was happening on Swiss Gear’s ecommerce website. Heatmaps offered quantitative data about user actions in an easy-to-understand, visual way, and Recordings provided qualitative insights into why users act the way they do.

#The Good uses Hotjar Recordings to see user behaviors like scrolling and rage-clicking to find and fix conversion obstacles
The Good uses Hotjar Recordings to see user behaviors like scrolling and rage-clicking to find and fix conversion obstacles

With information like click data from Heatmaps and behavior patterns in Recordings, The Good determined that some iconography and copy frustrated users. Equipped with insights from these tools, they tested changes like a new mobile hero image and a menu-driven interface—and conversions skyrocketed.

The better the insight, the more accurate our tests can be, and the faster we can get our clients results. Swiss Gear’s results wouldn’t have been nearly as dramatic without Hotjar.

Maggie Pavezam
CRO Strategist, The Good

2. Conduct A/B testing to improve navigation

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is essential for reducing friction in site navigation to improve PX and CX—and increasing conversions. 

“At MasterClass, we ran over 100 tests a quarter just on the marketing site,” Hillary says. “Tests should be designed around hypotheses that you’re trying to prove or disprove. These hypotheses focus on what's changing, what user impact that makes, and an estimated impact to conversion.”

Once you have a solid hypothesis, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools to test it.

Using tools like Optimizely, VWO, or Google Optimize can be very helpful for running small tests without the need for sometimes time-consuming deployment cycles.

Hotjar can be great for seeing heatmaps of what people are paying attention to on your site and making improvements.

Hillary Bush
Founder and CEO, Pollen

Carefully analyze how changes affect conversion rates, but try not to get discouraged if they don’t work. Whether your conversion rate stays the same or goes up, you’ll gain valuable data about your users you can use to improve their experience.

💡Pro tip: use heatmaps to (literally!) illuminate problem areas on your site.

Ukrainian shoe store Intertop hired UX and CRO agency Turum-burum to streamline the customer journey and increase conversions.

One of the tools Turum-burum used—heatmaps—allowed them to spot a problem in Intertop’s product filtering that slowed shoppers down.

After creating their hypothesis, the company could A/B test two improvements to their product filtering and find a clear winner—leading to increased conversions.

The brightness on this click heatmap showed Turum-burum that users were selecting ‘show all’ because they couldn’t find the exact filter they needed.

3. Highlight product reviews and testimonials

If customers need even a little nudge in converting, social proof—like product reviews and testimonials—provides just that. 

In fact, Baymard found that 95% of shoppers on traditional ecommerce sites use reviews to evaluate a product.

When shoppers see that others have purchased (and had a good experience with) an item, they feel more confident buying it themselves. 

Some online retailers leverage the power of reviews by making it easy to filter and sort them. J.Crew’s a great example. On product pages, they let users sort reviews by body type and height. If a customer’s tall, for example, they can quickly sort reviews to learn how the item fits people of similar height.

#J.Crew lets users filter reviews by body type, height, and rating—and shows users the average fit on a sliding scale based on reviews.
J.Crew lets users filter reviews by body type, height, and rating—and shows users the average fit on a sliding scale based on reviews.

These features erase any lingering doubts about product fit that might prevent users from purchasing. Plus, the company handles fewer returns by helping customers get it right the first time.

More tips for using reviews and testimonials to boost conversions:

Pay attention to the numbers

The number of reviews matters. Shoppers are more likely to purchase a book with 700 reviews and a rating of 4.4 than one with a lone five-star review. Incentivize customers to leave a review with a sweepstakes entry or a discount code.

Consider placement and layout

Pay close attention to the review section’s user interface (UI). Use scroll heatmaps to see how many customers are scrolling down to this part of the page, and watch recordings to see how they’re using filters. Then, make tweaks to the UI as necessary to improve the user experience.

Be honest

Today’s shoppers are savvy. If a product has mostly five-star reviews on a company’s own site, they have doubts and lose trust. Be transparent by providing easy access to all the information users need to make an informed decision—even negative reviews.

4. Upgrade to high-quality photos and videos

Customers need to see a product from all angles to feel confident buying. A backpack might look appealing from the front, but a shopper might hesitate to click purchase without seeing a close-up of its straps. 

In addition to helping customers convert with confidence, high-quality images inform customers’ perception of your company as trustworthy and professional. 

Patagonia uses multiple models and offers large photos and videos from different angles.

More companies are also using videos on product pages to let customers visualize how an item functions. For example, you can see how a backpack shifts with each step the model takes.  

While these videos are important in retail, they’re equally as vital for software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. By showing a clip of the software in action, buyers can clearly see how the product works without committing to a personal demo. A video clip might be the nudge that makes a buyer say, “Oh, I need that!”

HoneyBook, a client management platform for small businesses, has videos of its software on its homepage.

💡Pro tip: once you update a page of your site with more detailed photos and new videos, use Hotjar Heatmaps to visualize how users frequent that part of the page. To gather even more data, watch Hotjar Recordings for customers’ mouse movements and clicks. Are they watching the product video? Do they move from the photos to the ‘Add to Cart’ button? If so, you’ll know to update other product pages, too.

5. Make the checkout process seamless—and unforgettable

We’ve all been there before: a daunting checkout page requiring credit card information makes us move a purchase to the ‘later’ list.

Eliminating obstacles at checkout makes for a calmer, happier experience for your customers—and more sales for you. Research by Baymard shows that large ecommerce sites can increase conversion rates by over 35% by improving the design of their checkout page. 

Web design agency NerdCow found and resolved cart abandonment issues on a client’s site by launching surveys to ask the customer why they didn’t buy. The most common reason? People simply got distracted or forgot.

#Survey results showed that the main cart abandonment cause was distractions.
Survey results showed that the main cart abandonment cause was distractions.

To fix the issue, NerdCow created a cart reminder email sequence and an on-site cart reminder for returning shoppers. The result? Conversions tripled in two weeks.

3 tips to increase purchase completion at checkout:

1. Reduce the number of form fields 

It can be tempting to gather all of the data you can at checkout, but potential customers might abandon ship if the form looks too extensive. Research shows the optimal number of fields in a checkout flow is eight. Pare down your asks to the bare minimum to make the experience as quick as possible for users. For example, instead of asking for first, middle, last name, and suffix, just ask for ‘full name.’

2. Provide choices in payment methods

This is one area where having more options won’t overwhelm the user. Most users have a go-to payment method for online checkout: a credit card number they’ve memorized or a digital wallet they can use without even getting up. Nine percent of users will abandon their cart if that preferred payment option isn’t available. By providing choices, you eliminate an opportunity for the shopper to step away, get distracted, and forget to finalize the purchase.

3. Send good old-fashioned reminders

If users do get distracted mid-checkout, follow NerdCow’s lead: create a cart abandonment email sequence and on-site pop-ups to remind returning visitors they left items in their cart. Most users appreciate these reminders: the average open rate for abandoned cart emails is just under 40%. And note: email sequences perform better than a one-off message.

6. Personalize the customer experience

Personalizing the customer experience helps you improve conversion rates—and creates satisfied, loyal customers.

Consider a high-touch sales experience, like buying a home. Throughout the process, you work closely with the seller (or, in this case, the realtor). You frequently chat with them, gaining trust in their guidance, and your enthusiasm about the sale grows.

“Companies that want to do this at scale without 1:1 interaction can bring in qualities of the concierge experience,” Hillary says. “This makes the user feel more understood and that the product is tailor-made for them and their needs. It’s extremely powerful.”

How to harness the power of personalization:

Start with a solid understanding of your customers

Do a deep dive into who your customers are and what makes them tick. Hotjar’s Surveys and Feedback tools let your customers tell you exactly what they want to see on your site. 

Provide product recommendations   

Collect information like your users’ names and preferences to send them more relevant lifecycle emails. For example, some clothing retailers send personalized emails with suggestions of items customers might like based on past purchases.

See where your traffic comes from

Knowing which ad or article brought users to your site tells you even more about their interests and readiness to buy. Then, you can make your site information more relevant to improve their experience.

Help your customers take that next step

The best way to improve conversions is to understand your customer and their perspective as fully as possible. Use quantitive and qualitative data to guide your decision-making—and create a smoother customer experience while you watch your conversion rates soar.

Use conversion techniques to boost business

With Hotjar’s product experience (PX) insights, create a smooth customer journey and increase conversions.

FAQs about conversion techniques