Improving your conversion rate

Easy ways to improve conversions

In this week’s live episode of Taleist’s Stand out Sessions, we share tips on how to give your website conversion rates a boost.

Transcript of Taleist’s copywriting FAQ live

Hello, and welcome to the third Taleist standout session. I’m Steven Lewis. And as you know, if you’ve been coming along, I have been a copywriter for about 27 years now. So in the format of the standout sessions, I will take your questions live after first running through some tips this week, the tips on improving your conversion rates. And if you happen to be listening later on, you may be listening to this as a podcast, which you can get at the moment from Google podcasts, or from Spotify. And all the details are at Taleist Agency, taleist.agency/SOS. So all the links, you can watch the recordings of previous sessions, you can subscribe to the podcast. And you can ask questions by email in advance if that would be helpful to you.

So let me let me just check here. We do have some questions that have come in earlier this morning. From people I asked on LinkedIn, and some questions have been left over from previous weeks. I can’t always get to all the questions, but I do try and get to them over time. So what I want to do first is run through just some really simple conversion optimization tips, things that you can go to your website right now, have a look at and think oh, actually, I may or may not, I may not be doing the best job possible with that. And if I make this tweak, potentially my website could be working harder for me getting more conversions. And so we do have a blog post on improving your conversion rate. And it defines terms like conversion rate, and you can get that blog post at taleist.agency/7things. So taleist.agency/7things.

Simple conversion tips

Your conversion rate is essentially the percentage of visitors to your website can do something you want them to do. It’s up to you, what you want them to do, usually it’s pick up the phone and call you, send you an email, download something, buy something, but it might be you want them to visit a particular page, you want more people who arrive on your website to visit a particular page for a particular reason. So that would be a conversion. Everybody you bring in who does thing and then goes on to the page that you want them to go to would count to convert them, as I say at taleist.agency/7things. There’s more there for you. So we’re going to talk about simple things that you can do to improve your conversion rate, I’ve got four tips for you.

Tip 1: First things first

And the first tip is First things first. And if you’ve ever heard me talk about conversion rates before, I always start with this tip, because it’s commonly something that people don’t do. And it’s maddening in a way that they don’t, because it’s such an easy thing to do. And it’s such an obvious thing to do. And yet it seems to be so easy to miss. And that is tell the visitor to your website what you do the minute they arrive. So this is an example of a client of ours called Logicata, and you are not in any, and you might be in some doubt when you arrive on their website, because you may not know what AWS is. And you may not know what managed cloud services are, but I can assure you that to their ideal client, AWS managed cloud services is as easy to understand as cheese sandwiches.

So if you are in their target market, you’ve arrived on this page because you are looking for, in as many words, an AWS managed cloud service provider. And there it is, that is the top level heading on this page. I’m an AWS managed cloud services provider and we take operational tasks off your plate and provide a team of qualified AWS experts you can call on 24 seven. It’s not cute. It’s not clever. It’s just what they do. So the moment somebody arrives on this website, they have confidence that these are the people I’m looking for. Or alternatively, they’re confident you’re not the person they’re looking for, but somehow they’ve accidentally ended up on this website, they can see they’re in the wrong place and they go somewhere else. People who have uncertainty or don’t have confidence don’t buy. The more competence you can build on your website, the more likely people are to take the action that you want to take.

So the next example is chosen at random. I through long experience, know that accountants are particularly bad at using positioning statements above the fold on their website. So I just typed Sydney accountant into Google. And this was the first result that came up. So I’m not into, I’ve left the name of the company there, because the name of the company is right there in that headline. So in a sense, this is a good positioning statement if the visitor to the website might be in some doubt whether they’ve landed on the website of Gunderson Briggs. So absolutely, it’s great positioning statement if that is the most important thing. So somebody who already knows you has come to your website.

Alternatively, maybe you were looking for an accountant. But nothing above the fold on this website says we are accountants. There’s an artistic picture of somebody playing cricket, not necessarily got anything to do with accounting. Measuring the right things right. I mean, that could be a carpenter, could be an astronaut, could be any number of things. Doesn’t say accounting and Gunderson Briggs doesn’t say accounting. So you have no choice in a way but to click learn more if you’re genuinely interested in learning more. But alternatively, you might just hit the back button and go back to Google. So you’ve lost some of the confidence that you could have been building above the fold. So it might be that if we scroll down one centimeter, it will say we are accountants in Sydney, but a lot of people won’t scroll down that one centimeter.

So to improve the conversion rate on your website, say what you do. Make it super clear above the fold. And for a fun exercise, I’m going to suggest that you just keep it in mind. As you go around the Internet yourself over the next week, have a look. Just have a look at how many websites you land on do a great job of saying, you’re here. And I know what we’re doing. And how many people just say something cute or clever above the fold that force you to do further investigation. So that’s the first tip. First things first, say what you do and do it above the fold.

Tip 2: It’s not about you.

The second tip is that your website is not about you. Even the page that is called About Us or About Me is not about you. And this is an example from a wedding celebrant called John and I’m not going to say anything to you that I haven’t said to John, because John was the first client we ever had for our website review service. So it was actually his idea I did a webinar. I got an email from John that said, would you like to review my website? And what would it cost for you to do that? So we did review his website. But John is in many ways the one who got away because to me, the most obvious thing that he could do to improve his conversion rate was something that he didn’t want to do. And that was talk less about himself and more about his clients.

So if I give you an example, you’ve landed on John’s web page, and the first question he suggests that you might be asking, what are you looking for a wedding celebrant? That is a great heading because I’m on the website. I do, I’m okay. Yeah, what am I looking for? I’m a high school dropout. So now it’s not about the reader anymore. It’s immediately about John. I’m a high school dropout. But look at me now. I don’t know what that has to do with being a wedding celebrant. And more importantly, what does it have to do with me? As most likely a bride, I know from working with a lot of wedding celebrants that generally, the person on their website is the bride but not universally. I don’t want to exclude anybody but generally speaking, it’s the bride.

So I’m a bride, what’s it got to do with me that you’re a high school dropout? I’m bald with glasses and can change your life forever. Okay, but it’s not like me. you’ll like working with me because I’m friendly, house trained, trustworthy, enthusiast, helpful, reliable, organized, perfectionist and have a great sense of humor. I was a wedding DJ for probably five years. You know, okay, and I won’t read the whole thing, but essentially the camera, and I think about copywriting in these terms a lot. Where is the camera? And the camera in this example is on John. There’s a lot here about John. And yes, you can reverse engineer what that says about me and the wedding that I want. But you shouldn’t be asking your readers to reverse engineer where they fit in. You should be showing them where they fit in.

So just to do the conclusion there. Welcome. I’m John, your Melbourne marriage and wedding celebrant. The easiest way to get to know me and what I have to offer is to sit back, relax and read the website. I am absolutely certain that a bride who is rushed off her feet trying to plan her wedding and have 10,000 things on her list of things to do, does not want to bore herself with coffee, sit back, relax, put her feet up and learn about you. That is not the goal that she’s trying to accomplish today.

So what does it look like if you have a website that’s not about you? And this is an example from a client of ours, Affinity Communications, Melissa Donnelly. This is her new About Us page on her new website. And I love this as an example of what I’m talking about. Because this is the above the fold section of Melissa’s website and there’s nothing here about Melissa. Yes, Communications advice for businesses that are serious about making changes. So she’s confirming that she gives communications advice and she’s saying who you are. Not who she is, who you are. You are a business that is serious about making changes. So the camera is on the reader. And if we go from there to the bit below the fold, you build a smart business. So it’s a tragedy when you’re the perfect fit for the work that you lose out because the market doesn’t see that capability. Camera firmly on Melissa’s reader, firmly on their problem and yes, it’s about her because if you’re reading that, you’re thinking, wow, this person understands my problem because that is me. Yes, we have a great business. And repeatedly, we’re going forward for work, and we’re not getting the work, because we’re not communicating clearly.

So Melissa is talking about herself in that sense. You’re seeing her expertise, because she diagnosing your problem so accurately, but she’s not talking about herself. It’s no good being the best provider or the best employer if the right people don’t believe that’s the case. Wow, that’s so true, you really understand me. So this page is called About Us. But Melissa is demonstrating she understands you. Communications, marketing, branding, they’re all about getting the right messages to the right people at the right time. That translates to bottom line significance for every business. So you’ve come to Melissa’s About Us page, and you are getting a sense of who she is and what she cares about and what she can help you with. But the camera is firmly on you. And that makes for a great About Us page.

So have a look at your own About Us page. And ask yourself, where is the camera pointing? Is it pointing at me? Because I saw that the title of the page was About Us and so I started writing about myself. Or is the camera pointing at your reader? So that’s our second tip, the About Us page isn’t all about you.

Tip 3: Get people where they’re going as quickly as possible

And this one, this tip here is get people where they’re going as quickly as possible. So people have arrived on your website with a job that they want to do. So in the case of Taleist for instance, they’re looking for something. But they’ve only arrived on our homepage. So I’m not sure what they’re looking for. Are they looking for a copywriter? Are they looking for one of our online courses? Have they heard we’ve got a lot of free downloads? Or that we’ve got a mailing list? There are different reasons that people come to the site. And yes, of course, we’ve got navigation at the top of the page that you can use. But also, we have a pop up that’s friendly and says Hello. What do you want? Copywriting and online course, copywriting resource or our mailing lists? So we can quickly segment visitors to the website into what they are most interested in doing.

So you’re going to get your conversion rate up if you get the right information in front of your prospect as quickly as possible. All coming back to that certainty and lack of confusion, because we’ve all been to a website where we’ve somehow clicked the wrong thing. And we’re looking at the wrong service. And we’re now thinking maybe this isn’t the right company for us. But it’s actually because we walked in through the kitchen instead of the front door of the restaurant for instance. You just want to sort people into where they should be as quickly as possible. And you’ll see that, you know, there’s a banner at the top that’s talking about standout sessions. So for instance, you know, it might be that you haven’t come for a standout session, but it might be that that appeals to you. It’s not in your way but it’s along the top, giving people an idea that you know, we have that, you know, something on offer that you can come and get live questions answered. Then that’s important because only about 4%, 3%, depending on which studies you read, of people who visit your website are actually going to be ready to take action.

So a lot of people come to your website because they’re researching. They’re looking at who’s in the market, then looking for what a solution to their problem might look like, what it might feel like, what it might involve. So if somebody is at that researching stage, they’re going to read your website, and then they’re going to go away and read a few more things they find on Google, find a few more people, ask for a couple more referrals. And maybe they’ll be able to find their way back to your website, or maybe they won’t.

Tip 4: Sign them up

So the other thing that you want to be doing is trying to get people to sign up with you, to put their hand up and say, this is my name. Or a very least, this is my email address. So as we have that pop up on the homepage that invites people to use it as a guide to find the part of the website they’re most interested in. And we have some long form content on the website that is SEO-optimized and brings in a lot of visitors. So totally new people who’ve never heard of us before are googling a problem. They want some information. We’re showing up as the result. They’re coming. They don’t know Taleist from a bar of soap. They don’t know me, and I don’t know them. So what I want to do is to get them to sign up.

So we have a lot of very long content on the site. And if you’re on that content, a pop up will appear and say, hey, this is long. And you might not have time right now. How about we send it to you as a PDF? And that works brilliantly to get people onto the mailing list. And when they’re on the mailing list, I can build a relationship with them. And I can be keeping our name in front of them while they’re going through that decision making process. I imagine that you might be like a lot of the people I’ve spoken to over my career who hate pop ups, they can’t stand them. They don’t know why anybody would have them. And they don’t want one on their website. And yet, so many great websites have pop ups on them. And why would that be? And it would be because they work.

So you can see here that on our blog post about writing a great About Us page, we actually have three pop ups. So one pop up appears after about 15 seconds and says hey you know, this is long. Would you like it as PDF? We can send it to you as an email later on. Now, you might ignore that. You might go no, no, no, I’ve got stacks of time. I’m going to carry on reading or I’m not sure this post is valuable yet, I’m not willing to give you my email address. So a little bit later, we asked you again. Another pop up appears. So it’s a second different pop up that appears on a different time trigger and asks you would you like to sign up. So as you can see, the first pop up gets a 1.4%, 1.54% conversion rate. So 1.54% of people signed up. So in the period of time, this is the most recent snapshot that I’ve taken of this data, I took it yesterday. Eight people have joined the mailing list as a result. The second pop up has a 3.37% conversion rate. So it doesn’t show to as many people because not as many people have got as far into the post as the people who see this pop up. But of the people who have seen more of the post 3.37% sign up. So that’s another three people.

Then we get to the perfect About Us page. Last chance. So if you look like you’re going to exit the page, another pop up appears and says hey, before you go, maybe you thought this was too long. Why don’t you get the PDF? That’s got a 4.85% conversion rate. So that’s another 30 people who’ve been added to our mailing list. So in total over this time period, we’ve had 41 people added to our mailing list by adding a pop up. And the majority of our sales of online training come from people who’ve been on the mailing list. So they’ve been on the mailing list, they get two emails a week. They see that we provide value, they see that we know what we’re talking about. And when we say hey, would you like a course on LinkedIn or writing a landing page, they’re much more likely to buy.

So before you dismiss pop ups, think about all the people who are visiting your website and you have no idea who they are. And I’m putting this in the simple conversion rate tips because we use a tool called ConvertBox. You can see the name down there on the on the button on the left. It takes me five minutes to set up one of these pop ups so I can put one up quickly, test one. If we’re doing a stand up session, I can.. stand out session, I can put one up and quickly test it. And if that’s the sort of thing that interests you, they have a special lifetime deal which you can access through taleist.agency/popup, one word, popup, if you’re listening to the podcast not watching the live stream. So if you go to taleist.agency/popup, you can get a special deal on ConvertBox and all of those pop ups that you see on the screen there now. As I say would have taken me five or 10 minutes to set up. And you can see from the statistics that people are joining our mailing list and I can tell you that our mailing list is a big driver of product sales for us. So if that’s of any interest to you, you’re welcome to ask any questions that you might have about conversion rates there.

What does it take to be a good writer?

But we also have some questions that people have asked before. So before I go to answering any questions about this, I’ll answer a few of the questions that have built up over time. So the first question we had is from Diana, and Diana asks, what does it take to become a good writer? I mean, that’s a great question. And I’m going to limit my answer to this one to copywriter, because I don’t pretend to be a great writer of fiction or poetry. I was a journalist. So I’m not a bad feature writers. So I could talk about feature writing, but I think in this sense, we’re talking about persuasive writing.

And more than anything, being a good persuasive writer takes research into the reader. You cannot be persuasive until you understand who you’ve got to persuade. And there are two levels to that. One is understanding the problem that that person who’s trying to solve and why they’re trying to solve that problem. And the other is understanding basic human psychology. So my tip on the human psychology side is if you’re going to read nothing else, read Influence by Robert Cialdini, which is about the six mental shortcuts that people take to make decisions. If you understand those shortcuts, your writing will be much more persuasive.

So research into the readers. Research into understanding what it is that you’re trying to persuade somebody to do and the value of the thing that you’re trying to persuade them to do. And also understanding human psychology, general and universally applicable. And also good writers read in order to write well. You really need to read as much as you possibly can, and preferably in lots of different styles. If you only read legal journals, you’ll find yourself starting to write like you’re writing for a legal journal. So the more you read, the better you know, the better your writing is going to be.

How can copywriters help solar companies?

We had a question through the website this week from Danjohn who asked how can copywriters help solar companies? We actually get a lot of interest from solar companies. It’s clearly a big business at the moment and a highly competitive business. And copywriting is something, you know, that people are hoping, you know, they can use to make them stand out. And we did do a website for a solar company here in Australia. And I can tell you that in my opinion, I mean, one change that we made, made an enormous difference in their Facebook campaign. And that was, I can’t remember the exact number. But they said, more than 80% savings on your electricity bill. But they actually had data from reputable scientists that showed that it was at 83.7% savings on average from your electricity bill.

And simply, and we were talking, of course, in the tip section of the standout session about simple conversion tips. Just changing more than 80% to 83.7% made a huge difference to the conversion rate with their Facebook ads, because there’s a lot more credibility in a specific number. You know, more than 30 years of experience is less believable and authoritative than 29 years of experience or 31 years of experience. So I would never in copywriting, for instance, say almost 30. I would say 29. And a lot of clients will then immediately turn around and say, well hang on a minute, that means I’ve got to update my website next year. To which I say if somebody reads your website, hears that you have 29 years of experience and then find out you actually have 30, are they going to be disappointed? No, like it’s not it’s not a lie. It’s just more believable.

So for solar companies, my advice would be focus on what is believable, and not hypee because it’s an area in which, you know, there are a lot of dodgy operators, so people are going into it quite suspicious. So the more proof that you can build into your copywriting and specificity is a kind of proof. And we do have a guide on the Taleist website to 39 types of proof you can use to make your writing more persuasive. And you can get that and all of our downloads free from taleist.agency/downloads. And so there are 39 ideas there for things that you can use in your copywriting to make you more persuasive.

What questions should I ask before hiring a copywriter?

John asked in LinkedIn that are there any important questions to ask before hiring a copywriter? I know it says Facebook on the screen. But LinkedIn doesn’t allow us. So when somebody asks me a question in LinkedIn, we have to put it up manually. So it goes in as being from Facebook or YouTube because we can’t access LinkedIn directly through that platform. So John asked, are there any important questions to ask before hiring a copywriter? And I mean, we actually again, have a whole guide on the website to how to choose a website copywriter. So if you actually can’t get that from my download section, you can get it from the website. So if you just Google Taleist how to choose a copywriter, you’ll find that article but actually, my belief is that it’s much less about how you, what questions you ask the copywriter and more about what questions the copywriter asks you. Because copywriting is 100%, not 100% about research, but 80% about research.

To be a good copywriter, you have to have curiosity. And you have to have just that inquiring mind and that wanting to know about something. And I always thought that one of my strengths as a copywriter is for the period of time that I’m writing about a business. I am fascinated by that business. So I have written about things in my career that on the face of it, if I were to tell you what they were, you thought it’s really boring. You know, I would not want to hear about that at a dinner party. But during the process, I am genuinely fascinated. And I’m asking questions, and I’m enthusiastic. And when I’m writing the copy, I’m enthusiastic about the product or the service. And that to me, is critical. So you, you need someone who’s got that desire to ask questions. And if you have a desire to ask questions, you will ask questions during the interview process.

So I know for instance, you know, when people call us to inquire about copywriting, I think they’re often quite surprised at the, in the beginning of the call, you know, a good 20-25 minutes is probably just us asked asking questions. Okay, why are you doing that? And why do you want that? And who would read that? And why would they? You know, why would they want that? And oh, okay, is this a challenge for you? Which genuinely isn’t any kind of sales technique. I’m just interested. Like, I’ve had really great conversations with people who may go away and decide they’re actually not ready to engage a copywriter. And I’ve learned some interesting things that I’ll probably use, you know, bringing another way on another project, and you’ve got more background information.

So the questions you want to ask before you speak to a copywriter are why do you think you’re any good at this? What’s your track record? What does that look like? What’s your process? If a copywriter tells you their process, and their process doesn’t involve a ton of research, then you’re probably not talking to a copywriter. So you want to be listening for how many questions they’re asking you. Ask them about their process to see how much research comes into it. And do not, please, get hung up on how much experience they’ve got in your niche. Because generally, that is either less important than you think or actually, you don’t want someone who only writes about plants or bookbinding because they will have lost sight of the questions that the average consumer has because they will have become an expert on pot plants or, you know, bookbinding themselves.

So the principles of copywriting, you know, can be universally applied to different, you know, different topics. So, if anybody’s watching live has a question now, I’ve got time to take one last question from somebody live. We’ve got some questions that we’ll hold over until next week.

Topic for next week

Next week, I’m going to be talking about testimonials and how to use testimonials correctly. Because of those 39 types of proof that I mentioned, testimonials are far away, social proof is far and away the most powerful, in my opinion, kind of proof in most cases. You know, if you’re selling a scientific product, then the science is going to be the most important. But for most of you listening or watching, social proof is going to be the most powerful kind of proof that you can have. And testimonials are going to be the most powerful version of social proof.

So if you want to learn how to use testimonials correctly and I know, maybe you’re thinking, how is it possible to use testimonials incorrectly? But it really is, there’s a better way to use testimonials. And I’m going to show you what it is next week. If you want to ask a question in advance, go to taleist.agency/SOS. And you can also join our mailing list there and then you’ll be reminded that we exist. Please, if you’ve enjoyed the video, click thumbs up. Click Like. Subscribe to the YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook and you’ll always be notified of when we’re doing something else. So I hope you’ve enjoyed the session and I love hearing from you and I love answering your questions. So thank you.