Right now, there’s a marketer staring at the company website with frustration building.
By all standards and best practices, the website looks amazing. It’s aesthetically pleasing with SEO-centered copy and mobile-friendly design.
Despite being set for a digital win, however, the website analytics tell a different story. The conversions just aren’t there.
What went wrong? Why aren’t visitors turning into customers?
Was it the call-to-action color? What stopped the visitors?
Of course, our marketer isn’t alone in this scenario.
You could even replace “marketer” with a myriad of other positions, but the result would be the same. Just because a website looks good doesn’t mean it works well.
It takes deeper insight to understand visitors and their interactions to unlock the secret to explain why they aren’t converting.
Of course, we’re not talking about just any insight. We’re talking insight gleaned from these helpful amigos:
These three conversion amigos come together for the ultimate trifecta of insight to give your website (or a client’s) the help it needs to fight against low conversion rates and save the day for visitors everywhere.
How to know if you have a conversion issue
Finding Your Website’s “El Guapo”
No western, whether it’s a comedy or not, is complete without a ruthless bandit to ruin everyone’s day, and El Guapo was the perfect infamous villain in “¡Three Amigos!”
Your website even has its own digital “El Guapo” -- a pain point or flaw standing in the way of its success.
It could be a cluttered landing page, confusing navigation, poorly written copy, or a broken call-to-action that prevents anyone from converting. Maybe it’s a website that isn’t mobile-friendly or bloated with too much information and large, slow-loading images.
These issues may be staring you straight in the face or hidden by vanity metrics such as page views or email subscribers.
While these metrics are often used, they can’t explain how users are engaging and interacting with your website and are often easily manipulated.
Ignoring the issues can have serious consequences. If these issues are enough to turn away potential customers, it’s losing you (or your clients) money.
“But how do I know if my website has an ‘El Guapo?’”
Here are a few red flags:
Your conversions and conversion rate are lower than you expect
To be clear, there is a difference between conversions and conversion rates. Your conversation rate is a great gauge of what your traffic is doing on your website while conversions are your ultimate measure of success.
Tracking both conversions and conversion rates can be the so-called canary in your digital mine.
If the conversion rate seems lower than average or a sudden drop in conversions, you know there is something either scaring away visitors or stopping them from completing the conversion, and that something can have serious implications on your bottom line.
You don’t really know what visitors do on your website
If you don’t know what they do on your website, how do you know what it needs to be done? Where are visitors clicking, and how are they navigating through your website?
Let’s say your boss or client asked you tomorrow what visitors are doing on the website.
You could show the more popular web pages and how much time was spent on each page, but you could not – without any question – explain how they were clicking or scrolling on each page using traditional analytics alone.
Your customers express frustration
Customers love to make their opinions known. Whether it comes through an online review, email, or a social media message, if a customer has expressed frustration with your website, consider it a waving red flag that something is wrong.
Be mindful not to brush off complaints or assume it’s limited to one region or browser. Keep in mind that negative word-of-mouth can reverberate beyond the disgruntled customer to an entire network of friends and acquaintances.
Helpful tip between friends: I would highly suggest using Chat and Surveys to help collect visitor opinions about your website, products, or services.
For example, asking “Is there anything preventing you from checking out today?” can be particularly helpful. I have a list of 25 survey or poll questions you may want to consider for yourself.
You don’t analyze and test on a regular basis
There are two billion websites online, and a large number of them are created once and never touched again other than updating the copyright date every so often.
Maybe someone did check and analyze how the website was doing at one point, but now it’s a lost habit.
The same goes for testing. A/B testing is an incredible tool, but it’s not a common enough that everyone knows what it is, let alone, do it.
Always put aside time to experiment with things on your website, but don’t just run the test.
If you don’t analyze your results on a regular basis, you don’t know how deep your problems may be in the near future.
Whatever it is, you need to address your “El Guapo” now.
Enter the three conversion amigos
Before we dive in, I have to be clear on several things.
First, if you are looking for a magic checklist to fix a website’s conversion woes, you are going to be disappointed. Checklists are meant for packing, not optimizing a website.
Every website’s issues are unique. Even if you check the box for a specific task, doesn’t mean that it solves for your specific pain point. In the same thread, just because something worked for another website doesn’t mean it will work for you. You need to test analyze your website’s performance in order to diagnose and treat it effectively.
Finally, I am a firm believer that conversion optimization isn’t about changing your call-to-action or font type. While these issues may be turning away some visitors (unless all of your copy is in yellow Comic Sans), it’s highly likely that there are other bigger problems just below the surface.
In the words of Larry Kim, stop “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to move past this mentality to big tactics and optimizations that will dramatically change your performance and fortune.”
Now the “ugly” is out of the way, let’s get to the good news – our amigos:
1. Dynamic Heatmaps
As the newest “kid” on the block, dynamic heatmaps are more than traditional static heatmaps that simply capture a screenshot of the website with limited data available.
Dynamic heatmaps make data come alive by visualizing visitor click, move, and scroll data for elements such as a drop-down, hamburger menu, or pop-up, automatically as you navigate through a website.
For a moment, picture your own website.
If I asked you, could you tell me the top three elements on your most popular page?
What about your mobile version? Could you tell me your most popular hamburger menu option for tablet devices? Or if there’s a difference between how traffic from Facebook interacts and engages differently than Google PPC ads?
Lucky Orange asked those same questions, and in 2016, we realized that, as websites become more dynamic, heatmaps needed to as well.
Our dynamic heatmaps function as an overlay on your website updating data as you navigate through your website.
You can see data for everything visitors see, including hover-over and drop-down menus. It also enables you to see how visitors on mobile devices and tablets see and utilize the website, too.
Basically, your website’s “El Guapo” has no place to hide. Since every click, scroll, and move can be visualized, issues can be quickly spotted.
For example, this dynamic heatmaps is showing the precise clicks of visitors to the Lucky Orange pricing page.
It can also be combined with visitor recordings and A/B testing services like Optimizely.
2. Session Recordings
If you want to understand visitor engagement, nothing beats Visitor Recordings.
These recordings are a special kind of amigo best known for being the fastest playback this side of the Mississippi River.
Okay, so fun Western descriptions aside, visitor recordings explain what happened before and after a click was made.
You can actually watch visitors and customers interact on your website, seeing where they spend the most time, where they go to when, and a host of other behaviors.
You can watch it live or stored and tag it to certain behaviors, like checked out or signed up, to better understand the middle and bottom of the conversion or sale funnels.
In other words, you can watch visitors on your website kind of like a DVR of their experience.
3. Google Analytics
Let’s just cut to the chase - Google Analytics is a powerhouse of analytics.
In the wild west of conversion, it is like the John Wayne of data.
Sure, it may be a little older, heavier, and slower than newer “data slingers,” but it has a reputation that reaches a wide range of professionals and websites.
Consider this: An estimated 56% of all websites use Google Analytics.
Whether it’s a new website designer fresh from college or a seasoned marketing professional, Google Analytics is the “it” analytic tool in their arsenal.
With its incredible amount of raw data, it can be intimidating. When used correctly, however, this data can be dissected down to micro- and macro-level reporting for phenomenal details and insight.
How to use Google Analytics, Session Recordings, and Dynamic Heatmaps together
When dynamic heatmaps, visitor recordings, and Google Analytics combine, these amigos become the trifecta of unstoppable conversion rate optimization prowess.
Together they make it easy to dissect useful patterns or visitor behaviors.
No marketer, agency, or client will have to guess if what they’re doing is effective; they’ll have the data to show them!
Make sure Lucky Orange and Google Analytics are both installed on your website
The sooner both are installed, the more insight you will have at your disposal. Google Analytics will help you identify the pages that need your attention then Lucky Orange will provide the dynamic heatmaps and visitor recordings to take insight up a few notches.
Without Lucky Orange, Google Analytics misses on telling what happened in the middle of the visitor journey. Without Google Analytics, you may not always know where to start looking for problems areas.
Identify problem areas in Google Analytics
I’ve found that since Google Analytics is such a standard for so many people, it’s better to stick with the habit.
Look for red flags such as low Time On Site or a high Bounce Rate (tip: RocketFuel suggests a bounce rate over 90% should set off your alarm bells). Also watch your traffic, popular posts, and sources.
These metrics are common indicators of problems on your website. Because you’re focused on spotting potential problem spots, using this data helps lay the foundation for a better overall insight and direction from dynamic heatmaps and visitor recordings.
Think of it as a compass. You may not know what errors or issues you’ll find, but at least you’ll be headed in the right direction.
View a Dynamic Heatmap of the problem area
Google Analytics ear-marked pages to question, and now it’s time to go one step further. Dynamic heatmaps open the door to better analyze potential issues or take a 30,000-foot view of the bigger picture.
Example: If Google Analytics showed a low conversion rate, you can follow dynamic heatmaps in Lucky Orange to isolate which webpage(s) may be causing the issue. You can then segment data to further isolate and identify the problems.
Segment Dynamic Heatmap data as needed.
Segmenting works by filter data through specific data ranges, browsers, devices, locations, and behaviors. To continue our example, I may find that conversion dropped off on Product A’s webpage.
If I narrow it down by device to mobile users, I could see that the webpage’s mobile version is cutting off a call-to-action.
Segmenting can also help narrow down to behavior from specific sources, such as those from Facebook or Google PPC, to drive better landing pages and changes to creative that are directed for specific traffic.
Watch Visitor Recordings of problem areas
Sometimes looking at dynamic heatmaps will be enough, but at others, it will be prudent to learn more about which elements were more or less popular than another, such as one call-to-action compared to another.
For each element, visitor recordings will be available to show recordings of visitors actually clicking on it, as well as the rest of the visitor’s journey.
Visitor recordings can also be accessed via the “Recordings” or “Live View” tab in Lucky Orange for a wider view of the website.
As you watch these recordings, you can see where visitors are clicking, how they scroll, how they move from page to page, and what they are doing on your website in general.
There will be little doubt left after watching select recordings to see what is turning off a visitor, such as a broken link or overpriced shipping.
Combine the findings to suggest changes
Folks, this is where the real magic happens. Google Analytics led you to the pages in question, dynamic heatmaps led you to uncover trouble spots, and visitor recordings let you watch as real visitors actually click, move, and scroll.
There’s no guesswork or assumptions. It’s clear what’s working or what’s not and opens the door for the team to discuss short-term (new copy, working links, better CTAs) or long-term solutions (website redesign, landing pages, new marketing strategies).
For example, one Lucky Orange user had a banner at the top of his homepage promoting a discount. By using Google Analytics, dynamic heatmaps, and visitor recordings, he could see that visitors weren’t clicking on the call-to-action or other links.
Visitors were clicking on the banner that wasn’t linked. Adding a link to the banner increased conversions from 3% to 8%.
As you grab the tequila to celebrate conversion victories, keep one eye on the horizon.
The digital world is constantly changing, and your visitor expectations are only going to continue to increase. As you validate and prioritize the next redesign or updates to your website using Google Analytics, visitor recordings, and heatmaps, remember to never forget to keep your visitor’s experience as a priority.
Shayla Price, a B2B content marketer, and SaaS expert said it best: “It’s imperative that more companies take a customer-driven approach to conversion optimization.
Following someone else’s best practices may guide your team; however, it’s all about your customers’ interests and behaviors...[F]ocus your attention on gathering customer data through one-on-one interviews, on-site surveys, and analytical tools.”
Don’t let your website’s “El Guapo” win. Your website will not “die like dogs.” It will “fight like lions” to win the conversion battle!
Editor’s Note: This content originally appeared as a contribution in IMPACT.