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5 Best Practices for Conversion Rate Optimization

Cody Jensen

What if I told you I could double or even triple your e-commerce and lead generation conversion rates almost overnight?

These are not by any means basic or rudimentary principles, but rather a set of proven conversion rate optimization best practices you can apply to almost any marketing initiative. Especially online marketing.

Here are my five tips for optimal CRO.

1. High Price Option

This first technique according to Simply Psychology, will actually help you sell out of the lower-priced options. And in the rare case the higher price point option does sell, that’s your cherry on top with whipped cream and all.

Here’s how you do it: Start with an unreasonably high price option. For example, an “all-inclusive” night out, including a fancy limo and champagne for $3,200. When a visitor passes on the deal, he or she is then presented with another offer at a lower price point, which may be more prudent for the everyday consumer.

The second choice uses the difference in contrast, making it appear that an exceptionally cost-effective night out is available. This practice is utilized frequently within raising support for volunteer organizations. Here is an example from a very popular charity:

donation box 

2. Leveraging Scarcity

In the famous book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," Carnegie explains that “people want what they can’t have, or what they can get less of.” As professional marketers, it’s our job to display when something is in short supply so that prospective buyers feel a sense of urgency to act before stock runs out. This is the scarcity tactic, and it works whether it’s supply-driven, (quantity or availability is limited) or deadline-driven.

In the event that a prospect feels he or she can return to your site at their leisure to buy your product, service, whitepaper, report or book, there is no reason for them to settle on a choice NOW.

Suppose you let the prospect know that supply of a product is running low or that the pricing will be going back up. You instantly create a sense of scarcity that didn't exist before. Since individuals have a common dislike for loss, they'd rather act excessively, knowing full well they haven't given the matter legitimate thought, than risk passing up a great opportunity or sale.

Don’t believe me? Use Visual Website Optimizer and try a test on two-to-five products. My bet is that conversion rates increase dramatically, almost overnight.

Scarcity in action by the pros at


3. Would You Like to Use a Lifeline?

In this strategy, the advertiser permits the prospect to see they have an issue, and afterward offers an approach to alter it. One fabulous approach to do this is through online surveys or fun quizzes, like BuzzFeed.

A perfect example would be a wellness site offering a test titled “Six Signs You May Be Depressed.” The test can incorporate basic questions regarding eating habits, family history and level of physical exercise. In the event the prospects answers show he or she is exhibiting signs of depression, this gives an opening to your solution, advice, product or service. This principle works for websites geared toward a consumer audience, and can be especially effective in the business-to-business environment.

Use your content to bring up to visitors the amount of cash they are losing, time they are squandering or anxiety they are encountering, and afterward offer them an answer.

The "lifeline" may sound negative, but in my mind it’s truly just solution-based selling. Demonstrate you understand your clients' hot buttons, and you'll be more successful in convincing them to consider your answer.

By outlining your website around an individual's pain points and behaviors (subconscious or conscious), you can better influence user decisions. Leverage these strategies to make your sales funnel easier and more efficient. In this process you will also win the customer's dependability and loyalty.

4. Reciprocity in Online Sales

In 2002, analysts attempted to explore different avenues regarding tipping in a restaurant environment. They needed to witness what would happen when the server supplied a small treat alongside each check. They attempted a lot of situations where servers put a little bit of chocolate on the check, gave a bigger amount of chocolate or gave no treat whatsoever. What they learned was a small treat increased the normal tip from 15 to 18 percent.

The trap at work was the principle of reciprocation. Individuals are determined to reimburse debts of different varieties, regardless of how big or little. At the point when one individual does something pleasant for another, that other individual feels a longing to give back where it’s due.

Advertisers can use this drive to guide site guests to activity. By giving your visitors something of value, with no desire of anything in exchange, you can start to tackle the power of reciprocity.

Offer “premium” data, free samples, lists, tips, tricks, education, reports or even a free in-home trial — anything that has true value and will clearly benefit the visitor with no strings attached. That last point is particularly critical: No one wants to feel they are being manipulated or getting something, but there are "strings attached."

What would you be able to offer to individuals to incite a feeling of debt? As opposed to enticing prospects to download a whitepaper or digital book for their email address and phone number, perhaps you could do a test — provide them a part of the white paper or book free-of-charge with no sign up required.

Be the first to give something of worth, and your clients will be more inclined to provide you something in exchange.

Check out this very detailed content on how to choose a kayak. Can you buy a kayak from this online retailer? Absolutely, and you will want to after all of the help they have provided.

how to choose a kayak 

5. Focalism for E-commerce

Individuals tend to depend excessively on the first bit of data displayed when making decisions. This turns into the "focal point" against which items will be analyzed in the future. Sounds crazy, right? It might be; however, you can utilize this principle by tying down a "focal point" to help guests defend their buying choice.

This is the best definition of focalism I’ve found:

“Anchoring or focalism is a term used in psychology to describe the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or 'anchor,' on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.

During normal decision making, individuals anchor, or overly rely, on specific information or a specific value, and then adjust to that value to account for other elements of the circumstance.”

There are many parts to focalism or anchoring. Here is an example from one of the world’s largest online retailers that demonstrates the power of “price cut” focalism. (in reality, discounts or price cuts are extremely relative.)

haggar men suit 

Like all conversion rate optimization, it’s best to test one principle at a time. This way you can be doubt-free as to what/why your conversion went up or down. Also, be sure to consider your sample size and make sure you’re giving each principle a fair test. My suggestion is session for session; ultimately, we want to see how many conversions we had before and after the change.

Do you know some CRO best practices that I missed? Feel free to add in the comments below. I would love your feedback and engagement!

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Cody Jensen began his career with the corporate giant, Google Inc. He has been in Search Engine Marketing ever since, and has a specific acumen for paid advertising. Cody now leads 180fusion’s strategy in providing world class digital fulfillment to traditional agencies, printers, and aggregators. His last article for SEMrush was "5 Best Practices for Conversion Rate Optimization."
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Daniel Louis
Great artilce. Do you have any latest tips on conversion rate?
Thanks Mark!
Trolling Robin
Nice work

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